FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ICELAND IN MAY
Whatever you’re wondering about visiting Iceland in May, we’re here to answer your most commonly asked questions. Is May a good time to visit Iceland? Definitely! What can you visit during this time of year? Read below to find out all the details from our local travel experts.
How is Iceland in May?
May is the start of the summer travel season in Iceland. This means it is a quieter month that falls before the popular period of June to August.
Known as the shoulder season, it’s the ideal time of year for those who want to still enjoy decent weather but avoid larger crowds. The temperatures are generally mild, and there are long daylight hours as we approach the summer solstice.
What are the best things to do in Iceland in May?
There are plenty of things you can do during your trip to Iceland. May is one of the best times to visit the Land of Fire and Ice, as there is a wide variety of experiences to enjoy.
Here are 10 of the best things to do in Iceland in May:
Marvel at waterfalls
Hike in national parks
Dip in hot springs and pools
Go whale and puffin watching
See geothermal wonders and volcanoes
Roam the countryside on an Icelandic horse
Walk along black sand beaches
Venture off the beaten track
Admire glacier lagoons
Taste Icelandic cuisine
In May, you could also attend the Reykjavík Arts Festival. It is one of the country’s biggest cultural events and attracts artists from all over the world.
What are the best places to visit in Iceland in May?
May is a great month to travel to Iceland and see its top natural attractions. More so, you’ll enjoy long daylight hours and fair weather, ideal conditions for exploring.
Here are some of the best places to visit in Iceland in May:
For rainy days, you may want to explore some of these fun indoor attractions too:
Learn about volcanoes at the Lava Centre
Try a flight simulation experience with FlyOver Iceland
Experience earthquakes and visit the planetarium at Perlan
Venture “into the glacier” at Langjökull
What is the weather like in Iceland in May?
As May is a transitional month between spring and summer, you can expect mild and changing weather in Iceland at this time. On average, there are highs of 10°C (50°F) and lows of 4°C (40°F).
Iceland’s climate is unpredictable, so prepare for sun, wind and rain if you’re planning a trip for May.
What is the temperature in May?
In the capital, the average temperature is 6°C (43°F) in May. In Akureyri, in the north, it is 4°C (40°F).
Does it snow in Iceland in May?
It is unlikely to snow in Iceland in May. On rare occasions, it may snow in the north at the beginning of the month. At this time, you’ll also still be able to admire the snow-topped mountains.
What are the driving conditions in Iceland in May?
A road trip in Iceland in May has its advantages. As it’s not yet the peak season, there's lighter traffic for driving around the Ring Road. This is one of the great things about exploring Iceland in the shoulder season – fewer visitors!
Since the weather is changeable in Iceland, it is important to come prepared. Make yourself aware of road safety precautions before you travel.
During your trip check weather and road conditions regularly. For your peace of mind, our team is on hand 24/7 should you need to get in touch at any point.
When you book a self-drive tour with Nordic Visitor, car rentals come with collision damage waiver, unlimited in-car Wi-Fi, and a hand-marked map of your route. You also get two named drivers on the insurance policy so you can share the driving with a travel companion.
What to pack for a trip to Iceland in May?
Iceland is famous for its ever-changing weather, so we advise that you be as prepared as possible. As May follows the cold Icelandic spring, we recommend bringing warmer layers to be ready for the cooler temperatures. That way, come rain or shine, you can enjoy the natural beauty of the country.
Here is a list of packing essentials for your Iceland trip in May:
Fleece and lightweight wool jumpers
Waterproof and windproof jacket or shell layers
Thermal underwear and socks
As well as these essentials, be sure to bring good sturdy walking or hiking boots depending on what activities you may want to enjoy. And, if you’re keen to experience the famous Blue Lagoon, remember to pack your swimwear.
What to wear in Iceland in May?
Icelanders have a saying: “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing”.
As the weather is expected to be mild but unpredictable in May, we recommend layers. That way you can remove or add clothes depending on the day’s weather.
Make sure to bring some warm under layers as well as water and windproof outer layers. If you plan on visiting beaches, going for coastal walks and exploring national parks, you should wear some good hiking shoes or boots.
What are the daylight hours in Iceland in May?
In May, the daylight hours are still growing longer as we slowly approach the summer solstice. This means you’ll enjoy plenty of daytime brightness to explore Iceland to your heart’s content. You can expect daylight hours between 5 AM and 10 PM on average.
By June, Iceland experiences around 19-21 hours of daylight thanks to the midnight sun.
Can I see the northern lights in Iceland in May?
In May, it is unlikely you’ll see the northern lights. This is because during the summer months there are few hours of proper darkness.
Visit between October and March to go on one of the northern lights tours available in Iceland. These allow you to go to quieter and more remote areas to (hopefully) enjoy the spectacle.
How to tour Iceland in May?
There are various ways to travel on your Iceland tour in May. Depending on your personal tastes and requirements, you could either go for a guided or self-guided vacation.
Visit the capital with a city break
If you’re looking for a fun but short getaway, come explore Reykjavík. There is much to discover within the capital and nearby.
Here are some of the best things to do in May in Iceland’s capital:
Go to the top of Hallgrímskirkja Church
Take a dip at a local swimming pool
See Grótta Lighthouse
Walk along the coast
Visit the Einar Jónsson Art Museum
Attend the Reykjavík Arts Festival
You could also join day tours to discover beyond Reykjavík, including the Reykjanes Peninsula and the famous Golden Circle.
Take the wheel for an epic road trip
May is an excellent month for those who want to tour Iceland at their own pace. Pick up your rental car and journey around the island along the Ring Road (Route 1).
At this time of year, the road conditions are good for touring, and you can enjoy long daylight hours to drive and explore. Stop whenever you want to admire the black sands of the South Coast, high mountains, and the jagged landscape of lava fields.
Driving in Iceland is an adventure that you won’t regret! Especially if you book with Nordic Visitor, as we offer collision damage waiver, unlimited in-car Wi-Fi, and a 24/7 helpline for emergencies.
Join a small guided group tour
In May, you could opt to join a small group tour of the natural wonders of Iceland. Explore the scenic South Coast or tour around the country to see the best island.
A small group tour offers an enriching experience, allowing you to get the most out of your trip thanks to the expertise of a local guide. What’s more, you’ll be travelling alongside 15 people at most, so the trip is still personal for you.
Book a private tour
With these packages, you’ll enjoy the undivided attention of your own expert guide who will also act as your personal driver. Sit back, relax and take in the view as your local guide gives you a deeper insight into the Icelandic history and beauty.
As well as a personal itinerary, your private guide will be able to tailor the tour even more to your preferences. You get to stop where you want to see what interests you specifically. Ask all the questions you want, get unique insight and relax in the comfortable vehicle.
Good to know: Our Iceland itineraries aren’t set in stone. Our Reykjavík-based Iceland experts know the country inside out. They’ll help you see Iceland your way, tailoring your itinerary and adding all the best excursions to suit you.
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