Generally speaking the best and most popular time to visit Iceland is during the summer months from June to August, when the temperatures are the highest and the days are the longest (and we mean long!). The fall and spring months are decent times to visit as well, but there is a chance temperatures will be lower as they bookend the brutal winter season, which some travelers simply prefer to avoid.
If you want to hike or spend time outside
, the best time to visit is definitely summer (June-August)
. This is when you will find the warmest temperatures and driest weather, plus the days are much longer due to its location towards the top of the planet. In fact, in June and July you might even have some trouble getting to sleep with the infamous “midnight sun.” Of course, because this is the high season, prices are higher and it is significantly more crowded – this isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you don’t mind, but it is something to be aware of while planning your Iceland expedition. Generally, cruises do a good job providing a more intimate environment even in more crowded areas.
If you’re hoping to get a glimpse of the impressive Northern Lights display
, Iceland is a great destination just before or after the winter months, especially from February-March and September-October
, during the equinox. But do be prepared for colder temperatures and long hours of darkness. The weather can be pretty unpredictable too, and it’s not unheard of to experience all four seasons in just one day. However, this also happens to be the shoulder season when you might be able to find some lower prices or promotions on cruises.
If you want to visit in winter, it’s not a bad choice, but temperatures can dip well below freezing, so having multiple layers of warm thermal gear will be important. It’s also worth noting that some backcountry roads are closed during this time due to ice and snow, which might restrict certain destinations.
Season: Summer (June-August)
Highlights: Hiking, long days, midnight sun, warm & dry weather, accessibility at its best
Feels: Warm & Brisk
Season: Fall (September-November)
Highlights: Great time to see the Northern Lights, decent but unpredictable weather.
Feels: Brisk - Cold
Season: Winter (December-March)
Highlights: A good time to see the country under a fresh blanket of snow.
Feels: Cold - Extremely cold
Season: Spring (late March-May)
Highlights: Spring is very short, but tends to have unpredictable weather similar to the fall season.
Feels: Brisk - Cold