Iceland is a fascinating country full of natural wonders and unique landscapes. This is also a great place for those who like adventure and exploration. The only drawback is the weather: Iceland is a sub-polar country so it can get dangerously cold. For this reason, it is important to know when is the best time to visit Iceland and its numerous attractions.
Iceland is located on the far north of Europe and has a harsh sub-polar oceanic climate. It means cold and unpredictable weather throughout the year, particularly in winter. Another thing to keep in mind is that the country experiences almost 24 hours of darkness per day between October and March. However, you should not let this discourage you from visiting Iceland. This is a beautiful country worth exploring so all you need is a bit of careful planning and deciding on the best time to go.
When is the Best Time to Visit Iceland – The Seasons
While Iceland is a cold country, there are significant variations in weather conditions and climate throughout the year. This may be one of the best ways to decide when to visit Iceland, depending on your chosen location and activities you wish to explore.
Spring tends to be a very short season in Iceland, but the weather is often very nice. This is a great time for nature exploration and many outdoor activities. You can try hiking or book a tour to visit Iceland’s most famous natural wonders. Spring is also a good time for those who hate crowds since it is not as busy as the summer.
Summer is wonderful in Iceland: it brings warmer weather and super-long days. You can see the midnight sun and green nature. This is a perfect season for nature exploration. Warmer temperatures and nice weather allow visitors to explore even the more remote parts of the country, which is a plus. However, summer has one drawback: this is by far the busiest tourist season in Iceland so prepare yourself for high prices and crowds.
Autumn in Iceland can be very lovely. The nature is full of colourful trees and the weather is not as cold as it is in winter. Autumn is a good time for hiking and nature exploration, weather permitting. This is also a good time to visit Iceland because it is not as busy during the height of the tourist season and you can find cheaper accommodation.
Winter is the coldest season and weather can be very harsh. This is one of the reasons why many people decide not to go to Iceland during this period. However, winter in Iceland brings certain advantages. The atmosphere in Reykjavík is great during this time of the year and it becomes very festive around the Christmas time. Also, winter is the perfect time to observe Northern lights.
When Is the Best Time to Visit Iceland – Attractions
If you wish to go to Iceland it is important to know when is the best time to visit the country’s most famous attractions. Your choice of a location and tourist site you wish to see will dictate when is the best time to visit Iceland. Keep in mind that Iceland is a land of many wonders so there are numerous interesting places to visit and many exciting things to do. Here is just a small list of the 15 wonderful locations and recommendations on when to visit them:
Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland’s most famous tourist destinations. This is a well-known geothermal spa. It is situated within a lava field on the Reykjanes Peninsula. It is relatively close to the airport – only 20 kilometers away – which makes it a convenient spot for many tourists. An interesting thing about Blue Lagoon is that it is man-made but the geothermal seawaters are natural. They travel about 2 kilometers beyond the surface before they reach Blue Lagoon. The waters are rich in minerals so they have numerous health benefits. Keep in mind that Blue Lagoon is one of the most popular tourist spots in Iceland so it is often busy, particularly in season. Blue Lagoon is open throughout the year. However, remember that the place is usually booked a few days in advance. For this reason, it is best to pre-book your ticket so you know you can visit Blue Lagoon when it’s most convenient for you.
Vatnajökull National Park
Vatnajökull is the largest glacier on Iceland and one of the most popular tourist destinations. The glacier itself covers an area of more than 8,000 square kilometers. Vatnajökull National Park is known for its stunning landscapes, from glacial ice to beautiful rivers and volcanic landscapes. This is a great area for hiking, rock climbing, winter sports and ice cave exploration – Vatnajökull National Park is known for its splendid ice caves. The best time to visit Vatnajökull National Park will depend on your desired activities. For example, if your goal is to explore ice caves, remember that they have to be visited in season, from November to March. It is very dangerous to go to the caves outside this time. If you wish to try other winter activities, it is best to go in season, from October to May. Spring and summer are great for hiking and rock climbing. Perhaps the best month for rock climbing in the Park is around July.
Gullfoss is the most popular waterfall in Iceland. It is located in the Hvítá river canyon. The water from the waterfall is actually glacier runoff flowing into the sea. This is one of the most popular tourist spots in all of Iceland. Probably the best time to visit Gullfoss is during the warmest weather, from May to August. However, this is a busy season so it might be crowded. If you wish to avoid crowds, try April and September to visit Gullfoss and the surrounding area. Keep in mind that the waterfall is also gorgeous in winter when you can see water turning into ice crystals. However, this is a very cold season and the path to the waterfall is extra slippery, so it might be dangerous to visit waterfall during that time.
Strokkur is a famous geyser situated in one of the most powerful geothermal areas in Iceland. Strokkur is probably Iceland’s most popular geyser, and also a very active one: it erupts once per 10 minutes. This geyser is located in the Haukadalur valley, which is known for its geothermal properties. This is a famous tourist spot and one of the most popular places to visit in Iceland. The best time to visit Strokkur is during summer (June to August). This is the warmest time of the year. However, keep in mind that this is also the busiest tourist season. If you wish to avoid the crowds it might be better to go during May or September.
Landmannalaugar is famous for its volcanic landscapes. Located on the edge of a lave field, Landmannalaugar was created as a result of an eruption in the 15th century. Located in the Fjallabak Nature Reserve, this area is known for its unique landscape and numerous hot springs. This is a famous tourist spot and a popular hiking trail. If you wish to Landmannalaugar, keep in mind that you can only go in summer. This is the only time of the year when the roads are open. Some roads open in May and close in September, while the others are only accessible from June to August. If you wish to visit the area make sure to check if it’s accessible during your stay.
Seljalandsfoss is one of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland. Situated in the south part of the country, this waterfall is a popular tourist spot and one of the most stunning places in all Iceland. If you visit Seljalandsfoss make sure to go to a small cave behind the waterfall for a truly exciting experience. You can visit Seljalandsfoss almost at any time of the year. However, it is best to go during the warmer months, from May to September. This is when the weather is better and you can also enjoy stunning scenery. Also, you might want to stay until sunset – the waterfall is west-oriented so it looks magnificent during sunsets.
Thingvellir National Park
Thingvellir National Park is located in the south-west of Iceland, very close to the Hengill volcanic region. It is located in a rift valley, which makes for stunning landscapes and impressive views. The Park is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Iceland. You can visit Thingvellir National Park at any time of the year, but summers are the best because of the warmer weather. However, keep in mind that this is usually the busiest time. If you wish to avoid crowds choose late spring or early autumn. In fact, May seems to be the cheapest time to visit the Park.
Reynisfjara is a famous black pebble beach and one of the most exciting places to visit in Iceland. The beach is located near Vik, a village on the south coast of Iceland. This is a great spot for the adventurous, but you need to be very careful because the waves can be dangerous. If you wish to visit the Black Sand Beach it is absolutely vital to go at the time of low tide. Also, the ocean waves can be very dangerous so this is something to keep in mind. You need to take this into account when scheduling your trip to the area.
Dimmuborgir is a famous lava field near Mývatn. It is famous for its unusual shape, volcanic chamber structures and impressive caves. The landscape contains numerous impressive rock formations that are worth seeing. Dimmuborgir was formed more than 2000 years ago during a volcanic eruption. If you wish to visit Dimmuborgir, you can do it year round. Keep in mind, however, that this is a famous tourist spot so it is best to go early or in late afternoon so you can avoid large crowds.
Hverfjall is a tuff ring volcano known for its crater. Situated on the north of Iceland, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. This is a perfect destination for those who wish to explore volcanic landscapes. Keep in mind, however, that the crater can be reached only by two paths – it is very dangerous to use any other way. If you wish to visit Hverfjall, it is best to be done during the warmer months. Weather tends to be harsh during the winter. There is too much snow during this season, which may make the area inaccessible. For these reasons, Hverfjall might be best to be avoided in winter.
Aldeyjarfoss is a beautiful waterfall in the northern part of Iceland and one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the country. It looks beautiful throughout the year. One of the most impressive features of the waterfall are the black basalt rocks behind the fall. The rocks are volcanic in origin and belong to a lava field. The waterfall is formed on a cliff that is about 20 m high. This is where Skjálfandafljót River has a sudden drop and creates an impressive waterfall. Aldeyjarfoss is one of the most beautiful spots in Iceland so you should sure visit it during your stay.
Jökulsárlón is an impressive glacial lake located near Vatnajökull National Park. The lake is large and very beautiful, so it’s not surprising that it makes one of Iceland’s most popular destinations. The lake is located on the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier and actually tends to get bigger and bigger each year because the glacier is melting. Jökulsárlón is currently the deepest like in all Iceland. It is best to visit Jökulsárlón during the warmer months, between May and September. You may even take a boat ride between the melting ice bergs. The weather is harsh during winter and the ice is much thicker so it is probably the best to visit when temperatures are not very low.
Leirhnjúkur is black lava field located in northern Iceland. Part of the Krafla caldera, this lava field is a product of the series of eruptions that occurred between 1975 and 1984. Leirhnjúkur is a naked, almost grotesque looking field, which is part of the reason why it’s so fascinating and popular with tourists. Even today, decades after the last eruption, you will witness steam and smoke in every crack on the field and the ground is too hot to walk at some places. The best time to visit Leirhnjúkur is probably in early fall. The weather is still relatively warm but it is outside the busiest tourist season. The Leirhnjúkur hiking trail is the most exciting way to explore this lava field. If you wish to visit Leirhnjúkur, make sure to only follow safe trails, which are clearly indicated. Keep in mind that this is a dangerous area so you need to be careful!
Hornstrandir is a peninsula on the very north of Iceland. Located in the Westfjords, the peninsula is part of a Nature Reserve that also includes part of the Jökulfirðir fjords and some of the Grunnavíkurhreppur district. Hornstrandir is a deserted area without much human presence but it offers stunning views and unforgettable scenery. This is a great area for those who like hiking and nature exploration. If you want to visit Hornstrandir, keep in mind that you cannot do it in winter – it is too dangerous. For these reasons, you can only enjoy the peninsula during summer, and only if the weather is relatively nice. Keep this in mind when deciding on the best season to visit Iceland.
One of the Iceland’s most famous attractions are the Northern lights. These are magnificent displays of light on the sky, and their colours vary from pink and purple to green and white. This phenomenon can only observed near the Earth’s magnetic poles. While they can be seen from several countries, such as Norway or Canada, many people choose Iceland as the best spot to admire Northern lights. It is therefore important to find the best time of year to visit Iceland to see the Northern lights, as this natural phenomenon can’t always be observed. In Iceland, Northern lights can be seen for almost 8 months per year, from September to mid-April. In order to enjoy the Northern lights, however, you need to have favourable weather and clear skies. There are even specialized tours for those who wish to observe the Northern lights, so this is one of the options. If you are wondering when is the best time to visit Iceland and you absolutely want to see the Northern lights, choose autumn or early spring. Winters are great for observing the skies but the weather might be way too cold.