a group of four Icelandic hourses, one dark brown horse in the foreground facing the camera. It looses specks of white winter fur.

Spring is the time to get rid of that fluffy winter coat

Iceland in the midseasons

With most tourists traveling to Iceland between June and August, summer is still the most popular time to visit Iceland. But the midseasons in Iceland have their very special charm and we want to tell you all about why they are a great time to visit Iceland

What to expect in the midseasons

In his song „Three Seasons “ (‚Árstíðirnar þjrár“), Karl Olgeirsson says, that Iceland has three seasons: fall, winter, and hope. Icelandic winters are long and the transition times spring and autumn are short and vary each year. Winter can hit Iceland as early as September and summer can arrive as late as July. Fall and spring are therefore even more unpredictable - and exciting – weatherwise!

Flights, accommodations, and rental cars are more expensive and sometimes even booked up during the buzzing summer months. The shoulder seasons are often a chance to make a bargain on airfare and have a more extensive range to pick from hotels and guesthouses.

A croup of ice climbers climbing down a glacier wall. Some are waiting on the rim,while others are climbing down.

Lots of snowy and icy adventures await the ones visiting Iceland in spring

Some consider it an advantage not to meet that many fellow travelers and have a higher chance of enjoying the hotspots by themselves. Less tourism at the same time means, that during the off-season the infrastructure in the countryside might not be that well equipped: lots of campsites are only open from May to September, and some museums and restaurants might be closed. The same goes for the highland roads or F-Roads, which are usually only open from mid-/end June until mid-September. A calendar that is updated each year can be found here.

Driving in Spring and autumn can be challenging depending on the weather conditions. Storms and snow sometimes lead to road closures and derange travel plans. When traveling the whole ring road in these times, a four-wheel drive is therefore recommended. It is also a great time to consider the option of exploring one part of the country more extensively. Use our travel planner!

For Northern-light hunters the shoulder seasons are a great time: The equinoxes in March and September create ideal conditions for viewing the northern lights, as they tend to be more prominent during these periods. Why is that? During the equinoxes, the Earth’s orientation aligns its equatorial plane with the Sun. This alignment allows the solar wind, comprised of charged particles emitted by the Sun, to stream more directly toward the poles, enhancing the visibility and brilliance of the auroras.

An aerial picture of Skogafoss in South Iceland. The landscape around the waterfalls is covered with brown grass, the water appears almost black.

When snow has melted, Iceland's spring colours are revealed

Iceland in Spring

According to the calendar, Icelandic spring starts with the spring equinox on the 20th of March, when day and night are equally long.

Into spring falls Eastertime in Iceland which is celebrated with a lot of chocolate, family dinners, and skiing vacations all around the country. Bláfjöll Skí Resort near Reykjavík, Hlíðarfjall in Akureyri, Siglufjörður, Tindastóll, and Björgvinsstaðarfjall near Dalvík invite alpine skiers onto their slopes. For the more adventurous, Heli-skiing is always an option!

Spring is also a great time for visiting Ice-Caves, or going Ice climbing.

In April days start to get very long with 13 hours of daylight at the beginning and 16 hours by the end of the month. Northern lights now become harder to spot. Instead, at the beginning of May the flora starts to explode, Iceland‘s meadows turn green and the Puffins arrive! They set foot on cliffs for nesting and stay in Iceland until the middle of August.

A group of puffins standing on a rock, one puffin facing the camera. In the background snow-covered mountains.

The arrival of the puffin - a much beloved time in the year

Other migrant birds start flocking to Iceland and soon the Golden plover, Eurasian whimbrel and the Common snipe start to fill the air with their lovely sounds.

The best part of spring is animal babies! Lambing season is at the beginning of May, and after being born, sheep and their little ones get to enjoy the outdoors after a winter in the stables. Equally cute, just a little bit bigger, are the newborn foals, trying to stand on their shaky feet in Iceland‘s hummocky meadows.

Iceland in fall

When summer ends and fall begins varies each year. Autumn storms and onsets of winter can surprise travelers and Icelanders as early as the beginning of September. Nevertheless, September and October follow the summer as the busiest time of the year. And If you have ever seen Iceland in autumn, you know why!

A green meadow at a small lake, covered with cotton grass.

A sign that summer draws to its end - fluffy cotton grass covers Iceland's meadows in august

In August, the midnight sun time is over and daylight hours are reduced to 15 hours. Nights start to get dark again and by the end of August chances are already high to be able to spot the Northern lights. Long daylight gives travelers still enough time to explore the country.

Autumn is the harvesting season here in Iceland. Icelandic flora starts shining in all shades of red, orange, purple, and mossy green. Though highly dependent on the previous summer, the much-loved berry picking season usually starts between mid-august and mid-September and makes for a great activity in beautiful fall weather.

Green northern lights shining above the lighthouse Grótta in Southwest Iceland

Spring and fall are great times to witness spectacular Northern lights shows

Another cultural event not to be missed are the réttir, the sheep-round-ups. At the beginning of September, farmers gather their sheep (and horses) from the mountains and bring them back to the farms. This genuinely Icelandic tradition is considered a highlight of the annual calendar and witnessing it (and even helping!) is a travel experience par excellence.

As mentioned before, it is hard to tell when the first snow hits the mountaintops and winter slowly starts falling over the Island. Hiking through colorful foliage, watching the Northern lights by night and beautiful sundowns make autumn a great and a very picturesque time for Iceland to enjoy.

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Iceland in the midseasons