There's no bad time of year to visit Iceland, but to get exactly what you want out of your trip you can base the timing on what you want to do or see.
If you’re going to see the Northern Lights, then October to March is the best time to visit Iceland. If you want to spot orca whales, go in February or March. June and July are the best months to see the midnight sun, and they are also the warmest months for hiking.
No matter when you go, there are a number of interesting and fun activities to do throughout the year.
Visiting Iceland anytime between October and March gives you the best chance of seeing the magical northern lights (also known as Aurora Borealis), but it depends heavily on weather and how clear the skies are. To maximise your chances of experiencing this ethereal wonder, we recommend heading out to Midgard, which is about as remote as it gets (reachable only by super jeep) so there won’t be any light pollution.
December through February is the best time to visit the magnificent ice caves of Iceland, and it’s a must-do to visit the Vatnajökull Glacier. Not only is it the largest glacier in Europe, covering about 8% of Iceland, but it’s a truly stunning sight to see (and makes for incredible photography!) Exploring the natural ice caves of the glacier is awe-inspiring and - dare we say - otherworldly.
The best time to go hiking is during the summer months, the temperatures are warmer and there’s a lesser chance of rain. That said, you should still make sure to pack warmly, as Iceland has notoriously unpredictable weather.
Both in Southern Iceland, Thorsmork and Landmannalaugar are two of our favourite places to hike - the rough terrain and stunning scenery make the trek worth it.
June and July in Iceland are the best time to visit to see the famous midnight sun, and in general the days are long from mid-May to early August. If you’re planning to go during this time then you shouldn’t forget to pack an eye mask, as the lack of nightfall can seriously affect your circadian rhythms if you’re not careful! But it’s a site not to be missed. You should keep in mind that July and August are the busiest months to visit, so it’s best to book your trip in advance if you want to go then.
Quad-biking and super jeep expeditions are very popular activities in Iceland. Try going in February or March when the days are lengthening and snow is still around, or go between April and September to experience the excitement of full rivers alongside a beautiful red and yellow autumnal landscape with blue glaciers glinting in the distance. In the summer months you can combine expeditions with hiking under blue skies in the much more pleasant temperatures.
If whale spotting is your thing, you have a few options for when to visit Iceland. February and March are when the orca whales come close to shore on the west coast near Reykjavik, Akjureyri and Westman Island to feed. From May to September you can take a boat tour from Reykjavik to spot humpback and blue whales (among other fantastic ocean life). You can find Minke whales all year, and some humpback stay all year as well, and there are nearly always dolphins.
“In July 2015 our family travelled to Iceland with Jacada. It was by far the best trip we have ever gone on. Tours and activities were perfectly organised, individually tailored to our interests and every day was awesome. Our guide, Eythor, was incredibly knowledgeable, listened to us and added unique activities based on our interests (including finding a local zoo for our boys once he saw how much they liked animals and a pizzeria once we started feeling a bit homesick for NY food). I will definitely travel with Jacada next time around.”
Lorna, 5 Stars
Whatever you want from your trip to Iceland, our team of expert travel designers are ready to help.