WHEN TO VISIT ICELAND
Summer (June to August) is the best time to visit Iceland: the notoriously fickle weather is at its mildest, reaching around 14 degrees Celcius in Reykjavík; the days are long, with the Midnight Sun bringing near perpetual daylight in mid-June; and wildflowers are in bloom. Consequently, this is also Iceland’s high season, meaning that tourist numbers are at their peak – along with prices.
Iceland’s shoulder season (May & September) is short, and it can still snow in May, but this is a good time to visit Iceland – there are fewer tourists, yet many activities, such as whale-watching, are still available. Reykjavík experiences a good six hours of sunshine a day in May; rich autumn colours and (generally) clearer skies can make early September a good time to visit for photographers.
The crowds are mostly absent during Iceland’s low season (October to April), when prices are much lower and the Northern Lights are at their most spectacular. Due to Iceland’s temperate climate, it never really gets that cold, with the temperature averaging around -2 degrees Celcius during winter – although the thermometer dropped to -24.5 degrees in the capital in January this year, a record for Reykjavík. Many places close down for winter, and driving conditions can be difficult; the Interior is off limits all together, even to 4x4s.