A lot of people are drawn to Iceland because of its natural beauty. Its landscape and icy views are unparalleled too. You won’t get to see it anywhere else in the world. And because of this, you might probably wonder when the best time to visit Iceland too is so you can witness its stunning beauty too.
When is really the best time to visit Iceland? In case you want to know to help you plan your trip, here are some activities that await you depending on the season.
- 1 Iceland Activities
- 2 Unique Iceland Hotels: Your Guide to Spending Nights in Iceland
Iceland may be a small country with only a population a little over than 360,000 but it still has a lot of things to offer its visitors. Regardless of what the season is, there’s always something to look forward to in Iceland. Here are some of the things you shouldn’t miss per season.
By now, you’re probably familiar with the northern lights (also known as the aurora borealis), a stunning natural light display in the Earth’s sky. However, you don’t get to see it anywhere else in the world but in high-latitude regions. Luckily, Iceland is one of the few places in the world that is blessed by this jaw-dropping sight. And if you want to see it with your own eyes, the best time to visit Iceland is in winter.
For starters, the northern lights are actually active all year round. However, they are only typically visible in the aurora zone between 65° and 72° north. And because of this, they are not visible from April through August when the aurora zone experiences nearly 24 hours of daylight. And since it needs to be dark in order to see the northern lights in the sky, it is highly suggested that you visit this place during winter as this season in Iceland has longer nights too. In fact, some small towns in Iceland don’t get direct sunlight for months on end.
And speaking of which, it’s also one of the reasons why you should visit Iceland during winter. I mean it’s not every day in other parts of the world that you get no direct sunlight like this in Iceland.
In addition to that, the winter months in Iceland also see another stunning phenomenon that occurs – and that it’s the daily “Golden Hour.” This period, which is often longer than an hour, is when the sun finally breaks over the horizon line. Throughout this time, the land of fire and ice is blanketed with a radiant pink and golden light, giving fantastic photographic opportunities to capture the sunrise and sunset. It’s the perfect time to snap some Instagram-worthy photos.
Spring is yet another best time to visit Iceland. During this season, the island gets less crowded. Accommodations and car rentals are also easier and cheaper to book. And the best part of it is that this time of the year makes the country all the more captivating. During this time of the year, you can get to experience many benefits. As the ice begins to melt and the color returns to nature, you can get to enjoy more activities too.
In this season, the days also get longer and sunnier. But the mountain peaks are still covered with snow, which makes the land of fire and ice all the more majestic.
Technically, spring time in the northern hemisphere begins in the 20th day of March and ends in the 21st day of June. But Iceland kind of has its own way of deciding when spring time begins and it’s one of the best things to witness in this country too. Traditionally, Iceland’s locals only consider the beginning of spring whenever they spot the first golden plover, a seasonal bird. This usually happens sometime in March. And speaking of Iceland’s seasonal bird, needless to say it is also the best time to see these birds.
This season is also the time when more hiking trails are open. Of course, spring is also the time of year when outdoor activities and road trips are much safer and more accessible.
In addition to that, it is the season where flowers begin to bloom too. This makes Iceland all the more picturesque. In this season, you will not just get to fill your eyes with some of the most beautiful sights in Iceland has to offer but you can also get to explore more of the land of fire and ice.
Summer is also the best time to visit Iceland. During this season, you also have a lot of activities to choose from.
One of which is witnessing Iceland’s Sumardagurinn Fyrsti, a holiday where Icelanders celebrate the first day of summer, as its name suggests when translated to English. In this event, every town in Iceland has its own celebratory program. You can witness scout parades, brass bands, sports matches, and other cultural exhibitions. It is also a time to try out the country’s popular treat, a crepe-like flat pancakes served with rolled sugar or filled with whipped cream and jam, during the First Day of Summer celebration. This celebration is also a unique event to witness because of the day it is celebrated.
For starters, Iceland celebrates its “first day of summer” in late April when you can still expect freezing temperatures in the country. In fact, the temperature during the day Iceland celebrates its first day of summer hovers somewhere between 0-10 degrees Celsius. The summer weather seems to not get the message, right? But apparently, there’s a reason behind it. You see, the First Day of Summer has its roots in the Old Icelandic Calendar. It was used from the settlement of Iceland in the 9th century and until as recently as 19th century, parallel to the Julian and later the Gregorian calendar. According to this calendar, there were only two seasons – summer and winter. Summer started in late April and lasted until late October.
Summer is also a season where you can try out exotic bathing where you can unwind in a geothermal bathing pool in a hot spring area while you’re surrounded by ice and the beautiful sights that Iceland can offer. Iceland has numerous geothermal swimming pools so don’t forget to bring your bathing suit too so you can experience this unique summer in Iceland.
RELATED: 17 of the Best North Carolina Beaches for that Perfect Summer Vacation
Also one of the widely-discussed event in summer in Iceland is the Midnight Sun. For those who haven’t heard about this, the Midnight Sun refers to when the sun stays out throughout the night, leading to longer days. With that extra daylight, you can surely get to maximize the opportunities and experiences available.
RELATED: 16 Best Costa Rica Beaches You Need to Visit This Summer
Of course, autumn is also a best time to visit Iceland. The autumn months are considered low season for tourism in the land of fire and ice. This means fewer people are out on the roads making it great for you to plot your road trip. That said, you can take advantage of this and explore some of Iceland’s most popular attractions like the Westfjords and the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. This season is also a great time to learn more about the geology of Iceland and sign up for a lava cave tour.
And with the beautiful colors of autumn in Iceland, we highly recommend practicing your photography skills here. The landscape in Iceland is a perfect model for any photographer – be it amateur or pro. But with the added autumn colors and light, your photographs will surely become all the more stunning. During this season, you will not just get to capture colorful leaves and the warm lighting of the golden hour. This season is also perfect to capture and witness wonderful sunsets that will surely make your trip even more memorable.
Fall is also the time of the year when you can witness and experience different festivals. One of its unique festivals is Rettir, an old cultural tradition. For starters, Rettir is the annual sheep round-up held in September. In this event, you will find different Rettir occurring where farmers, family, and friends gather together to bring back the sheep to the farms from the mountains. But this isn’t all work. There is also dancing and singing to celebrate all the hard work known as the Rettaball.
There is also Oktoberfest an event that’s held one weekend in September outside of the University of Iceland. Here, you can get to see the biggest musicians in Iceland performing. This is also a time to party, meet new friends, and, of course, chug a few beers.
In autumn, you can also witness one of Iceland’s internationally known festivals named Iceland Airwaves, a weeklong music festival that’s held in early November. Unlike in Oktoberfest, this event allows you to listen to not only the biggest local musicians but you can also get to see international performers.
But in truth, however, anytime is the best time to visit Iceland. It doesn’t matter too much which season you decide to visit this country – unless, of course, you want to see the northern lights or the midnight sun. Each of these seasons offers its own qualities that will surely make you fall in love even more with the land of fire and ice. No matter what season it is, the people of Iceland will surely make you feel welcomed and show you firsthand just how much fun can be had any time of the year.
Unique Iceland Hotels: Your Guide to Spending Nights in Iceland
With so many activities per season, you might find it hard to do everything I one sitting. Thus, we recommend that you stay here for a few days, especially if you’re chasing the northern lights as there’s actually no exact date when it will show up. In case you’re looking for a good spot to spend the night in Iceland, here are some unique Iceland hotels that you need to check out.
Camping in Iceland is not always recommendable because of the weather. The wind and the low temperatures can be dangerous if you’re staying in a flimsy net. But there is an alternative camping experience in Iceland that we highly recommend – and that is glamping at Camp Boutique. For those who are not yet familiar with the word “glamping,” it mean “glamorous camping.” Here, you can get to experience sleeping in a tent but feel the safety of a cabin. Here, you can also get to sleep in comfortable beds, get to use a shared kitchen, and warm yourself up in a fire pit.
Farm Stay Esjan
Farm Stay Esjan is also one of the top unique accommodations in Iceland that we highly recommend. What makes this unique is that you don’t get to sleep in a usual building with generic hotel rooms. Rather, you will experience sleeping in a converted bus. It’s one thing sleeping in a campervan but a bus is a nice type of accommodation too. Obviously, though, you can’t drive away in it but they are cool to sleep in. Equipped with a seating area, kitchenette, and free WiFi, you’ll definitely feel comfortable in this unique type of accommodation. And the best part of it is that it’s strategically seating in an area where you will be greeted by the awesome mountain views.
Just looking at it from the outside, Hotel Husafell already has this unique design that will capture anyone’s attention. But its exterior isn’t the only thing that makes it unique. Apparently, it has its own golf course. Of course, what makes this a cut above the rest is the luxury that it has.
On top of that, it has its own four geothermal pools that allows you to adjust its temperature based on your liking. You can also take advantage of the hotel’s complimentary Flat Therapy equipment. Here, you can wear a special cap that will help your head stay above the water and floats for your legs so you can completely feel weightless and relaxed.
This hotel also has a nice location where you can enjoy more activities available nearby. You can even go on a hike and ask the reception for more information if you want to go hiking. You can also take a free guided eco walk which was designed to share more information about keeping the resort running on 100%renewable and being sustainable.
You also don’t have to worry how you’re going to bring your bike in case you want to explore the nearby area on a bike. Hotel Husafell also offers complimentary mountain bikes and you can take them to explore the nearby mountain trails.
Fossatun Camping Pods and Cottages
Fossatun Camping Pods and Cottages is yet another unique accommodation in Iceland that you need to experience. What makes this unique is how each of its rooms were designed giving you some rustic feels. Inside these cute unique pods, you can also find a small set of wooden table and chairs that you can relax on. I addition to that, the pods are heated so you don’t have to worry if you’re visiting in winter. There is also a shared kitchen area that you can use and an outdoor barbecue in case you’re coming to Iceland with your family and/or friends and you want a bit of a social get together.
Fossatun Camping Pods and Cottages is also has an in-house restaurant that you need to try out. It doesn’t just serve delicious dishes but this place also boasts of amazing views of the Troll Falls.
Galaxy Pod Hostel
Another unique accommodation that you should consider is the Galaxy Pod Hostel. Aside from its spacious regular rooms, this hostel also has pods that resemble Japan’s capsule hotel rooms. However, these pods have futuristic themes, hence the name. Also, it has its own mini
In addition to the cool futuristic pods that the hostel has, it also has a gaming room where you can play VR games. The hostel has a bar too where guests can chill out and meet new travelers.
Hotel Ranga is also one of the unique Iceland hotels you shouldn’t miss out on, especially if you’re chasing the northern lights. This is because this hotel has its own stargazing observatory and wake-up calls for the aurora borealis. The hotel’s staff can even wake you up when the stunning natural light show begins. Who can beat such customer service?
In addition to that, you can also get to enjoy suite rooms that have been designed with the influence of the seven continents in mind. The hotel also has its own restaurant that offers delicious dishes made with locally sourced ingredients inspired by Nordic cuisine. Especially if you’re wanting to see the northern lights, this hotel is a must visit.
RELATED: Denver Food and Accommodation Guide: Best Places to Eat and Stay in Denver , Colorado
Iceland also has a “bubbles” big enough to accommodate you. Apparently, this is not a literal bubble that you can make with a soapy water. It’s just an inflated bubble-like structure with bed and space heaters. With this, you can get a clear view of the sky. And the best part of it is that this hotel allows its guests to sleep right out in the middle of nature. And, you know, Iceland is best known for its landscapes and the northern lights so it’s surely an accommodation that you shouldn’t miss as well. Staying here even just for a night will definitely make your stay memorable. The price starts at €237, though. But you’re guaranteed that your every penny is worth it.
Vikings play a huge role in Iceland’s culture as they are the ones who discovered the land of fire and ice. And if you want to have a glimpse of how they lived their lives but with a bit of a luxury, we suggest that you stay at Hotel Viking. Feel like a Norse god with its interior design decked out in a medieval theme. And to make your experience all the more memorable, you can also dine at its traditional Icelandic restaurant for that ultimate Viking adventure.
You might find it weird at first for its name but, apparently, this is not a church. Well, before, it was once home to lines of worshippers from the local fishing village of Stöðvarfjörður. But now, it serves as a short-term accommodation for those who travel miles to see the beauty of Iceland. And what makes this place unique is, well, its history – for what it was and for what it has become today. But aside from that, this accommodation is also a must-try because of the attractions that are just a stone throw away from it. One of which is Petra’s Stone Museum, a museum for – you guessed it right – stones where you can learn more about the different mineral collections that it houses.
Iceland is indeed one of the best places to visit not just due to the activities that you can do but also because of its unparalleled beauty that will always amaze anyone. It’s definitely worth seeing.