Iceland is the most iconic country in Europe, located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Famous for its hot landscapes, mesmerizing beaches, waterfalls, cliffs and volcanoes, Saarimaa is on the bucket list of most world travelers.
Experiencing Iceland can be challenging if you arrive at the wrong time, when mountain roads are closed due to wind and daylight is limited. You need to prepare for all possible weather conditions and know the best time of year to travel in Iceland for the things you want to do and see.
WHICH MONTH IS THE BEST TO SEE ICELAND?
Depending on what you plan to do in Iceland, the best month to visit can vary, but for most tourists, it’s the summer months. If you are planning a trip around the golden circle or if you want to see puffins and whales, July and August are the right months for you.
This is the season when you can visit the most attractions, with everything accessible from national parks, waterfalls and geysers to wildlife and bird watching. Explore this Viking land during its long days.
WHICH MONTH IS THE BEST TO SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS IN ICELAND?
Also in May and August the Northern Lights are present and occasionally visible. However, the best time to see the Northern Lights is from September to April when the nights are longest. Winter is the best time for this activity, be prepared to wait in the cold for a few hours as the Northern Lights perform their beautiful colorful dance in the sky.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO SEE WHALES IN ICELAND?
In Iceland you can see no less than eleven different species of whales. There is a very good chance of encountering blue whales, especially in northern summer.
While you can see whales year-round, the best months to spot humpback whales, minke whales, killer whales, and more are March through September. This is also the time of year when it’s not too cold to be on a ship cruising the cold Icelandic sea for whale watching.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT REYKJAVIK?
June to August are ideal to travel to Reykjavik. You can enjoy warm weather and endless sunsets. These are the midnight sun months, which the locals appreciate very much and get little sleep during those days.
Winter is the best time to visit this country if you want to save money and be less touristy, but remember that from December to February the sun only shines for four to five hours a day. However, spending New Year’s Eve in this ice is an unusual experience.
VISIT ICELAND FOR MONTHS
To find out when is peak season or the best time to snowmobile, read our monthly breakdown of the best time to visit Iceland.
JANUARY IN ICELAND
While temperatures in Iceland are often cold throughout the winter with lots of snow and ice, this is not always the case. The average lows are above freezing. However, strong winds can make it feel much colder than it is, especially since January is the windiest month of the year.
Snow is almost a given in the north of the country. There is also a lot of snow in January in the higher regions. In the rest of the country, however, the rain is normal. The most important thing is to dress appropriately for the environment.
This is the best way to travel to Iceland for winter sports such as glacier hiking, ice cave exploring, snowmobiling and skiing. Even if it is cold outside, you can still enjoy the hot springs and the Blue Lagoon.
FEBRUARY IN ICELAND
At this time of year, you can look for the Northern Lights and visit the Winter Lights Festival in the capital Reykjavik. Or try exciting activities such as glacier walking, ice caves and snorkelling during the Icelandic winter. The best time to experience the highlights of Iceland in all its peaceful winter beauty is February.
MARCH IN ICELAND
Iceland is a wonderful country to visit in March. The Northern Lights are still spectacular and the weather has generally calmed down. It’s also a plus that the clear days are getting longer and the area is starting to herald the arrival of spring. The arctic climate is not very cold and this is the best time of the year to visit the slowly awakening frozen waterfalls.
MAY IN ICELAND
The beautiful long days also mean that the greenery begins to turn green again, the flowers bloom and the birdlife returns. The Reykjavik Arts Festival, the Festival of the Sea and the independent music festival Reykjavik Music Mess are just some of the fun events in and around Reykjavik.
JUNE IN ICELAND
There is plenty of daylight to enjoy and it’s not too cold outside which allows for a versatile outdoor recreation and cultural event. This is also the end of the transitional season, which began in late May, and the last time you can see the south coast with fewer tourists before autumn.
JULY IN ICELAND
In July, when the sunny days are longest and the nights are shortest, Iceland enjoys the best aspects of the tourist season. Summer and winter in Iceland are so opposite that the two seasons make the country feel like completely different places.
The best time to travel to Iceland is July, as you can take advantage of Iceland’s diverse natural wonders, such as hiking trails, volcanoes, and wildlife viewing. This is also the month of the summer solstice, when the popular Secret Solstice festival takes place.
AUGUST IN ICELAND
August is Iceland’s busiest tourist month for several reasons. It is a great place to spend time in Iceland due to the weather, scenery and festivals. Visitors hike, hikers are seen everywhere, and the chance of a thunderstorm is minimal. August is the hottest month of the year and offers the best weather in Iceland.
SEPTEMBER IN ICELAND
The weather is a little colder and the high season is starting, but for many visitors September is the best time to come to Iceland. You can still drive the ring road yourself and get to amazing places like the Snæfellsnes peninsula, the Westfjords, Jökulsárlón and many more.
OCTOBER IN ICELAND
October in Iceland means you will experience all kinds of weather conditions. On the same day in October you can see sun, rain, snow and a rainbow. October is considered a transitional month because winter hasn’t arrived yet, but the days are still warm and long. Since mid-October, however, the days have become shorter and colder.
NOVEMBER IN ICELAND
November is the beginning of the winter season, when snowfalls become more frequent. It’s still not as cold as January, but you should dress warmly and you can expect fog, snow, rain and sunshine to appear at the same time. It is also the month of one of the largest music festivals in the country, Iceland Airwaves.
DECEMBER IN ICELAND
The winter weather takes its true form, the Northern Lights can often be seen, while the days are the coldest and darkest of the entire year. Snow piles up all over the country and the sun shines for only a few hours a day. However, everyone is preparing for Christmas and there is a merry mood everywhere.
While Iceland is so alluring, this country isn’t for everyone during the winter months. Plan your trip around what you want to do, and if summer suits you better, you should go to Iceland. Save this travel guide to find the travel tips you need for your next trip to Iceland.