When to go to Iceland

When to go to Iceland? Climate and Period – 2024

Knowing when to go to Iceland and the best period, based on climate , weather and temperatures , will allow us to better organize the trip to this Nordic nation . Here, we will learn about the climate of Iceland during its seasons , allowing us to organize according to our needs and according to the areas we wish to visit. The wonderful Land of Ice and Fire , in the Scandinavian region , is absolutely worth discovering, among geysers , waterfalls , volcanoes and spectacular national parks . Let’s discover together the best time to visit the country, thus making your trip to Iceland perfect!

The Climate of Iceland

To best organize your trip to Iceland it is important to know its temperatures and climate based on each season and the area you want to visit. Finding out what is the best time to go to Iceland. In fact, the climate can influence our travel experience in several ways. The climate in Iceland is subarctic : windy, cloudy and fast almost all year round. Due to its latitude and exposure to the winds from the Pole , mitigated however by the Gulf Stream and the Ocean, temperatures are cold and the weather very variable.

Between night and day, as well as summer and winter, there are few climatic variations , such as sunny periods. Not being reached by the Gulf Stream, the north coast is colder. In the south , precipitation is abundant, present in lesser quantities in the north and in the central plateau , but well distributed throughout the year. The best time to go to Iceland, therefore, is summer . Instead, if you dream of seeing the Northern Lights , the best period is from October to March.

So let’s see in detail when to go based on the weather, climate and temperature in Iceland, discovering the best period.

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Read also: ICELAND What to See and Do – Guide 2024

Coastal climate

Let’s see the climate, weather and temperatures in Iceland on the coasts , where the main cities are located . On the southwestern coast we find Reykjavík , the capital. Here the sunny days are discreet between summer and spring, and the days get longer. Instead, between November and January, the sun is almost always overcast and the days are very short, recording only 1,300 hours of sunshine during the year. The Icelandic Sea towards Reykjavik has temperatures of 5° to 10°C in August. Here, fortunately, there are many spa areas that allow you to swim in any season.

To the south , towards the Vestmann Islands for example, the sea in August reaches 12°C. On the north coast , inside the fjord , we find the second city, Akureyri . Here in Iceland winter temperatures range from -0.5 to 12°C in summer. The weather and climate, being sheltered from the winds coming from the south, make it the least rainy point in Iceland. To the north the sea is colder, with highs of 8°C. Even in summer towards the northern island of Grimsey the summer temperatures are lower than in the south, finding wind and cold even in summer during the day during excursions.

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Reykjavik, the Icelandic capital

Internal climate

Let’s move to the internal areas of the country, to understand the best time to go here through its climate, temperatures and Iceland weather. Arid land barren of fire and ice , geothermal activity presents many hot thermal springs , geysers and glaciers that reach even to low altitudes. The melting of glaciers, due to the proximity of hot sources, often causes floods . Furthermore, central Iceland is characterized by sandy terrain without trees.

This is why dust storms are frequent . Inside we also find mountains and plateaus , with Icelandic temperatures decreasing as you rise in altitude , finding cold weather and heavy snowfall in summer , with perennial snow at high altitudes. Due to climate warming , however, the glaciers here too are shrinking. In Hveravellir , a geothermal location within Iceland, the temperature reaches -15°C between November and April.

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Hveravellir, geothermal site in the highlands

Iceland Temperatures, When to Go?

As we have seen, based on the areas we want to visit, the climate in Iceland, the weather and temperatures do not undergo many variations, even during seasonal changes. In general, any time of the year is ideal for a trip to Iceland, as it acquires a unique charm in every season. The best time to visit Iceland , however, is certainly summer, allowing us to discover the island in all its parts, like spring. Winter and autumn are also not advisable for a trip to the country, but many facilities in the north may be closed, such as roads . However, winter remains the most recommended period to admire the beauty of the Northern Lights, as there are fewer hours of sunshine.

Below, we will analyze each season , also listing any holidays and events. Advising you on trips and the best time to visit the country based on the climate and weather in Iceland.

Winter in Iceland

As anticipated, if you are thinking about when to go to Iceland during the best period, winter could be one of them if you are looking for the Northern Lights ! Furthermore, the temperatures and climate in Iceland during the winter are not as cold as you might think . In Reykjavik , in the flat area , it is around 0 and rarely goes below. Furthermore, there may be higher temperatures, having rain instead of snow. On the northern coasts , however, winter is slightly colder and the sea inside the fjords can freeze . However, in Iceland the winter season is very long and temperatures rise slowly.

Snowfalls are frequent from October to May, and in the north it can also snow from June to September. In winter , cold waves must also be taken into account , albeit brief, which can bring temperatures down to -15°C in Iceland due to the winds from Greenland . The month with the lowest temperatures in Iceland is usually February . If you wish to travel to Iceland in winter, you need to have thermal and waterproof technical clothing with you , shoe hooks and a swimsuit for the spa !

Spring in Iceland

Spring is a cold month , very similar to winter and the Icelandic climate is still characterized by snowfall and frost, but with longer days . The season runs from April to May , although the first day of summer for Icelanders is celebrated on April 18, which is also a national holiday. In Reykjavík the first flowers are starting to bloom, as along the coasts, and the snow is melting on the highlands. Puffins also arrive in Iceland in spring , remaining on the island until September. Spring temperatures in Iceland in the capital range from 0 to 10°C and it is still possible to spot the Northern Lights during days with mild weather. Furthermore, as it is not high season it can be an ideal period for the least expensive trip.

Summer in Iceland

If you are still wondering when to go to Iceland, and are thinking about summer for your trip, let’s look at the weather, climate and temperatures this season. The Icelandic summer, as seen, is one of the ideal seasons for your trip. Furthermore, in summer the phenomenon of the midnight sun also occurs , with very long days, even reaching 21 hours of light . In Reykjavik the white nights occur from April 27th to August 15th. In summer all tours are available and nature lights up in a fantastic way, including waterfalls, glaciers and volcanoes, also allowing for excellent trekking .

Autumn in Iceland

Finally, autumn, with its climate and temperatures in Iceland, is not the ideal season, but neither is it not recommended for a trip to Iceland. In fact, thanks to the weather, climate and temperatures, Iceland in autumn is colored with magnificent shades and prices are still low, waiting for the first snowfall. Furthermore, it will still be possible to admire some Northern Lights . However, it must be taken into account that the weather in Iceland in autumn is rainy, cold and windy: nothing that however cannot be faced with the correct technical clothing , never forgetting waterproof shoes and thermal socks either! Temperatures can range from 0 to 10°C , with more wind than in spring. Many tours may already be closed and the birds begin their migration. Furthermore, Icelandic autumn lasts from August to October and there are also fair hours of daylight .

Iceland Climate, When to Go?

After having shown you what is the best time to go to Iceland based on the climate, we have seen that the ideal season to visit the country is summer.

So, when is the best time to go to Iceland ? Let’s see together the table with all the details to find out when to go based on the months of the year.

Months per year*****=mild
*****=more expensive

FAQ, Iceland When To Go

Below you will find frequently asked questions from our travelers to see together what is the best time to go based on the weather in Iceland, its climate and temperatures.

When is it best to go to Iceland?

The best time for Iceland is summer.

When not to go to Iceland?

There are no particular periods not recommended for going to Iceland.

When to go to Iceland to see the Northern Lights?

Officially, the season to see the Northern Lights is from October to March, although they have been spotted as early as August or as late as April.

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