When Should I Visit Iceland?
When should I visit Iceland?
When you're going to travel to Iceland depends entirely on what you want to do. In winter you can catch the Northern Lights but in summer you can see the Midnight Sun. In October you can go to Iceland Airwaves music festival, but in September you can catch the RIFF film festival. Here are the major considerations you will want to consider.
If you're wondering what the weather in Iceland is like right now, check out our weather page. In general, Iceland has a mild climate, moderated by the Gulf current. The length of the day varies wildly, from the shortest day around December 21st, which sees about 4 hours of daylight(!) to the longest day around June 21st, where the sun doesn't really set at all.
Winter lasts from late October to late April, the day getting progressively shorter until christmas time, and longer every day after that. Winter weather averages only -2°C (28 F) in the south and in colder places at -10°C (14 F). So it's cold, but it's not that cold. If you're up for a more arctic environment, the North of Iceland will at the coldest average around -25° to -30°C (-13 TO -22). The coldest month is usually January which is also the month with the greatest rainfall.
Summer is mild, but not usually hot. In the south, summer averages reach 10-13°C (50 - 55 F), but it's not unusual to see temperatures of 20-25 °C (68 - 77 °F) on a warm day. The hottest months are usually july and august, which along with june are also the months with the least precipitation.
Some interesting things you can do any time of year. Some things you can only do in summertime or in winter. Other things you can only really do at a certain date. Here are some major tours, activities and events, organised by when they are available. Be sure to follow the links for a more comprehensive guide.
- Take a tour, for example the the Golden Circle tour or a jeep tour.
- The Blue Lagoon spa
- Go shopping
- and enjoy a world-class restaurant
- Take a Helicopter tour
- Ride an Icelandic Horse
- Take a whale watching boatride
- Check out some awesome museums
- There are TONS of things to do in Iceland, from white water rafting to viewing 1000 year old manuscripts. Be sure to surf our website to find more things to do.
Only in Winter
- The Northern Lights - there are many different operators of Northern Lights tours.
- Skiing in one of the many mountains of Iceland.
- Skating on the Reykjavík city pond (depending on weather, check with your hotel or with the police if the ice is safe)
Only in Summer
The Midnight Sun. You can party all night in downtown Reykjavík or take part in a midnight sun golf tournament in the north of Iceland to take advantage of this amazing phenomenon.
Feed the ducks at the Reykjavík city pond. Most of them fly south for the winter.
Activities by Month
Here are some examples of major events taking place in different times, there are literally tons of other things going on.
- Þorri in February. The festival of traditional (weird and often disgusting!) Icelandic food. You can get it in some places all year, but this is the time of the Þorri buffets.
- Reykjavík art festival in May.
- Keflavík Music Festival in June.
- The Arctic Open, the midnight sun golf tournament in June.
- Reykjavik Pride in August
- RIFF Reykjavík International Film Festival in September
- Iceland Airwaves in October
- Christmas and New Year in December