When is the best time to visit Iceland? Well, that depends on what you would like to see and what activities you want to do. Full of sharp contrasts and dramatic landscapes such as the northern lights, Iceland is a country where fire and ice co-exist. You’ll find volcanoes, geysers, and several hot springs, including the famous Blue Lagoon. You can take a tour through a lava field, into ice caves, or hidden treasures.
Go on a hiking tour along one of the massive ice glaciers found in the Snæfellsjökull and Vatnajökull national parks. The capital Reykjavik is home to the majority of the country’s population, powered by geothermal energy. Iceland has an exciting Viking history that you can learn about in one of the capital’s many museums.
When is the best time to visit Iceland?
Iceland in winter
Winter is the best time to visit Iceland and view the magical shows of the northern lights. The days are short with limited sunlight during the day, so plan your activities accordingly. Things to do in winter include snow adventures like ice caving and snowmobiling. With surprisingly mild temperatures (-0.5 c / 31 f) you might see snow from October through April but it typically is gone a few days after it falls.
If you plan on visiting the Blue Lagoon winter is the best time to visit Iceland. Soaking in the hot mineral water to warm up after a day of exploring will be heavenly. This is also the best time to visit the black sand beach (diamond beach) because the ice chunks will be much larger and more plentiful.
Iceland in spring
April brings the arrival of new life as the Spring season in Iceland takes over the land. The temperatures begin to rise, the flowers start to bloom, babies start arriving, and it starts to stay lighter outside for longer. This is a great time to visit the Golden Circle to see migratory birds. The best time to see whales in Iceland is from April until September when several species of Cetacea are frequently spotted.
April and May are the best time to visit Iceland in my opinion. The waterfalls are voluminous from the melting glaciers and snow. The island is bright with colors, so make sure those camera batteries are charged for your Instagram photoshoots. Spring is also the slow season so there are not as many people before the summer crowds arrive. For budget travelers, these are the months when you can save the most money on flights, accommodations, car rentals, and more.
Iceland in summer
The summer months of July – August are the warmest months to visit Iceland, making it the most popular time for tourism. But don’t expect to be tanning on the black sand beach… it’s not THAT warm. Summer is the best time to visit Iceland if you wish to explore as much as you can for as long as you can. The midnight sun is during the month of June, providing you 24 hours of daylight to explore this beautiful country to your heart’s content.
I recommend taking a food tour around the city one afternoon to sample the local cuisine. The North, East, and Interior areas of the island have the warmest summers and much less precipitation. Great summer activities include diving or snorkeling between two continents at the silfra fissure.
Iceland in Autumn
In fall as the leaves change to autumn colors, the temperatures start to fall, and the northern lights begin to show. Autumn is the best time to visit Iceland if you want to hike a volcano. September & October offer travelers better rates and cultural events such as art and music festivals.
You’ll experience splashes of autumn colors throughout the island, fewer tourists, and chances to go whale watching. Autumn is also the best time to visit Iceland for a fall-themed photoshoot session. The fall colors will make for a gorgeous backdrop to just about anything.
Please note that Iceland’s weather is very unpredictable,
and it is not uncommon for bad weather (strong winds, rain)
to occur at any time.
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I’ve yet to visit Iceland but it is so high on my list! I’d love to visit in the summer and in the winter to experience all the things!