If there is one thing that people always ask me, it’s: “When is the best time to visit Iceland?” And honestly, there’s no right answer! I visited Iceland in late September and it was beautiful. The leaves had already begun to change colours, boasting bright reds and sunshiney yellows. If you want to see the Northern Lights, then winter might be best. For this post, I’ll break down a visit to Iceland in every season. In my opinion, the best time to visit Iceland is — as soon as possible!
If you’re not a fan of the cold and prefer long, warm days (we’re talking about the sun being out until midnight here!) then the summer may be the best time for you. In summer, you’re guaranteed a more comfortable rúntur — Reykjavik’s infamous bar crawl — experience. The night starts with pre-drinking at home until around midnight, followed by a stop at as many bars and clubs as you can visit.
Summer is ideal for day trips too, when the highland roads are open for you to see a different side of the country. Of course, this is a popular time of year and that means higher prices for hotels in Reykjavik.
Personally, I loved the fall. I thought it was beautiful, and it hadn’t gotten too cold by the end of September. The days aren’t as long but prices have decreased significantly from the summer months. Iceland tends to experience storms and unpredictable weather which can have an effect on your trip. September and October are great months to visit Iceland because of the festivals they host, including the Reykjavik Jazz Festival and the Iceland Airwaves Festival.
Winter may be cold but there is just something romantic about snow-capped mountains and snuggling up under a hundred layers. Winter in Iceland is a time for lights: beautiful sunrises and sunsets, Christmas decorations, and of course, The Northern Lights. Attractions start to shut down after September, so double-check that something you have your heart set on will be open. Winter isn’t a great time for moving around because the weather and snow can leave you stranded, but it’s the perfect time to chill and enjoy a bit of Reykjavik’s café culture.
Spring isn’t a particularly long season in Iceland but the days do get noticeably longer and there is the benefit of not having too many tourists around. You won’t get the same beautiful colours as the other seasons but you can travel around with relative ease, compared to winter. If you really want to make the best of a spring visit, try to book your flights for late May. You’ll get the best weather without the high season prices that arrive in June. If you enjoy arts and culture, the Reykjavik Arts Festival has events going on throughout the latter part of the month.