Best time to visit Iceland

Diverse nature of Iceland is an artists dream in the summertime with its plethora of shades of colors. Photo taken in June. PIC Colin Murdison

You probably did not know that the absolutely worst months to visit Iceland are the months of March and April. But you could probably guess the best months are June and July.

Team Total Iceland gets quite a lot of mail regarding this subject. Especially since we dislike immensely tour companies tempting foreigners by dressing the otherwise boring and drab winter months in fine sheep´s clothing. Certainly not crazy to visit Iceland in winter-time but you will miss out on so many things if you do.

a breakdown of each month of the year

Here then, very roughly, is a breakdown of each month of the year and why or why not not you should visit at that particular time. We are, of course, aware that there is no one-size-fits-all in this regard but we firmly believe that few countries on earth offer any human as deep a bond to nature as Iceland and that means visiting when things are in bloom.

  • JANUARY on average these last years a decent month to visit. Aurora Borealis is usually very visible in the blackness and more often than not the weather holds okay.
  • FEBRUARY takes last place. Still pretty dark but this time of year is often marked by very chaotic weather. One day could be fine and dandy one moment, blazing snowstorm the next moment before heavy rain and winds crash down an hour later. Sightings of Northern lights few and far between.
  • MARCH also gets a bad rating for much the same reasons as February. True, there is more light in the sky and more light means more activity but melting snow or belting rain is normal making every inch of the country wet and muddy.
  • APRIL does offer slight improvement over the preceding month but again winds are usually constant and slightly warmer temperature does little but start melting our glacier making rivers and waterways grim and ugly.
  • MAY is a weird one. Some years it can be fantastic with warm weather marking early spring but more often than not it copies April and goes down as cold and windy. This month does offer normal light of day though.
  • JUNE is in our opinion the very best. Roads into the beautiful highland area open early making it possible to travel around those parts. Large tracts of land turn deep green and inviting, the sun celebrates for 24 hours and the days are comfortably warm.
  • JULY is a great one too but the trouble here, from a tourist perspective, is higher prices and loads more people crowding our natural or man-made jewels. However, if you intend just to drive leisurely around this is the time to do it.
  • AUGUST starts with a bang as the first weekend usually marks a big weekend of festivities in many places. Late August the sky has turned a little darker but a fantastic time to roam around since tourist crowds are vanishing fast.
  • SEPTEMBER is a mirror-image of May. More often than not you will enjoy nice calm weather and once in awhile even nice temperatures as well. But this can turn rapidly into pouring vertical rain any second.
  • OCTOBER is a time when the dark blanket of winter really spreads over the country and in some years snow starts to fall early this month. Apart from the darkness usually a decent time to visit and high prices coming down fast.
  • NOVEMBER isn´t anything to write home about. Darkness is now pretty complete and the horrible artic winds have started blowing in our direction making shivering common. Stay away unless Northern lights are your thing.
  • DECEMBER will not get any awards either but because of festivities over Christmas and New Years this time is bearable for locals and pretty good for tourist too. Experiencing New Years is fun for anyone and for a few moments there is life again on this island.

For a few tranquil days over winter the landscape in Iceland is stunning in certain places. However, getting around can be tricky and even dangerous and in any case nobody lasts long outdoors. PIC Trodel

2 thoughts on “Best time to visit Iceland

  1. Yikes, November sounds a little bit rough – but aren’t those Northern lights an experience to make it all worth it?! Thanks for this great, simple layout of timing tips! It makes the research a lot easier.

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