Best Time to Visit Iceland

Heimaey Panorama (Thomas Quine)  [flickr.com]  CC BY-SA 
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On this page, you will find information about the climate and the best time to visit Iceland. We created climate tables and charts for the location of Reykjavík. These contain details about temperatures, precipitation and more.

Furthermore, we analyzed all climate data and provide a recommendation about which months are best to visit Iceland for your holiday.

Climate Overview

Thermometer Symbol -3 °C to 13 °C
Waves Symbol 6 °C to 11 °C
Rainy Cloud Symbol 1.653.7 in (10 – 15 Days of Rain)
Show temperatures in degree

Geographical location

Iceland is the second largest of all European island states after the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland with just over 62000 square miles of land area.

The main island of Iceland, which geologically belongs to Europe and North America, lies just below the Arctic Circle.

From a geographical point of view, Iceland is considered northern Europe, although the island is located on both the Eurasian and North American continental plates. The very water-rich island state between Greenland (in the northwest) as well as Norway and the Faroe Islands (in the east and southeast) is traversed by over 30 active volcanic systems.

The highest elevation on Iceland is the Hvannadalshnúkur at 2110 metres, while Dettifoss is the most energy-rich waterfall in Europe.

The sparsely populated country with around 330,000 inhabitants is characterised by fjords, glaciers, various rivers and lakes. The capital and seat of government is Reykjavík, the northernmost capital in the world.

Climate in Iceland

Iceland (Alessio Maffeis)  [flickr.com]  CC BY 
License Information available under 'Proof of Image Sources' The climate on Iceland is influenced by the rather cool current from Gröndland on the north-east and south-west coast of the island as well as the rather mild Irminger current on the southern coast. The oceanic cool climate is relatively humid, precipitation (rain or snow) can occur in any season. Summer in Iceland is comparatively cool and, with a daytime temperature of around 13 °C in July and August, is more like German autumn.

Warm periods with values above 20 °C are humorously called “summer of the century” on Iceland and are correspondingly rare. From November to March, average daytime temperatures are in the freezing point range, and at night temperatures of minus 10 to minus 25 °C can be reached, especially in the interior and highlands. Snow falls less frequently in the south of the island than in the north, and temperatures are usually also higher.

There’s a saying:”If you’re not happy with the weather in Iceland, just close your eyes for 10 minutes!” The weather in Iceland is considered moody and very changeable. We have already experienced it several times and can basically confirm this sharpened motto.

Best Time to Visit Iceland: Overview

JanuaryJan
MaximumMax. 2 °C
Water max. 6 °C
FebruaryFeb
MaximumMax. 3 °C
Water max. 6 °C
MarchMar
MaximumMax. 3 °C
Water max. 6 °C
AprilApr
MaximumMax. 6 °C
Water max. 7 °C
MayMay
Best time to traveltime
PerfectPerf. climate in Iceland
JuneJun
Best time to traveltime
PerfectPerf. climate in Iceland
JulyJul
Best time to traveltime
PerfectPerf. climate in Iceland
AugustAug
Best time to traveltime
PerfectPerf. climate in Iceland
SeptemberSep
MaximumMax. 11 °C
Water max. 11 °C
OctoberOct
MaximumMax. 7 °C
Water max. 8 °C
NovemberNov
MaximumMax. 3 °C
Water max. 8 °C
DecemberDec
MaximumMax. 2 °C
Water max. 7 °C

When is the best time to travel in Iceland?


Winter in Iceland usually lasts from the beginning of November to the end of April, although snowfall in May is not uncommon. Especially for tours with a snowmobile or a superjeep, this travel season is particularly recommended, but Reykjavík and the Golden Circle also unfold a magical atmosphere as normal tourists in the snow.

Some side streets are now impassable, but the hot thermal springs are now particularly popular. However, we clearly recommend summer on the island as the best time to travel to Iceland. The so-called midnight sun ensures endless long days, nature is now in full bloom from mid-June to August.

Also for whale watching tours the months of June, July and August are considered to be absolutely best travel time. In general, the high season for Iceland is also during this period, many sights are now well visited. September will be much calmer, but can still convince with mostly good weather conditions.

Best Time to Visit the Regions

Find the best time to visit the regions (Iceland) in the following overview.

LocationBest Time to Travel
ReykjavíkMay, June, July, and August
ReykjavikJune, July, August, and September

Climate Chart Iceland

Reykjavík

Climate Chart Reykjavík
Show temperatures in degree

Source of Data: German Weather Service (Offenbach) and Wikipedia

Climate Table Iceland

In the following, you will find the climate table for Iceland, containing information about Temperatures, Precipitation, Water Temperatures, and Hours of Sunshine.

Temperatures, Precipitation, Sunshine in Reykjavík (Iceland)

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Day Temperature12°13°13°10°
Night Temperature-3°-2°-2°-1°-3°
Water Temperature11°11°10°
Precipitation (inch)3.52.522.442.21.651.651.972.22.643.73.073.11
Rainy days131314121011101212151314
Hours of Sunshine124565654310
Show temperatures in degree
Temperatures
The annual average temperature in Reykjavík is 4.4 °C.

For comparison: London 11 °C, NYC 12 °C, LA 17.9 °C

Warmest month: July (10.8 °C)
Coldest month: January (-0.6 °C)

The maximum water temperature in Reykjavík is 11 °C. You cannot take a bath with these temperatures.

Precipitation
Overall annual precipitation: 30.67 inch on 149 rainy days

For comparison: London 24.06 in, NYC 41.57 in, LA 12.01 in

There is no rainy season (months with more than 6.9 in of precipitation).

Months that have possible snowfall: all except June, July, and August

Sunshine
As our climate table shows, May is the sunniest month with an average of 6.2 hours of sunshine per day. Over the year, there are 3.5 hours of sunshine per day on average. For comparison: London has 4.1, NYC has 7 and LA has 8.9 hours of sunshine per day on average.

Aurora Borealis / Northern Lights and other sights


All tours start in the capital Reykjavík, which is already worth seeing with its Nordic architecture and the charming harbour area itself. The Golden Circle Route is part of the standard program of every Iceland trip and covers the most important sights like Thingvellir, Geysir and Gullfoss.

The Blue Lagoon is also very easy to reach from the capital. The waterfalls Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss and Dettifoss as well as the mosquito lake Mývatn are some of the country’s exciting attractions.

In winter there is the chance to observe northern lights on Iceland (Aurora Borealis). The best conditions prevail in mostly cloudless, dark nights from the end of September to mid-March. The time between 9 pm and 4 am is very promising. However, a forecast of the northern lights is only possible for a short time, so we recommend a tour with experienced providers such as Gateway to Iceland.

More information about the best things to do: Iceland

Popular Activities

More attractions

Reykjavík: Whale Watching On Board A Luxury Yacht | Day Trip to Landmannalaugar: The Pearl of the Highlands | South Coast & Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon | Perlan – Wonders of Iceland Tour | Golden Circle Direct Day Tour | Snaefellsnes Peninsula Full-Day Trip | Whale Watching Express: 2-Hour Tour from Reykjavik |

Current Weather and Forecast

Current Weather in Reykjavík (Station Reykjavik)
mist     mist, 11.6 °C
Clouds: 75 %       Wind: 2 mph NO
Air Pressure: 1002 hPa       Humidity: 100 %
Last updated: 17th Jul 2019, 08:04 am
The next days …
17th Jul 201918th Jul 201919th Jul 201920th Jul 201921st Jul 201922nd Jul 2019
moderate rain11 °C to 15 °Cmoderate rain10 °C to 15 °Clight rain9 °C to 15 °Cfew clouds9 °C to 15 °Cmoderate rain10 °C to 14 °Cmoderate rain11 °C to 17 °C
11 °C to 15 °C10 °C to 15 °C9 °C to 15 °C9 °C to 15 °C10 °C to 14 °C11 °C to 17 °C
Clouds: 64 %Clouds: 51 %Clouds: 87 %Clouds: 19 %Clouds: 100 %Clouds: 100 %
0.27 in of rain0.22 in of rain0.1 in of rainNo Precipitation0.38 in of rain0.24 in of rain
Weather information provided by OpenWeatherMap. (CC BY-SA)
Show temperatures in degree

Important Regions and Cities

We have extended climate information for the following region:

Iceland: Experiences of our Visitors

There are 8 reviews for Iceland holiday already. Average rating is 4.1 of 5 stars.
  1. Avatar Preview
    Margrit, 62 years old was there in August

    very much sunshine, pleasant temperatures of approx. 15 degrees, 1 rainy day

    Weather Rating: 5 stars – Excellent

  2. Avatar Preview
    Johanna, 26 years old was there in January

    Snowstorms, sandstorm, sunshine, rain, storm heights, 3x northern lights in one week – a little bit of everything.
    A holiday in this wonderful country is never destroyed by bad weather.

    Weather Rating: 3 stars – Mixed

  3. Avatar Preview
    Nicole, 42 years old was there in September

    no continuous rain, sometimes a little grey in grey but also in the sun ) nordic weather… from 13 degrees in the south-west to 5 degrees in the north

    Weather Rating: 4 stars – Good

  4. Avatar Preview
    Birgit, 27 years old was there in October

    The weather wasn’t so bad. As they say: There is no bad weather, only bad clothes!

    Weather Rating: 3 stars – Mixed

  5. Avatar Preview
    Toni, 28 years old was there in November

    It was as expected! Iceland Weather 🙂

    “There are only bad clothes, no bad weather

    Weather Rating: 5 stars – Excellent

  6. Avatar Preview
    Matthias, 27 years old was there in July

    3 days of sunshine or sun-cloud change. Half a day of drizzle! Temperatures during the day between 12 and 16°C!

    Weather Rating: 5 stars – Excellent

  7. Avatar Preview
    Viola, 65 years old was there in April

    3 days sunshine, 3 days Icelandic weather with rain, snow and storm

    Weather Rating: 5 stars – Excellent

  8. Avatar Preview
    Stefan, 46 years old was there in August

    It was mixed with rain, sun, wind and constant temperature fluctuations.

    Weather Rating: 3 stars – Mixed

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Cuando los sueños se hacen realidad (Andrés Nieto Porras)  [flickr.com]  CC BY-SA 
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The blue lagoon - Iceland - Travel photography (Giuseppe Milo)  [flickr.com]  CC BY 
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Kirkjufellsfoss (Ævar Guðmundsson)  [flickr.com]  CC BY 
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Nature Paradise Iceland

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