Time and time again, Iceland seems to be topping the ‘must-visit’ lists of almost every travel expert out there, Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, National Geographic, and many more have recommended we all book a flight to the most northerly capital in the world, Reykjavik, and explore from there all this volcanic country has to offer. Of course, visits to Iceland are almost always linked to ticking that one particular thing off the bucket list: seeing the Northern Lights glow in the sky and dance overhead. The best time to spot these is usually during winter months, however here at Fleetway we firmly believe Iceland has so much more to offer than just the Aurora Borealis. We’ve put together a short, handy little guide to Iceland, and why it’s such a treasure to visit all year round:
March – May (3 – 10° C)
Soft white snow still blankets a lot of the island, though this slowly starts to thaw from the outside in during spring. Admire the seasonal rebirth of wild nature and natural landscape by taking trips along the coast of Iceland. Greenery re-emerges and contrasts beautifully against the dark volcanic rock covering most of the country. Waterfalls thaw and birds return from migration which reveals a vividcolour palette of the country and offers tourists another perspective of this beautiful country. Opt for the Golden Circle tour showcasing some of Iceland’s best natural monuments including Thingvellir National Park, spurting Geysirs and the roaring, majestic Gullfoss waterfall. Spring is also the start of puffin season, when these Atlantic residing birds return to land to breed from April to September.
What to see: Golden Circle, Husey beach, puffin season
June – August (11 - 13° C)
A natural phenomenon not to be missed, the Icelandic summer is famous for its long days…and short nights! With an average of 16-20 hours of sunlight every day, lose all sense of time and make use of this natural gift by exploring the country under the bright, midnight sun. Iceland National Day on June 14th is an opportunity to join locals who celebrate into the bright night in the capital of Reykjavik, with parties and lots of the signature local drink – Brennivin. Summer in Iceland is also the best time for whale watching, hiking some of the stunning highland trails across the country, as well as taking a dip in natural hot springs heated by volcanic rock.
What to visit: Whale watching, glacier hiking, Seljavallalaug pool and natural hot springs
September – November (10 - 3° C)
A special time of year, autumn in Iceland is just as good for trips to the coast as in spring and summer. Discover some of the ancient legends and myths many of the locals believe in, such as the little hidden folk.I recently learned that building projects are sometimes altered in Iceland to preserve rocks in which these elves are believed to live. Explore the naturally spellbinding Reynisfjara black-sand beach and its rock formations, while learning more about the Huldufólk. Autumn is also a great time to sample some of Iceland’s best produce. Short summers mean longer harvest time in autumn, which rounds up delicious kale, potatoes, broccoli, carrots, rutabaga and of course, lamb! This season is also best for watching on as farmers ride around the mountains to bring home all their sheep and horses who have been out grazing all summer long. Naturally, that many animals don’t belong to only one farmer, so the sorting process is fascinating to watch! Add it to your list, along with other trips around the country.
What to visit: Reynisfjara beach, volcano Hekla, farmer’s roundup
December –February (2 - 3° C)
Certainly one of the most popular times to visit the country, Icelandic winters truly are magical. The landscape is covered in snow, ice and a winter wonderland like the one in children’s tales and stories comes to life. Of course during winter months you have the highest chance of spotting the natural phenomenon that is the Northern Lights, but there’s also plenty of other activities to add to your itinerary if you’re here between December and February. Dogsledding or snowmobiling across snow-covered plains will certainly get your heart racing; exploring beautiful and glistening ice caves should also be on your list. Finish it all off with a dip in the hot waters of the aquamarine Blue Lagoon for a complete winter adventure.
What to see: Northern Lights, Blue Lagoon, dogsledding, ice caves
So, which time of year has you researching flights to Iceland?