When sorting through all the various exciting activities and unique aspects that Iceland has to offer, it can be tough to decide when to visit. On this far North island, winters are almost magical.
There’s so much to do to embrace the cold side of Icelandic culture, as Icelanders have done for centuries. But in the summer, the whole country seems to breathe a sigh of relief as the true nature and beauty of the island finally reveals itself. With such enticing options, how do you know when to visit Iceland?
I have good news and I have bad news. The bad news is that there are actually four fantastic times to visit Iceland. The good news is that none of them are bad choices. Each season has its own set of offerings to tourists that have their own merits. It really just depends on what you’re looking to get out of your visit.
Iceland in the autumn gives off a golden glow. The trees are still hanging on to fight off the impending winter’s chill by colouring their leaves all sorts of magnificent hues, especially in Þingvellir. The long summer days are coming to an end and giving way to darkness, as storms start to fill the Icelandic air. Now is the time that the summer and winter peak prices are lowering, and since the peak season is over there isn’t much of a crowd anywhere. Autumn is a peaceful time in Iceland, good for relaxation. Just be aware of potential storms and prepare for possible travel conditions changing.
In the winter, the golden glow of the autumn sun morphs into various warm shades through the winter with magnificent sunsets and sunrises. The snow is light and drifts about when the wind blows, giving off a mythical winter wonderland vibe that only the Nordic countries encompass. A snow-covered Iceland looks sterile, clean, untouched, and absolutely brilliant – especially when an array of Northern Lights hangs overhead. You should plan to stay in one spot during a Winter trip to Iceland, as travel can be dangerous. However, winter is the time for Christmas which comes with delicious mulled wines, beers, and hearty holiday foods.
Spring is a wisp of a season, if you don’t catch it, it’ll disappear fast. However, Spring encompasses most of what makes summer so desirable in Iceland, but skips all the peak prices and crowds. The weather is quite stable and fairly warm, the days are getting longer and brighter with each passing one, and it’s the perfect time for road trips and distant sight seeing.
While summer is the most popular time to visit, popular doesn’t always equal the best. The days are long and bright, the weather is pretty consistently beautiful, and the green of the grass, trees, and plants is bright and thick. In summer, the highland roads open which expand your travel capabilities to hard-to-reach, more raw parts of Iceland. Unfortunately, prices go up in the summer as larger crowds are drawn in.
As you can see, there’s no clear “best” time to go to Iceland. It just matters what you want to get out of the trip. If you’re not a cold-loving person, there are still good options for visiting Iceland without freezing down to your bones. But we recommend giving winter Iceland a chance, as it has layers of beauty and mystique that other countries cannot possibly offer. Plus, the Icelandic people are masters at finding ways to keep warm!