Climate in Iceland

Iceland lies on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and near the Arctic Circle. Because of this location, Iceland has a cool oceanic climate . Cool summers and mild winters are characteristic of the climate. The reason for this is the Gulf Stream, which brings warm temperatures. The warm Irminger current also ensures that it is warmer on the south coast compared to other regions. On the northeast and southwest coast, however, it is fresher due to the Greenland Current. Are you going to Iceland in the summer, you can look forward to daytime temperatures between 12 and 15 degrees Celsius. In winter they are between 0 and 3 degrees Celsius. Basically, it is warmer on the coasts than in the interior of the country. There are also small regional differences in terms of precipitation. According to historyaah, the region of the largest glacier in Iceland, Vatnajökull, has the greatest rainfall. In the south the amount of precipitation decreases and in the north in the plateau it rains the least. The beginning of the summer months is the wettest months of the year. The following table shows the climatic conditions for each individual month. This results in the best travel time for Iceland .

Climate table for Iceland (Reykjavik)

Jan Feb March Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature in ° C 2 3 3 6 9 12 13 13 10 7 3 2
Min. Temperature in ° C -3 -2 -2 0 4 7 8 8 5 2 -1 -3
Hours of sunshine per day 1 2 4 5 6 5 6 5 4 3 1 0
Rainy days per month 13 13 14 12 10 11 10 12 12 15 13 14

Best travel time for Iceland

If you want to explore the island landscape in all its beauty, you should choose the summer months as the best travel time for Iceland . June , July and August are perfect for your trip to Iceland. During these months the daytime temperatures are highest. They average 12 to 15 degrees Celsius and in some regions can climb to over 20 degrees Celsius. Furthermore, June, July and August are considered the best time to travel to Iceland, as the days are the longest in these months. Look forward to five to six hours of sunshine a day. That is considerably more than in the winter months. Another advantage of the summer months in Iceland there are comparatively few rainy days. Expect an average of a maximum of twelve rainy days per month in summer. Due to the good weather conditions, June, July and August are high season . This is the time when most of the tourists come to Iceland.

The best travel time for Iceland in the monthly overview:

  • June: 12 ° C, 5 hours of sunshine, 11 rainy days
  • July: 13 ° C, 6 hours of sunshine, 10 rainy days
  • August: 13 ° C, 5 hours of sunshine, 12 rainy days

In order to extend the optimal travel time a bit, you can also use the months of May and September use for your vacation on the island of fire and ice. In May, spring slowly goes by and temperatures rise. Autumn falls in Iceland in September and the temperatures are not yet too cold. If you prefer winter temperatures, you can do everything right with a trip to Iceland in the winter months. The temperatures are then milder than many expect and usually do not fall below -3 degrees Celsius at night. However, winter is more often plagued by rain, as you can see in the climate table above. Anyone planning their trip in spring must be prepared for the fact that they may not be able to explore all corners of the landscape. In the spring, the winter snow begins to melt and the roads in the heart of the island can be closed.

In the best travel time, exploration tours over the island are ideal. The meadows are lush green and invite you to wonderful hikes. The vegetation is blooming and offers you wonderful views. Alternatively, you can explore the landscape on a mountain bike or in a kayak from the water. You also have the opportunity to go on glacier tours. Summer in Iceland has many activities in store for you to get to know the country and its people better.

Best time to visit the Northern Lights in Iceland

Best time to visit the Northern Lights in Iceland

The Icelandic landscape of volcanoes, geysers, waterfalls and glaciers attracts numerous tourists every year. Another natural spectacle has a special attraction: the northern lights . Although the summer months of June, July and August are generally considered to be the best travel time for Iceland, you have to travel at a different time to see the Northern Lights. The winter months from October to March are considered the best time to visit the Northern Lights. This time of year you have the greatest chance of experiencing the natural phenomenon. However, the months are no guarantee that you will see the mostly green lights. Cold, dark and clear polar nights offer the perfect conditions to see the Northern Lights. When clouds cover the sky, the northern lights have no way of getting through.

Best time to visit Iceland for whale watching

Best time to visit Iceland for whale watching

In summer, when it is warmer in the northern regions of the world, the whales come back from the south. Because of this, summer is the best time to go whale watching . June , July and August in particular bring you the unique experience of seeing whales in their wilderness. But you can also book whale watching tours in May, September and October and, with luck, see the large sea creatures. Humpback and minke whales as well as fin whales and dolphins are waiting for you. If you are particularly lucky, a blue whale might come in front of the lens. Reykjavik and Húsavik are popular spots for whale sightings .

Winter as the best travel time

Winter as the best travel time

Not everyone wants spring-like temperatures on a trip to Iceland. Many prefer the cold in the winter months. During this time of year, the temperatures drop to and below 0 degrees Celsius, but the weather is mild. You are presented with a unique landscape. Many parts and especially the plateaus are covered with snow. The waterfalls are frozen and the glaciers glisten in the wintry sun. Anyone who loves snowy and adventurous landscapes has to come to Iceland in winter . Go on glacier tours, snow hikes and be fascinated by the views. If the cold takes hold of you on your tours, you can warm up in the thermal baths. A swim in the Blue Lagoon in winter is a real highlight.

My conclusion on the best travel time for Iceland

As for many other travel destinations, the same applies to Iceland: When is the best time to travel depends on your preferences. If you want to explore the landscape on hikes, you choose the summer months. If you love snow adventures in wintry landscapes and want to see the northern lights, you choose the winter months. Nevertheless, June, July and August are considered the best time to travel to Iceland, as this is the time when the best weather conditions prevail. At the same time you have to expect increased prices and larger tourist crowds. If you want to avoid the high season, you can switch to other months of the year. Spring is worth a trip, for example, because the migratory birds return from the south. Autumn also has its advantages. The landscape shines in autumn colors and there are fewer tourists on the way.

My tip: don’t plan your trip to Iceland too late. Global warming is already having an impact on the island. Smaller glaciers have already melted.