Planning for a vacation calls for more than just booking your plane ticket and getting your accommodation sorted out. Iceland is one of the few countries that receive excellent reviews from past visitors. You’ll want to visit Iceland if you’re on a budget or have some extra bucks to spend.
Here’s a look at what makes Iceland a unique tourist destination and the best time to go to Iceland.
Why Should You Visit Iceland?
Iceland is a magical destination with a lot to offer. Some of the reasons you should visit Iceland include:
- Icelandic geothermal baths
- The Northern lights
- Midnight sun
- Icelandic glaciers
- Diverse food options
- Icelandic mountains and volcanoes
- The Blue Lagoon
What’s the Best Time to Visit Iceland?
Iceland is in the Northern Atlantic Ocean, and it’s an island. That is something that makes the country experience heavy snowstorms and harsh winters. While each season has something different to offer, each season comes with unique benefits. If you’re thinking of when is the best time to go to Iceland, here’s a breakdown of the different seasons and what each has to offer.
Summer in Iceland begins in June and ends in August. The season offers a lot to explore if you want to take a tour of the Westfjords, take a road trip to the Golden Circle, or explore the Reykjanes Peninsula.
The roads around are well maintained, open, and ideal for driving on. Also, you can enjoy excellent visibility on the streets. One fantastic fact is Iceland is a small island and you can drive from one end to another in a day.
In summer, nature is bursting with colors, and everything around is blooming. You can find camping grounds, restaurants, and the villages along the coastline open. Furthermore, you can access the Icelandic Highlands and the Icelandic wilderness during this season. You’ll be happy to know that it’s only in summer when Iceland receives 24 hours of daylight. Anyone can bask in the
warmth of the midnight sun.
However, it’s critical to note that since Iceland is in the northern part, the place doesn’t get warm even in summer. The weather is unpredictable, and you may experience occasional rainy days and gusts of winds.
Activities to Take Part in During Summer
Summer months offer a range of activities and adventure tours. You can opt to watch whales and puffins tread on glaciers. Also, you can go hiking or explore the spectacular landscapes. If you’re more about the nightlife, Reykjavik has lots of activities you can take part in bright nights.
Accommodation in summer
Finding affordable housing during summer in Iceland can be difficult as it’s considered a high-peak season. Most hotels are booked for the summer in March. You’ll have to book earlier if you’re planning on visiting during this season.
Alternatively, you can opt to camp at various places around the country. Every town has a fantastic camping site with excellent warm pools, which would be more economical. Hostels also provide affordable and versatile accommodation options. You can find a hostel with a community kitchen where you can cook your meals. However, some hostels offer breakfast with your stay.
Spring runs from September and goes all the way to May. The months between January and May have the lowest tourist crowds, which makes them ideal to find accommodation and cheaper flights.
April and May are the driest, warmest, and sunniest months in Iceland. You can get value for your money during these two months. Also, you can enjoy full brightness to midnight as the length of daylight runs up to 20 hours.
Activities to Do in Iceland in spring
Puffins arrive around mid-May. You can go puffin watching around the South and East Coast. Reykjavik also hosts several puffin watching tours. Ice caves are another feature to explore during spring as they are fully bright
Horseback riding is another activity you can take part in during spring. Icelandic horses have fluffier hair and are smaller than their equine relatives are. Visiting during spring means that you don’t have to worry about the
crowds. You can visit sea stacks, beautiful waterfalls, sea cliffs, and black sand beaches.
The Golden Circle has the secret lagoon, which is the largest natural geothermal lake. You can enjoy the geothermal paradise with mud boiling and tiny geysers. The temperatures can go up to 39 degrees centigrade, which makes this place a must visit.
If you love diving or snorkeling, you can visit the Eurasian tectonic plates with clear natural water. Although the water is cold, it doesn’t freeze, something that makes it possible to dive in a drysuit.
Furthermore, you can go for a hike or camp. Nevertheless, you’ll need warm sleeping bags and a four-season tent. Favorite hiking trails open around mid-June. The trails are accessible via the roads, and you can find other trails along the coast.
The autumn and fall season is also a great time to visit Iceland. However, the weather gets cold and the days are short. The good part is that the season boasts of clear skies and spectacular light. Autumn starts in September and lasts up to Mid-November.
During this season, the temperatures drop, but the roads are easy to traverse. At times, you may come across slippery roads for places with higher altitudes, the highland roads, and mountain passes. Some roads close in late September or early October.
Activities during Autumn/Fall
While this season has some limitations, it also
has several advantages. Professional photographers will find this month appealing as the lighting and weather conditions are ideal. Also, the golden hour is longer than it is in other countries.
Late September and October offer some of the spectacular Northern Lights sightings. The best part is there are fewer visitors than other months.
Accommodation during Autumn/Fall
Most camping places are closed during this time of the year. Nonetheless, if you’re prepared with sleeping bags and tents that can withstand the temperatures, you’re good to go. Also, you can find hostel accommodation or opt for a hotel with bed and breakfast options. Iceland is the least expensive during this period; you might want to take advantage of this fact.
The other time you may want to visit Iceland is from October till February, which is winter in Iceland. You may experience snowstorms with strong winds during this period, as the weather is unpredictable.
Moreover, you can expect snowfall during this period as the temperatures stay around three degrees centigrade. Driving during winter in Iceland is difficult as the roads are slippery. However, you can use a driver who’s familiar with the streets.
Activities during winter
While this may not be the best season to travel to Iceland, you still have the option to enjoy other activities. You can visit the hot springs with frozen surroundings. Also, you can visit waterfalls like Gullfoss, Skogafoss, and Gooafoss.
The New Year’s Eve witnesses spectacular firework show, something that could be an attraction in winter.
Accommodation in winter
You can find more accommodation options during winter as there are fewer tourists. However, you need to plan early as most restaurants remain closed in some towns and villages. Camping is not an option as the temperatures are too low to withstand.
5 Essential Things to Know Before You Travel to Iceland
Here are some must-know tips to know before you travel to Iceland
Iceland is an unpredictable country in regards to road conditions and the weather. You don’t want to get to Iceland and find all the hotels booked. You need to plan your itinerary ahead of time; this includes your accommodation and the activities you plan to explore in Iceland.
Iceland has massive waterfalls, beaches with huge waves, and volcanoes. You don’t want to incur injuries or even die when you could have avoided some incidents. Be smart and avoid areas that may put you at risk.
You Don’t Need Cash
Iceland is not a member of EU, and it doesn’t use the Euro. You can make your work easier by traveling with a credit or debit card. You can use the card at the gas station, at the restaurant, or when booking a hotel. If you need to carry cash, you can exchange at the airport for convenience.
Icelanders are Friendly
Icelanders despite living in a cold climate are warm and friendly. Take the opportunity to interact with the locals to get a sense of their culture and society. The best part is that the locals can communicate in English, which means you won’t have a language barrier.
Take Your Time to Explore the Countryside by Renting a Car
Although the weather in Iceland is unpredictable, you can rent a car and spend some time on the open country road. With a car, you have the freedom to explore various places without restrictions.
Iceland is a beautiful place to visit. When deciding on the best time to go to Iceland, it comes down to personal preference. Get to know what each season offers and choose based on what you plan for the trip.