The Best Time to Travel to Iceland (and the absolute Worst)

Safest Places

The Best Time to Travel to Iceland (and the absolute Worst)

By Colleen Lim

Planning a trip to Iceland? You’re about to embark on an adventure like no other. Iceland, often referred to as the “Land of Fire and Ice,” is a mesmerizing country with a unique blend of stunning landscapes, natural wonders, and vibrant culture.

However, choosing the best time to travel to Iceland can be a daunting task. Don’t worry, though. In this article, we’ll guide you through the best and worst times to travel to Iceland, ensuring that your trip is nothing short of magical.

Iceland Weather by Month

To truly understand the best time to travel to Iceland, let’s delve into the country’s fascinating weather patterns. Iceland’s weather is influenced by the Icelandic Low, a low-pressure system that brings in cold air from the Arctic. This, combined with the warm Gulf Stream, creates a dynamic climate.

But what about the other months? Let’s explore the weather and temperature of Iceland by month:-

January36 / 282 / -2204-5
February36 / 282 / -2187-8
March38 / 303 / -11910-12
April43 / 346 / 11613-16
May48 / 399 / 41516-20
June54 / 4512 / 71420-21
July57 / 4814 / 91519-20
August55 / 4613 / 81716-19
September50 / 4110 / 51913-15
October44 / 367 / 2189-11
November 39 / 314 / -1206-8
December37 / 283 / -2214-5

The data presented in the table is based on general climate averages for Iceland. Typically, such data can be sourced from meteorological agencies or climate databases like the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) or historical climate data from weather websites like or the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

For precise and up-to-date information, you might want to consult the Icelandic Meteorological Office or a similar reliable source.

The Best Time to Visit Iceland

If you’re looking for the perfect blend of favorable weather, stunning landscapes, and fewer crowds, the best times to travel to Iceland are during the summer months of June, July, and August.

During this time, Iceland experiences milder temperatures (daily highs ranging from 10°C to 15°C) and longer daylight hours, known as the Midnight Sun. The extended daylight offers more time for exploration, and you can enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, camping, and even horseback riding under the warmer Icelandic sun.

Horses iceland
Icelandic Horses

Extraordinary Events in Iceland

Iceland is renowned for its vibrant and diverse events throughout the year, offering something unique for every visitor. Here’s a look at some of the best events that you shouldn’t miss:

Icelandic Music Festivals: If music is your passion, don’t miss Sónar Reykjavik and Secret Solstice. These festivals feature live performances set against Iceland’s stunning natural backdrops, perfect for music enthusiasts who love breathtaking scenery.

Winter Lights Festival: Held in Reykjavik in February, this festival celebrates the return of sunlight after winter’s darkness with spectacular light installations and cultural events. Ideal for families and culture seekers, it creates a vibrant atmosphere to enjoy.

Icelandic Sheep Roundup: Experience authentic Icelandic culture in September by joining farmers as they round up sheep from the mountains, showcasing strong community bonds. This event is great for cultural enthusiasts and adventure seekers.

Reykjavik Winter Games: Taking place in January, this event is perfect for winter sports fans. It features ice hockey, figure skating, skiing, and snowboarding competitions, attracting athletes from around the world. Suitable for sports enthusiasts and thrill-seekers.

Iceland Airwaves Music Festival: Held in November, this festival brings together local and international artists across various music genres, ensuring a lively and unforgettable experience. A must for music lovers and night owls.

Icelandic Film Festival: Dive into Icelandic cinema each September with screenings of thought-provoking documentaries and films that highlight the country’s rich storytelling tradition. Ideal for film buffs and culture lovers.

Reykjavik Arts Festival: Held in May, this multi-disciplinary festival features visual arts, theater, dance, and music, offering a comprehensive cultural experience that celebrates Iceland’s artistic creativity. Perfect for art aficionados and creative minds.

Reykjavik Fringe Festival: This midsummer festival celebrates all art forms on the fringe, featuring local and international artists. From dance and stand-up comedy to children’s shows and circus acts, it offers the most diverse schedule in Iceland.

Food & Fun Festival: In February, food lovers should head to Reykjavik for this culinary event. Renowned chefs from around the world collaborate with local talent to create menus using Icelandic ingredients, providing a delicious experience combined with Icelandic nightlife.

These events highlight Iceland’s cultural richness and diverse activities, ensuring that there’s something for everyone to enjoy throughout the year.

The Worst Time to Visit Iceland

The worst time to visit Iceland is during the peak of the winter months, particularly from late November to early February. During this period, the weather is extremely harsh, with short daylight hours, averaging only four to five hours of light per day. The severe winter conditions can make travel difficult and limit outdoor activities, as heavy snowfall and icy roads may cause closures and delays.

Another challenging time to visit is during the shoulder seasons of late autumn (October) and early spring (April). These months often bring unpredictable weather, with a mix of rain, snow, and wind, making it less enjoyable to explore Iceland’s natural attractions. Additionally, many rural areas and highland roads remain inaccessible due to lingering snow and ice, restricting travel to more populated and tourist-heavy regions.

Explore the Beauty of Iceland

Iceland is a land of breathtaking beauty, where nature reigns supreme. From majestic waterfalls to awe-inspiring glaciers, Iceland offers a plethora of must-see destinations that will leave you spellbound.

But there is so much more to Iceland than meets the eye. Beyond the popular tourist attractions, there are hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Picture yourself standing on a black sand beach, with the roaring waves of the Atlantic Ocean crashing against the shore. This is Reynisfjara, a place of raw beauty and ancient folklore. Legend has it that the towering basalt columns were once trolls, turned to stone by the breaking dawn.

Must-See Destinations in Iceland

Prepare to be awe-struck by the ethereal beauty of Iceland’s must-see destinations:

  1. Golden Circle: A popular tourist route that encompasses stunning waterfalls, geothermal wonders, and the historical Þingvellir National Park.
  2. Blue Lagoon: Immerse yourself in the milky-blue waters of this geothermal spa, surrounded by volcanic landscapes.
  3. Vatnajökull National Park: Marvel at Europe’s largest ice cap, nested within a breathtaking national park.
Vatnajokull national park iceland
Vatnajökull National Park, Iceland

These destinations are just the tip of the iceberg. As you explore Iceland, you’ll stumble upon hidden waterfalls cascading down moss-covered cliffs, secret hot springs tucked away in remote valleys, and ancient lava fields that stretch as far as the eye can see. Each corner of Iceland holds a new surprise, waiting to be uncovered.

Unveiling the Wonders of Iceland

Iceland is a treasure trove of natural wonders, with the mesmerizing Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, being one of its most unique. The best time to travel to Iceland for northern lights is from late August to mid-April, with the best viewing from September to March. During these darkest months, nature adorns the night sky with vibrant, dancing colors, creating an unforgettable masterpiece. Optimal viewing conditions include clear, dark skies away from city lights, allowing the auroras to shine in their full glory.

Northern lights iceland
Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), Iceland

To witness this celestial ballet, venture away from the city lights, preferably to the countryside or remote areas like the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. The dance of the Northern Lights will leave you in awe, and you’ll understand why Iceland is the best place to experience this breathtaking phenomenon.

But the wonders of Iceland don’t end there. The country is also home to some of the most unique wildlife in the world. Keep an eye out for puffins, those adorable seabirds with vibrant beaks, as they nest on the cliffs of the Westman Islands. And if you’re lucky, you might even spot a playful seal or a majestic reindeer roaming freely in the wild.

Insider Tips for Your Iceland Adventure

Before you pack your bags and head off to Iceland, here are some insider tips to make your adventure even more enjoyable:

  • Dress in Layers: Iceland’s weather is famously unpredictable, so it’s best to be prepared. Layering your clothing will ensure you stay warm and comfortable throughout the day.
  • Book in Advance: Iceland has become a hot tourist destination, and accommodations and tours can fill up quickly. Booking in advance will save you from potential disappointment.
  • Sample Icelandic Cuisine: Don’t leave Iceland without trying their unique delicacies, like fermented shark and skyr. Embrace the local flavors and experience a taste of Iceland.

As you embark on your Icelandic adventure, remember to take your time and soak in the beauty that surrounds you. Whether you’re exploring the famous landmarks or stumbling upon hidden treasures, Iceland will captivate your heart and leave you longing for more.

There’s No Other Place on Earth Like Iceland

Iceland’s uniqueness goes beyond its natural beauty. The country offers a range of experiences that cannot be found anywhere else on Earth, making it a must-visit destination for every traveler seeking something extraordinary.

Unique Experiences Only in Iceland

While in Iceland, indulge in these once-in-a-lifetime experiences:

  1. Floating between Continents: Visit the Reykjanes Peninsula and stand on the edge of two tectonic plates, the North American and Eurasian Plates. Experience the surreal sensation of floating between two continents, a testament to the country’s geological wonders.
  2. Explore Ice Caves: Venture into the mesmerizing world of ice caves, found within Iceland’s glaciers. These natural formations showcase stunning shades of blue and offer a glimpse into the icy heart of the country.
  3. Ride an Icelandic Horse: Embark on a horseback riding adventure on the gentle yet sturdy Icelandic horse. These unique horses possess a special gait called the “tölt,” ensuring a comfortable and unforgettable ride through Iceland’s magnificent landscapes.

Breathtaking Beauty in Iceland

Iceland’s landscapes are the stuff of dreams. From cascading waterfalls to towering volcanoes, every corner of this country boasts a picturesque beauty that will leave you breathless.

One of Iceland’s most iconic sights is the Skógafoss waterfall. Witness the mesmerizing curtain of water as it crashes into the pool below, creating mist that dances in the sunlight, painting vibrant rainbows.

Waterfall skogafoss iceland
Skogafoss Waterfall, Iceland

Types of Travelers Who Would Enjoy Iceland

Iceland caters to various types of travelers, each finding their own slice of paradise. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, nature enthusiast, photographer, or wellness traveler, Iceland offers something special for everyone.

Adventure Seekers Exploring Iceland

If adrenaline courses through your veins, Iceland will satisfy your thirst for adventure. Conquer the Laugavegur Trek, a challenging and visually rewarding hike through the country’s breathtaking landscapes.

For a unique adventure, dive between two tectonic plates at the Snorkeling Silfra site in Þingvellir National Park. Immerse yourself in crystal-clear glacier water and experience the incredible visibility that stretches up to 100 meters.

Nature Enthusiasts Discovering Iceland

Nature enthusiasts will find their haven in Iceland’s abundant natural wonders. Explore the Skaftafell National Park, a haven for hikers and nature lovers. Marvel at the ever-changing glacial landscape, walk amidst verdant forests, and witness the powerful Svartifoss waterfall framed by basalt columns.

Photographers Capturing Iceland

Iceland is a photographer’s paradise, boasting countless opportunities to capture stunning landscapes. Venture to the Gullfoss waterfall during winter, and you’ll witness an ethereal sight: the waterfall partially frozen, surrounded by sparkling ice crystals.

Another iconic photography spot is the Diamond Beach. As the name suggests, this beach is adorned with glistening ice diamonds, broken off from the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and washed ashore.

Wellness Travelers Experiencing Iceland

Iceland’s natural hot springs and geothermal baths offer the perfect sanctuary for wellness travelers seeking relaxation and rejuvenation. Soak away your worries in the famous Blue Lagoon, where mineral-rich waters are known to have healing properties.

Blue lagoon iceland
Blue Lagoon, Iceland

If you prefer a more secluded experience, explore the lesser-known Geosea Geothermal Sea Baths, located in Húsavík. Unwind in geothermal waters while taking in breathtaking views of the North Atlantic Ocean.

The Best Time for Different Types of Travelers

Now that we’ve explored the worst and best months to travel to Iceland, let’s take a closer look at the optimal times for each type of traveler.

When Adventure Seekers Should Visit

If you thrive on adventure, consider visiting Iceland during the summer months (June, July, and August). The milder weather and extended daylight hours will allow you to embark on thrilling activities like hiking, ice climbing, and even kayaking amidst iceberg-filled lagoons.

Ideal Months for Nature Enthusiasts

Nature enthusiasts will find solace in visiting Iceland during the late spring (May and June) and early fall (September and October). During these months, you can witness the vibrant green landscapes come to life with blooming wildflowers or be treated to the stunning autumn colors as summer fades into winter.

Best Seasons for Photographers

For photographers seeking that perfect shot, the best seasons to travel to Iceland are autumn and winter. Autumn, in particular, offers a spectacular symphony of colors as the landscapes are painted with vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges. Winter brings a magical atmosphere with ice caves, frozen waterfalls, and the possibility of capturing the astonishing Northern Lights.

Optimal Times for Wellness Travelers

If wellness is your focus, the best time to travel to Iceland is during the shoulder seasons of spring (April and May) and fall (September and October). The crowds are smaller, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the rejuvenating hot springs and peaceful landscapes without feeling rushed.


Is it possible to see the Northern Lights during the summer months?

A: Unfortunately, the Northern Lights are only visible during the darker months, usually from September to April. The extended daylight during summer obscures the visibility of this magnificent natural phenomenon.

How do I dress for the ever-changing weather in Iceland?

A: Layering is key to dressing for the Icelandic weather. Start with a base layer of thermal clothing, followed by a warm middle layer, and finish with a waterproof and wind-resistant outer layer. Don’t forget to bring a hat, gloves, and sturdy waterproof hiking boots.

Are Icelandic horses suitable for all riding levels?

A: Yes! Icelandic horses are known for their gentle nature and sturdy build. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, these horses will ensure a safe and enjoyable riding experience.

What is the best month to go to Iceland?

Overall, the optimal time for most visitors would be the summer months, from June to August, when you can experience Iceland’s natural beauty with favorable weather and extended daylight hours​

What is the cheapest month to visit Iceland?

February and March are the absolute cheapest times, but be prepared for the cold, dark, and icy conditions with limited daylight hours. However, these months offer a unique opportunity to see the Northern Lights and explore the ice caves.

What month is best to see the northern lights in Iceland?

If you’re aiming to see the Northern Lights, the best time to visit is between September and March. The long, dark nights during this period increase your chances of witnessing this spectacular natural phenomenon. However, winter can be quite cold and harsh, so be prepared for the weather conditions.


Aurora Borealis: A natural light display in the Earth’s sky, predominantly seen in high-latitude regions around the Arctic and Antarctic.

Midnight Sun: A natural phenomenon that occurs in Iceland during the summer months, where the sun remains visible for the entire duration of the night.

Fermented Shark: A traditional Icelandic dish made from shark meat that has been fermented and cured for several months.

Gulf Stream: A warm ocean current from the Gulf of Mexico to Europe, significantly affecting the climate of eastern North America and Western Europe.

Skyr: A creamy and tangy Icelandic dairy product, similar to yogurt, that is rich in protein and low in fat.

Icelandic Low: A low-pressure system near Iceland influencing North Atlantic and European weather patterns with storms and strong winds.

Geosea Geothermal Sea Baths: A geothermal spa located in Húsavík, offering relaxation in geothermal waters with stunning views of the North Atlantic Ocean.

In conclusion, choosing the best time to travel to Iceland depends on your preferences and what you seek in your adventure. Whether you’re captivated by the allure of the Northern Lights, seeking thrilling adventures, or desiring moments of tranquility in stunning landscapes, Iceland has it all. So pack your bags, embrace the beauty of Iceland, and prepare for an unforgettable journey.


BOOK YOUR TRIP: Essential Tips & Tricks

Looking for Fun Activities for Your Trip?

When I plan my trips, Get Your Guide is my go-to for unique walking tours, thrilling excursions, skip-the-line tickets, and private guides. Their extensive selection of activities and user-friendly booking options make it easy to find the perfect experiences. Whether I'm exploring a city's culture, cycling through the countryside with a local guide, or seeking an adrenaline rush, GetYourGuide helps me create unforgettable travel memories.

Spend like a Local, Overseas

I love travelling with the Wise Travel Card (International Debit Card), as it offers the best rates for spending in over 40 currencies across 175+ countries. With access to over 3 million ATMs worldwide, you can withdraw cash whenever you need it. Unlike travel credit cards, the Wise Travel Card eliminates hefty exchange rates, annual fees, and interest rates, making international spending hassle-free.

Explore This Bucketlist Travel Hack

For those with an ambitious bucket list, is a game-changer. You can shuffle destinations to create the perfect itinerary - by combining flights, buses, and trains for the best transport options. Add your dream destinations and let Kiwi's Nomad feature find the most efficient route. With flexible ticket fares, you can rebook or cancel as needed, saving both time and money.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Stay protected with SafetyWing, my trusted choice for comprehensive global travel insurance. They offer flexible sign-up options, a simple claims process, and 24/7 human support. With coverage across 180+ countries, SafetyWing ensures you're covered for medical emergencies, travel delays, and lost luggage. Sign up anytime, even while abroad, and travel with peace of mind.

Stay Connected with Airalo

Whenever you travel with Airalo, you'll will stay connected with one of the best eSIM providers covering around 200 countries. They offer flexible, customizable, and cost-effective plans, making it easy to find the perfect data package for your needs. Choose from various regional and global plans, and enjoy seamless connectivity without the hassle of physical SIM cards. Perfect for international travelers, Airalo's eSIMs can be easily purchased and activated through their app.

Disclosure: In this post, you may find affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. This income helps me keep this website up to date with new guides and stories. I only recommend products and companies I trust and use because they’ve made my travels better. For more details, please refer to my affiliate disclosure. Thank you for your support!

About the author

Colleen Lim