Best time to visit Iceland – pros and cons of all seasons
The best time to visit Iceland – pros and cons of each season!
What is the best time of year to visit Iceland? I can make an argument for each season! Check out a list of pros and cons for each season, along with average temperatures and daytime hours!
Often people wonder when the best time to visit Iceland is, but it’s such a hard question to answer! The answer will vary from person to person, and it depends on what you want to do as well as what kind of weather you prefer.
And if you’re too lazy to choose your own season and plan, you can always join a group of similar adventurers. where everything is already planned and thought out. We recommend Couloir, and if you tell the secret code “phototravel”, you will get 5% discount on the chosen trip! Trekking and jeep tours in Iceland and beyond!
I personally love all kinds of weather and find something interesting for me in each of its manifestations. When we were going to go to Iceland, I analyzed many sources and here is what people who live in Iceland say.
So, first of all, the winters in Iceland are not as cold as you might think. Because of the effect of the warm current, the coast stays relatively warm year round. Conversely, it’s never too hot in the summer. So, although Iceland has all four seasons, the temperatures are not very extreme, but sometimes all four seasons change in 1 day. Whichever season you choose, the most important thing when traveling to Iceland is to have the right equipment/clothing, and of course choose a car suitable for your itinerary.
Of course once you’re in Iceland you should know where you’ll be staying and airbnb is a good way to get a bargain with the locals. If you decide to use airbnb for the first time, you will get a $30-35 bonus on your first booking through our link. And if you’re already an active user, you’ll be doing a small, but powerful job by using this link to book your place on our site.
So here’s what kind of weather you can expect from each season in Iceland.
Spring in Iceland.
Spring temperatures in Iceland:
- Average high: 7-10 ° C
- Average low: 0 ° C
- April: 15 hours
- May: 18 hours
Pros of spring in Iceland:
- The snow melts and the flowers start to bloom.
- You get nice cool weather, but without the crowds of tourists and high seasonal prices
- The deadheads are starting to arrive (April-August).
- You might still catch the Northern Lights (early April)
- Long days.
- Good weather
- Fewer tourists.
Minuses of the spring season in Iceland:
- It’s not a typical eternity and you won’t be able to afford to wear a t-shirt and shorts, sometimes you may need a coat or a warm jacket.
Summer in Iceland.
June, July and August
Summer temperatures in Iceland:
- Average high: 15-18 ° C
- Average low: 7°C
- June / July: 20-22 hours! (i.e., not even twilight in mid-June)
- August: 16 hours
Pros of the summer season in Iceland
LONG summer days.
- Midnight sun (the longest day is June 20)
- Better weather, and everything is so green!
- Sheep! Horses! Dumbwaiters! Whales!
- Lots to do – summer music festivals, lots of tours, hiking
- Highland roads are open (access to Landmannalaugar and Þórsmörk, and hiking the Laugavegurinn, Fimmvörðuháls trail)
Minuses of the summer season in Iceland
- Peak tourist season / more people at all major attractions
- Higher prices for everything and possible difficulties in finding accommodation
- Light all day. (This may not be a problem for some, but some say they can’t sleep in the light)
- Not very “summery” weather as you might expect
Autumn in Iceland.
September and October.
Fall temperatures in Iceland:
- Average high: 7-13 ° C
- Average low: 2 ° C
- September: 13 hours
- October: 9 hours
Pros of the fall season in Iceland:
- The golden color of the trees
- The coziness that comes with darkness.
- “Normal” daylight (I mean both daylight and darkness at night)
- The first Northern Lights of the season, possibly the first snowfall!
- Lower prices
- Fewer travelers.
Minuses of the fall season:
- The weather is pretty unpredictable – windy, wet and sometimes quite cold
- Fall colors can be missed completely, depending on the month.
Winter Season in Iceland.
November, December, January, February and March
Winter temperatures in Iceland:
- Average high: 4-7 ° C
- Average low: -2 – +1°C
* The farther north you go, the colder and snowier it will be
- October – 9 hours
- November 6 hours
- December – 4 hours
- January – 4 hours
- February – 7 hours
- March – 10 hours
Pros of the winter season in Iceland:
- Golden Hours (sunset and dawn times last almost all daylight hours).
- Snowy walks through beautiful landscapes!
- Amazing experiences while swimming in open hot springs
- Ice caves and glacier tours
- Christmas lights, Christmas fairs, Christmas decorations, Christmas spirit.
- New Year’s Eve: Reykjavik ranks 5th in the world to watch fireworks!
- Snowy mountains, frozen waterfalls, Icelandic horse on a white background . it’s all amazing!
- The northern lights! (That should be enough by now!)
Minuses of the winter season in Iceland:
- Darkness – In mid-December, the sun only lights up the sky for 3-4 hours. This can be quite tiring, and you don’t have much time to explore your surroundings.
- It’s cold and very important, you have to be concerned about good clothing.
- The weather changes very often, due to this sometimes even major roads are closed – planning a trip is very difficult.
- Zero access to mountain roads without a tour.
No matter what time of year you decide to visit Iceland, it will be a wonderful time! The beautiful nature that is always there will show you that you are not wrong!
When is the best time to vacation in Iceland?
The world’s largest volcanic island, where ice peacefully coexists with flame, Iceland is an island nation located near the Arctic Circle in the North Atlantic Ocean between Greenland and Norway. Read our article on Tour Calendar where we find out why the most favorable time to visit it is during the summer months.
Iceland – The Ice Country, whose main attraction is its mystically beautiful nature
Tourist Season in Iceland
Iceland is a country that fascinates and surprises with its unique natural beauty. It is an isolated island at the very edge of Europe, the northern exotic in its purest form, striking incredible contrasts: boiling geysers and thousand-year-old glaciers, fresh lava fields and roaring waterfalls, rocky fjords and picturesque national parks. Iceland has something to surprise even the most experienced tourist. Despite the recent trend of growing interest in this country among travelers of all countries and continents, the flow of foreign visitors is still very weak. Affects the high cost of flights and holidays, as well as the short tourist season, which lasts from June to September.
High season in Iceland
The greatest number of tourists arrives in Iceland in summer, when the island has the warmest weather of the year. During this period, the country is visited by about 600,000 people out of a “native” population of 320,000. The attractiveness of Icelandic tourism products is becoming more pronounced in the Russian market, but in this area not so many operators: first, the increase in demand for such tours riddled with geographical accessibility of the country-island, the second, a deterrent factor is the high price level and, thirdly, a fairly complicated procedure for obtaining a visa. Though, recently there are signs of improvement: in the summer there are direct charter flights to Reykjavik from Moscow and St. Petersburg, time will show how profitable it will be. To date about 50.000 Russian tourists have visited Iceland.
Low season in Iceland
Low season in Iceland begins very early by European standards. In mid-September half of the hotels begin to close, the weather gets worse and the buses go less often. But those hotels, which in winter continue to operate, greatly dropping prices – up to 30%-40%. In addition, to rent a car at this time can be much cheaper. In this case the problems with moving around the island will not be at all. Is that snow drifts can impede travel, but if you choose the route correctly, then this problem will bypass you. In general, traveling to Iceland in the low season is not such a terrible idea as it may seem at first glance. Separately, it is worth talking about traveling to Iceland in late fall and winter. Christmas and New Year’s Eve tours are, in addition to the fabulous romance of the north, it is also an opportunity to see a unique natural phenomenon that makes a very strong impression – Aurora Borealis.
The best time for excursions
Tours to Iceland are often purchased by those who want to “escape to the ends of the earth”, fly “to the moon” or go “far away”, but so that both soul rest and cultural hunger do not get. All this fully “works” in the case of Iceland. Judge for yourself – the island is located near the Arctic Circle – one, it is the northernmost country in Europe – two, fantastic landscapes, formed by the craters of extinct and active volcanoes are very similar to the images from space – is three. Journey to the Valley of Geysers, the lair of the fire-breathing volcano Hecla or multilevel waterfall Gulfoss, the noise of falling streams of water which can be heard long before you approach it, will affect the most secret strings of your soul. And the ancient traditions and customs, cherished for centuries, will undoubtedly enrich your inner world and broaden your horizons. The best time to explore the country is in summer: the weather is more or less warm, the scenery is pleasing to the eye with lush greenery, and public transport runs regularly.
Fishing is very well developed in Iceland. Fish are so plentiful here that it almost jumps over the reservoirs. Good catch will also bring fishing in the open sea, the warm current of the Gulf Stream attracts schools of “trophy” fish. The river fishing season lasts from the second decade of June to mid-October. The best time for river salmon fishing is from late June to late September. You can go to sea all year round, but of course you have to watch the weather. The richest catch of sea trout is possible in April and from August to October.
Humpback Whale Watching Season
From April to September humpback whales come to the shores of Iceland, do not miss your chance to see these amazing mammals
Iceland is one of the few countries that attracts tens of thousands of wildlife enthusiasts to watch whales. In particular, in this country, the season of meeting with the “kings of the seas” lasts from mid-April to early September. The most popular places for this kind of entertainment are Fahsaflowie and Hervey Bays.
From April to October there are sea cruises from Iceland to Greenland and Grimsey Island. Throughout the year, the kingdom is connected by water with the countries of Scandinavia, Germany, the Netherlands and Canada, from which sea voyages are made. Cruises are usually 10% to 30% more expensive at the height of the navigation season.
You can go to geothermal springs in Iceland all year round, the most favorable conditions are cloudy weather
Few people know that it was in Iceland where the well-known concept of “geyser” originated. Here in the south of the country is the Valley of Geysers, where the largest hot spring “Geysi” is located, the name of which is given to all the hot springs in the world. In total, the country has about 7,000 of these springs, near which the geothermal resorts are arranged, where they are engaged in the treatment of dermatological diseases, rejuvenation and remove accumulated fatigue. The Blue Lagoon is one of the national symbols of the country. The average temperature of the water here is about +37 °С. In the winter, the Icelanders warm up here from the frost. And not without reason, the best effect of taking a thermal bath is achieved in the cloudy, cold weather. In summer, staying in hot water is difficult for many.
The season of northern lights
The “Northern Lights Hunt” is the name of a tour that becomes very popular in Iceland during the winter. From October to March, hundreds of thousands of tourists flock here to observe perhaps the most beautiful natural phenomenon in the world: the Aurora Borealis. These are peculiar multicolored patterns, dancing reflections on the background of inky sky decorated with a scattering of sparkling stars. The point is that the main part of the island is situated in the Circumpolar region, while its northern extremity lies beyond the Arctic Circle. Therefore, the sun rises in the sky for only 3-4 hours a day in winter.
The season of white nights
From the beginning of May to the end of August in Iceland the sun does not set below the horizon for 20 hours a day. In Reykjavik, on the southwest coast, the sun rises at about 3:00 a.m. and sets at about midnight. On the northernmost tip, Grimsey Island, the sun shines all day long. This, like the northern lights, is also a very beautiful natural phenomenon that gives you more opportunities to travel around the country.
The time of holidays and festivals
Holidays in Iceland are celebrated all year round, including in winter, when the daylight hours on the island are very short
Your idea of Iceland would not be complete without immersing yourself in its festive atmosphere. Here we go. December 25 – Christmas, the capital is decorated with colorful garlands and illuminated with festive lights a few weeks before the holiday. January 1 – New Year’s Eve, but the festivities begin on the afternoon of 31, close to night in the capital there are grandiose fireworks. From the 13th Friday of winter (end of January) for several weeks celebrate “Torrablaut” – a long feast to which it is customary to serve national dishes prepared according to ancient recipes. The last days of January are marked by the celebration of “Sunshine Coffee” – usually the drink used to celebrate the appearance of the long-awaited sun. Early to mid-February, two days before Ash Wednesday, is “Cake Day.” Mid to late February is the Mardi Gras gluttony festival before the beginning of Lent. March, 1 – Beer Day, on this day all Icelanders disappear in pubs for a foamy drink till the morning. March-April – Lutheran Easter, the main treat is the Easter lamb. Late April (First Day of the Month “Harpa”) – First Day of Summer/Girls Day, on this day there is a mass farewell to winter. May 14 – Birthday of the fifth President of Iceland. Early June – Sailors’ Day, for which dinner parties and a “Sea Festival” are held. June 17 – Republic of Iceland Proclamation Day, the celebration includes festivals, concerts and festive performances. June 21 – Midsummer Festival “Mid-summer”. December 1 – Independence Day of Iceland.
Climate in Iceland
Despite the fact that Iceland has the largest glaciers in the world, and is located in the Arctic Circle, it absolutely cannot be classified as an Arctic country. It is dominated by a subarctic maritime type of climate. The weather conditions on most of the island are much milder than in many other places located at the same latitude. This phenomenon is explained by the softening effect of the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, flowing along the western and southern coasts. Winters are moderately cold, with low subzero temperatures, and summers are cool. Areas along the northern and eastern coasts have a slightly colder climate, with the cold East Greenland Current and tons of ice drifting in from the Arctic. Average daily temperatures are only 3 to 5 degrees below. The central regions of Iceland have a pronounced continental climate, with bitter frosts in winter and one of the lowest summer temperatures in the country. On the slopes of the mountains it is cold at any time of year, and on the tops there is snow even in summer. Another peculiarity of climatic conditions in Iceland – high windiness regardless of the season and frequent changes in the weather. Sun, cloudiness, rain, storm – all this can be observed on the island during the day due to the frequent passage of cyclones from the Atlantic Ocean.
Iceland in spring
In early spring in the north and east of Iceland the process of drifting ice from the Arctic, which began in winter, continues. Therefore it is quite cold here. The capital is not much affected by weather changes in the direction of warming. It still rains a lot. Only in April, the temperature gradually begins to rise across the island. The end of spring in the south and south-west coast marks the driest weather of the year. In the north the glaciers are melting and some roads can become washed out.
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Iceland in summer
Summer is the white nights season in Iceland, which falls exactly in all three months. In the south of the peninsula daylight lasts about 20 hours a day, it gets dark only by midnight. On the northern extremity of the country in Nordyurland Eystra region, which lies beyond the Arctic Circle, the sun shines a little longer. On average, the air temperature ranges from +11 °С … +14 °С during the day on the island, and from +4 °С to +9 °С at night. The air in the south coast can warm up to +15 ° C … +19 ° C, at the same time there is a lot of precipitation.
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Iceland in Autumn
Early September is still a good time to visit the country, with the thermometer falling only 4°C on average. However, in the latter part of the month the amount of precipitation across the country begins to increase, and in October it begins to “charge” with heavy rains. In mid-autumn in Iceland is not very comfortable – a significant cooling is accompanied by increased winds, at night there are mostly minus temperatures. Snow falls in the mountainous areas at this time. Most of the roads in the north and central regions of the country are closed due to impassability caused by ice and snow drifts. If you’re going to Iceland during the low season, be sure to keep an eye out for information about their condition. The capital in mid-autumn is also not very friendly, it is engulfed in a dense veil of fog, formed by the vapors of the air from the hot springs located almost next to the city. In November, it starts to get dark quite early, and storms are possible. As a rule, the temperature, declared by weather forecasters, is felt to be lower, about 5-6 degrees below.
|Weather in September||Weather in October||Weather in November|
Iceland in winter
The average daily temperature in winter in the capital is about +2 ° C, at night the thermometer drops to -4 ° C … -3 ° C. Of course, periods of frosts are also possible, but the harshest cold weather ever seen in Reykjavik was not below -10 ° C. The snowfall in the city is quite rare, and if it does happen, it melts almost instantly due to the warm currents, which significantly soften the climate. In the interior regions of the country, it can be very cold – down to -20 ° C. In the north and north-east – from -7 ° C to 0 ° C, the snow cover is kept here until mid-March – early April. Strong currents from the Greenland Sea often bring floating ice to the shores of this part of the country, resulting in a sharp cold snap here. In winter, the daylight hours do not exceed 4 hours a day, from about 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The polar night can be observed only on the island of Grimsey, “passing” along the Arctic Circle.
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What are the prices for holidays in Iceland?
To learn the actual prices for holidays in Iceland you can on the leading sites to choose the best tours, excursions and airline tickets.
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Iceland is a piece of other planet on Earth. The best time to visit it is from June to the end of August in the high tourist season. Tour-Calendar wishes you a fascinating journey to this distant and mysterious country and, of course, favorable weather!