When Is the Best Time to Visit Iceland? - A Comprehensive Guide for Every Month & Season

Godkendt ekspert

Kirkjufell mountain on Snaefellsnes peninsula is a great place to visit any time of the yearThere are many reasons to visit Iceland, such as exploring the Golden Circle, seeing the northern lights, or enjoying the midnight sun. However, each time of year brings different experiences and things to do. In this article, we will tell you the best time to visit Iceland and what each season brings in the land of ice and fire.

By understanding how each season offers distinct experiences, you'll be better equipped to plan your ideal Icelandic adventure that's tailored to your preferences and priorities. As Iceland is located in the far northern hemisphere, right at the edge of the Arctic Circle, the differences between seasons are quite dramatic.

The best time of year to visit Iceland, therefore, depends on what you most want to do. Whether you're looking to go whale watching, head to a glacier to explore an ice cave or visit the Westfjords, the time of year is key when it comes to planning your trip.

The Eastfjords of Iceland is a beautiful destinationOnce you've decided on the best time to go to Iceland, we recommend booking accommodation ahead of time to make sure you have a place to stay and to get the most affordable price. If you want to have the freedom to go from place to place with ease and explore as long as you want, you rent a car at Keflavik Airport so you can have it from the start of your journey.

What Is the Best Time of Year to Visit Iceland?

When wondering about the best time to travel to Iceland, first, you need to make a decision on what season works best for you. Iceland's four seasons differ in not only the weather but also the number of daylight hours. Each season has its characteristics and different things to do that may not be available in other seasons.

Iceland in Spring

The cliffs of Latrabjarg in the Westfjords of Iceland look beautiful in springSpring in Iceland, typically from April to May, offers a delightful blend of mild weather and blossoming landscapes. As the snow begins to recede, visitors can enjoy longer daylight hours and fewer crowds at iconic attractions before the high season of the summer starts.

Additionally, spring is an ideal time for birdwatching enthusiasts, as migratory birds, including the charming puffin, return to nest along the rugged cliffs. It's also the last chance to see the northern lights before it gets too bright. Overall, spring provides a serene and picturesque setting for exploring Iceland.

Iceland in Summer

Gullfoss waterfall looks stunning during the summerSummer in Iceland, from June to August, is characterized by the mesmerizing midnight sun, which bathes the country in near-constant daylight. These extended hours offer ample time to explore Iceland's diverse landscapes, from cascading waterfalls to black sand beaches.

The warmer temperatures also make it a perfect season for outdoor activities such as horseback riding and going on hiking tours. Summer is the peak season for the number of travelers, so expect more crowds at popular attractions. However, the opportunity to go on tours of the Highlands and indulge in various festivals celebrating Iceland's culture and history makes it a truly memorable time to visit.

Iceland in Fall

Thingvellir National Park in its autumn foliageAutumn in Iceland starts in September and lasts until the end of November when winter slowly creeps in. The fall season in Iceland displays a captivating transformation as the vibrant hues of the fall overtake the landscape. This period offers a more tranquil atmosphere as travelers' numbers dwindle, and the countryside is adorned with golden foliage.

With cooler temperatures setting in, visitors can still enjoy outdoor pursuits such as hiking and exploring geothermal hot springs without the summer crowds. Fall also brings the return of darker skies, so the chance of seeing the elusive aurora borealis returns. Visiting Iceland in the fall promises a unique blend of natural beauty, space to roam, and opportunities for unforgettable experiences.

Iceland in Winter

During the winter, the Lake Tjornin in downtown Reykjavik becomes a serene placeIceland's winter months, from late November until March, slowly transform the country into a snow-covered wonderland, with crisp air and shorter days. During this season, travelers can embrace Iceland's ethereal beauty by exploring ice caves, snowmobiling on glaciers, or taking a dip in geothermal hot springs surrounded by snowy landscapes.

The long nights provide ample opportunity to chase the magical northern lights or even go on a northern lights cruise, while the festive atmosphere in towns around the country allows visitors to enjoy the local Christmas celebrations and the bombastic New Year's Eve. Although the weather can be unpredictable, visiting Iceland in winter offers a unique experience that highlights the country's enchanting allure.

When to Visit Iceland for Seasonal Activities?

Because of the wide range of different activities and things to do in Iceland, it can be helpful to break down what activities are possible dependent on the time of year. Of course, there are plenty of things you can do any time of year, such as engaging in delicious food tours in the city or exploring the many waterfalls around the country (just wear layers in the winter!), but below are a few of the seasonal-dependent activities that might make or break when you'd want to visit Iceland.

Best time to see the northern lights in Iceland

The northern lights as seen above Jokulsarlon glacier lagoonThe best time to see the northern lights in Iceland is during the dark winter months, from late September to late March. This period provides the longest and darkest nights, increasing the chances of spotting these ethereal lights. However, peak viewing season is between November and February, when nights are at their longest.

Keep in mind that while this mesmerizing phenomenon is largely dependent on solar activity and clear skies, it is also important to venture away from city lights to areas with less light pollution for the best viewing experience. Then cross your fingers and enjoy the show!

Best time to see the midnight sun in Iceland

Seljalandsfoss waterfall as the midnight sun shines oneThe phenomenon of the midnight sun, when the sun is visible at midnight, can be experienced in Iceland during the summer months due to its location near the Arctic Circle. However, the peak time to witness this breathtaking natural event is around the summer solstice, which typically falls between June 20th and 22nd.

During this time, the sun barely dips below the horizon, and daylight extends into the night as the sky turns pink and purple during a long-lasting twilight period. This provides plenty of opportunities for late-night sightseeing, photography, and exciting midnight sun tours.

Best time to go whale watching in Iceland

Whale watching in the town of Husavik in Iceland is an amazing experience

Photo from Original 3-Hour Whale Watching Adventure in Oak Boats

The best time to go whale watching in Iceland typically falls between April and October, with peak season occurring in the summer months of June, July, and August. During this period, the seas around Iceland become a feeding ground for multiple species of whales, resulting in a higher probability of sightings. Minke whales, humpback whales, and white-beaked dolphins are commonly sighted during these months.

However, orcas and dolphins are most commonly spotted during the winter months, specifically from February to March, when Breidafjordur bay becomes a feeding ground full of herring, which can be spotted on this Snaefellsnes whale-watching tour. You can also keep in mind that whale-watching tours are less crowded during the winter, which is another advantage.

Best time to go ice caving in Iceland

Exploring an ice cave in Iceland during the winter is an unforgettable experience

Photo from Best Ice Cave Tour in Vatnajokull Glacier

The optimal time for ice caving in Iceland is during the colder months, typically from November to March. During this period, the temperatures drop sufficiently to freeze the glacial ice caves, making them safe and stable to explore. That's when they're at their most spectacular, with the clear blue ice illuminated by the refracturing sunlight. It's important to note that ice caving should always be undertaken with a guide on professional ice cave tours.

During the summer, most ice caves become too unstable to be visited safely, with two exceptions! You can still visit the ice cave at Katla, near the town of Vik on Iceland's south coast. Additionally, you can visit the ice cave tunnel in Langjokull, which was carved into the glacier itself.

Best time to take a road trip in Iceland

Taking a road trip around Iceland is a great way to explore the islandThe best time to embark on a road trip in Iceland is arguably the summer months, from June to August. It's a great time to rent a car and make use of the long hours of daylight, which offer ample time to explore the country's breathtaking landscapes. The weather is also generally warmer and roads, including those leading to the highlands, are fully accessible. For a fully optimized road trip, there are plenty of summer self-drive tours to choose from.

However, if viewing the northern lights is on your bucket list, consider a road trip between September and March when they are visible after sunset. Be mindful that winter driving can be challenging due to unpredictable weather and shorter days, and renting a 4x4 car is crucial to stay safe. Check out the many winter self-drive tours available, which are fully customized with extensive itineraries and pre-booked accommodations around the country.

Best time to visit the Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon is a warm geothermal pool that is world-renownedThe Blue Lagoon, one of Iceland's most popular attractions, is open year-round and offers unique experiences in different seasons. During summer (June-August), you can enjoy extended daylight hours and warmer temperatures, which makes lounging in the geothermal spa an enchanting experience under the midnight sun.

However, for those seeking to view the northern lights while relaxing in the warm waters, the best time to visit is during the winter months (September to March), although keep in mind that daylight is significantly shorter during this time. Regardless of the season, this warm lagoon often gets busy, so it's advisable to book your tickets to the Blue Lagoon well in advance and try to go early in the morning or later in the evening when it's less crowded. There's also a wide variety of Blue Lagoon tours that incorporate other activities with a visit to the famous geothermal spa.

Best time to go camping in Iceland

Camping in Iceland is only allowed on designated campsitesFor camping enthusiasts, the best time to visit Iceland is during the summer months, particularly from June through August. This period offers milder weather conditions and extended daylight hours. All the camping sites around the country, including those in more remote highland locations, are generally open and accessible during this period. To keep your luggage light, you can simply rent camping equipment during your stay in the country.

While camping in other seasons is possible, winter camping can be particularly challenging due to harsh weather conditions, limited daylight, and the closure of many campsites. Keep in mind that no matter the season, camping outside of designated camping sites is illegal, including parking rental campervans overnight.

Best time to visit hot springs in Iceland

There are hot springs around the country, both natural and man-made such as Hvammsvik Hot Springs

Photo from Admission to Hvammsvik Hot Springs near Reykjavik

Hot springs in Iceland can be enjoyed throughout the year, each season offering its unique charm. During the summer months, from June to August, the milder weather and extended daylight hours allow for more flexible planning. Visiting during the midnight sun can add an extra layer of enchantment to your hot springs experience.

However, many people find the contrast of Iceland's chilly winter temperatures and the warm geothermal waters irresistible. There's also a chance to see the northern lights while you soak, creating a truly unique experience. Just remember that access to some remote hot springs can be more difficult in winter due to harsh conditions, so make sure to always check road conditions and weather before heading out.

Best time to go river rafting in Iceland

River rafting in Iceland is a fun and exciting activity to be a part of

Photo from Whitewater Action in North Iceland

The ideal time for river rafting in Iceland typically falls within the summer months, from June to early September. That's when the weather is warmer and the snowmelt from the mountains feeds the rivers, creating thrilling white-water conditions ideal for rafting. If you're traveling with children, you could even embark on this 3-hour family-friendly river rafting tour in North Iceland.

Although the summer months are best, the season can start as early as May and extend into September, depending on weather conditions.

Best time to go birdwatching in Iceland

Spotting puffins is a great way to immerse yourself in Icelandic wildlifeFor birdwatching enthusiasts, the best time to visit Iceland is during the summer months, specifically from April to August. This is when you'll get to witness the arrival of millions of migratory birds, including the popular puffins, who come to breed on Iceland's cliffs. June and July are particularly rewarding for puffin spotting, such as the Puffin Express tour from Reykjavik harbor.

Also, with the summer's extended daylight hours, you have plenty of time to observe these feathered creatures in their natural habitat. Locations like the Latrabjarg cliffs in the Westfjords, Lake Myvatn in the north, and the Westman Islands are prime spots for birdwatching during this period. However, remember to respect the birds' nesting areas and observe from a safe distance to avoid causing any disturbance.

The Travel Seasons in Iceland

The travel seasons in Iceland change depending on the time of yearIt's good to know what time of year is most popular for visitors in Iceland. Iceland's travel seasons can be broadly categorized into the peak season, shoulder season, and off-peak season. Whether you're looking to go with the flow or avoid the crowds, this is how the travel seasons break down.

Peak season in Iceland

The peak season is during the summer months from June to August. This is because of the long hours of daylight, warmer weather, and the opportunity to engage in sightseeing around the country, and going on road trips on the Ring Road. The peak season shortly returns around the time of Christmas and New Year's during the last half of December into early January, as people visit to experience the festive atmosphere in Iceland during this period of the year.

Shoulder season in Iceland

The shoulder season splits in two, the first being in spring (April-May) and the second during autumn (September-October). During those periods, it's still relatively warm compared to the cold winter, and visitors can comfortably travel between attractions without much worry about snow. The days are certainly shorter than during the bright summer but still give plenty of time for sightseeing. You could even see the northern lights if conditions are right during April or October, even though it's not the prime season for aurora hunting.

Low season in Iceland

Lastly, the off-peak season from November to March (minus the Christmas season!) presents the coldest weather conditions but also the greatest opportunities to see the northern lights, go glacier hiking, dog-sledding, or skiing. Note that daylight is very limited in the winter months, and certain areas may be inaccessible due to weather conditions, such as the Westfjords and the Highlands.

Weather & Daylight Hours in Iceland

Iceland's weather varies significantly throughout the year due to its location close to the Arctic Circle. The country experiences relatively mild but unpredictable weather. Because of its proximity to the Arctic, daylight hours swing dramatically during the year. This can be good to know when deciding when to go to Iceland.

Spring Weather & Daylight Hours in Iceland

Spring is the time of year when flowers start blooming and the weather becomes warmer by the dayIn Iceland, the spring season, which extends from April through May, experiences a significant change in both weather and daylight hours. During this period, temperatures typically hover between 37°F and 50°F (3°C and 10°C), although the weather can fluctuate drastically, with a single day possibly encompassing snow, rain, and sun.

Concurrently, the daylight hours rapidly increase due to Iceland's position near the Arctic Circle. In the early spring, there can be approximately 13 to 14 hours of daylight, with the sun rising around 6 AM and setting around 8 PM in April. However, by late May, daylight can extend up to 20 to 21 hours a day. This significant increase in daylight hours, coupled with the country's blossoming landscapes, marks a vibrant and exciting time to experience Iceland's unique natural beauty.

Summer Weather & Daylight Hours in Iceland

Hallgrimskirkja church in downtown Reykjavik on a beautiful summer dayDuring the summer months, from June to August, temperatures hover around 50-59°F (10-15°C), occasionally peaking around 68°F (20°C). While summer weather in Iceland can still be somewhat unpredictable, with intermittent showers and gusts, it tends to be the sunniest period.

During this season, the daylight hours in summer reach their peak due to Iceland's position. In the early summer months, daylight extends remarkably, offering nearly 24 hours of daylight, peaking around the summer solstice in late June. The sun barely dips below the horizon before rising again, giving birth to the mesmerizing phenomenon known as the Midnight Sun. This astonishing period of prolonged daylight paints the landscapes in a continuous golden hue and offers extended hours for exploration.

Autumn Weather & Daylight Hours in Iceland

Akureyri in North Iceland during autumnDuring the autumn months, from September to October, temperatures typically range between 41-50°F (5-10°C) and can occasionally drop below freezing as winter approaches. The autumn weather in Iceland can be quite variable, with mild, sunny days abruptly changing to windy, rainy conditions. However, it's during this time that the country's landscapes transform into vibrant hues of red, orange, and yellow, offering visitors a strikingly beautiful backdrop.

Daylight hours begin to recede during the autumn months. At the onset of autumn in September, the length of daylight begins to align more closely with the length of night, providing approximately 12 to 13 hours of daylight, with the sun rising around 6:30 AM and setting around 7:30 PM. However, by late October, daylight hours diminish to approximately 8 to 9 hours per day, with the sun rising closer to 9 AM and setting around 5 PM. This creates an opportunity to view the northern lights when the skies are dark.

Winter Weather & Daylight Hours in Iceland

Waterfalls in Iceland take on another form during winter which is worth seeingThroughout the winter months, from November to March, temperatures generally hover around 23-36°F (-5 to 2°C). Winter in Iceland is characterized by its snowy landscapes and shorter, colder days. The weather during this period can be highly unpredictable and can vary from calm and cold days to snowstorms and high winds. Despite the chill, the winter season is incredibly beautiful in Iceland, transforming the country into a winter wonderland with ice-covered landscapes, frozen waterfalls, and the potential for snow-covered mountains and fields.

In terms of daylight, winter marks the period of the shortest days in Iceland due to its proximity to the Arctic Circle. By December, daylight hours can be as short as 4 to 5 hours a day, with the sun rising around 11:30 AM and setting around 3:30 PM. However, this lack of daylight also creates the best time of year to see Iceland's most iconic natural phenomenon - the aurora borealis, which lights up the winter sky with its enchanting and colorful display.

The Best Month to Visit Iceland

If you're not sure when to visit, or if you've already booked your flight and want to know what's going on when you arrive, here is a short overview for each month of the year in Iceland and what you can expect. Clicking on each of the headlines will take you to a much more detailed guide with everything you need to know about that particular month in Iceland.

Iceland in January

The village of Vik on the south coast of Iceland during winterIn January, the Christmas festivities are coming to a close, with the last hurrah being "Þrettándinn" on the 6th of January, when the Yule season officially comes to an end. This is a great time to go see the northern lights, go snowmobiling on glaciers and, of course, visit the many geothermal lagoons around the country to warm you up during the coldest time of year. Make sure to pack some warm clothes or buy proper Icelandic winterwear on Laugavegur shopping street, such as a traditional lopapeysa sweater. If you'd prefer staying within the city, there are plenty of Reykjavik walking tours that you can be a part of, visiting museums and learning about the northernmost capital in the world. If you're heading south, make sure to book a hotel in South Iceland. Explore our wide selection of January tours for some fun things to do in Iceland.

Iceland in February

Hardfiskur (salted stockfish) being hung up to dry in the cold Icelandic weatherIceland continues to be a winter wonderland during February, providing great opportunities to see the aurora, explore ice caves, go glacier hiking, and go sightseeing around the Golden Circle to see some of Iceland's most popular natural wonders. One of the benefits of visiting Iceland in February is that it's during the low season, meaning popular destinations will be a lot less crowded than during the summer. It is also the season of the Thorri festival, a time of year when Icelanders celebrate their ancestors by holding feasts with traditional Icelandic food such as svid (boiled sheepshead), rye bread, salted stockfish (as seen above), and hrutspungar (fermented ram's testicles), among others. Check out the many February tours that are available during the month.

Iceland in March

Sky Lagoon in Iceland is a great destination any time of yearVisiting Iceland in March is great for those that don't mind a bit of cold and want to avoid big crowds as it's still the low season. You can go inside the mesmerizing blue ice caves found in Iceland's glaciers, you can take a dip in the wonderful geothermal waters of the Sky Lagoon and Hvammsvik Hot Springs, and head out of the city to hunt for the aurora borealis. If you'd want to try something different, try out some husky dog-sledding tours on the snow-covered plains with the help of some good boys (petting is included!). Find the tours in March that work for you, and book them ahead of time!

Iceland in April

The powerful Dettifoss waterfall looks great in AprilApril marks the beginning of spring in Iceland, with the grass slowly turning green around the end of the month. It's also the last month of the year when you can reliably see the northern lights, so if that's your goal, make sure to book a flight to Iceland no later than April. As far as other activities go, you can go on epic Super Jeep tours to explore the beautiful nature of Iceland and get to some hard-to-reach places a normal car can't reach and you can also go spot some cute puffins who migrate back to Iceland to nest in the many cliffs around the country. April is also the month when Icelanders celebrate the First Day of Summer, which is an old holiday dating back to the Old Norse calendar, which divided the year into just two seasons, summer and winter. Explore our selection of tours in April to find things to do while visiting.

Iceland in May

The Icelandic horse is a friendly steed and is celebrated on the 1st of May every yearMay is the time of year when spring is in full swing, with grass turning green, and trees turning leafy, and the days getting longer and longer. It's when outdoor activities really open up and give visitors a lot of opportunities to engage in fun things to do. Of course, topping the list is hiking and sightseeing around the country and seeing the many natural wonders that Iceland boasts of. It's also a good time of year to get to know the friendly Icelandic horse, which has lived on the island for over 1000 years, on the many fantastic horse riding tours available. In fact, May 1st is the International Day of the Icelandic Horse! If you don't mind getting wet, you can go snorkeling or diving in the pristine waters of Silfra in the Thingvellir National Park. Check out our selection of tours in May and find something that's just right for you.

Iceland in June

Iceland's independence is celebrated around the country on June 17thDespite the "First Day of Summer" being celebrated in April, June is when the summer in Iceland really starts. Despite the northern lights not being visible because of the round-the-clock daylight in Iceland, seeing the midnight sun is also an absolute feast for the eyes, turning the skies yellow and pink during the extended twilight hours around midnight. The sun never really sets during this month, meaning it's a great time to go on a road trip around Iceland and see everything it has to offer, any time of the day! On June 17th, there are festivities around the country celebrating Iceland's independence which it gained on that day in 1944. Another fun festival is Fisherman's Day which is celebrated on the first Sunday in June to honor the brave Icelanders that risked their lives at sea, past and present, to feed the nation by hauling in fish. There are usually festivities taking place in the harbor area of each town and village around the country. Check out the wide array of tours in June that are available, and you're sure to find something to your liking.

Iceland in July

July is a great month to go on a road trip around IcelandJuly is usually the warmest month of the year in Iceland, and it continues to be bright 24/7, so catching the midnight sun on a clear night is a must-see. This time of year, even the most hard-to-reach places in Iceland are accessible, and a small and cheap rental car is enough to get to most destinations. You can also go explore Iceland's interior on Highland tours in July, which is totally cut off during the winter when the mountain roads are closed. Visiting the northwest of Iceland is also a possibility on the many Westfjords tours during this time of year, which is considered the most remote part of the island. Overall, July is a time of exploring the great outdoors and enjoying the nature of Iceland. Make sure to browse our great selection of July tours, and it's a good idea to book ahead of time as it is the high season.

Iceland in August

Exploring Iceland on an ATV tour is a fun and exciting way to spend the day

Photo from Thrilling 2-Hour ATV Ride on South Coast to the DC Plane Wreck

August is the last month of pure summer bliss in Iceland, making it a great time of year for fun outdoor activities such as feeling the serenity of the water on kayaking tours, getting a rush of adrenaline while zooming across black sand beaches on ATV and buggy tours or braving the rapids of glacial rivers on epic rafting tours. If you'd prefer to take things slow and just enjoy the beauty and peacefulness of nature, go sightseeing and enjoy the many natural wonders around the country. The first weekend of August is a 3-day weekend for Icelanders, with many festivals being held around the country, the biggest one being in the Westman Islands. The festivities in August continue, with Menningarnott (Reykjavik Cultural Night) being celebrated the following weekend and Reykjavik Pride Festival the weekend after that. If you're not sure about things to do, check out our extensive selection of August tours which you can book online.

Iceland in September

Autumn is a beautiful time of year in Iceland, especially in Thingvellir National ParkAutumn arrives in Iceland during the month of September, turning the foliage into a beautiful tapestry of red, yellow, and green. The hubbub of the summer quiets down a bit, and the most popular destinations become less crowded. It is also the time of year when you can reliably spot the northern lights since the long days of the summer are over and the night sky is finally dark enough to see these elusive lights. Thingvellir National Park is especially pretty during this time of year, making it a great destination to visit and learn about both Iceland's history and geology. If you're staying in Reykjavik, it's easy to explore Iceland's south coast in September, which is famous for epic waterfalls such as Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss, as well as the dramatic black sand beach of Reynisfjara, near the town of Vik. September is also the time of fun festivals such as Ljosanott festival in the town of Reykjanesbaer, the Eve Online Fanfest attended by video game enthusiasts all over the world and Iceland's biggest film festival, RIFF (Reykjavik International Film Festival). Check out the many September tours available that you can be a part of.

Iceland in October

The northern lights appear in full force during the month of October in IcelandVisiting Iceland during the month of October is a sweet spot for those that want to see the glory of the aurora borealis but would like to avoid the cold during the height of winter. During October, the temperature ranges between 41-50°F (5-10°C); while not exactly tropical, it is still much warmer than winter at its coldest, yet offers a great opportunity to witness the northern lights. Other activities to engage in include helicopter tours over the amazing natural wonders in Iceland in their best autumn foliage attire or going on fun day trips from Reykjavik so you can explore incredible places while returning back to your accommodation in Reykjavik in time for dinner. If you want to be a part of a special event, the Imagine Peace Tower is lit during a ceremony on October 9th every year. This tower of light was created by Yoko Ono in honor of her late husband, and is lit on John Lennon's birthday and turned off on December 8th, the day of his death. It's located on the island of Videy, just off the shore of Reykjavik, and can be reached via ferry. Make sure to explore all available tours in October and find something fun to do!

Iceland in November

Oxararfoss waterfall in Iceland frozen over during winter with northern lights above itNovember is when winter has fully arrived in Iceland, with a chance of snow or sleet. It's a great time to go visit the ice caves in Iceland or head outside of the city and look for the northern lights under the dark sky, as long as it's not cloudy. Despite the winter weather, that shouldn't discourage you to go sightseeing outside of Reykjavik, as the country's natural wonders are a great sight to behold when covered in snow, such as the frozen waterfalls of Iceland. If you want to explore Iceland even further, there is a great selection of fun winter self-drive tours that take you to all the main attractions around the island. If you're a fan of good music, November is when Iceland's biggest music festival, Iceland Airwaves, is held around the city center of Reykjavik. If you'd prefer to keep it cozy and enjoy some delicious Icelandic cuisine, there's a variety of food and drink tours in Reykjavik and elsewhere that you can be a part of. Explore our November tours and start planning your itinerary.

Iceland in December

December is a time of year when Reykjavik is decorated with Christmas lightsDecember is the time of the Christmas season, or "jól" as it's called in Icelandic. The festivities start on December 11th, when the first of the Icelandic Yule Lads come to town, pranking people and giving gifts to children. One by one, these rambunctious Yule Lads come to town, with the last one arriving on Christmas Eve, meaning Icelandic children can enjoy 13 days of presents up until Christmas Day! Reykjavik and towns around the country are decorated with bright lights and there's a festive spirit in the air. It's also a prime time of the year to see the northern lights, with the winter solstice being on December 21st, a day of only 4-5 hours of daylight. The time between Christmas and New Year's is like a holiday daze when people spend their time reading books, and enjoying their presents until the huge party on December 31st. If you're staying in a hotel in downtown Reykjavik, don't expect much sleep on New Year's Eve because fireworks are lit throughout the night and people celebrate the new year until the early morning. Explore your possibilities and check out our December tours.

FAQs about the best time to go to Iceland

Seljalandsfoss waterfall on Iceland's south coast is a beautiful natural wonder

Can I visit Iceland in winter?

Yes, Iceland can be visited in winter. This is the best time to see the northern lights. However, keep in mind that the weather can be unpredictable and daylight hours are reduced. There is a wide range of winter tours and packages in Iceland that you can explore.

Are the northern lights visible during the summer in Iceland?

The northern lights are not visible in summer due to the long daylight hours. The best time to see them is during clear, dark nights from late September to early April. For the best chance to see these elusive lights, there are a lot of northern lights tours to choose from during the winter.

Is it possible to visit the Golden Circle year-round?

Yes, the Golden Circle is open any time of the year and is conveniently located close to Reykjavik. If you're driving yourself, it's a good idea to rent a 4x4 vehicle if you're going there during the winter in case the roads are snowy. If you don't want to drive, there is a wide variety of Golden Circle tours to choose from.

What should I wear when visiting Iceland in winter?

During winter in Iceland, it's important to dress in layers to stay warm and comfortable. Start with thermal underwear and add layers such as a fleece jacket or wool sweater. Over this, wear a windproof and waterproof outer layer. Don't forget to wear insulated waterproof boots with good grip, as streets can become icy. Warm socks, gloves, hats, and scarves are also essential to protect against the cold.

What should I wear when visiting Iceland in summer?

Even in summer, weather in Iceland can be unpredictable. Pack layers, including a warm jacket, waterproof outer layer, hat, gloves, sturdy footwear, and warm socks. Don't forget your swimsuit for geothermal lagoon visits! You can read our Ultimate Guide on What to Wear in Iceland for tips about dressing appropriately any time of year.

Can I rent a car and drive in Iceland any time of the year?

Yes, renting a car in Iceland is a popular way to explore the country. Do note that weather conditions can make driving challenging, especially in winter. Always check road conditions and weather forecasts before setting out.

When would you most like to visit Iceland? If you have been to Iceland, what time of year did you visit? Let us know in the comments below!

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