The Best Time to Visit Iceland

Depending on what you're looking to do, whether that be experiencing the Northern Lights or whale watching.
Skogafoss Iceland
Getty Images

When is the best time to visit Iceland?

Iceland is a beautiful country and one that has only grown in popularity over the past decade. The truth, however, is that the best time to visit Iceland depends on the trip you want to book.

The lure of Iceland ranges from the northern lights to its famous hot springs and incredible natural beauty.

We’ve gathered the high and low seasons, and when’s best for what so that you have an understanding of what you’ll get out of each month of the year.

High season: June to August and late December
Shoulder seasons: May and September
Low season: November to April, excluding school and public holidays

Gullfoss Geysir, IcelandGetty Images

When is the worst time to visit Iceland?

Again, this depends on what you’re looking to get out of your trip. If you want to avoid the maddening crowds, we recommend not visiting during the high season, which runs from June to August and late December.

What months are the warmest in Iceland?

June through August are the warmest months, which coincides with Iceland’s high season. You can expect lots of tourists enjoying the country; however, if you’re looking to go whale watching or enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and kayaking on those long summer days, this is the right time to visit.

When is the best time to visit Iceland for the Northern Lights?

You’re never guaranteed to see the Northern Lights, but your best bet is between November and March when the nights are long and dark. You need a clear sky, a surge in solar activity and a relatively remote location to get the best glimpse of the aurora borealis. We recommend the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, which offers an isolated position and an excellent vantage point to see the Northern Lights.

Northern Lights in IcelandGetty Images

When is the best time to visit Iceland for whale watching?

The whale watching season coincides with the high season in Iceland. You can whale watch from April to September, with June through August being the best months.

When is the cheapest time to go to Iceland?

The cheapest time to visit Iceland is during the low season, which runs from November to April. There are fewer tourists too, which means flights, hotels, and any other rentals will be at a lower price point.

A version of this article originally appeared onCondé Nast Traveller.