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Best Time to Visit Iceland in 2024 for Northern Lights, Hot Springs, and Road Trips. Iceland Weather Guide

Best Time to Visit Iceland

  • Optimal for Northern Lights: Late September to early April for clear skies and long nights.
  • For hot springs: Year-round, with peak enjoyment in winter (November to March) amidst snowy landscapes.
  • Other favorable months: May to September for road trips and exploring Iceland’s unique landscapes.

Geography facts

  • Location: Northern Europe, island country in the North Atlantic.
  • Area: 103,000 km².
  • Landscape: Geologically active with volcanoes, geysers, hot springs, and glaciers. Highest point: Hvannadalshnúkur at 2,110 meters.

Iceland is renowned for its dramatic landscapes, where volcanoes, glaciers, hot springs, and lava fields paint a unique geological mosaic. Its location near the Arctic Circle also makes it a prime destination for viewing the Northern Lights.

Climate

  • Coastal areas: Subarctic, milder due to the North Atlantic Current.
  • Inland and highlands: Tundra climate, colder with permanent ice and snow in some places.
The daily range of reported temperatures (gray bars) and 24-hour highs (red ticks) and lows (blue ticks), placed over the daily average high (faint red line) and low (faint blue line) temperature, with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands. (c) weatherspark.com

Monthly Weather Snapshot

January

  • Temperature: -3°C to 2°C (27°F to 36°F). Days are short with only 4-5 hours of daylight.
  • Activities: Ideal for Northern Lights, visiting ice caves, and hot springs amidst snow.

February

  • Temperature: -2°C to 3°C (28°F to 37°F). Increasing daylight.
  • Activities: Northern Lights viewing continues to be excellent; winter sports peak.
Winter in Iceland (c) bonpic.com

March

  • Temperature: -1°C to 3°C (30°F to 37°F). Daylight extends to 10-13 hours.
  • Activities: Last month for ice caving and optimal Northern Lights; beginning of spring tours.

April

  • Temperature: 0°C to 5°C (32°F to 41°F). Daylight significantly increases.
  • Activities: Good for springtime exploration, puffin watching begins, and late-season skiing.

May

  • Temperature: 3°C to 9°C (37°F to 48°F). Nearly 24 hours of daylight by end of the month.
  • Activities: Ideal for road trips, bird watching, and early whale watching tours.

June

  • Temperature: 7°C to 12°C (45°F to 54°F). Midnight sun period.
  • Activities: Best for hiking, exploring national parks, and experiencing geothermal pools.
The hourly reported temperature, color coded into bands. The shaded overlays indicate night and civil twilight. (c) weatherspark.com

July

  • Temperature: 9°C to 14°C (48°F to 57°F). Full midnight sun.
  • Activities: Peak tourist season; great for exploring fjords, whale watching, and festivals.

August

  • Temperature: 8°C to 13°C (46°F to 55°F). Beginning of the aurora season late in the month.
  • Activities: Ideal for late summer road trips, and enjoying hot springs and volcanic landscapes.

September

  • Temperature: 5°C to 10°C (41°F to 50°F). Northern Lights season begins in earnest.
  • Activities: Autumn colors in landscapes, less crowded for sightseeing and hot springs.
Autumn in Iceland (c) Pinterest

October

  • Temperature: 1°C to 6°C (34°F to 43°F). Diminishing daylight.
  • Activities: Great for enjoying hot springs, and starting to see Northern Lights again.

November

  • Temperature: -1°C to 3°C (30°F to 37°F). Darker, colder days.
  • Activities: Prime time for Northern Lights, hot springs, and indoor cultural experiences.

December

  • Temperature: -2°C to 2°C (28°F to 36°F). Shortest days of the year.
  • Activities: Ideal for Christmas markets, Northern Lights, and geothermal spa experiences.

Visiting Iceland offers a unique blend of natural wonders, from the mesmerizing auroras of winter to the endless daylight of summer. While the cold, dark winters are perfect for aurora seekers and hot spring enthusiasts, the mild summers provide excellent conditions for road trips and outdoor adventures. Any time of year, Iceland’s stunning landscapes and geothermal marvels promise an unforgettable experience.

Back to Iceland’s Travel Guide

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