Iceland is one of the most spectacularly beautiful countries in the world that’s still relatively less trampled upon by the tourist circuit, most likely due to the exorbitant prices.
Weather-wise the best time to visit Iceland is the summer, where you have relatively less chance of encountering foul weather. On the flipside, summers are relatively crowded which means prices shoot up quite a bit but you can always book an Iceland tour to save some money. But no worries, the offseason is pretty special too.
The best time to visit Iceland depends on you
“What’s the best time to visit Iceland?” is a vague and unhelpful question to ask because it totally depends on what you’re interested in doing. That naturally gives rise to the question, “So what’s there to do in Iceland?” which means now we’re getting somewhere.
Iceland’s main attraction is its breathtakingly beautiful natural scenery, which remains gorgeous throughout the year in its different hues and seasons. But the activities you can do at different times of the year vary, as listed out below.
Witness the northern lights in the winter
Also called the aurora borealis, it’s a spectacular interplay of green, blue and red light in the night sky. Since you require the sky to be dark to see it, you can’t enjoy this show of nature in the summer at the time of the midnight sun.
The best time to visit Iceland to see the northern lights is therefore from September to April, when the Arctic is shrouded in darkness.
Explore the uninhabited interiors in the summer
Iceland gets crazy expensive and as crowded as it can get in the summers. Everything is lush green, the snow melts and traveling is less treacherous.
Of course, the country is large enough to handle everyone and you won’t feel suffocated by the throngs of tourists, but if you’re an extremely misanthropic loner type a la the Unabomber, then maybe you want to head out to the uninhabited interiors. You can rent a car and visit the highland roads that only open in the summer months. The sparse and barren landscape there is guaranteed to put your existence in perspective for you like nothing else.
Another splendid place to go to beat the crowds is the Langanes peninsula. It is located in North East Iceland and usually skipped by the crowds doing the Golden Circle Iceland rounds. It has only one village and no mobile connectivity but offers views of nature at its rawest and prettiest. The coastline here is especially spectacular. The only place that offers accommodation in the area is Ytra Lón Hostel.
Go diving in Lake Thingvallavatn in the autumn
This is not to say you can’t go diving in the summer here. This lake is situated at the edge of the Thingvellir National Park, which was designated UNESCO World Heritage Site for cultural value in the 2000s.
The Park is the site of an open-air assembly where laws were formulated for the entire country from the 10th century till 1798. It is in an active volcano region enclosed by mountains on three sides, and you can clearly see the rift between two major tectonic plates here, especially inside the lake.
While beautiful at all times, the autumnal hues of the park are simply breathtaking. It helps that lesser crowd means you get competitive rates on diving tours and hotels too.
Go whale watching at any time
Whale watching is also an attractive activity in the Iceland and there are plenty of tours you could book for it. Nothing will prepare you for the majesty of coming within a few feet of surfacing whales in the waters.
Happily, for you, the best time to visit Iceland to enjoy watching whales is any time of the year.