Best Time of Year to Visit Iceland
Iceland is one of the most coveted holiday destinations in the world. And with the massive surge of tourism and a growing economy, it is becoming more complicated to visit as well.
That’s why it’s essential to figure out the best time of year to visit Iceland. It all depends on what you want to see and the activities you want to take part in.
Before you pack your bags for the dream journey, here is some information to help determine the best time of year to travel to Iceland.
The Different Iceland Travel Seasons
Although Iceland is a Nordic country, it actually has a diverse climate. Weather ranges from pleasant, mild summers to chilly, beautiful winters.
But how else do the seasons differ? Let’s look into the main benefits and drawbacks of each.
You can’t go wrong with planning your trip during the high season, which usually lasts for most of the summer.
Since Iceland is so far up north, the sun never really sets during the summer. During this time, experience the magical feeling of an endless day.
While this may take some getting used to, more daylight allows more time to explore the beautiful Icelandic nature.
Go whale watching or mountain hiking! Discover the most remote places. Nearly all roads are open and drivable during the warmer summer months. Hence, your journey through Iceland will seem limitless.
However, summer visits mean you will miss out on the Northern Lights. This spectacular sight is only visible in late September.
Nonetheless, many consider the summer months as the best time to go to Iceland. Take to the road in an Iceland camper rental to tour the more remote and pristine corners of the country. Exploring on your terms will give you a unique and intimate Iceland adventure.
There are actually two shoulder seasons in Iceland. One from mid-May to late-June. The other from early September to around the middle of October.
Both of these periods don’t attract the same number of tourists as the middle of the summer. However, you can still enjoy some of the same experiences that peak season offers. Not to mention, there are fewer crowds of tourists and some cool additional activities as well.
Even though July is often touted as the best month to visit Iceland, consider visiting in September. You can still enjoy pleasant weather and experience sunny days while the leaves slowly turn to beautiful golden colors.
What’s more, by late September, you can observe the Northern Lights. You also may see the orca migration, one of the most breathtaking sights in all of Iceland.
Also consider visiting during the spring months. Iceland’s weather in March and April is already becoming warmer. Then, you can avoid the crowds and get some amazing deals on accommodations and tours.
Many people avoid Iceland during the low season months, from late autumn to mid-spring. Here’s why.
First, there are only 4-6 hours of daylight. While not extremely cold, the weather still hovers around freezing temperatures. Moreover, the more remote roads are impassable because of snow. Therefore, many activities outside of Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, won’t be available.
However, for others, it might actually be the best time of year to go to Iceland. This is because you won’t rub shoulders with flocks of vacationers. During this time, you truly become at peace with Iceland without all the tourist-buzz.
Sight-seeing on your things-to-do list? Winter months are the best time to visit Iceland for the Northern Lights. So you have plenty of reasons to be excited despite other activities not being accessible.
Icelandic Events for Each Month
- In January, celebrate Þorrablót, an annual midwinter feast. There, you can taste some of Iceland’s local delicacies.
- February hosts the Winter Light Festival in Reykjavik, where you can enjoy beautiful light installations.
- Enjoy a few pints on March 1st, Iceland’s National Beer Day.
- The first Thursday after April 18th is Sumardagurinn Fyrsti, an ancient Norse celebration marking the end of winter.
- In late May, attend the Vaka Folk Festival in Akureyri to see some of the best folk performers in Europe.
- June marks the beginning of the high season in Iceland. This is also the perfect time to go out to sea and spot some whales.
- For music lovers, July is the best time to visit Iceland, as you can enjoy festivals like Eistnaflug and Bræðslan.
- In August, attend the world-famous Herring Festival. Sample delicious fish dishes together with local drinks and activities.
- Every year, farmers perform Réttir, the process of rounding up the sheep after summer – a spectacle worth seeing.
- October is the perfect time to see the Northern Lights – the days become shorter and the lights are more vivid.
- During the darker November days, celebrate the Dagar Myrkurs festival. This local celebration is full of dark dances, spooky stories, and magic shows.
- Iceland knows how to party. It’s the perfect place to cap off the entire year with a New Year’s celebration in Reykjavik.
Have you figured out which activities and sights you wish to take part in? No matter what you decide in terms of when to visit Iceland, it is best experienced in the driver’s seat. Rent.is will not only provide you with comfortable campers but also your most memorable excursion yet! Check out our Iceland campervan packing list then book your Iceland camper rental today!