Best time to visit Iceland

Grab some inspiration to time your trip to Iceland just right.

Whether you want to catch the stunning Northern Lights or travel around the Golden Circle by road, we’ve uncovered the best times to visit Iceland to suit your itinerary.

Best time to visit Iceland

November to February for the Northern Lights, May to September for other sights.

Why?

The Northern Lights contort in the skies over Iceland between September and March, but the months of November to February are colder and have longer nights so there’s a slightly better chance of seeing them at this time. You’ll have to wrap up warm though as temperatures can dip below freezing in winter.

For exploring Iceland’s waterfalls, hiking routes, hot springs and the Golden Circle touring route, summer is the best to the visit the country. There’s a good chance of sunshine at this time of year and temperatures can reach 17°C.


Overview

Weather in Iceland is unpredictable. Winter tends to run from October to April and temperatures hover around 0°C, although this can drop to -10°C in the higher areas.

Things start warming up in May and by August the mercury can climb as high as 17°C, although 13°C is more usual. The conditions can get pretty windy, too.


Weather and prices

Best time to visit Iceland weatherwise: June to August.

Cheapest time to visit Iceland: October and March.


Best time to visit Iceland for...

  • Northern Lights. November to February, when nights are long and skies are more likely to be clear of clouds due to the low temperatures.
  • Sightseeing. Many of Iceland’s museums and attractions close between October and April, so the best time to visit is in summer. Exploring the country’s hot springs and waterfalls is also best done in the warmest months. Visit in April or May and you might miss the summer crowds but you also run the risk of experiencing more dull, rainy, cold days.
  • Midnight sun. Nights start getting light across the whole of Iceland in mid-May and the midnight sun lasts until around early August.
  • Festivals. Summer is festival season in Iceland. Music festivals like Secret Solstice and the Reykjavik Dance Festival, and cultural events like the Reykjavik Arts Festival all spring to life in July and August.
  • Glaciers. Some glacier adventures run year-round in Iceland, but certain activities like ice cave tunnel tours are best done in winter – October to April – when the glaciers are at their strongest.

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