Tips and Inspiration Destination guide: how to experience the best of Iceland

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Destination guide: how to experience the best of Iceland

Iceland is arguably one of the world's most naturally beautiful countries. It has mountains and glaciers, as well as famous sights such as the Northern Lights. To help you answer common FAQs on the best time to visit and how to find the cheapest flights, we've created this handy destination guide...

When is the best time to visit Iceland?

Iceland is generally busiest in the peak summer so we think one of the best times to visit is late summer/early fall when most of the crowds have gone home.

September/October are also considered some of the best times to travel to Iceland if you want to see the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis).

May through September is also the best time to go whale watching in Iceland, so if you want to tick a few lifetime experiences from your bucket-list, do it now! There’s no shortage of things to do in Iceland so as long as you’re free to go and happy to purchase a cashmere sweater or two.

Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik

Weather in Iceland

If you’re expecting the weather forecast to tell you about the best time to visit Iceland, you’ll probably be disappointed. The county is generally always fairly cold, although not as cold as you may expect.

The Iceland weather in August, for example, can reach around 13º Celsius (52º Fahrenheit) in the capital Reykjavik. This is summer ☀️! In winter, it drops to around freezing. But as the saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes. Take lots of layers and a few pairs of woolen socks and you’ll be fine. The Iceland weather is all part of its charm and what makes the country so beautiful.

Temperatures in Iceland drop to below freezing in winter

What are the best things to do in Iceland?

It’s hard to know where to start. There are so many things to do in Iceland if you’re happy to wrap up warm and go exploring. Some of the most popular things to see and do there include:

Vatnajökull National Park

This huge national park covers more than 10% of the whole country. It is easily one of the most beautiful natural places to visit in Iceland with its waterfalls, volcanoes, rives, glaciers and trails. You can drive through lots of the park but it is also a hiker’s dream.

Vatnajökull National Park is one of the most beautiful places in Iceland
Whale watching

The best time to whale watch in Iceland is around late summer when Orca whales, humpback and blue whales (and more) arrive in the North Atlantic. There are dozens of companies offering tours.

One of the best times to visit Iceland to whale watch is late summer
Gullfoss waterfall

Along with the Geysir Hot Spring Area and Þingvellir National Park (Thingvellir National Park), the Gullfoss waterfall forms the Golden Triangle. Formed by the River Hvita this stunning waterfall is in Southern Iceland and well worth a visit.

Things to do in Iceland: Gullfoss Waterfall
See the Aurora Borealis/Northern Lights

As we said above, one of the best times to see the spectacle that is the Northern Lights in Iceland is during fall. There are lots of tours from Reykjavik if you are on a city break, or head further afield if you want to be more remote.

See the Northern Lights in Iceland
Geysir Hot Spring Area

The hot springs at Geysir are one of the most popular things to do in Iceland all year round. Some of them spout 100ft in the air so stand back!

Some of the Geysir shoot 100ft in the air

What is the main city in Iceland?

The most contemporary city in Iceland is the capital Reykjavik, which has a plethora of cool cafes, restaurants, galleries and shops. It’s not overwhelming in size, in fact it’s much smaller than of the other most popular capitals in Europe, which makes it a great city to explore.

Some of the most popular things to see and do there include a walk through Old Reykjavik (organized or self guided), the Reykjavik National Museum, the iconic Hallgrimskirkja church, and the Reykjavik Art Museum. The Art Museum is split over three excellent sites and is easily one of Reykjavik’s best attractions.

Reykjavik’s Hallgrimskirkja church is one of the most popular places to visit in Iceland

How to find the cheapest flights to Iceland

Once again, our handy ‘Everywhere Search’ could be your golden ticket to a cheap flight to Iceland. If you’re flexible on dates, enter ‘Everywhere’ in the date search box and we’ll show you the cheapest flights across a whole year.

If you like to be more specific, enter ‘Cheapest Month – Whole Month’ in the date search box and we’ll check the prices of flights across a whole month. This way you can see exactly how much you can save by flying on particular days.

*This article was published July 2019. Information and prices correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.

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