When to go to Iceland

Something of a tale of two seasons, Iceland offers the best of both worlds, from summer fun to winter adventure.

The warmer months, in particular, are ideal for some self-drive exploration, with Iceland’s dramatic geography perfect for scenic road trips. Alternatively, if you’d rather someone else does the driving, book onto an escorted tour. Summer also marks the seasonal arrival of two of Iceland’s best-loved animals – the puffins and whales. And, under the soft glow of the season’s Midnight Sun, it’s all that bit more prettier.

Not to be outdone, winter offers a visual display all of its own, with the Northern Lights topping many a travel bucket list. Although they’re visible from as early as October until as late as March, we recommend focusing your search from around late December, when nights are at their longest and the snowfall has settled, leaving clearer skies.

In fact, considering the country’s remarkably good infrastructure, when you visit depends largely on what kind of scenery you’d prefer. If it’s the iconic snowscapes and desolate panoramas you’re after, stick to winter. But, if you can’t be without your lush greens and the cold weather puts you off, look to the middle of the year.

Table showing activities in Iceland
Winter Spring Summer Autumn
Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep
Northern Lights            
              Whale watching
Self-drive - winter          
              Self-drive - summer
              Escorted touring - summer
Escorted touring - winter            
    New Year in Reykjavik                  
              Motorhome hire