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best time to visit iceland

Best Time to Visit Iceland – A Complete Guide with Amazing Things to Do in Iceland!

Iceland has been the ‘it’ destination for many people worldwide. Its popularity boomed when it came to the top of Lonely Planets’ top places to visit list in 2012. For us too, Iceland is the perfect destination to spend holidays. However, the struggle comes in deciding the best time to visit Iceland.

If you face the same battle, you are not alone. We are here to aid you in selecting the best time to visit Iceland for your vacation. Each month in this country is worth spending because of the vast things to do in Iceland. However, you may need to consider the costs because Iceland is not cheap to visit.

The winters in Iceland will allow you to look at the gorgeous glaciers and the world-renowned ‘Northern Lights.’ We know you don’t want to miss the stunning sights of Iceland during the winters. Regardless, you cannot ignore the excitement and memories the summer months bring. Hence, there is a need to find the best time to visit Iceland to get the maximum out of it. 

What is the Best Time to Visit Iceland?

The weather conditions in Iceland may fluctuate a bit due to its location near the north pole. But if you want the best weather to travel to Iceland, it has to be the summer months. The temperature hovers around 20°C in summers with longer days. Hence, you will have plenty of time to visit the major tourist attractions and even attend the summer festivals.

Hiking best things to do in Iceland best time to visit Iceland
Hiking in Iceland

Furthermore, hiking the mountainous regions is the most suitable during the best time to visit Iceland. There are many other things to do as well, including whale watching, camping, and watching sunsets. Luckily, Iceland is the most photogenic between July and September. Hence, don’t forget to click those photos and post them on your social. People are going to love them.

Finally, we know that the best time to go to Iceland is during the summer. However, it should not bias your decision because the other seasons have many things in store. Let us look at a month-to-month guide for choosing the best time to travel to Iceland for your vacations.

Winters (December – February) as the Best Time to Visit Iceland

If you like to sleep a lot, winters in Iceland are the place for you. You will have shorter days but beware of the cold weather. Surprisingly, the cold temperatures here are not as low as you think. You can expect -3ºC during winters in Iceland. However, the blankets of snow in winter are what many crave. The stunning and scenic views of Iceland are heaven for human eyes.

The Northern Lights best time to visit Iceland best things to do in Iceland
Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights

Our favorite thing to do in Iceland during winters is to look for aurora borealis, also known as the Northern Lights. The best chance to witness the beautiful Northern Lights is between December and February. The winter solstice (21 December) has the highest probability of you seeing the aurora borealis. Why? Because the sunlight is for just 3 hours, giving you 21 hours to hunt the northern lights. Hence, winter is the best time to go to Iceland for people wanting to watch the Northern Lights.

An advantage to visiting Iceland in winter is uncrowded sites. This way, you can spend your time in peace at Iceland’s most beautiful attractions.

Some problems you may face during your visit to Iceland during winters include its unpredictable weather and that most roads are blocked and impassible. Therefore, it makes driving a bit challenging in Iceland. You may book day tours to travel around Iceland safely and watch snowscapes.

AmazingThings to Do in Iceland in Winter:

  • Glacier Hiking
  • Snowmobiling
  • Visit Ice Caves
  • Swim in the Blue Lagoon (geothermal pool in Iceland)
  • Hunt the Northern Lights
  • Self-drive around the Golden Circle; if you are not confident enough, book the driving tours. (Golden Circle runs 300 km across the country)
The Blue Lagoon best things to do in Iceland best time to visit Iceland
Blue Lagoon, most popular geothermal pool in Iceland

Must Pack Utility: If you plan to visit Iceland between December to February, ensure to pack thermals. They will help you fight the cold temperatures of the country.

Winter Festivals & Events in Iceland: There are various winter festivals to celebrate in this Nordic country. These include Winter Lights Festival, Young Art Festival, Christmas, etc.

DECEMBER4.5 – 5-3ºC/27ºF to 2ºC/35ºF
JANUARY4.5 – 7-3ºC/27ºF to 2ºC/35ºF
FEBRUARY7 – 10-2ºC/28ºF to 3ºC/37ºF

Spring (March-May) as a Worthy Candidate for Best Time to Go to Iceland

Spring in Iceland calls for the weather most suitable to roam around the country. Furthermore, the days start to get longer, and temperatures get warmer. Due to this temperature rise, the snow melts, uncovering the lush ground of Iceland.

Lush Green Ground best time to visit Iceland Best things to do in Iceland
Lush Green Ground of Iceland

We consider Spring the best time to visit Iceland because of its lower price and tourist levels. However, you can expect some rainfall during this season. Therefore, don’t forget to pack your waterproof apparel, including jackets and shoes. You are going to need them during your trip to Iceland.

Iceland provides various opportunities to travel around it and experience the beauty. You can visit and hike on the Kirkufell hilltop, go kayaking, horse riding, and much more. If you think you’re a good photographer, showcase your photography skills during Spring in Iceland.

Ring road best time to visit Iceland best things to do in Iceland
Map illustrating the Ring Road in Iceland

Furthermore, the lucky ones can get the chance to see the Northern Lights as they appear only till early April. If you have enough time, go drive around Iceland’s ring road. Driving gets easier in the Spring; hence, you may not require a tour here. The Ring Road runs 1300 km taking you to the gorgeous sceneries Iceland offers.

Amazing Things to Do in Iceland in Spring:

  • Go hiking
  • Bathe in the Myvatn Nature Baths
  • Watch the Puffins in the Puffin Watching Tour
  • Whale Watching Tours is a must for your vacation in Spring.
  • Go Horseriding
  • Visit the lava fields
  • Go kayaking and many more
Puffins best time to visit Iceland best things to do in Iceland
Iceland is the natural habitat of Puffins

Tip: Don’t forget to fill apparel suitable for both winters and summers. Load thermals, t-shirts, and light jackets for your trip to Iceland in Spring. But why should you pack them? It is because of the ever-changing weather of Iceland in Spring. You may need to take on or off these apparel as you travel in the Nordic country. 

Spring Festivals & Events in Iceland: Iceland organizes many festivals and events during Spring for you to enjoy. Some famous events during the best time to visit Iceland include Stockfish Film Festival, Vaka Folk Festival, and Secret Solstice.

MARCH10 – 13.5-2ºC/28ºF to 3ºC/38ºF
APRIL13.5 – 16.750.5ºC/33ºF to 5.5ºC/42ºF
MAY16.75 – 20 3.5ºC/39ºF to 9.5ºC/49ºF

Summer (June-August) is the Best Time to Visit Iceland

As aforementioned, Summer provides the best opportunities to roam around Iceland. It is, in fact, the peak tourist season. Hence, you can expect huge crowds when you go sightseeing. 

The weather is the best at this time in Iceland, making this season a tourist hub. However, you may need to look at the budget as the prices reach the sky in the summer months due to high tourist numbers.

The days get longer in June, July, and August, giving you ample time to see Iceland. The longest day of the year, also known as the Summer Solstice, provides 21 hours of daylight. Summer is easily the best time to go to Iceland because you get the best weather for sightseeing, photography, and doing every activity Iceland offers. 

Kayaking best time to visit Iceland best things to do in Iceland
Kayaking in Iceland

However, you may not see the Northern Lights as they only occur in the winter season. Despite this, we still consider Summer as the best time to visit Iceland due to the above reasons.

Amazing Things to Do in Summer in Iceland:

  • Play Midnight golf and experience the midnight sun
  • Go Horse Riding
  • Tour the Golden Circle and Ring Road
  • See the sunset at Jokularson Glacier Lagoon 
  • Visit the Black Sand Beaches
  • Go Kayaking
  • Try Waterfall Hopping
  • Hike on the famous mountains of Iceland
  • Visit the Blue Lagoon and Secret Lagoon
  • Observe Puffins in their natural habitat
  • Bathe at Lake Mývatn 
Midnight Sun best time to visit Iceland best things to do in Iceland
Midnight Sun in Iceland

Tip: Due to the hike in price and tourists, we recommend pre-booking all your activities, including hotels, tours, car rentals, etc. This way, you won’t stress about finding a hotel when you reach here during the peak season.

Summer Festivals & Events in Iceland: During the best time to visit Iceland, you will encounter several festivals full of life and joy. Iceland celebrates National Day on 17 June as it got its independence that day. Furthermore, you can attend the Bræðslan Music Festival, Viking Festival, The Great Fish Day, Culture Night, etc. 

JUNE20 – 217ºC/44ºF to 12ºC/53ºF
JULY18 – 218ºC/47ºF to 13ºC/56ºF
AUGUST14.5 – 188ºC/47ºF to 13ºC/56ºF

Is Autumn (September-November) the Best Time to Visit Iceland?

Believe it or not, Autumn provides some of the best times of the year to visit Iceland. You won’t find many crowds this season, meaning you can peacefully spend time during your trip.

The days start getting shorter, but they are still enough to enjoy the summer activities. Consequently, the temperature cools down, resulting in lower price levels. If you visit Iceland in November, you can catch the Northern Lights. However, you will have to sacrifice your sleep to do so.

Read more: 10 Amazing & Fun Things to Do in Birmingham Alabama

Autumn brings the best opportunities for budget-friendly tourists who want to see the Northern Lights, avoid crowds, and get low prices. Hence, if you are one of these, the best time to visit Iceland is Autumn. We would suggest coming here in November for the reasons mentioned above. Therefore, don’t waste time and start packing bags for a trip to Iceland this Autumn.

Amazing Things to Do in Iceland in Autumn:

You can do most activities in the summers because of similar weather patterns. Apart from them, you can also

  • Visit the hot springs and swim in a relaxing environment.
  • Witness the farmers doing a roundup, i.e, when they start gathering their livestock before winter comes.
Reykjadalur Hot Springs
Reykjadalur Hot Springs

Tip: In November, the temperatures are freezing cold. Hence, pack a pair of gloves and a scarf to withstand the chilly temperature. 

Autumn Festivals & Events in Iceland: Like other seasons, Iceland hosts many festivals and events, such as the Reykjavik Film Festival, Iceland Airwaves, and many more. These events showcase Icelandic music in its purest form.

SEPTEMBER11.5 – 14.5 5ºC/41ºF to 10ºC/50ºF
OCTOBER8 – 11.52ºC/36ºF to 7ºC/45ºF
NOVEMBER5 – 8 -1.5ºC/29ºF to 3.5ºC/38ºF

The Bottom Line

When it comes to the best time to visit Iceland, we recommend the summer season. However, the final decision should be made depending upon your taste and preferences. Some people like the winters more or they want to see the Northern Lights. Hence, for them, the best time to go to Iceland is the winter months.

Therefore, we can conclude that the best time to visit Iceland is totally subjective. Weigh the pros and cons of each season, whether you will be able to see your favorite sightseeing spots or not. Pick the season that enables you to do most of them. Therefore, start planning your trip today!


  1. When is the best time to visit Iceland to see the Northern Lights?

    You can see the Northern Lights from late August to early April. If you desire to watch them, try visiting between September and March as the nights are longer. The best bet is December because the nights are the longest at this time.

  2. How long should my trip to Iceland be?

    Plan for a trip lasting for 8-12 days. It will give an appropriate time to see the famous attractions and the iconic views of Iceland. You can also extend your stay in Iceland if you camp in its mountain ranges. We assure you that you will spend the time of your life here in Iceland.

  3. Is Iceland budget-friendly?

    If you plan your trip in the summers, the answer is no. Due to the price hikes, summer is not budget-friendly. However, your trip in seasons other than summers has many budget-friendly offers. Therefore, plan your trip accordingly.

  4. What should I not miss in Iceland?

    The best thing to do in Iceland you cannot afford to miss is to see the Northern Lights. People worldwide come to Iceland in winter just to see the mesmerizing view of the aurora borealis. You can visit other sightseeing spots as well, including the Blue Lagoon.

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