Time & Daylight

When to expect sunrises, sunsets, northern lights and the midnight sun.

Iceland is on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), and does not adjust to daylight savings time.

Example of sunrise and sunset times:

  Reykjavík Akureyri
January 1 11:19-15:45 11:31-15:01
February 5 09:55-17:30 09:51-17:03
March 5 08:21-18:59 08:09-18:41
April 2 06:42-20:23 06:23-20:11
May 7 04:39-22:12 04:09-22:12
June 4 03:15-23:39 02:21-00:04
June 21 02:54-00:05 01:24-01:04
July 2 03:07-23:55 02:02-00:27
August 6 04:50-22:14 04:20-22:13
September 3 06:16-20:36 05:55-20:26
October 1 07:37-18:57 07:23-18:40
November 5 09:24-16:58 09:20-16:31
December 3 10:51-15:44 11:00-15:04
December 21 11:22-15:30 11:38-14:43

Owing to Iceland’s proximity to the Arctic Circle, the country experiences “white nights” in the summer months due to the midnight sun, a natural phenomenon in which the setting sun doesn’t fully dip below the horizon. Iceland experiences its peak daylight hours during the Summer Solstice in late June. Some travellers find it beneficial to bring sleeping masks during summer visits.

At the other extreme, the days are much shorter during winter, with only a few hours of daylight around the solstice in December. Fortunately, this means more opportunities to witness the northern lights! Also called aurora borealis, these colourful, dancing lights are caused by charged particles from solar flares colliding with the earth's atmosphere. They are mainly visible in the high northern latitudes, including most of the Nordic region, and can only be viewed in the darkness of night with no cloud cover.

Note: The best months for viewing the northern lights are October through April, with peak visibility from December through February. However, as it is a natural phenomenon, sightings cannot be guaranteed.


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