June 17, 2024 — By Scott Peterson

The Best Time To Visit Iceland

Iceland, a land of stunning landscapes, dramatic natural wonders, and rich cultural heritage, is a year-round destination. Each season offers its own unique experiences so the best time to visit Iceland will depend on your travel preferences and interests.

Whether you’re chasing the northern lights, exploring majestic waterfalls, or soaking in geothermal hot springs, understanding the highlights of each Icelandic season will help guide you on the perfect time to visit this spectacular “Land of Fire and Ice.”

Iceland’s Highlights

Iceland blends vibrant, quirky Reykjavik with breathtaking natural wonders in diverse, otherworldly landscapes of volcanic craters, glaciers, ice caves and waterfalls.

The South Coast exemplifies the country’s contrasting elements. Easily reached from the capital of Reykjavik, the Golden Circle route is famed for the natural features of the Gullfoss Waterfall, Geysir Hot Spring and Thingvellir National Park.

Iceland's Great Geyser erupting through an icy landscape

Farther along the coast are some more of Iceland’s must-see highlights, including the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Diamond Beach, Eyjafjallajokull Volcano and even the lesser-traveled Westman Islands. The region’s breathtaking terrain affords outdoor adventures like helicopter journeys, snowmobiling, snorkeling, diving and even glacier trekking.

Iceland’s North Coast is a popular destination for nature lovers, boasting opportunities to witness humpback whales, ride purebred Nordic horses, and embark on fishing expeditions in spectacular natural settings.

Horses grazing in a snow-covered field with an icy mountain in the distance

The Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland’s most famed highlights. Nestled in a maze of volcanic rocks amongst a 800-year-old lava field, the Blue Lagoon is the perfect place to unwind and experience complete tranquility while enjoying the mineral-rich properties of the mysterious blue waters.

The Best Time To Visit Reykjavik, Iceland

Iceland’s colorful and charming capital, Reykjavik, can be visited in summer and winter seasons.

Tour Reykjavik in the summer and experience the city at its liveliest as locals and visitors take advantage of the long, bright days, including the 24 hours of sunlight on offer in July. A unique activity in Reykjavik during the summer is midnight golf which invites you to play a round in natural daylight at midnight.

Ice-capped mountains behind Reykjavik in Iceland during luxury winter tour

In the winter, immerse yourself in Icelandic culture with festive season traditions, including fireworks and bonfires on New Year’s Eve.

The Best Time To Visit Iceland’s South Coast

Iceland’s South Coast can be visited in summer and winter.

Journey to this magnificent region from June through October for summer adventures and midnight sun. Or, visit in the winter months of December to March for Arctic excursions in snow-kissed landscapes.

Summer Adventures

If you want to enjoy relatively warmer temperatures, visit Iceland’s South Coast in late spring and summer. The long hours of daylight make it easier to enjoy a packed itinerary of outdoor activities.

We recommend visiting Thingvellir National Park for an exclusive snorkeling or scuba diving excursion in the Silfra fissure. Here, you can swim between the tectonic plates of North America and Eurasia in some of the purest water in the world.

Snorkelling excursion in a tectonic rift at Silfra in Iceland during summer tour

Your summer Iceland tour can also include unmissable natural highlights along the Golden Circle, including the Geysir Hot Spring and Gullfoss waterfall.

The season’s warmer temperatures and brighter skies make it an ideal time of year to witness the South Coast’s highlights from above. Embark on a private helicopter tour to Langjökull, where you can enjoy an unforgettable snowmobile ride across Iceland’s second-largest ice cap while admiring the breathtaking mountains and valleys that surround you.

Helicopter hovers by snowy peak of Snaefellsjokull in Iceland during summer tour

You can also visit the beautiful Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon by private air. The glacial lake is situated within the Skaftafell National Park and is filled with icebergs over 1000 years old. Here, we recommend a private zodiac ride for the chance to experience the icebergs up close.

DOWNLOAD OUR ICELAND SUMMER JOURNEY PDF

Visiting between June and October also gives you the chance to visit Diamond Beach near Jökulsárlón. Diamond Beach is picture-perfect with diamond-like glaciers scattered across striking black sand. The beach is also home to various marine life, including whales and dolphins; seals are particularly active here and can be spotted in summer months.

If you visit Iceland’s South Coast in the summer, it is also possible to journey to the Westman Islands, one of the country’s best-kept secrets.

Aerial view of Bjarnarey Island on Iceland's Westman Islands

While usually too rough for the ferry crossing in winter, from June through August you can explore this secret archipelago by sea with a private rib boat. Then, discover its beauty on land with a private tour: hike up the Eldfell Volcano which buried part of Heimaey island in 1973, and watch the bustle of some of the North Atlantic’s largest puffin colonies.

Winter Excursions

From December through March, Iceland’s South Coast transforms into an authentic winter wonderland. The days shorten to just a few light hours and the breathtaking landscapes are blanketed in snow.

Iceland's Gulfoss Waterfall covered in ice and snow during winter

The summer greenery around the roaring waterfalls becomes sparkling curtains of ice. While you’ll definitely want to don layers of warm clothing, the Golden Circle landscapes will wow you with crystalline charm and you’ll have plentiful opportunities to embark on epic adventures like snowmobiling and glacier trekking.

The winter months are also an ideal time of year to visit the glowing blue world of ice caves underneath the surface of the glaciers.

DOWNLOAD OUR ICELAND WINTER JOURNEY PDF

Journey to Iceland in the winter to afford the best chances of glimpsing the elusive, magical northern lights. From your privileged hotel in the South Coast, scan the night sky from the on-site observatory and even request a northern lights wake-up call in case the phenomenon catches you dozing.

Outdoor hot tub with views over an icy lake and snowy mountains

The seclusion and low light pollution of Iceland’s winter countryside offer excellent chances of sighting the dancing Aurora Borealis. While you might catch the spectacle in the transitional months of September to November, visiting Iceland in the depth of winter will give you the best chance of sighting it.

The Best Time To Visit Iceland’s North Coast

Iceland’s North Coast can be visited in summer and winter.

In the summer months, from June through October, you can enjoy verdant landscapes with mountainous views and nature excursions. December through March is perfect if you want to experience an Arctic fairytale.

Summer Adventures

A journey to the North Coast between June and October is a wonderful addition to any luxury Iceland tour.

Our preferred boutique property here, Deplar Farm, offers a truly unique Icelandic countryside experience in a converted sheep farm in the mountainous Troll Peninsula. After a short flight from Reykjavik to Akureyri, Iceland’s second-largest city in the north, you can enjoy a private whale watching tour on Eyjafjörður fjord, the summer feeding ground for Humpback whales.

Humpback whale breaching off the coast of Iceland

During this greener season, your days will be filled with epic outdoor excursions. Enjoy fat biking on modified bicycles designed to cover the forested terrain, and horseback riding on gentle Icelandic horses bred by the Vikings especially for the island’s climate.

Biking excursion in the Iceland steppe, with low clouds covering the mountains

Hiking or light walking through the Troll Peninsula will astound you with views of the glorious rolling mountainsides, and for those interested, superb river and fly-fishing await in the swift pure glacial waters.

DOWNLOAD OUR ICELAND SUMMER JOURNEY PDF

Winter Excursions

In the winter months of December through March, Deplar Farm will be your warm and homey refuge in the snowscape.

Buildings of Deplar Farm Luxury Hotel looking small againt a snow covered mountain

Winter wonderland adventures are on offer including dog sledding, snowmobiling, and Nordic skiing. As you float peacefully in the lodge’s geothermally heated pool, gaze up at the majestic winter night sky for the northern lights to appear.

Northern lights over outdoor geothermal pool at Deplar Farm

Whatever season you choose, take advantage of Deplar Farm’s renowned wellness and spa offerings, and white glove service to impress even the most experienced traveler.

DOWNLOAD OUR ICELAND WINTER JOURNEY PDF

The Best Time To Visit The Blue Lagoon, Iceland

As an icon of Iceland’s communal tradition of gathering for a therapeutic soak or a shared beverage in thermal waters, the Blue Lagoon is a prized visit all year round.

Woman swimming in the thermal springs of Iceland's Blue Lagoon

Whether you visit Iceland in summer or winter, you can make the most of the Blue Lagoon’s healing properties. Sourced from a nearby geothermal power plant, the lagoon maintains a consistent temperature of around 98-104°F, providing a warm, soothing experience year-round.

Our preferred accommodation, the Retreat Hotel, is built into the Lagoon itself. Here, you can access private sections of the Blue Lagoon and enjoy a relaxing experience unspoiled by peak season crowds.

Outdoor view of the Blue Lagoon Spa at The Retreat Hotel in Iceland

The hotel also has a luxury spa with a range of therapies conducted right within the thermal healing waters. and the private Retreat Lagoon ensures a relaxing experience unspoiled by peak season crowds.

Discover The Best Time To Visit Iceland

Iceland offers spectacular natural landscapes, rich history, and enticing outdoor adventures in both summer and winter seasons, each with compelling reasons to visit. Based on your travel preferences and unique interests, your Blue Parallel Travel Expert can create a bespoke itinerary tailored to you at the best time of year.

For more information on our bespoke Iceland tours, contact one of our Travel Experts today.

Tailor-Made Itineraries To Iceland

Discover the “The Land of Fire and Ice” with our bespoke luxury tours to Iceland…

VIEW OUR ICELAND TOURS