The Best Time To Visit Iceland

Icelandic holidays are a little different to most holidays. But what’s the best time to visit Iceland to experience it at its best? Take a look at our ultimate guide to find out.
The majestic Northern Lights. Visible during winter months. Photo: Pixabay

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Iceland packs so much into a small island, allowing visitors to experience a refreshingly relaxed culture, natural phenomenons, attractions, and events, even if they visit for just a short while. It could, therefore, be the ultimate destination if you’re looking for somewhere that offers exciting holiday opportunities throughout the year.

Iceland is great for those seeking something different from the usual city break or beach vacation. But what’s on offer throughout the year, and when is the best time to visit Iceland?

Best time to visit Iceland
One of Iceland’s incredible waterfalls. Photo: Pixabay

Iceland – A Changing Landscape

Iceland has charming qualities and a wealth of attractions that shine and change throughout the year. Seasons fall broadly in line with winterer from November to March and summer from June to September. Daylight hours and temperatures vary, yet Iceland offers a mix of dramatic geological marvels and untouched wilderness that entwines history and the modern day with nature’s glorious elements no matter when you visit. 

Iceland might be small, but it can thrill and wow even the most seasoned of travelers. So whether you want a festival, cultural event, or to look in amazement at the incredible nature and wildlife that inhabit the island and waters of Iceland, there will be something to suit. Get your timing right, and you may even be able to capture the awe-inspiring beauty of the Northern Lights too.

What can you expect from Iceland throughout the year?

The Best Time To Visit Iceland – What To Expect From Every Season

Endless Summer Days

Puffins in Iceland
Spot a puffin! Photo: Полина Андреева | Pixabay

Summer weather is mild, and many attractions are open, which can see prices rise for the summer visitors arriving on the island. Visitor numbers swell to enjoy the almost endless summer daylight hours.

That said, around 21 hours of daylight could give you enough time to visit and pack so much into each day with lots of island exploring, ideal for mini-breakers. You can catch a round of midnight golf, watch the sunset at Jokularson Glacier Lagoon or catch the Puffins until August. Plus, you can enjoy some of the many summer festivals and events in full swing. 

Iceland’s Autumnal Beauty

As autumn approaches, things settle a little with fewer visitors. Days are still long, temperatures are cooler, and prices and tourist numbers reduce. For late-night sky lovers, there is the chance of seeing the Northern Lights from mid-November. This is the best time to visit Iceland to see the stunning natural colors without crowds. You can also capture the lush green moss on the lava fields.

Winter Snow and Sparkle

Volcano in Iceland
Godafoss waterfall, on the Golden Circle. Photo: Susanne Stöckli | Pixabay

Winter brings shorter, colder days, with fewer daylight hours, a blanket of snow, and a greater chance of seeing the magnificent Aurora Borealis, a reason that so many love Iceland. Ice cave visits and an opportunity to drive or be driven to the Golden Circle make Winter a fun season for a holiday or a short break for some snow-capped fun.

Spring Awakenings

Spring brings changeable weather, fewer tourists, and the snow starts to melt. Puffins return, lambs are born, and waterfalls gather pace. Spring in Iceland is an excellent time for festival and event lovers, with Iceland’s three top festivals and many smaller events taking place. Hiking, golfing, diving and snowmobiling are available for those who want to be active, or whale-watching tours are a great way to spend an afternoon. 

The best time to visit Iceland… is up to you!

Northern Lights, best time to visit Iceland
The majestic Northern Lights. Photo: David Mark | Pixabay

Iceland has so much to offer all year round, with a range of activities, natural experiences, and a quieter pace of life than many other countries. While there is never a bad time to visit Iceland, and the decision is entirely yours as to when to go, the draw of the Northern Lights makes early winter our favorable time to see all that Iceland has to offer, just before the days get very short.


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