Best Time to Visit Iceland
The best time to visit Iceland really depends on the experiences you seek. One of the few places that remains spectacular year-round, each month is a great time to visit. Winter brings snow in abundance with cosy hotels, landscapes covered in a blanket of snow and of course the real star of the show: the northern lights, making November to March a popular time to visit. If you’re looking to travel to Iceland in the winter, it’s best to start planning at least six months in advance to secure the best availability.
As the months get warmer and the days get longer, Iceland becomes a real wildlife haven. Over 20 species of whale and dolphin can be seen in the coastal waters and on land, vast colonies of puffin, known as a ‘circus’, can be spotted along the coast. But one of the most enchanting experiences during an Icelandic summer is to watch the sun go down at midnight in June.
Our Experts Say...
"Iceland is a year-round destination but the weather can be unpredictable. It's always best to pack appropriate clothing, including layers, waterproof gear and sturdy shoes whatever the season.
"Summer is an ideal time for families as the weather is mild ranging from 10°C to 15°C. It's the best time for outdoor activities, exploring the highlands and whale watching. It's worth remembering that sun is strong and you can easily burn so don't forget to pack some sunscreen. In winter, it's the darkest time of the year with just four to five hours of daylight, which is great for seeing the Northern Lights but not so ideal for sightseeing. You can also expect temperatures to drop, affected largely by the wind-chill factor, so you need to come prepared. That said, it's still a popular time to visit and there will be plenty going on. New Year's Eve is considered a big attraction and the whole of Reykjavik and other towns are decorated with Christmas lights from November to January. Winter is also perfect for thrill-seekers, with opportunities for snow sports, ice-climbing and snowmobiling. The stunning landscapes create a surreal backdrop for unforgettable adventures. Nature enthusiasts will enjoy spring and fall as it offers unique experiences with changing landscapes, birdwatching and a chance to see the Northern Lights. It's also a great time to explore Iceland's diverse flora and fauna. Booking in advance is recommended especially during the peak summer season."
Ria Santamaria, Europe Specialist
Climate guide for Iceland
Average temperatures (Celsius) and rainfall (mm)