Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

The Best Time To Travel To Iceland


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Modesty Tighe



Welcome to the land of fire and ice, the captivating country of Iceland. Situated in the North Atlantic Ocean, Iceland is a stunning destination that offers a unique blend of natural wonders, cultural heritage, and adventure. From mesmerizing landscapes to vibrant cities, Iceland has something for everyone.


Known for its dramatic scenery, Iceland is home to volcanic landscapes, majestic glaciers, cascading waterfalls, and geothermal hot springs. The rugged beauty of the country attracts travelers from around the world who are seeking an unforgettable experience in the midst of pristine nature.


Whether you are a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, a history buff, or simply looking to relax and unwind, Iceland has a lot to offer. With its rich and diverse natural environment, Iceland provides a wide range of activities such as hiking, glacier climbing, whale watching, exploring ice caves, and relaxing in natural hot pools.


In addition to its natural wonders, Iceland boasts a vibrant cultural scene steeped in history and folklore. The country is known for its literature, including the famous Icelandic sagas, as well as its thriving music and arts scene. Reykjavik, the capital city, offers a plethora of museums, galleries, and cultural events that provide a deeper understanding of Iceland’s heritage and traditions.


While Iceland is a year-round destination, each season offers a different experience. The climate can be unpredictable, with rapidly changing weather, making it essential to plan your trip accordingly. In this article, we will explore the best time to travel to Iceland, taking into consideration the climate and various factors that can enhance your travel experience.


Climate in Iceland

Iceland’s location near the Arctic Circle gives it a unique climate characterized by cool summers and relatively mild winters. The country experiences a subpolar oceanic climate, influenced by the Gulf Stream, which helps to moderate temperatures. However, it is important to note that Iceland’s weather can be highly changeable and can vary significantly within a single day.


Temperatures in Iceland generally range from an average of 5°C (41°F) in winter to 13°C (55°F) in summer. However, it is not uncommon for temperatures to drop below freezing in winter or reach highs of 20°C (68°F) during hot summer days. The coastal areas tend to have milder winters while the inland regions can be colder.


Precipitation is a common occurrence in Iceland, with rain being the most common form of precipitation throughout the year. The southern and western parts of the country receive the most rainfall, while the northern and eastern regions are relatively drier. Snowfall is common during the winter months, especially in the highland areas and in the north.


Due to its proximity to the Arctic Circle, Iceland experiences extended daylight hours during the summer months. This phenomenon is known as the Midnight Sun, where the sun can be visible for almost 24 hours a day. Conversely, during the winter months, the country experiences shorter daylight hours, and in some areas, the sun may not rise above the horizon at all.


It is important to note that Iceland’s weather can be quite unpredictable, and it is common to experience several seasons in a single day. This means that you should always be prepared for sudden changes in weather conditions, regardless of the time of year you visit.


Now that we have an understanding of Iceland’s climate, let’s explore the different seasons in Iceland and the best time to visit based on your preferences and interests.


Summer (June to August)

Summer is a popular time to visit Iceland, and for good reason. From June to August, Iceland experiences its peak tourist season, attracting visitors who want to take advantage of the long days, mild temperatures, and vibrant landscapes.


During the summer months, the average temperature in Iceland ranges from 10°C (50°F) to 15°C (59°F), making it a pleasant time for outdoor activities and exploring the breathtaking natural wonders. The lush greenery blankets the countryside, and the wildflowers are in full bloom, adding a vibrant splash of color to the landscape.


One of the highlights of visiting Iceland in the summer is the Midnight Sun phenomenon. Due to its high latitude, the sun does not fully set, resulting in nearly 24 hours of daylight. This unique experience allows you to make the most of your time by extending your activities well into the evening.


Summer is an ideal time for hiking, as many hiking trails are fully accessible and the weather conditions are generally more favorable. The highland areas, which are usually inaccessible in winter, open up during summer, offering opportunities for trekking and exploring the stunning volcanic landscapes.


It is also the perfect season to explore Iceland’s numerous waterfalls, such as the iconic Gullfoss and Skogafoss. The increased sunlight provides better visibility and showcases the beauty of these natural wonders in all their glory.


Summer is also the best time to embark on whale-watching tours. Iceland’s coastal waters are home to a variety of whale species, including humpback whales, minke whales, and orcas. The calm seas and longer daylight hours increase the chances of spotting these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.


However, it is important to note that summer is also the busiest and most expensive time to visit Iceland. Popular tourist destinations can be crowded, and accommodations and tours may be booked up well in advance. If you plan to visit during this time, it is recommended to make your reservations early to secure your preferred accommodations and activities.


In summary, summer in Iceland offers long daylight hours, mild temperatures, and abundant natural beauty. If you enjoy outdoor activities, picturesque landscapes, and the bustling atmosphere of peak tourist season, then summer is the perfect time to visit Iceland.


Fall (September to November)

Fall in Iceland, from September to November, brings about a distinct change in the country’s landscapes and offers a unique experience for travelers. As the summer fades away, the autumn colors begin to emerge, creating a breathtaking tapestry of red, orange, and golden hues.


The average temperatures during the fall season range from 5°C (41°F) to 10°C (50°F), gradually cooling down as the season progresses. It’s important to note that as the days shorten, the weather can become more unpredictable, with occasional rain showers and gusty winds, so it’s essential to come prepared with layers and waterproof clothing.


One of the main draws of visiting Iceland in the fall is the opportunity to witness the stunning phenomenon known as the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis. As the nights grow longer and darker, the chances of seeing this natural light display increase. The dancing curtains of green, red, and purple lights in the night sky create a magical and unforgettable experience.


Autumn is also a great time to explore Iceland’s natural wonders in relative peace. With the summer crowds thinning out, you can have a more secluded and intimate experience while visiting popular attractions such as the Golden Circle, the Blue Lagoon, and the Vatnajokull National Park.


The fall season also marks the beginning of the traditional sheep round-up called “réttir.” This centuries-old tradition invites locals and visitors alike to participate in herding sheep from the mountains to their winter pastures. It’s a fantastic opportunity to witness Icelandic culture up-close and actively engage in the country’s rural heritage.


If you’re a photography enthusiast, the fall season offers fantastic opportunities to capture Iceland’s landscapes in all their glory. The changing colors of the vegetation, misty mornings, and the soft golden light create a picture-perfect setting for capturing the beauty of this land.


While the weather can be unpredictable during the fall, it’s important to remember that Iceland’s landscape is stunning in any weather condition. Rain showers passing over moss-covered lava fields or misty waterfalls can add a sense of mystique and drama to the scenery.


In summary, fall in Iceland offers a unique blend of autumn colors, the chance to witness the Northern Lights, and a more serene experience at popular tourist sites. If you appreciate quieter surroundings, vibrant landscapes, and the possibility of seeing the Aurora Borealis, then fall is the perfect time to visit Iceland.


Winter (December to February)

Winter in Iceland, from December to February, showcases a completely different side of the country. Iceland transforms into a winter wonderland, with snow-covered landscapes, frozen waterfalls, and a magical atmosphere that captivates the senses. While the temperatures can be cold, ranging from -2°C (28°F) to 3°C (37°F), the unique experiences and breathtaking beauty make it a special time to visit.


One of the main highlights of visiting Iceland in winter is the opportunity to witness the mesmerizing dance of the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis. The long nights and clear skies increase the chances of seeing this natural phenomenon, where vibrant curtains of colorful lights illuminate the dark sky.


Winter is the perfect time to explore the stunning ice caves that form in the glaciers. These naturally carved caves offer a surreal experience, with their sparkling ice formations and vibrant blue colors. Guided tours are available to venture inside these icy marvels safely.


For outdoor enthusiasts, winter brings a range of activities such as snowmobiling, dog sledding, and ice climbing. The snowy landscapes provide a pristine backdrop for these thrilling adventures, allowing you to immerse yourself in the winter wilderness of Iceland.


The winter months are also an excellent time to visit the famous geothermal spas, such as the Blue Lagoon. Taking a dip in the warm waters surrounded by snow-covered landscapes is a rejuvenating and unforgettable experience.


However, it’s important to note that the winter weather in Iceland can be harsh, with strong winds and snowstorms. It’s necessary to dress in warm layers, including thermal clothing, a waterproof outer layer, and sturdy footwear to stay comfortable and safe while exploring the outdoors.


Exploring the Icelandic countryside in winter also means you’ll encounter fewer crowds at popular tourist sites. This allows for a more intimate experience, where you can fully appreciate the tranquility and natural beauty of the surroundings.


If you’re lucky, you may also have the opportunity to witness another unique Icelandic tradition during wintertime: Þorrablót. This festival celebrates the old Norse month of Þorri and involves feasting on traditional Icelandic foods such as fermented shark and dried fish.


In summary, winter in Iceland offers a magical and serene experience with the chance to see the Northern Lights, explore ice caves, and discover the beauty of a winter landscape. If you’re prepared for the cold weather and seeking a unique and immersive winter adventure, then Iceland in winter is an excellent choice for your travels.


Spring (March to May)

Spring in Iceland, from March to May, brings new life to the country as winter fades away and nature begins to awaken from its slumber. The landscapes transform once again, with vibrant colors emerging, migratory birds returning, and the days growing longer.


The average temperatures during spring range from 0°C (32°F) to 8°C (46°F), gradually increasing as the season progresses. While the weather can still be quite unpredictable, with occasional snowstorms and rain showers, the longer daylight hours offer more opportunities to explore and enjoy the outdoors.


Spring is the ideal time to witness the dramatic changes in Iceland’s waterfalls. As the snow melts, the water levels rise, and the cascades become even more impressive. The sound of rushing water and the misty atmosphere create a captivating and powerful sight.


Wildflowers and plants begin to bloom across the country, painting the landscapes with vibrant hues. Spring is a great time for hiking and exploring Iceland’s breathtaking trails, as the paths become more accessible, and the daylight hours allow for longer and more enjoyable walks.


The wildlife in Iceland also becomes more active during the spring season. Puffins return to the island’s coastal cliffs, creating bustling breeding colonies. Seals can be spotted along the shores, and birdwatchers have the opportunity to observe a variety of species that nest in Iceland.


Spring is also an excellent time to visit the iconic Golden Circle route, which encompasses the stunning Þingvellir National Park, the mighty Gullfoss waterfall, and the geothermal wonders of the Geysir area. These attractions are less crowded during the spring months, allowing for a more serene and immersive experience.


With the arrival of spring, the chances of seeing the Northern Lights decrease as the nights become shorter and less dark. However, the possibility of catching a glimpse of this natural phenomenon still exists during the early weeks of spring, especially in more remote areas with minimal light pollution.


If you’re a photography enthusiast, the ever-changing weather conditions during spring create a dynamic landscape for capturing unique shots. From stormy skies to rainbows over waterfalls, the dramatic and diverse lighting adds a touch of magic to your photographs.


In summary, spring in Iceland offers the chance to witness the emergence of new life, explore vibrant landscapes, and enjoy longer daylight hours. If you appreciate colorful scenery, moderate temperatures, and the opportunity to witness the awakening of nature, then spring is a wonderful time to visit Iceland.


Considerations for Traveling to Iceland

While planning your trip to Iceland, there are several important factors to consider to ensure a smooth and enjoyable travel experience. These considerations will help you make the most of your time in Iceland and prepare you for the unique aspects of visiting this captivating country.

1. Weather and Clothing

The weather in Iceland can be unpredictable, and it’s essential to dress appropriately for the conditions. Layering is key, as it allows you to adjust to changing temperatures throughout the day. It’s important to pack warm, waterproof clothing, sturdy footwear, and accessories like hats, gloves, and scarves to protect yourself from the elements.

2. Seasonal Differences

Each season in Iceland offers a different experience, and it’s important to consider what activities and attractions you’d like to explore. Summer provides longer days and milder temperatures, while winter offers unique opportunities like seeing the Northern Lights and exploring ice caves. Spring and fall offer a mix of changing landscapes and quieter tourism periods.

3. Accommodation and Reservations

Iceland’s popularity as a tourist destination means that accommodations can book up quickly, especially during peak seasons. It’s recommended to book your accommodations well in advance to secure your preferred options. Additionally, if you plan on participating in tours or renting a car, it’s advisable to make reservations ahead of time to guarantee availability.

4. Currency and Budget

The currency in Iceland is the Icelandic Króna (ISK), and it’s important to have appropriate cash or credit cards for your expenses. Iceland can be relatively expensive compared to other destinations, especially when it comes to dining out and engaging in activities. It’s wise to budget accordingly and be prepared for higher costs.

5. Safety Precautions

Iceland is a safe country to visit, but it’s always important to exercise caution and follow any safety guidelines provided. It’s recommended to stay on designated paths and trails, especially when exploring natural areas. Weather conditions can change rapidly, so it’s best to check weather forecasts and road conditions before embarking on any outdoor activities.

6. Driving in Iceland

If you plan on renting a car and driving in Iceland, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the local driving rules and regulations. Iceland’s roads can be challenging, especially in remote areas or during inclement weather. It’s advisable to rent a four-wheel-drive vehicle and plan your driving routes carefully, paying attention to road conditions and closures.


By taking these considerations into account, you can ensure a memorable and enjoyable visit to Iceland. This beautiful country offers a wealth of natural wonders, cultural experiences, and adventures for every traveler to discover and explore.



Iceland is a remarkable destination that offers a diverse range of experiences throughout the year. Whether you choose to visit during the long summer days, the breathtaking colors of fall, the enchanting winter landscapes, or the emergence of new life in spring, there is something truly magical about this Nordic island.


Consider your preferences and interests when deciding the best time to visit Iceland. If you enjoy active outdoor adventures and vibrant landscapes, summer is the ideal season. Fall offers a more serene experience, showcasing the autumn colors and the chance to witness the Northern Lights. Winter brings a winter wonderland experience, with ice caves and the possibility of seeing the Aurora Borealis. And spring showcases the rebirth of nature and the opportunity to explore vibrant landscapes.


Regardless of the season, it’s important to be prepared for Iceland’s unpredictable weather, pack appropriate clothing, and make necessary reservations in advance. Take into account your budget, safety precautions, and the considerations for activities like driving in Iceland.


Whether you’re admiring the stunning waterfalls, soaking in geothermal hot springs, exploring volcanoes and glaciers, or immersing yourself in Icelandic culture, each season offers its own unique charm and opportunities for exploration.


So, pack your bags, embrace the adventure, and get ready to create unforgettable memories in the land of fire and ice. Iceland awaits your discovery. No matter when you choose to travel, Iceland’s natural wonders and captivating landscapes will leave a lasting impression.