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View of basalt stacks near the village of Vik

When is the best time to visit Iceland?

Thanks to its isolated position reached by the Gulf Stream, Iceland enjoys a temperate maritime climate, with short, cool summers and long, surprisingly mild winters. As there’s little fluctuation in temperature, it’s a great year-round destination, although certain activities are seasonal.

There can also be unexpected rain throughout the year, so you should always be prepared for chilly, wet and windy days. Winter blizzards may delay travel plans, and late thaws in the highlands might affect travel in the summer. But, as Icelanders will say: if you don't like the weather, just wait a bit.

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An Icelander once told me there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes choices. No matter what time of year you’re in Iceland and whatever the weather’s doing, you’re left with plenty of things to do. I particularly like visiting between June and mid-August, when you can see puffins and humpbacks and follow hiking trails through the Highlands.

Andea, UK, Ireland & Iceland Specialist

Iceland Climate Guide

Destination Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Blue Lagoon 2°C 104mm 3°C 101mm 3°C 102mm 5°C 82mm 9°C 68mm 11°C 71mm 13°C 67mm 13°C 92mm 10°C 97mm 7°C 124mm 3°C 104mm 2°C 111mm
Dettifoss -2°C 68mm -1°C 52mm -1°C 58mm 2°C 45mm 6°C 38mm 10°C 50mm 12°C 61mm 11°C 66mm 7°C 71mm 3°C 82mm 0°C 71mm -1°C 69mm
Flatey -1°C 87mm -1°C 77mm -1°C 77mm 2°C 57mm 6°C 42mm 9°C 47mm 11°C 51mm 10°C 60mm 7°C 78mm 3°C 102mm 0°C 96mm -1°C 83mm
Golden Circle 0°C 93mm 0°C 92mm 1°C 92mm 4°C 77mm 8°C 60mm 11°C 76mm 13°C 79mm 12°C 92mm 9°C 91mm 5°C 111mm 1°C 97mm 0°C 99mm
Reykjavík 1°C 99mm 2°C 97mm 2°C 99mm 5°C 75mm 9°C 60mm 11°C 67mm 13°C 66mm 12°C 83mm 9°C 86mm 6°C 115mm 2°C 97mm 1°C 100mm
Snæfellsnes Peninsula 0°C 87mm 0°C 85mm 0°C 84mm 3°C 67mm 7°C 49mm 10°C 55mm 12°C 57mm 11°C 68mm 8°C 78mm 5°C 103mm 1°C 94mm 0°C 90mm
Troll Peninsula -2°C 64mm -1°C 52mm -1°C 59mm 2°C 46mm 6°C 33mm 10°C 43mm 11°C 54mm 11°C 60mm 7°C 62mm 3°C 73mm 0°C 62mm -1°C 65mm
Vatnajökull National Park -2°C 174mm -1°C 148mm -1°C 147mm 2°C 123mm 5°C 122mm 9°C 130mm 11°C 122mm 10°C 152mm 7°C 153mm 3°C 199mm -1°C 159mm -2°C 164mm

Month-by-month guide to traveling in Iceland

Orca, Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Visiting Iceland in February

The days grow longer at a surprisingly rapid pace, which gives you more time for sightseeing and makes it easier to travel farther into the Icelandic countryside. At this time of year, you can take trips to see orca in the waters surrounding the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, and there are still good opportunities to witness the northern lights strobing across the sky.

Events & Festivals

  • The Þorrablót winter festival is celebrated from mid-January to mid-February. Þorrablót is an old pagan festival originally celebrated by Iceland’s early settlers over a thousand years ago. Revived in the 1800s, it brings local people together to eat, drink, dance and sing traditional songs. A Þorrablót menu consists of traditional Icelandic delicacies, including hákarl (fermented shark), smoked lamb and svið (boiled sheep’s head). This is typically accompanied with brennivín — a schnapps made from potato and caraway. During this time, many restaurants will offer these dishes on their menus.
  • The northern lights can be viewed in Iceland between early September and early April, if skies are clear and aurora activity is forecast. Chances of seeing them are best between November and February, when the sun sets before 6pm and the nights are longest.

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Trip ideas and travel guides to exploring Iceland