Einar Páll Svavarsson
When is the best time of year and season to visit Iceland?
Updated: Mar 20
Summer has always been the best season to visit Iceland and travel around this remarkable country. Years ago, before international tourism set foot in Iceland, we Icelanders only traveled during the summers—around the country and into the Highland for camping and hiking. Summer in Iceland stretches over three months, from the beginning of June to the end of August. And even though summer only lasts for three months, it is by far the best time to explore the country. It is the most favorable time for any road trip—be it a tour of the Westfjords, the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, and Reykjanes Peninsula or just a simple drive to the Ring Road, or even a day-long excursion to one or more of the many magnificent natural wonders it is host to. There are numerous reasons for this period being the most suitable time to visit Iceland.
Summer in Iceland
Since Iceland is situated in the planet’s northernmost part, hinging the arctic circle, this place is never warm, even during summers, unlike most countries worldwide. Additionally, the weather here always remains rather unpredictable. In the summer months, however, the temperature varies from around 6 °C to 18 °C (42 °F to 60 °F). The weather itself stays relatively calm and stable—the gusts of winds and rainy days are but an occasional occurrence (the precipitation is around 6 mm–10mm). More importantly, during summer, all the roads are open, well-maintained, and comfortable to drive on. Visibility on the roads is good, and it is by far the best time to drive around the Icelandic countryside. It would also do you some good to remember that Iceland is an extremely small island, and you can easily drive from one end of the country to another, all in a day’s time. The distance from Reykjavík to one of the easternmost towns Egillsstaðir is only about 650 kilometers (around 403 miles)! If you follow the weather forecast, you can easily change your travel plans without muddling up your itinerary.
The most beautiful season, and 24 hours of daylight
Since most travelers visit Iceland to feast their eyes on one or more of its natural wonders, summer is the most beautiful season for this indulgence. In summers, everything in Iceland is blooming and bursting with colors. It is also the most suitable time for camping and any other kind of outdoor activities. All restaurants, hotels, camping grounds stay open in every town and village along the coastline. It is during summers when the Icelandic wilderness, the Icelandic Highlands, are also accessible by travelers. And, of course, last but not the least of its lures, this is also the time of the year when Iceland receives 24 hours of daylight and basks in the warmth of the midnight sun. For all these reasons and more, summer is truly the most wonderful time to visit Iceland. And, as for families, those travelling with young adventurous minds, the country offers the most unique vacation spot.
Tours and activities during summer
Everything that the country has to offer in terms of activities and adventure tours is available in the summer months. It is a great time to watch whales and puffins go for sea tours and tread on glaciers. It is an excellent time to hike, and is, at times, the only time to enjoy these exceptional activities. The greatest variety of short tours to exotic places, spectacular landscapes, or highland adventures can be relished at this time. This is also the most excellent time to enjoy Reykjavík—the one-of-its-kind small city with its colorful nightlife that unfolds on bright and sunny nights.
Accommodation in summer
With Iceland’s ever-growing tourist appeal, finding proper and affordable accommodation during summer can be very difficult. Often, most, if not all, hotels and guest houses are more or less fully booked for the summer in March and April. So, if you are planning to travel during the summer months, you must book early. Accommodation is expensive at this time, only getting pricier as summer approaches. One alternative, of course, is to camp at some of the spectacular sites around the country. It is definitely one of the advantages you can enjoy during summer. And for this, you should remember that almost every town and village in Iceland boasts a good camping site and great swimming pools with great showers.
The bottom line for summer - the best time to visit Iceland
Anyone who is planning to have a great vacation in Iceland should visit the country in the summer months. It is the best time to witness its most fascinating natural wonders, bask in its exquisite weather, enjoy long hours of daylight, and make the most of hikes and camping in its remarkable courtside. It is also the perfect time to enjoy the tranquil places and personal sanctuaries, appreciate the beauty of the highlands, and to explore the entire country overall. It is also the only time when every service and every tour operator is open for business along the coastline as well as the inlands.