With an extensive list of activities to suit every season, Iceland is definitely a place you’d want on your bucket list. However, there is something particularly special about visiting Iceland in May.
The landscapes are green, flowers have started blooming, and the puffins are back on land for the mating season. Traveling conditions are fairly pleasant during this time too.
You can expect to pay less for car rental and accommodation compared to the peak season in June, July, and August. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re making any real compromise.
One of the perks of visiting Iceland in May is that you get the best of both worlds. The days are long, the weather is pleasant, and nature is blooming. But you won’t find yourself paying peak season rates. And, as an added bonus, it’s a lot less crowded.
Sounds too good to be true, right?
The good news is, it isn’t.
What To Expect From The Weather In Iceland In May
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The weather in Iceland in May and June make these some of the best months to visit. Exact conditions vary depending on where exactly you are. But generally speaking, days are long and boast cool, pleasant temperatures that last up until August.
The average temperature in May sees a low of 2.2°C and a high of 11.7°C. Rainfall isn’t uncommon either, as it rains an average of 11 days during this month. Stronger storms and snowfall, on the other hand, are more common in the winter days.
Despite the cooler weather conditions, Iceland sees a whopping 17 to 20 hours of daylight per day during the month of May. So don’t forget your sunglasses!
What To Wear In Iceland In May:
Now that you have an idea of the kind of weather to prepare for, you may be wondering what to pack and what to wear in Iceland in May.
Since springtime is generally unpredictable, it’s best to go in with LAYERS. It may sound obvious, but the weather changes a lot during this time of the year. It could be clear and sunny one day, and windy the next. Even warmer days transition into much cooler nights.
Pack in light jackets and thermal vests alongside your sunglasses and swimsuit. It’s best to have extra layers that you’re able to remove if you need to, just in case.
Can I Still See The Northern Lights in May?
There are so many excellent reasons to visit this gorgeous place in May. Unfortunately, sighting the Northern Lights, otherwise known as the ‘Aurora Lights’ is not one of them.
The best time to see the Northern Lights is in winter, in the last few months of the year. It’s not impossible to sight them in early May, but chances are slim. You’ll have to stay up during one of the few hours of darkness, and in areas with little to no artificial light or cloud cover.
Don’t let that get you down, though – there are still plenty of other great experiences to indulge in, like the ones mentioned below.
Top 7 Must-See Attractions and Activities
You’ve come this far, and now you’re wondering what to do in Iceland in May.
This gorgeous country offers a broad variety of activities and attractions for all seasons. During the winter you can explore ice caves or go hunting for the Northern Lights. During the summer you can go whale watching, visit a swimming pool or attend a music festival.
However, if you’re visiting Iceland in May, there are a few special activities to keep an eye out for.
1. Go snorkeling at Silfra Fissure
Located 40 minutes from the capital of Iceland is the UNESCO World Heritage site, Þingvellir National Park. It’s home to one of the top 10 diving sites in the world. This activity does have some prerequisites, but it’s a must-see for all those able and willing to go.
2. Go horseback riding with the famous Icelandic horse
There are riding tour companies dotted across the country, each offering an invaluable experience riding the famed Icelandic horse.
3. Enjoy a whale watching tour
Although a popular attraction during the summer, it’s a great choice in the springtime too. Book a tour from one of the harbors in Reykjavík, Dalvik, Hauganes, Akureyri, and more.
4. Visit Víðey Island
Just a short ferry trip from Reykjavík, this island is home to dozens of seabirds and the Yoko Ono Peace Tower. It also hosts Viðey House, the first stone building to be built in Iceland.
5. Take a hike
No, this isn’t sass! Mount Esja’s hiking trails have gorgeous panoramic views that make the adventure all the more worth it.
6. Wander through Elliðaárdalur Valley
Whether you prefer to hike or cycle, you’re sure to enjoy the beauty of this family-friendly recreation area. It’s only really popular with locals, so there’s no need to worry about too many tourists either.
7. Relax in some hot springs
Iceland is a hotspot for geothermal pools. While it’s more popular as a summer attraction, it’s perfect for May’s warmer days. If these natural hot tubs aren’t your thing, you could always visit one of Reykjavík’s equally spa-like swimming pools instead.
While you’re sure to find some exciting itinerary ideas on this list, there are plenty of tours and activities to cater to every whim and fancy.
Visiting Iceland in May, with its scenic adventures and diverse weather conditions, is sure to be an experience worth writing home about.
If there’s one thing to take away from this, it’s that Icelanders know how to make the most of the good weather.
May isn’t the best time for an experience with the famed Northern Lights. But few places can still offer ski trips, cave exploring, and hot springs to make up for it. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or a family of four, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
A final piece of advice to you: don’t forget the camera! This is a trip you’ll want to look back on for years to come.