Last updated on October 11th, 2018 at 09:52 pm

If you are wondering when is the best time to go to Iceland, you’re not alone. Visiting Iceland has been a bucket list destination for thousands of people since it’s emergence at the top of Lonely Planets Top Places to Visit list in 2012. But it’s not cheap and it’s not somewhere you go on a whim. In planning your trip, it is totally understandable that you want to visit Iceland at the right time to make sure you see and experience everything that is on your list. And that’s why we’ve put together this guide – it’s a month by month breakdown of the best time to visit Iceland depending on your interests and weather conditions.

The Best Time To Go to Iceland

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Visiting Iceland in Winter (December-February)

Visiting Iceland in WinterIf visiting Iceland in Winter, expect short days, cold (but not as cold as you would think) temperatures, a blanket of snow and a high probability of seeing the northern lights. During the winter months there are limited daylight hours – and on the winter solstice (around 21 December each year) there is as little as 3 hours of daylight! This is great for those on the hunt for the northern lights, and provides a ‘golden hour’ effect for the whole time the sun is in the sky.

When it comes to travel around the country in winter, visitors may find smaller and highlands roads impassible and driving conditions quite challenging. For those who are not comfortable driving in these conditions there are plenty of organised day tours available to help you see everything as much as possible during the low season.

Things to do in Iceland in Winter:

Glacier Hiking, Snowmobiling, Visiting an Ice Cave, The Blue Lagoon, Chase the Northern Lights (book early, these tours sell out fast!) Hire a car & drive the Golden Circle – the roads are well maintained on the 300km loop throughout the year, but there are tours running if you don’t want to get behind the wheel yourself.

OUR TOP TIP: Pack Thermals! Make sure you have the right travel gear with our guide to what to pack for Iceland (a guide for every season)

FESTIVALS & EVENTS IN  ICELAND WINTER: Celebrate the winter world and the end of a long period of Iceland winter at the Winter Lights Festival.

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RELATED – Take a look at our Iceland Bucket List Post for a fantastic list of things to do (and off the beaten path alternatives) in this beautiful country.

Visiting Iceland in Spring (March – May)

The Best Time To Visit Iceland - SpringIf you are wondering when is the best time to visit Iceland, Spring might just be the answer. As the days get longer, the snow starts to melt revealing Iceland’s lush green landscape for the first time each year. A contender for the best time to visit Iceland, Spring is shoulder season when prices are lower and tourists are fewer. But for that privilege, expect rain, wind and the occasional sunny day alongside moderate temperatures.

You’ll need a fleece and a rain jacket – and a good pair of waterproof shoes.  But with that, there are plenty of opportunities to explore Iceland, gorgeous light for photography and opportunity to see the puffins returning to the Iceland coast between mid April and Mid August, and the lambing season in full swing. There is also an chance to see the Northern Lights until early April, and to experience the waterfalls in Iceland picking up in intensity as the ice melts into the streams and waterways.

Spring is a great time to drive icelands ring road – not to be confused with the Golden Circle which only takes a few hours to circumnavigate. The Ring road is a 1300km loop that takes you through some of Iceland’s most spectacular scenery and gives you a great overview of the island. Hire a camper and take a week to drive it. You’ll love camping in Iceland.

Things to do in Iceland in Spring:

Go on a Puffin Watching Tour and see these beautiful birds in their natural habitat. Go hiking, play golf, take a dip at Myvatn Nature Baths, Go out onto the seas – its a great time for whale watching tour, Dive between the continental plates at Silfra, GoHorseback riding (on Icelandic Horses) or Kayaking and get in on the action for the last snowmobiling and glacier walking of the season.

OUR TOP TIP: Pack layers. Thermals, jumpers, t-shirts, light jackets and be prepared to peel them on or off depending on the Iceland weather at the time you get out of the car! Spring is the answer to when to visit Iceland and is the best time to travel Iceland.

FESTIVALS & EVENTS IN  ICELAND SPRING: Spring is Festival Season in Iceland with the Vaka Folk Festival, Eve Fanfest, and two of the top music festivals in Iceland happen in Spring – don’t miss Aldrei For Eg Sudur and Tectronic.

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RELATED: Planning your trip to Iceland? Check out our Incredible Travel Tips (from folks that have been there!) to help make the most of your trip and for saving money in what is a very expensive country!

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Visiting Iceland in Summer (June – August)

Visiting Iceland in SummerIceland is your (and everyone else’s!) oyster in the Summer months – and is definitely peak season. The weather is mild (for an arctic circle country), heaps of attractions are open and accessible – and prices soar as tourist season gets into full swing and people visit in droves. Summer (June July and August) is easily the most popular time of year to visit Iceland and the long days – the Summer Solstice and longest day of the year boasts 21+ hours of daylight make for some perfect conditions for Iceland photography! (They don’t call it the midnight sun for no reason!) and has a range of natural beauty to discover. Summer is the answer to most peoples question about when to go to Iceland.

Things to do in Summer in Iceland:

All of the outdoor adventures: Midnight golf (yes, it’s a thing!), Visit Jokularson, Tour the Golden Circle, Road trips on the Ring Road, Go Horseriding, Visit the Black Sand Beaches, Go Waterfall Hopping, See The Geysers, Snorkel Between the Eurasian & American Tectonic Plates, The Blue Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, Myvatn Nature Bath and Nature Reserve, Kayaking, Volcano Hiking, See the Puffins (Until August).  Temperatures average 7-12 degree Celsius.

OUR TOP TIP: Pre-book everything. Hotels, (any of the above) Tours, Car Rentals – if you can book it do it. And pack a eye mask. Iceland isn’t famous for it’s block out blinds and the midnight sun can have a negative effect on anyone’s body clock. And get in on the Ice-cream action. (A favorite Icelandic pasttime is to go for an ice-cream drive (ísbíltúr) to the nearest town.)

FESTIVALS & EVENTS IN  ICELAND SUMMER: National Day is celebrated all around Iceland on 17 June; The Great Fish Day happens in Dalvík in August (and is a haven for seafood lovers!); There is the Bræðslan music festival in East Iceland in July and Gay Pride and Culture Night in Reykjavík fall in August.


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Visiting Iceland in Autumn (September – November)

The best time to visit Iceland - AutumnIceland in the Fall is awash with colour. The National parks are bathed in red, orange and yellow interspersed with patches of green moss across the lava fields which is most vibrant just before the snow arrives. There is still enough daylight for most summer activities but temperatures are slightly cooler and there are fewer crowds with lower prices.

There is also the possibility to see the Northern Lights (aurora borealis) from mid November onwards – however, be warned – to catch them you’ll have to be out late into the night (or very early morning!).

Fall is also classed as off-season and is a great time to visit to avoid the crowds and you’ll also benefit from cheaper prices.

Things to do in Iceland in Autumn:

Apart for the usual activities (The Blue Lagoon, Golden Circle, Day Trips to Vik, Diving Silfra and Horseriding etc) you can also swim in the many natural pools and hot springs and possibly witness a round up – when the farmers start to gather the sheep and horses before winter sets in.

OUR TOP TIP: Pack a scarf and gloves, whilst temperatures remain above freezing, the weather in Iceland can change on a dime and it’s a good idea to be prepared.

FESTIVALS & EVENTS IN  ICELAND AUTUMN: Reykjavik Film Festival & Iceland Airwaves – showcasing new Icelandic and International music.


So there you have it – hopefully this month by month breakdown of the best time to travel to Iceland has been super helpful for trip planning. Our vote goes to Spring or Autumn as the best season to visit Iceland, but after reading this we’ll let you make up your own minds!
What would be your ideal season? Let me know in the comments below.

Oh, and if you enjoyed this guide to Iceland, please, tweet pin or share on Facebook – I’d really appreciate it! (click the P in the left hand share bar to see the hidden pin!)

The Best Time To Visit Iceland - A Season by Season Guide   The Best Time To visit Iceland - A Season by Season Guide

Best Time To Visit Iceland

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Hi There! Thanks for reading my ultimate guide to The Best Time To Visit Iceland – A Guide for Every season. I hope it has answered the question of when is the best time to go to Iceland and I just wanted to let you know that this travel guide contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase something after clicking a link, I may get a small commission – which is at absolutely no cost to you. If you enjoyed this article and are going to be searching for some of the things I mention anyway, I would love it if you could click through from the links above & thank you in advance! Read my full Disclosure here. And thank you for reading the MakeTimeToSeeTheWorld Travel Blog and travel bloggers posts.

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