Iceland in May: Spring Weather and Enchanting Scenery
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Blue skies, sunshine, and the lush bloom of spring — Iceland in May is full of vibrant colors. This is a lovely time to visit Iceland and its enchanting land. Winter is long over, but it is not quite summer yet, which means that the weather in Iceland in May is pleasant, certainly by the country’s chilly standards! Plus, the summer tourist crowds have not yet arrived. Since most of the winter snow has melted by May, many of the country’s inaccessible mountain paths are open, allowing you to explore the outdoors and visit all corners of this country. From whale-watching and hiking to delightful trips on roads and trails, there are many wonderful things to do in Iceland during this month.
Iceland Weather in May
Iceland’s weather in May can be best described as mild. The average temperature in the country during this month is around 6°C, while the highs hover between 10°C and 12°C. Days are long: Iceland in early May sees about 13 hours of daylight, which increases to around 16 hours by the end of the mouth.
You might experience some rain at this time of year, but rainfalls typically occur in short bursts. Generally speaking, May is among the drier months of the year. There is a chance of snowfall, although it is less common than in April.
For a more in-depth seasonal overview, check out our travel guide on the best time to visit Iceland.
Weather in Iceland in May - Rainfall and Temperatures
|Avg Daily (°C)||3||2||2||5||9||11||13||13||9||6||5||4|
|Avg Nightly (°C)||-3||-2||-2||0||3||7||9||8||5||2||0||-1|
|Avg Daily (°F)||37.4||35.6||35.6||41||48.2||51.8||55.4||55.4||48.2||42.8||41||39.2|
|Avg Nightly (°F)||26.6||28.4||28.4||32||37.4||44.6||48.2||46.4||41||35.6||32||30.2|
|Avg Rainfall (mm)||50||40||40||20||40||20||20||30||40||30||30||40|
Why Visit Iceland in May
May is a lovely time to visit Iceland. Below are some of the reasons why you should consider travelling to Iceland at this time of year.
- Fewer crowds: The peak tourist season in Iceland starts in June, so you can navigate much of the country in May without having to encounter hordes of travelers.
- Better rates: Compared with the summer months of June, July, and August, you can get better deals on hotels and airfare in May.
- Ideal days: Iceland is known for its incredibly long days at the height of summer and extremely short days during the peak winter season. But May is one of those months when you will feel comparatively ‘normal’ if you are used to moderately long days. There is, however, plenty of daylight during this month to explore this beautiful country.
- Outdoor attractions: Fewer chances of rain and snow mean you can explore Iceland’s stunning landscape without having to worry about carrying an umbrella or a raincoat. Hit the road and drive through the Golden Circle, the famous, 237-kilometer-long drive, ticking dozens off your bucket list.
- Glorious nature: Flowers start blooming across the country, trees get their new leaves and puffins are back. After months of cold, the sun is finally out. May is the perfect time to enjoy Iceland’s natural bounty.
- Festival season kicks in: The season of festivals in Iceland starts in May and extends through the summer season. Saga Fest, which takes place in the latter half of May, celebrates Icelandic culture through music, poetry, and arts. The Vaka Folk Festival, which starts on May 30 and ends on June 2, is held in Akureyri, the capital of North Iceland, and features charming traditional dances and music.
Where to go and what to do
With the snow melting in most parts of Iceland, many scenic hiking and trekking trails open up in May. Vatnajökull National Park, which is dominated by a glacier, has some beautiful hiking routes and waterfalls to explore, making it an ideal destination in May. This is also a great time to see the enchanting Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon on the country’s south coast, an area surrounded by floating icebergs. Equally stunning is the dramatic landscape of Diamond Beach, with its layers of glistering ice on black sand dunes.
Add a road trip across the north of the country if you are heading for Iceland in May. Browse through the collections of the art galleries in Akureyri, go whale-watching in Húsavík, walk past the thick woods of the Ásbyrgi Canyon, and get mesmerized by the lovely landscapes of Lake Mývatn Nature Reserve. Mild weather means you will enjoy hiking, jogging, and cycling through the beautiful Elliðaárdalur Valley near Reykjavík, a local favourite that most travelers are still unaware of. The weather in Iceland in May is just right to enjoy a beer crawl and a food tour in the capital.
For those interested in diving and snorkeling, there is Silfra, a fissure between two continental tectonic plates that is widely regarded as one of the best snorkeling destinations on the planet. May is just the right month to discover this dreamy underwater world.
Having explored the country inside out, you might want to call it an end to your journey with a relaxing dip in the Secret Lagoon, the oldest swimming pool in the country that is located near the geothermal area of Flúðir.
What to bring
For travelers interested in hiking and outdoor activities, a pair of hiking boots is a must. A warm, waterproof jacket will also come in handy in case of rain. Make sure that you carry a few light, warm clothes that you can take off and put on with ease.
May is an excellent month to travel to Iceland. Check out our guide on how long to stay in Iceland to get an idea of how many days you should spend in the country. We recommend at least a week in the country if you want to witness all the must-see highlights in the country. However, if you have fewer days on your hands, spending at least 3 days in Iceland would give you a satisfying glimpse of those highlights. This is when days are long, winter is over and most of the country is accessible. Our travel experts in the country can help you plan the right tailormade tour to Iceland in May. Make sure to check out our tours to Iceland in May to plan your next trip right away!
Our related travel guide articles:
Iceland in April
Iceland in June