Are you planning a trip to Iceland and wondering when the best time to go is? Well, let us tell you, Iceland has a lot to offer no matter what time of year you choose to visit. Whether you’re a fan of the warm summer sun or a lover of snow-covered landscapes, Iceland has got you covered.
There is so much to see and do! From chasing the Northern Lights in the winter to soaking in the geothermal hot springs in summer, or riding the famous Icelandic horses. There are a lot of activities all vying for your attention, so it can be tough to decide what time of year is best. The truth is that Iceland is a year-round destination that will leave you breathless and craving for more.
Also, read our guide on Best time to see the northern lights in Iceland
So if you are looking for a guide to help you make your decision, fear not, because, in this article, we’ll walk you through the pros and cons of each season. Read our guide on the MOST POPULAR TOURS IN ICELAND
At the end of this article, you should be able to figure out the best time for you to visit this magical land of fire and ice. So grab your warmest thermals and hang on tight, because we’re about to take you on a journey through the stunning landscapes and bucket-list experiences awaiting you in Iceland.
Let’s get started!
What Is The Weather Like In Iceland?
Iceland, the land of fire and ice, is one of the most fascinating places to visit in the world. With its unique landscapes, magnificent glaciers, powerful waterfalls, and rich culture, Iceland is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves adventure, nature, and relaxation. But when is the best time to go to Iceland? Before you pack your bags and head to this beautiful country, here are some important things you need to know about the weather in Iceland.
The Four Seasons: A World of Difference
The weather in Iceland is unpredictable, and you should be prepared for anything. Even in the summer, temperatures can be chilly, and a warm jacket and waterproof boots are essential. During the winter, there are very limited hours of daylight, and the options for outdoor activities are limited due to deep snow and cold temperatures. Iceland experiences four seasons that are distinctly different from one another.
It is when the country starts to thaw and come back to life. During this time it can be a bit chilly but you can expect more daylight hours than winter and fewer snowstorms. During Spring, the days start getting longer, and the wildlife awakens from its slumber.
It has long days, warm weather, and lush landscapes. However, summer in Iceland isn’t like your typical beach holiday, it’s short and sweet. However, there is the amazing midnight sun that shines for almost 24 hours. Know Things to do in Iceland in July
as well as in June in Iceland
It is when the Northern Lights start to appear, and you can witness the changing hues of the countryside.
It is cold, dark, and incredibly beautiful. Winter in Iceland runs from December to February and is pretty mild compared to other Nordic countries, although it can get pretty cold. The Northern Lights are at their peak, and the snow-covered landscapes are a sight to behold.
Best Months To Visit Iceland
If You Want To See the Northern Lights: March is the Best Month
If you’re one of the lucky people coming to Iceland to see the elusive and breathtaking Northern Lights, then March is the month for you. The reason is simple – the weather conditions in January and February have been very harsh. These months can be pretty nasty, with freezing temperatures and stormy weather, which can affect the strength of the magnetic field. March, on the other hand, is generally milder and has had enough time to build up the right conditions for a spectacular show.
The vernal equinox, which marks the astronomical change from winter to spring, occurs during the third week of March. There are twice as many geomagnetic storms in the weeks before and following as usual, which results in more active Northern Lights.
With sporadic snowstorms and below-freezing temperatures on Earth, the truth is that March doesn’t usually feel particularly springlike, but there is also some surprising sunshine. Embracing winter sports like ice caving and snowshoeing before warming up in a hot spring is possible while traveling to Iceland in March.
Summer is for Outdoor Activities
If you would like to go to Iceland in the summer then you should go in June. You might want to pack an eye mask for a peaceful night’s sleep as June is the month of the midnight sun. The long days provide ample sunlight to explore the country, and the weather is perfect for a picnic or sunbathing on the black sand beaches.
During the summer months, you can enjoy a whale-watching tour, go on a puffin safari, or visit some of the immense lava fields. June typically marks the start of the camping, horse riding, hiking, and summer sea kayaking seasons. It is one of the finest months to travel independently in Iceland because most roads are free of ice and the days are long. Summer in Iceland is perfect if you love outdoor activities.
September: Our Favorite Month
September is one of the best months to visit Iceland. Why? It is still a summer month, but the Northern Lights have started to make an appearance. When the sun sets around 8.30 p.m., Icelanders can once more see more Northern Lights. This is due to a rise in geomagnetic storms during the autumnal equinox.
By this time, “Tourists season” is over, the crowds have thinned out, the prices have dropped, and the weather is still mild. September is also the best time to go if you want to experience the autumn colors and witness the countryside turn into a beautiful spectacle of red, orange, and gold.
From late September until June, many local routes, particularly those in the mountains, are closed because of snow and ice. Additionally, this is your last opportunity to combine Iceland and Greenland before the weather makes the trip too risky.
Winter Tours vs. Summer Tours: There’s Something for Everyone
As we mentioned earlier, there’s a lot you can do in Iceland all year round. But obviously, these activities are based on the weather. Winter is great for a lot of popular activities.
Iceland is arguably one of the best winter destinations globally, with snow-capped mountains, frozen lakes, and the chance to see the Northern Lights. Plus, let’s not forget the epic snowmobiling, ice cave, and glacier tours – all epic activities you can’t do in summer. Just make sure you bring your warmest thermals and snuggest wooly socks.
However, summertime is also pretty cool in Iceland (lol…literally). You have the opportunity to hike the incredible landscapes, experience 24-hour daylight, and if you’re fortunate, spot some incredible wildlife like puffins and whales.
5 Things To Know Before Visiting Iceland
1. Winter Clothes Are Your Best Friend
If you’re going to Iceland in winter, do not forget to pack warm clothes. Iceland is amazing in winter clothes and provides the perfect opportunity to wear those cozy knitwear, boots, and hats. You might think “I’m going in the summer” Well, you should know that Iceland’s weather is known for being unpredictable, even in the summer months. One minute it can be sunny and warm, and the next minute it can start to rain or even snow. So it is best to come prepared.
2. It Is Home To Several Natural Wonders
Iceland is home to some of the world’s most impressive natural wonders, including glaciers, hot springs, waterfalls, and geysers. These natural wonders are fragile, so you should be sure to follow “Leave No Trace” principles, stay on designated trails, and avoid disturbing wildlife. You should also consider visiting lesser-known destinations to spread tourism more evenly.
3. It Is Known For Its Safety
Iceland is one of the safest countries in the world, with a low crime rate. However, you should still be cautious when exploring unfamiliar areas, particularly when driving in rural areas or participating in adventure activities.
4. The Cost of Living Is Quite High
Iceland is an expensive country, and you should plan your budget accordingly. Accommodation, food, and transportation can easily add up, so it’s essential to do your research and plan accordingly. For example, consider purchasing groceries and snacks from supermarkets instead of eating at restaurants to save money.
5. The Landscape Is Unique
Iceland is known for its stunning landscape, featuring volcanoes, glaciers, waterfalls, and other natural wonders. Be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to explore the beautiful countryside through hiking, trekking, or driving the Ring Road.
In conclusion, Iceland is a country that is beautiful and unique in every season. It is a unique destination that offers a wealth of natural wonders and adventure activities.
Whether you want to see the Northern Lights, revel in the summer sun, or explore the winter wonderland, Iceland has something to offer. Our advice? Plan your trip based on your interests and book early to ensure the best possible experience.
Enjoy your trip!