Travelers planning their first trip to Iceland frequently ask when the best time is to visit this beautiful wonderland. The answer is pretty common: When it's warmest. Higher temperatures are reached during the summer months of June, July and August. However, that's when there's also a higher number of tourists. So when is the best time to visit? It depends on your personal interests and travel style.
Summer in Iceland
Summer in Iceland is one of the best times to visit because the weather is pleasant and the sun barely sets, a natural phenomenon called the Midnight Sun. If you like long days to explore the outdoors, you'll love that there are about 20 hours of daylight this time of year.
June is when there's the least chance of rain, July is the warmest with an average of 60 degrees Fahrenheit and the weather in Iceland stays mild until late August. Come mid-September, though, almost all summer activities, such as visiting the highlands, swimming and hiking, end until May.
Winter in Iceland
Don't let the name Iceland fool you: The winters here aren't particularly bad. In the lowlands, temperatures average 32 degrees Fahrenheit whereas the highlands average 14 degrees Fahrenheit. However, in the northern part of the country, temperatures can dip down to 22 below zero.
Summer has the benefit of long days but come winter, daylight shrinks to about five hours, a period called the Polar Nights.
If you can endure little sunlight, the question of when to visit Iceland suddenly becomes much harder, because Iceland also has much bolder things to offer in winter: never-ending nightlife in Reykjavik, the viewing of the beautiful Northern Lights and plenty of outdoor snow activities such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling.
The colder part of the year is also when flight prices to Iceland fall drastically and local hotels suddenly cut prices by more than half. Budget travelers wondering when to go to Iceland should aim for February or March because those months have more daylight than the earlier winter months.
Now that you know what to expect, it should be easier to decide when the best time of the year is for you to go. But really, with all its natural beauty and outdoor activities, anytime is a good time to visit Iceland.