Discover The Best Time to Travel to Iceland

Written by Em Casalena
Published: June 5, 2023
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There is so much to love about the country of Iceland. Its kind and generous people, the Northern Lights, the beautiful natural scenery, the culture. It’s a truly unique nation that makes for an excellent vacation destination. But when is the best time to travel to Iceland? Let’s break down when you should book your flight and a few fun things to do once you’ve arrived!

What is the Best Time to Travel to Iceland?

In general, the best time to travel to Iceland is between the months of September and March as well as between June and August. That being said, there are some perks to visiting Iceland during other periods of time as well.

For example, shoulder seasons like April, May, September, and October are great times to visit. The balance between tolerable crowds and agreeable weather is provided by visiting during the shoulder seasons. Iceland begins to emerge from winter in the spring, with longer daylight hours, blooming flowers, and more comfortable temperatures. Autumn offers the chance to see the Northern Lights as well as stunning fall foliage. These times of year provide an excellent balance of easily accessible locations, relatively cheap rates, and temperate weather for outdoor activities.

And even if you dislike the cold, it’s still worthwhile to think about going in the winter. The Northern Lights and frozen landscapes are just two of the unusual natural occurrences that make winter in Iceland so special. There are fewer daylight hours each day, and temperatures can range from 14 to 41 degrees F. The winter season offers opportunities for ice cave exploration, geothermal pool relaxation, and winter activities like skiing and snowmobiling. The ideal time to see the Northern Lights is also around this time. However, winter weather may be erratic, and certain regions may have difficult driving conditions.

The ideal time to travel to Iceland ultimately relies on individual interests, chosen activities, and tolerance for crowds and weather. Take into account your preferences for certain activities, your financial situation, and how tolerant you are of various weather conditions and crowd densities before making a choice. It’s also advised to research Iceland’s road and weather conditions before leaving for your trip.

What Are Things to Do in Iceland Between September and March?

Iceland provides a wonderful and alluring experience from September and March, making those months the best times to travel there. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why this is a great period to visit.

Northern Lights

The Aurora Borealis, sometimes referred to as the Northern Lights, is one of Iceland’s most popular tourist attractions. The best time to see this amazing natural phenomenon is during the cold, clear winter evenings. The odds of seeing the dancing lights in the sky, which create a dazzling and memorable spectacle, are much higher from September to March.

northern lights Iceland

The Northern Lights (pictured) is the main tourist attraction of Iceland.

©Thampitakkull Jakkree/

Winter Scenery

During the winter, Iceland’s landscapes experience a spectacular makeover. The countryside is covered with snow, transforming it into a stunning winter paradise. Iceland’s magnificent landscape with freezing lava formations, frozen waterfalls, and snow-capped mountains is very mesmerizing. A photographer’s paradise, the Icelandic countryside at this time is stunningly bare.

Ice Caves and Glacier Exploration

The best time to visit Iceland’s glaciers and ice caves is during the winter. During this time of year, specially constructed ice caves that were cut out by melting glacier ice can be visited by tourists. Visitors may explore these bizarre ice formations on guided excursions and get a close-up look at the brilliant blue ice. Just as well, winter is the perfect time for ice climbing and glacier treks, giving adventure seekers thrilling experiences.

Geothermal Pools and Hot Springs

The frigid winter months make swimming in hot springs and geothermal pools even more alluring. Iceland is known for its geothermal activity. You’ll have a  relaxing and unique experience by swimming in a heated pool while surrounded by snowy surroundings. It is wonderfully calming and pleasant to experience the contrast between the icy air and the comforting warmth of the water.

Wintertime Recreation

The winter season in Iceland provides a wide range of exciting activities for people looking for adventure. There is no shortage of thrilling winter sports to enjoy, from ice fishing and skiing to snowmobiling and dog sledding. Winter in Iceland is a thrilling season to travel because of the country’s distinctive topography and natural attractions, which make it the perfect playground for outdoor lovers.

Smaller Crowds

The months of September through March see fewer tourists than the summer months do. As a result, you can experience Iceland’s breathtaking views and attractions with less crowding and get a close-up view of its natural beauty. The lack of huge crowds makes it possible to appreciate the country’s calm vibe and connect more deeply with its untainted beauty.

Cultural Events

In Iceland, the winter season is also a period for festivals and cultural events. Christmas markets, folklore customs, and seasonal customs provide a fascinating window into Icelandic society. Visitors can take in local customs, watch traditional music and dance performances, and even participate in winter celebrations like the Thorrablót celebration.

All of this being said, it’s crucial to remember that the weather in Iceland during these months may be erratic. Travel arrangements and accessibility to some locations may be impacted by the decreased daylight hours and anticipated snowstorms. Before setting off on any trip, it is essential to be prepared for changing weather conditions, to dress correctly in layers, and verify the local weather and road conditions.

Iceland is best visited between the months of September and March because of the unique experiences they provide. Iceland captivates tourists at this time of year with its breathtaking Northern Lights, winter landscapes, ice caves, geothermal pools, and thrilling winter activities. It is a magical time to discover this amazing nation since there are fewer tourists and the chance to really immerse oneself in Icelandic culture.

What Are Things to Do in Iceland Between June and August?

Iceland’s summer season lasts from June through August. It is often regarded as the ideal time to travel there. Iceland provides a distinctive and lively experience during this time, making it a popular time for tourists to visit. Let’s consider a few reasons why.

Midnight Sun

The phenomenon of the Midnight Sun is among the attractions of summertime trips to Iceland. Iceland has extraordinarily extended daylight hours during this period because of its northerly position, with the sun frequently remaining above the horizon for 24 hours in some regions of the country. This produces a unique environment that makes it possible for tourists to experience Iceland’s natural beauty well into the night.

Mild Weather

Iceland experiences comparatively mild summer temperatures, with ranges from 50 to 59 degrees F on average. Hiking, camping, and other outdoor pursuits, as well as simply touring the area, are all made more delightful by the excellent weather. The highland regions are also more accessible now because of the melting snow, making it a good time to travel there.

Lush Green Scenery

During the summer, Iceland’s landscapes are covered in brilliant and lush vegetation. Colorful flowers, expansive meadows, and gorgeous valleys decorate the landscape. It provides stunning vistas and the chance to capture Iceland’s natural beauty at its peak, making it a photographer’s dream location.

Laki Lava Fields - a volcanic fissure in the western part of Vatnajökull National Park, Iceland

The Laki Lava Fields (pictured) are another beautiful landscape destination to visit in Iceland.

©Stray Toki/

Animal Sightings

In Iceland, the summer is a great time to see a variety of bird species and other animals. It’s a great chance for bird aficionados since puffins, in particular, congregate in enormous numbers along the coastal cliffs. As they migrate to the waters surrounding Iceland at this time, whales may also be seen on boat trips.

The Highlands 

Iceland’s highlands, which are normally impassable during the winter, are now accessible throughout the summer. This enables visitors to experience the interior’s breathtaking scenery, which includes enormous lava fields, glacial rivers, and volcanic landscapes. Popular locations with breathtaking hiking paths and beautiful panoramas open up, such as Landmannalaugar and Thorsmork.

Events and Festivals

In Iceland, the summer is a happy season with many festivals and cultural events happening all over the country. The capital city of Reykjavik is home to a number of music events, notably the Iceland Airwaves, which feature both domestic and foreign performers. Another notable occasion that includes parades, concerts, and fireworks is Icelandic National Day, which is observed on June 17th.

Ease of Travel

The ideal time for road excursions and exploration in Iceland is during the summer. Travelers can go on epic trips to see waterfalls, glaciers, black sand beaches, and other natural wonders thanks to easy access to Iceland’s famed Ring Road and other beautiful roads. The longer daylight hours give travelers plenty of time to savor the splendor of Iceland’s natural surroundings.

While Iceland’s summer season has many benefits, it’s vital to remember that it’s also the busiest time of year for tourists. Popular sights could be crowded, and lodging costs are sometimes higher. Booking lodgings and tours ahead of time will ensure that you get your first choice.

The months of June through August are definitely ideal for travel to Iceland. Iceland comes to life in the summer, with everything from the alluring Midnight Sun and comfortable climate to beautiful landscapes, animal encounters, and energetic events. The period is ideal for discovering the nation’s natural attractions, going on road excursions, and being fully immersed in Icelandic customs and festivals.

How Much Does a Flight to Iceland Cost?

The price of a trip to Iceland can change based on a number of variables, including the point of departure, the season, the airline, the class of travel, and how far in advance the ticket is purchased. The following information should be understood to be based on broad trends and estimations, and real costs may differ.

Major European city-dwellers can fly to Iceland for about $200 to $500 roundtrip on average, though costs can change at any time. The distance between the departing city and Iceland, the airline’s pricing policy, and seasonal demand all have an impact on the price.

The cost of round-trip flights to Iceland is often greater for those traveling from North America. Depending on the departing location and the season, prices might range from $400 to $1,200 or more. Prices typically rise during the summer months and other busy travel times as a result of increasing demand.

When it comes down to it, there are some periods of time that are better for visiting Iceland than others. However, the best time to travel to this beautiful country is, simply put, whenever you want!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © jon lyall/

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About the Author

Em Casalena is a writer at A-Z Animals where their primary focus is on plants, gardening, and sustainability. Em has been writing and researching about plants for nearly a decade and is a proud Southwest Institute of Healing Arts graduate and certified Urban Farming instructor. Em is a resident of Arizona and enjoys learning about eco-conscious living, thrifting at local shops, and caring for their Siamese cat Vladimir.

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