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Your guide to Iceland: When’s best to go, what to do & how to book

Are you itching to travel to an exotic destination? Feed your wanderlust with all you need to know about the best time to visit Iceland.

Published Nov 10, 2023
3 min. reading time
a wide shot of the northern lights in Iceland
Photo: Pexels/ stein egil liland

Known for its scenic landscapes, natural beauty and spectacular northern lights, Iceland has become a popular destination for tourists from all over the world.

But when is the best time to visit Iceland? 

We’ve rounded up everything you need to know before you go. Check out the latest information on the best time to spot the northern lights, the cheapest Iceland vacation packages and the top things to do in Reykjavik.  

Read on before you plan your next trip.

Read more: Shop our favorite luggage sets

When is the best time of year to visit Iceland 

The perfect trip to Iceland depends on what you’re looking for. While there are plenty of sights to see throughout the year, the summer and winter months have their own unique attractions. 

To make your planning a little bit easier, we have compiled a list of the top attractions for each season.


a person in a yellow jacket standing on mountain cliff in Iceland
Photo: Pexels/ Matthew DeVries

If you’re looking for longer daylight hours, warmer weather and a range of outdoor activities, the summer months are a great time to visit Iceland.

What to do in summer

  • Take a tour of the Golden Circle from Reykjavik: Experience the beauty of the midnight sun on a boat tour of Iceland’s most iconic natural attractions.

  • Soak in the views of the Highlands: A remote location in the center of Iceland, the Highlands is great for adventurous souls and avid hikers.

  • Visit the Blue Lagoon: With its healing waters, geothermal spa and panoramic views, the Blue Lagoon is an experience best enjoyed during the summer months.

  • Attend a festival: Take advantage of various cultural, music and arts festivals running throughout the summer.


a person in a red jacket walking on a snowfield in Iceland
Photo: Pexels/ S Migaj

If you want to experience the magic of Iceland as the land of ice and fire, the winter months are an excellent time to travel there.

While the weather is typically cold, and it’s dark for the majority of the day, there are many wonderful sights to discover that you may not be available during summer.

What to do in Winter

  • Spot the northern lights: Shorter days and longer nights make it the perfect backdrop to catch a glimpse of the colorful display of lights.

  • Take a trip to the South Coast: From its beautiful waterfalls, black-sand beaches and glacier lagoons, this area is home to a number of unique wonders.

  • Experience whale watching: Catch minke whales, humpbacks and dolphins in their natural habitats as you learn about Iceland’s marine life.

  • Take a guided tour of an ice cave: Winter is the only time you can see the ice caves in Iceland. Expect exciting adventures, crystal sculptures and plenty more sights to behold.

What month is best to see the northern lights in Iceland?

Many people flock to see the northern lights each year to experience this natural phenomenon. Without a doubt, the best time to see the aurora borealis is during the winter season.

a wide shot of the Aurora Borealis in Iceland
Photo: Pexels/ stein egil liland

Between October and March, Iceland experiences longer periods of darkness (up to 19 hours in certain locations), clearer skies and calm weather

These are the perfect weather conditions for watching this brilliant, natural light display. 

Because the aurora usually lasts just 15 to 30 minutes, your best bet is to find a remote location where there is little light pollution, so you can soak in the beauty. 

What is the best month to visit Iceland to avoid crowds?

According to the Icelandic Tourist Board, just under 1.7 million people visited Iceland in 2022. To avoid crowds of tourists, try to visit Iceland during the less busy months of April or May.

At this time of year, Iceland begins to warm up, and there are more daylight hours. While it’s not the most ideal for seeing the northern lights, you are sure to enjoy mild, sunny days while exploring the country.

What is the cheapest month to visit Iceland?

a group of people walking on a snow covered mountain trail in Iceland
Photo: Pexels/ Pavel Danilyuk

Iceland is a wonderful tourist destination, but it can be expensive. If you are on a budget, you should try to visit during the off-season.

From January through April, you will find cheaper flight deals, reduced hotel rates and lower fees for services such as car rentals.

Despite being cheaper, you should also keep in mind that during these months there is less sunlight. In fact, the average amount of sunlight is only four hours per day.

So, if you want to save money by traveling during these months, make sure to plan ahead and factor that into your itinerary.

Ready to book your trip?

a calm body of water surrounded by mountains in Iceland
Photo: Pexels/ Peter Stewart

Got the Iceland fever? Here’s a short rundown of the best time to visit Iceland:

  • If you want to check off a bucket list experience and see the northern lights, we recommend you travel to Iceland during winter. 

  • But, if you want to escape crowds, the best time to visit is during the off-peak season from April to  May when there are fewer tourists.

  • Finally,  if you’re looking for a memorable trip without breaking the bank, the months between January and April are a good time to travel.

Now, all that’s left to do is book your trip!

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Prices updated on 11/10/2023. We are not responsible for any changes to the prices mentioned above.

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Written by
Lauren Pascal

A self-proclaimed ‘obsessed TikTok user,’ Lauren Pascal uses her knowledge to help readers shop for trendy new products. Lauren is also an experienced travel writer and recently wrote informative pieces for travellers during the pandemic.