Which Time of Year Should you Visit Iceland?
I’m certainly no expert on what time of year you should visit Iceland. We visited only once, towards the end of September. However, after reading my, rather hefty, guidebook front to back, I’ve made some conclusions.
We tend to prefer visiting countries in low season due to a general dislike of other nearby tourists. After all, you’re in the land of wilderness in Iceland…You don’t want a family of screaming, photo taking, selfie stick waving, ignorant sheep with futile ski poles obscuring the view. (forgive me)
What I’m trying to say, is that by going to Iceland in the low season, you miss out on some things which in other countries is normally not the case. For example, despite the weather being decent, many rural museums were closed. Also, all those puffins and migrating birds left bare cliffs behind them as they had taken to the seas. Restaurants, in some instances, oddly stopped serving fresh lamb and fish resulting in the only choice of a hamburger. Some B&Bs stop serving cooked meals. Quite frankly, I was surprised. However, no matter what time of year you’re in Iceland, you’ll be guaranteed to witness stunning scenery. In the summer months, more of this scenery is accessible. Everyone has different priorities. Take a look at the list below and decide what is best for you.
- Most mountains will still be snow-capped and therefore particularly impressive
- Less tourists
- Waterfalls all over the country are at their best as glaciers and snow caps melt
- Witness large fields of purple Lupine flowers in bloom
- See the midnight sun on June 21st and experience incredibly long days
- Massive colonies of puffins and all sorts of other migrating birds nestle all around the island for breeding.
- Icebergs at Jokulsaron are plentiful
- Warmer temperatures (20-25 degrees)
- LOTS of tourists
- All museums and amenities open
- All roads to the interior open
- Puffins until mid-August
- Midnight sun and long days
- Higher Prices and harder to find accommodation
- Experience the beautiful Autumn colours
- Decent temperatures
- Less Tourists
- Accommodation less pricey
- Many services closed for the summer
- Northern Lights start
- Orange sunsets
- Stormy weather
Winter (all other months!)
- Very short days
- Northern Lights all through winter
- Full appreciation of geothermal baths
- Climate more temperate than you think due to gulf stream (not less than -5 celsius) other than the interior (-20 celsius)
- Many roads closed
- Weather can leave you stranded
Whale watching is apparently good all the way through from May to September.
Despite not being particularly off season, I suggest that June is the best time to visit Iceland. The weather is at it’s most stable for the summer months and most birds are nesting. Average temperatures are between 7 – 12 degrees celsius (44.6-53.6 degrees F). There isn’t much rain, and you can witness the stunning contrast of snow-capped mountains and lush green moss. I have a slight obsession with moss…
Climate of Iceland month to month
Have you been to Iceland? Are you planning to go? Which month do you think is best and why?