By Anna Fishman
Iceland is known to have a lot more vacationers in the summer months – mid-June to August. Naturally, this means that other seasons have less traffic and are generally considered less ideal vacation seasons. Family, first-time traveler, or regular tourist, there’s a reason Iceland attracts so many tourists. But you might have thought deeply about when best to take the plunge into this stunning Island. The truth? Every season has its beauties. Let’s explore some of these.
If you are looking to explore Iceland when the weather is best, there’s no time better than summer. With temperatures hovering between the 40’s and low 70’s (yup! that’s summer in Iceland), the greens are lush and striking. Expect to see horses and sheep freely roaming the countryside.
If you are lucky, you’d be around to witness the midnight sun which provides a full day of uninterrupted daylight. Hot summer is also traditional barbecue season in Iceland, and more places (esp. the highlands) are more accessible. Automatically, this means more attractions and adventures.
With Iceland also enjoying their vacation season in the summer, fun-filled activities begin to open up while a few businesses shut down. This is your ideal time to explore the arts and culture of the people, as museums and cultural festivals begin to emerge. If you make it to early September, you can join in the Sheep Round-Up. Coming a little earlier in the spring season, it is not uncommon to enjoy rain falls and warm sunny days. The catch? The island is crowded at this time and prices soar.
Icelandic weather is always on the edge, sometimes verging on the extreme. It is no surprise, then, that winter season is all ice and snow. If you are a lover of snow based activities, this is the best time for you to enjoy some adventure. Glacier hiking is not uncommon at this time, either.
Snowmobiling, backcountry skiing, and Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) tours and sightings are also major draws. You also stand a chance of relishing snow-based golf games, a sport much loved by Icelanders. Interestingly, Icelanders are avid Christmas celebrants and Christmas villages are a lovely weekend attraction in this season. The Reykjanes Peninsula and the Snæfellsnes Peninsula are great attractions, too. Winter is also a great time to visit Iceland’s volcanic spectacles.
However, the extreme weather keeps many in their homes to avoid the weather, and closed roads and nationwide storms are regular news. Driving can sometimes be hazardous in the core winter season, so you want to keep an ear on the news. Most museums also shut down for the season.
Reykjavik naturally enjoys more visitors in this time, thanks to its milder temperatures. Some cultural institutions in Reykjavik remain open despite the season and a few organized tours remain available.
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