Iceland is a popular travel destination and there is plenty to see and do throughout the island. But the country has very different winter and summer seasons that can affect what you can see and do when you visit. This means that you should plan your trip carefully and consider what you want to see before deciding what time of year you want to visit. Our guide gives you some tips on the best time to visit Iceland and what you should consider about the weather.


The kind of weather you can expect in Iceland during different months of the year can massively impact your decision on when to travel. Temperatures in the summer are often comfortable and the ice and snow melts to reveal green landscapes. You can expect temperatures above 10°C from May to early September, with highs of 25°C in the warmest days. However, temperatures in the winter are much colder and often fall below freezing, with lows of up to -30°C in Northern Iceland, although this is an extreme with averages of -5°C. The changes in weather can lead to road closures and even the closures of things like museums so check before you book.

Northern Lights

If you are travelling to Iceland in the hope of seeing the northern lights, or Aurora Borealis, then you will want to travel between September and April. The northern lights are only visible during this time of the year but September to October and February to March are some of the best times. This means you will be travelling during the winter months when the temperature starts to fall so make sure to pack your thermals. Winter also offers some stunning scenery with snow-capped volcanoes and ice caves for you to explore.


Iceland is also home to a wide array of wildlife that attracts a lot of tourism as it is difficult to spot elsewhere in the world. This includes excursions to see puffins, orcas, whales and plenty of other arctic animals too. However, due to migration patterns of these animals it is difficult to see all of them on one trip. The best time to visit Iceland to see the wildlife is during the summer months when the temperatures are a bit warmer. Orcas can be seen on excursions in February and March but puffins and other animals can only be seen from April through to September. Many of the excursions only run during the summer months too.

Getting Around

When you have decided what time of year you want to head to Iceland, you will also have to decide how you plan on getting around the island. If you are planning on heading to Iceland in the summer then you will find a better public transport schedule. However, this is somewhat limited as to where you can reach and in some parts of the country is not very regular. The schedule is reduced during the winter and there are some areas that can’t be reached by public transport. The best way to get around the island and see everything is to rent a car. This gives you the freedom to travel the whole island and fits things into a tighter schedule. Reykjavik Rent a Car can help you find the perfect rental to meet your needs.

Download this guide as a PDF and take it with you on your trip.