When the topic of traveling to Iceland comes up, the topic always shifts into what is the best time to travel to Iceland. My answer is emphatically “right now!”.
Okay, maybe nobody has ever asked me when the best time is to visit Iceland is, but if they did, I would give them an honest appraisal of when to go, along with a little pertinent background on the brisk-yet-stunning archipelago in the North Atlantic.
In congruence with the name, Iceland is icy, but not necessarily frigid.
It rests where the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans meet, and although the Arctic Ocean is brutally cold, warm water from the North Atlantic Current allows Iceland to remain remarkably temperate considering it’s latitude; the average temperatures do not vary widely through the seasons with the average high in August only around 20° higher than January’s average high. It isn’t Fiji, but it’s certainly not Siberia, either.
So when is the best time to travel to Iceland?
The climate of Iceland is stable and reasonably temperate with temperature averages ranging from 22 °F low in the winter to 57 °F high in the summer.
The daylight hours range significantly though depending on the month – this should be something you consider before planning your trip. If you go in December you will see the light only 4 hours a day, in contrast to June when it is only dark for roughly 4 hours.
So when exactly is the best time for an Icelandic adventure? For the sake of environmental factors there is not a preferred season. The real decision factor on the best time to travel to Iceland lies on the whims of the traveler.
To see the northern lights you will want to go in the winter months. The best time to see the northern lights in iceland is from September to Mid-April.
To go ice caving it is also best to visit in the winter months. In order to ensure your safety the best time to go ice caving in Iceland is when it is below freezing temperatures. This prevents injury from melting ice that could fall and cause injury.
If you want to do many outdoor activities avoid November and December. It is hard to do much outdoor exploring on only 4 hours of daylight.
For the best blend of temperature, scenery, and activity, it is hard to beat the early spring season.
As the days stretch out in March, you will have more opportunity to explore the beautiful countryside. Also, March allows you a great opportunity to run into fellow Americans who are likely to travel to Iceland over spring break with the same ideas. Since the temperatures hover near freezing during March, there should be no risk of ice melt for the epic ice cave exploration which are well-known to the area.
It will be well worth your time to enlist the expertise of a travel experience agency who has done the legwork to ensure your trip will be the best trip to Iceland possible, and to prove that the best time to travel to Iceland is the time when you can experience it with new friends.