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Our Favorite Times: April, September, October
These are our favorite months to visit because there are fewer visitors than in the peak summer months, the days are still long enough and provide plenty of daylight to do a lot activities during the day, and there’s a chance of seeing the Northern Lights! Some people visit Iceland and are disappointed that there isn’t more snow/ice; if you are afraid of this happening, then visit in April when there will definitely be snow on the ground (or on the mountains) in some places. If you want to avoid snow, visit in September before the snow has started to fall again (although you won’t see much snow on the ground or on mountains except for glaciers).
Summer: Lots of daylight, lots of people, lots of money
The summer is the most popular time to visit Iceland, partly due to school holidays and vacations, and partly due to Iceland’s warmer weather and longer days. The high demand means high prices (hotel prices can be as high as 3x the price as the winter low season) and crowds at many of the main attractions (with parking being an issue). Airfare and rental cars cost more as well, and if you don’t plan your trip far in advance you will have limited choices when it comes to hotels and excursions. Some summer advantages: this is the only time when you can see puffins (from May to August), it’s one of the best times to go whale watching (especially June & July), you can experience the midnight sun, and if you’re up to it you can visit a lot of sights without the crowds late at night when everyone else is sleeping!
Winter: Less daylight, less people, less money
Winters in Iceland can be… rough. Near the winter solstice (December 21st), depending on which part of Iceland you’re in the sun only appears above the horizon for 3-4 hours a day. Some towns that are located in fjords will go for months without actually seeing the sun (although it does get light outside). However, there are significantly fewer tourists and prices are much lower (especially from November to February). This is also a great time to see the Northern Lights- you can generally see them from September to April, with October-March being the most popular times. However, visiting during this time of year does not guarantee a sighting- the skies have to be clear and dark, and there has to be solar activity. Keep in mind that some restaurants are closed in the winter. It is a better time to see reindeer, and spring is when you have the best chances of seeing orca.