HomeIceland Tours & Vacations 2021-2022Iceland Travel Guide

Best Time to Visit Iceland

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Vestrahorn mountain range and Stokksnes beach in Iceland

Vestrahorn mountain range and Stokksnes beach in Iceland

The best time to visit Iceland is in May, June, August, September, or October.

Iceland is both familiar and unpredictable, only enhancing the dramatic ambiance from the coastline to the highlands. Whether you are looking for a cultural experience or an immersive exploration of the epic scenery, the following will help you find the best time to visit Iceland to meet your travel goals.

You may head for the hills or watch whales from Reykjavik, witness the Northern Lights, or the waterfalls of Dettifoss as you explore the best of Iceland at the right time.

Best Time for Sightseeing

Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon in south east Iceland

Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon in south east Iceland

Best Months: May | June | August | September | October

The best time to visit Iceland for sightseeing revolves around the types of activities available, the accessibility to different destinations, the crowds, and the weather with May to June and August to October giving you most diversity. Iceland isn’t large but it is diverse with certain destinations unreachable in winter and the summer bringing crowds to the most popular areas. By visiting on the edges of summer and into fall, you can experience the different faces of Iceland that gives you access to more exciting possibilities as will as the highlights.

Best Time for a Hiking

Hiking the Laugavegur trail in Iceland

Hiking the Laugavegur trail in Iceland

Best Months: May | June | July | August | September

The best part about hiking in Iceland is how it makes you part of the landscape. Best experienced in summer between May and September, the summer months open the landscape to blossoming fields and foothills set beneath glacial peaks. You can reach the Westfords, watch for whales, and set out into the depths of the highlands to find untouched corners of the country. Hiking is the best way to experience Iceland’s diversity and charms by wandering through the outdoors at your pace.

Best Time for Birdwatching

Puffins in Iceland's Westfjords

Puffins in Iceland's Westfjords

Best Months: May | June | July

Birdlife in Iceland is part of the culture and the best views of both endemic and migratory species are visible from May to July. With approximately 85 species of birds often seen around the island and 330 recorded species, the sky pulses with birdlife and from millions of puffins and razorbills to the possibility of sighting a snowy owl. Whether along the coast, winding through the Highlands, or even searching the urban neighborhoods of Reykjavik, you can find spectacular avifauna like Arctic terns and Common Eider representing the marvelous life of the island.

Best Time for Whale Watching

Humback whale off the coast of Iceland

Humback whale off the coast of Iceland

Best Months: April | May | June | July | August | September

Whale watching has become popular in Iceland. Whales are often found breaching the waters near the island’s shoreline in spring and summer from late-April to early-September, but peaking in summer around July and August. With mink, humpback, blue, and killer whales all passing by, you can easily spot splashing pods from Reykjavik to Akureyri, whether under the Northern Lights or found beneath the midnight sun.

Best Time for Northern Lights

Northern lights over Mount Kirkjufell in Iceland

Northern lights over Mount Kirkjufell in Iceland

Best Months: October | November | December | January | February

The Northern Lights are one of the biggest attractions in Iceland, with the best time to search the skies lasting from October to February. As the days darken for more extended periods in late fall and through the winter, you could find unspoiled views in sparsely populated countryside or even close to the borders of Reykjavik. No matter where you may find the aurora, your best chances for witnessing the colors dancing across the sky narrow into midwinter, around December and January, find that when the midnight sun is away, the Northern Lights can play.

Best Time for Waterfalls

Seljalandsfoss waterfall in Iceland

Seljalandsfoss waterfall in Iceland

Best Months: June | July | August | September

Iceland brims with waterfalls scattered across the country, especially between June and September when winter snow has melted and before the autumn frost has set in. With plenty of rainfall, snow, and large glaciers to keep the cascades flowing throughout spring and summer, witnessing waterfalls in Iceland is a sensory experience. You do not just see the falls but hear their power, feel their mist, and view the waters trundling over steep precipices or pounding down smoothed terraces from Dettifoss to Skogafoss, Gullfoss to Seljalandsfoss.

Best Time with Family Travel

Young girl saying hi to an Icelandic pony

Young girl saying hi to an Icelandic pony

Best Months: May | June | July | August | September

Iceland is a fantastic destination for families with children of all ages eager to find excitement and activity, especially when you travel between May and September. Cultural tours are possible year-round, but the summer months give your entire family access to thrilling excursions in Iceland’s famous pristine nature. The untouched scenery is the perfect place for children and families to discover puffins or hear booming waterfalls, set out on Icelandic horseback, or listen to the stories of elves and sea monsters while hiking a glacier.

More Travel Information & Tips

Moss covered lava field in Iceland

Moss covered lava field in Iceland

Iceland is legendary for its natural beauty with a unique spirit from the wildlife to glacial lakes, pristine fjords to volcanic peaks. Knowing what things to do and the experiences you want to have will help you understand the best time to visit Iceland. Zicasso’s Iceland Travel Guide has information to help you craft your perfect trip. You can also speak with an Iceland travel specialist by filling out a Trip Request or by calling 1-888-265-9707.

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