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A realm of extremes, Iceland offers dazzling displays of the Northern Lights, the enchanting midnight sun, and breathtaking vistas that change with the seasons. The best month to visit Iceland depends entirely on what you are most interested in experiencing. Here's a month-to-month breakdown to help you decide.
Written by:
Viktória Komjáti
Content creator
18 Oct 2023
Travel tips
Three people looking at the Northern Lights
The surreal Aurora Borealis. Photo: Björgvin Hilmarsson

The Winter Wonders: December to February

These months are the heart of Iceland's winter and offer some of the most profound experiences for intrepid travellers. December and January are the darkest months, with the sun barely above the horizon, and Reykjavik enjoys just around four hours of daylight. This prolonged darkness, however, offers the perfect backdrop for the magnificent Northern Lights, a sight that will leave you in awe.

Despite the cold and unpredictable winter weather, there's plenty to do. Embrace the Icelandic outdoor bathing culture at the Blue Lagoon, Sky Lagoon, Hvammsvík, or any of the heated swimming pools and natural, geothermal pools. For an extra touch of magic, bathing while snow falls above you is a uniquely Icelandic experience.

Skógafoss waterfall in golden colors in April
Gullfoss waterfall in golden colors in April

The Golden Months: February to April

February to April in Iceland is characterised by long shadows and a beautiful golden glow that suffuses the landscape. As the sun never reaches its zenith and hangs above the horizon, photographers are drawn to the unique light that this period offers. Additionally, many traditional Icelandic festivities like Bollundagur, Sprengidagur, and Öskudagur take place in February, adding cultural depth to your journey.

Despite the occasional snow blizzard, these months are an ideal time to explore Iceland's natural ice caves. The glacial ice hasn't begun melting, and a tour of these caves offers a surreal experience.

Hikers walking on a path in green scenery
Hikers in Thórsmörk

The Summer Splendour: May to August

Summer sweeps over Iceland from May through August, offering long daylight hours stretching into the night. In June, the midnight sun phenomenon provides 24 hours of daylight. This extended daylight offers great flexibility for your sightseeing schedule.

Summer is the perfect time to hike in Iceland or even to tackle Hvannadalshnúkur, Iceland’s highest peak. With the smaller gravel roads accessible, summer is the best time for exploring the rugged highlands of Iceland. You can also indulge in other summer activities like bathing in geothermal pools and late-night walks around Reykjavik.

The view of a golden brown landscape with four little houses, a church and a river
Thingvellir National Park in Autumn

The Autumn Drama: September to November

The transition from verdant summer to icy winter occurs between September and November, adding a dramatic touch to the landscape. The daylight hours shrink, and the colors change from vibrant green to chestnut brown with patches of ice and snow. The "golden hour" extends throughout the day, providing a mesmerizing backdrop for photographers.

This period is also excellent for Northern Lights spotting as the nights grow longer. You can embark on adventurous activities like snowmobile tours or enjoy multi-day tours around the island.

Blond, long-haired woman in orange cap and blue down jacket with Reynisfjara black sand beach in the background
There is no bad weather, only unsuitable clothing!

The Weather in Iceland

Iceland has a whimsical personality that's as wide-ranging as its landscapes. Sure, it might not be the go-to destination for sun worshippers, but hey, where's the fun in the predictable, right? Whether it's a gust of wind singing in your ears, or a serene snowfall painting the town white, each day in Iceland is a new adventure, a fresh story unfolding.

Take it from us, the weather here doesn't play by the rules, and that's the beauty of it! Remember, it's all about the right clothing. With the right clothing and equipment, even seemingly adverse conditions can transform into unforgettable experiences. Ensuring you pack suitable clothing that can handle a range of weather conditions will go a long way in ensuring a comfortable trip.

The Mesmerizing Transformation: Iceland's Landscapes Through the Seasons

Embark on a journey through Iceland's ever-changing weather as it dances through the months, each with its unique rhythm and charm. Picture this: the invigorating chill of January, crisp and clear, under a sky aglow with the legendary Northern Lights.

February offers an enticing gamble, teasing you with sunshine, long shadows, snow, and sleet, often in a single day!

As March steps in, days grow longer, gifting you longer days for exploration, spectacular sunsets and sunrises, while the snowy landscapes and blue ice caves are at their most enchanting.

Welcome April, the harbinger of spring, when the land thaws and a golden brown takes over. Make way for May, the gateway to summer, with the green meadows, foals and calves frolicking about under skies that shine for up to 20-23 hours!

The legendary midnight sun makes its grand appearance in June, basking the land in a perpetual glow and adding magic to every adventure.

July, the warmest month, invites you to roam around under skies that rarely see rain, while in August, the eastern part of the island bathes in exceptional warmth, offering you a chance to explore the highlands and perhaps catch an early glimpse of the Northern Lights.

As autumn sets in, September gifts you vivid fall colours and the soothing warmth of the Gulf Stream, making every photograph a masterpiece.

October brings back the chill, gracing the land with a burst of autumnal colours, and making every cozy cafe a delightful haven.

November, with its capricious weather, challenges you to pack for all possibilities, while the ever-shortening daylight adds an element of intrigue to your adventures.

December, the darkest month, welcomes you into a winter wonderland, perfect for exploring ice caves and chasing the Northern Lights in the mere 4-5 hours of daylight.

Blue ice bergs floating on a still lake with mountains in the background, in sunset pastel colors
The spectacular Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon in the low-lying winter sun

Daily Average Temperatures in Reykjavík

  • January: 3.1°C / -1.8°C
  • February: 3.3°C / -1.9°C
  • March: 4°C / -1.3°C
  • April: 6.8°C / 1.2°C
  • May: 9.8°C / 3.9°C
  • June: 12.7°C / 7.7°C
  • July: 14.6°C / 8.8°C
  • August: 13.9°C / 8.7°C
  • September: 11-1°C / 5.9°C
  • October: 7.5°C / 2.7°C
  • November: 4.5°C / -0.2°C
  • December: 3.3°C / -1.6°C

Iceland, in all its beauty, offers unique experiences throughout the year. Whether it's witnessing the mesmerizing Northern Lights in the winter, experiencing the captivating midnight sun in summer, or enjoying the dramatic changes of the landscape in autumn, the best time to visit Iceland depends largely on your preferences and interests.

To maximize your travel experiences, consider the less crowded off-peak months of May and September. If hiking and exploring the highlands are your priorities, plan for a summer visit. For the Northern Lights, winter is your best bet. Whatever the time of year, there's always something magical to experience in Iceland. Remember to plan in advance, prepare for the weather, and, most importantly, soak in all the incredible beauty this unique land has to offer.

The Best Month to Visit Iceland - All You Need to Know

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