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Is there a great time to go to Iceland?

Is there a great time to go to Iceland?

Old Jul 17, 17, 9:28 am
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Is there a great time to go to Iceland?

I am not really into dark days but Iceland seems so interesting to me. Would that be May or June for the most light?
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Old Jul 17, 17, 10:53 am
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Yes, May or June would be best for the most light. I was there in mid-August 2015 and am headed there again next month. Some excursions area available only in the summer months, so that's a consideration. I found the weather in August to be reasonable- 50s and very low 60s during the day, tended to be rainy but the rain never lasted long and the locals were out anyway, even on bicycles.

Great destination!
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Old Jul 18, 17, 7:06 am
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If you want to drive into the highlands (4wd required) you only have part of June, July, August, and part of September, otherwise F roads are closed. However, during those months the main tourist circuit is badly overcrowded (want to stand in a queue to see a waterfall? It happens!), and hotels are outrageously expensive.
Outside this period it gets more complicated to perform prolonged outdoor activities, and most official campings are closed. But, you get more magic and less crowds.
I've been in early January with short daylight, but let me tell you: the light was spectacular, it felt like a 6 hour sunset. The whole country looks surreal like you are living some kind of epic dream, also when its cloudy and raining or snowing. And there is chance of seeing northern lights. If you have long distance to drive in the winter, you could could plan to cover them during the dark hours.
However, touring on Iceland is an unforgettable experience in any season.
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Last edited by Zembla; Jul 18, 17 at 7:12 am
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Old Jul 18, 17, 10:08 am
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It's always a great time to go to Iceland! Dazzling Midnight Sun during the summer, Northern Lights in winter. If you want to avoid crowds or weather extremes, try the shoulder seasons. Icelandair has recently put in a new Saga Club in KEF (with windows!) that's worth checking out if you can afford Saga class.
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Old Jul 19, 17, 6:30 am
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Originally Posted by Zembla View Post
I've been in early January with short daylight, but let me tell you: the light was spectacular, it felt like a 6 hour sunset. The whole country looks surreal like you are living some kind of epic dream, also when its cloudy and raining or snowing. And there is chance of seeing northern lights. If you have long distance to drive in the winter, you could could plan to cover them during the dark hours.
However, touring on Iceland is an unforgettable experience in any season.
Darn it, Zembla, I thought I had all my major trips laid out for the next 2 years and now I want to visit Iceland in the winter! Hmmm... maybe I'll combine it with Edinburgh, which I'm hoping to visit late next year.
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Old Jul 19, 17, 1:13 pm
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Iceland is amazing for exploring. Not many roads and they are all well signed so it's super easy to get from place to place during "not winter". "Not Winter", however, is pretty much the first of May to the middle of September, although you can still get storms that time of year (part of the south coast has road closures today).

We've done 3 summer trips and 1 winter trip. We're planning more summer visits. It's easy to get to places that are NOT the Golden Circle and never see a crowd once you leave the airport.
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Old Aug 9, 17, 9:40 am
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Originally Posted by BostonRobin View Post
It's always a great time to go to Iceland! Dazzling Midnight Sun during the summer, Northern Lights in winter. If you want to avoid crowds or weather extremes, try the shoulder seasons. Icelandair has recently put in a new Saga Club in KEF (with windows!) that's worth checking out if you can afford Saga class.
They give access to folks with Premium Economy, as well as Alaska Airlines elites in regular coach. Aquavit was nice, though I'd hoped they might have some Black Death brannavin available as well.

I was shocked by how cold it was there in August, one day it failed to get up to 50F.
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Old Aug 9, 17, 6:14 pm
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It's basically on the Arctic Circle. The Gulf Stream keeps it somewhat warm in winter, but summer temps rarely hit the high 60s. We did use the AC last summer in mid-August one day but it was after a hefty hike.
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Old Nov 13, 17, 6:14 am
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Iceland is in denial about its challenges

Icelanders are now complaining about the # of tourists & the fact they don't follow the rules:

https://www.citylab.com/life/2017/07...ourism/533382/

Now the rant. Iceland is not really ready for tourism. There are very few tourist facilities, no public transit outside of Rejkavik & KEF is overcrowded. KEF lacks charging facilities and has no showers. I contacted them & their reply (below) is not encouraging:

Thank you for your suggestions.
The airport is 30 years old but we are expanding and improving as fast as we are able. There are several charging stations throughout the airport. I am sorry that the employee did not know. I will look into that.
When we have finished expanding we hope to have room for some off the things you suggested. But right now we are to small compared to the number off people going through.

Last edited by Antonio8069; Nov 13, 17 at 6:15 am Reason: addition
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Old Nov 14, 17, 5:13 am
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Well, it is true the airport is expanding rapidly, and I imagine they will add more charging stations. I remember finding an outlet without much problem last time we were there (Aug, 2016).

Public transit outside the city will never be good there as there is hardly any "public" outside of Reykjavik. And a bus that takes you to the town of Hofn isn't too helpful for a tourist wanting to see natural wonders 30-45 minutes away. It's always going to require a rental car or tour to get to those sites.
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Old Nov 17, 17, 1:17 pm
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I just got back a few weeks ago and really lucked up weather wise. For one, it did not rain during our stay which was awesome. Secondly, the weather was perfect. I didn't want to go to Iceland when it was "warm," since I wanted a more authentic experience. While the sun was warm, there was a nice crisp bite in the air that paired well with the semi-Artic environment. As far as tourists are concerned, they weren't too bad in October but I can only imagine how large the crowds could get on the Great Circle during peak times. The Geyser crowds were pretty serious but not unmanageable. My advice, rent a car. That way you can work around the big buses that dump tourists at the main attractions. Also, you'll get to go where you want when you want and find some of gems that the bus tour won't take you to. Fuel is ridiculously expensive but just remember the cheap flights when you get sticker shock at the pump (and at restaurants!).
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Old Nov 18, 17, 10:30 am
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You did get lucky last week, Icon. There was one day about a week ago where all flights to/from Iceland were canceled due to a storm with hurricane strength winds. Movements on the ground were severely restricted as well.

Self-driving is the best way to see Iceland, but only in the "non-winter" months, of May to September. Beyond that you risk snow, ice, and crazy winter winds. Tour buses were knocked off of the roads in the South last week!
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Old Nov 26, 17, 4:51 am
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Besides from challenging weather conditions, to consider when packing, the possibility of watching Aurora Borealis during winter visits may outweigh many hardships.
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Old Nov 27, 17, 5:08 am
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Quite true.

Nearly all tours from Reykjavik were canceled one day last week due to storms, including Golden Circle tours. There were a few that went anyway, despite the weather, and some had to be rescued by the authorities.
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Old Dec 18, 17, 7:08 am
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Best time to visit Iceland depends on your travel expectations: winter months are amazing for Northern Lights, but May–June is great for midnight sun, nature, and, well, more pleasant weather.
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