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Best Time to Take an Iceland Cruise

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June, July, August, and September are the best months to take a cruise in Iceland. June starts the extended days of summer daylight where whale watching is in full effect, and the lingering clear nights of fall begin in September when spectacular sightings of the Northern Lights often occur.

Although Iceland is a year-round destination, the summer weather makes it the time of year that cruises have many different itineraries in the region. For fewer crowds, both spring and fall give way to adventures on the water exploring the glaciers, fjords, national parks, and small villages of the island. For details about planning a trip around specific months, contact one of our Trip Planners.

Iceland Cruises in June: Weather and Wildlife
Iceland’s average temperature in June is just below 50 F. The month has the least amount of rain, and is the time of the midnight sun. From the 16th to the 29th, the sun sets after midnight and the 21st of the month is the longest day of the year with only a few hours of darkness.

This is a great time to explore Iceland. The currents of the sea create ideal conditions for a thriving underwater ecosystem which brings 23 species of whales to the waters including orcas, humpbacks, minke whales, and blue whales. Around 60% of Atlantic Puffins live on the shores of the islands surrounding Iceland during the summer, and June is one of the earliest months to see them.

Iceland Cruises in July: Activities and Adventure
July in Iceland is a time when the elements of good weather, prolonged daylight hours, and active wildlife converge. At sea, whale watching while relaxing on deck in the late hours of the evening is a unique experience. On land, discover colonies of terns and puffins, trek to waterfalls close to traditional fishing villages, and wander the streets of towns near isolated fjords for fun-filled days.

Iceland Cruises in August: The Last Days of the Midnight Sun
August in Iceland is often the warmest month. Temperatures average about 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit, the skies are still clear, and by the end of the month dark nights begin again. It’s a shoulder season where the wildlife is active and weekend festivals take place in the cities and villages of the island. This is the time to see whales before they migrate south for the winter to places as far off as the Galapagos Islands, and look for puffins before they head out to sea.

Iceland Cruises in September: The Northern Lights
September in Iceland is considered the best of all worlds. The temperature is slightly lower than in the previous months but the crowds thin as the school year begins. Whales are often still spotted and clear nights make it the start of the Northern Lights season.

The Northern  Lights, the weather, and the wildlife in Iceland during September are by nature unpredictable. The ideal conditions to see aurora borealis combine clear night skies with celestial activity. The Icelandic Meteorological Office publishes an online forecast that gives up-to-date info about cloud cover and the chance of seeing the lights in person.

Iceland cruises offer Whale Watching and Northern Lights excursions that split time on land and by sea for the best opportunity to see both whales and the magic of aurora borealis.

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