The Best Time to Visit Iceland Skip to content
Photo: Golli. The Northern Lights are a good reason to visit Iceland.

The Best Time to Visit Iceland

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When planning a visit to Iceland there are a few things that are good to be aware of. Contrary to what the name suggests, Iceland enjoys a rather mild climate throughout the year, thanks to the Gulf Stream that carries warm winds across the Atlantic. The reason for unpredictable weather and often stormy winters is that those warm Gulf Stream winds clash with cold gusts from the Arctic, creating volatile conditions. It also results in Southern Iceland sustaining a lot more rain than other parts of the country. These clashes are especially prominent during high winter, from late December to March, which is something to be aware of when planning a trip. Considering the elements, the prime time for visiting Iceland would be the official tourist season between May and September. These months guarantee pretty consistent warmth across the land, although it’s good to be aware that Reykjavík and the surrounding southern area will face more rainy days than the rest. Starting in May, this is also a time of the enchanting summer sun that never sets, creating long, leisurely days of bright skies that seem to stretch on forever. Travel is also easy in the summer, most roads are readily accessible, even in the treacherous highlands, and accommodation is widely available. The whole country feels alive and vibrant as locals use every opportunity to soak up the precious rays of sunshine.

Photo: Golli. Reykjavík in summer, a prime time for a visit to Iceland

Fall in Iceland, a Magical Time

As summer comes to an end, the fall season emerges with its cool, crisp evenings and the opportunity for seeing the Northern Lights, something millions of people come to see every year. Fall is a magical time in Iceland and rivals the summer season for the best time to visit since the weather stays rather mild and consistent from September through late November. Activities such as whale watching and Golden Circle tours are still in abundance and conditions to travel by car are usually very good. In fall, Icelanders start to settle in for the winter and the country takes on a cozy atmosphere that makes going out for a hearty meal and a nightcap in a dim lit bar feel like an adventure. The Northern Lights are often visible from Reykjavík when the skies are clear, and it’s easy to find good spots with minimal light pollution right in the city centre. Starting in December, Christmas decorations are put up all around Iceland that light up the long dark days of winter.

Photo: Golli. Christmas lights in Reykjavík

When it comes down to it, every season in Iceland offers a unique charm. With no shortages of activities and things to see all year round, the most important for visitors is to follow weather forecasts for their chosen times and to be prepared for swiftly changing conditions.   

 

 

 

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