The Best Time to Visit Iceland
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What is the best time to visit Iceland? My best answer is simple….whenever you can visit is the best time. Iceland is a beautiful country that has fascinated tourists for decades. I don’t think there is a bad time to visit Iceland, but it all depends on what you want from your vacation.
So what is the best time to visit Iceland?
This question keeps popping up, especially in August when it seems like half of the world’s population is heading there. So lets start with July and August.
July and August: The “In Crowd”
If you’re trying to avoid tourists altogether, then these two months are not your best choice. Just like people flock to Florida in the middle of the winter, people flock to a cooler spot in the middle of the summer.
August is also the busiest month for domestic travel, meaning that roads will be packed with cars and people coming home from their summerhouses
July and August are great because you have super long days(16-18 hours of daylight), lots of hiking, and lots of people to share the beauty with. You can go whale watching, kayaking, camping, and more because the weather is generally excellent and the roads are all open.
You can see why it is so popular!
September-November: ” The Northern Lights Season”
If you love nature and peace & quiet then autumn is your time! This is also Iceland’s rainiest season but this isn’t too bad because rain usually means fewer tourists. Autumn officially begins with the first snowfall which typically happens in October but September and early October can still be quite nice with warm days and crisp nights.
Mid-September to the end of November is the peak season for the Northern Lights. If you have always wanted to see them, then you are in luck as the autumn equinox makes them very visible.
November also marks the beginning of winter in Iceland with average temperatures falling below zero during the month. As mentioned above, this means fewer tourists so you can explore at your own pace before most of the roads close for the season. (Some may close depending on the weather.)
December – February:” The Dark Season”
This is when the days are shortest in Iceland and when darkness envelops the country for most of the day. But it is also the quietest tourist time, so you can enjoy Iceland without the crowds.
Christmas in Iceland chases away the darkness with strings of light and lots of good cheer. However, the remainder of the winter can feel a little bleak.
On the other hand, you’ll have to deal with cold temperatures (average low: -5°C / 23°F) at night and in early mornings so dressing properly will be important. This also means that some roads might not be open due to impassable conditions, but if you’re doing winter sports, this might be your favorite time of year!
Early February is also the best time for snowmobiling, dog sledding, and cross-country skiing which can be great if that’s your thing.
March-May: ” The Spring Season”
If you want to avoid the darkness and cold of winter, then early spring is your best bet. Not only do the days become longer but there’s more daylight. This means that it will be a little easier for you to plan activities that require some preparation, such as visiting waterfalls or hiking mountains since maps won’t be as challenging to read as they are in the dark.
Major festivals kick off with Winter Lights Festival, which happens in February each year and continues with Reykjavik Food & Fun. From March to May you have a good chance of warmer weather and the return of more daylight.
The downside is that some roads might be closed due to snow or other conditions, so check before heading out.
June: ” The Perfect Season”
This time period brings long days, great weather and lots of daylight to explore
The summer solstice happens on June 21st, meaning long days and lots of nice weather. June is not nearly as busy as July and August and the weather is almost as predictable.
Hiking, Camping, Kayaking, and other summer sports are in full swing without the crowds of later summer.
June isn’t super warm as temperatures hover around 60 degrees, but it is comfortable as long as you have a light jacket.
Plus, National Iceland Day is June 17th, when Iceland became a country after splitting from Denmark.
Which Days of the Week are best to visit Iceland?
If you are aiming for the absolute lowest number of tourists possible, avoid Saturdays and Sundays. While most tourist attractions are open during weekends throughout the year, the high concentration of weekenders means that tourist numbers will be higher than on weekdays.
As mentioned above, this is especially true in August when everyone seems to go to Iceland. If your goal is to have a great night out, though, you might love the atmosphere of hustle and bustle in August.
Weekdays are always a great time to travel because you will pay less for hotels and your crowds will be smaller.
No matter when you are visiting Iceland, you are sure to fall in love with this beautiful island. We visited in late March and loved it despite the darker days and the icy, cold weather. Depending on what you want to see and do will largely determine the best time to visit Iceland for you!
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