For adventure seekers, outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers, Iceland is the place to go. With dramatic landscapes and untouched scenery at every twist and turn, the island is a true bucket list destination. Whether you’re seeking glacial hiking, waterfall chasing or pretty towns to wander, Iceland has it all.
This stunning European country boasts natural beauty and intriguing wildlife no matter where you go. It is one of the best places to catch a glimpse of the northern lights, as well as an island brimming with rural hiking routes and exceptional road trip adventures.
If you’re visiting Iceland in May, you’re likely in need of more information. Luckily enough, we’ve got you covered! Keep reading to learn more about this fascinating country, alongside what to do when staying here.
Is May a Good Time to Visit Iceland?
May is a great time to visit Iceland, as it is still considered off-season so you will avoid the busier crowds. With flowers blooming across the island, and the sun making more of an appearance, May is also a beautiful time to visit the country.
As temperatures start to rise and daylight hours extend, it provides the ideal time for those looking to explore more of Iceland. With fewer tourists, pretty landscapes and slightly warmer weather, May allows for an excellent time to visit this beautiful part of Europe.
Weather in Iceland in May
Another thing to be aware of when visiting Iceland in May is the weather. This can affect your entire trip here from travelling to activities and what you wear. Below is a little more information on the climate during this time, this way you can plan accordingly.
Temperatures in Iceland in May
May is generally a mild month in Iceland, with temperatures averaging around 2°C to 11°C and a good chance of blue skies and sunshine. It can however drop lower than this, creating a much cooler climate. There is also a chance of rainfall during this time, so be sure to pack plenty of layers and waterproof clothing.
Daylight in Iceland in May
For those hoping to extend their adventures in Iceland, you’ll be pleased to know that the daylight hours are relatively good during May. At the start of the month, you can expect around 13 hours of daylight per day, increasing to around 16 hours towards the end of the month. This provides plenty of light to enjoy exploring all that this wonderful country has to offer.
Can you see the Northern Lights in Iceland in May?
During your visit to Iceland in May, you’re likely wondering whether or not you will be able to catch a glimpse of the northern lights. Unfortunately, this is one of the few months where you can’t see the aurora borealis in all its glory.
To get a good look at the northern lights, the skies need to be clear and dark and as May presents more daylight, it reduces your chances of seeing the lights. However, don’t let this deter you from visiting because there are still plenty of other excellent places to go and activities to do in Iceland in May!
What to Do in Iceland in May
Iceland is a country brimming with raw natural beauty, exploration and adventure, meaning there is always plenty to do and see here. To help get you started with planning your trip, below are just a few of the best things to do when visiting Iceland in May.
Visit the Hot Springs
When seeking things to do in Iceland, a visit to the hot springs should certainly be on your list. These attract many tourists each year and provide a unique experience for all. The springs are warm pools of water, surrounded by stunning natural scenery. This provides the perfect place to truly relax and unwind in the country.
There are some excellent hot springs to choose from around Reykjavik, with the Blue Lagoon being the most popular. Spend some time soaking in utter serenity as you make the most of Iceland’s hot pools in May.
Hiking in Iceland is another favoured activity. With warmer temperatures and clearer skies, it provides the perfect setting to take in the country’s exceptional landscapes. Two popular routes are Mount Helgafell and Mount Esja, both of which are near Reykjavik. These allow for an exciting adventure, alongside somewhere to take in the stunning views across the island.
There are plenty of hiking routes, perfect for a range of abilities. Whether you’re seeking a relaxing stroll, or something a little more challenging, you will find it all in Iceland.
Wander around Reykjavik
Reykjavik is the capital city of Iceland, making it a favoured spot for many tourists. Its fantastic culture, history and surrounding beauty make it somewhere worth visiting for all. Here you can marvel over interesting architecture whilst learning more about this wonderful country.
The city is also known for being the main hub and starting point in Iceland, making Reykjavik the place to go for tours, information and more when visiting here. Try out the many bars and restaurants throughout the streets, or spend some time shopping in the many Icelandic stores. However you choose to spend your time here, Reykjavik is sure to impress.
Tours in Iceland in May
With so much to see and do in Iceland, you might find yourself feeling a little overwhelmed about where to start. Luckily enough there are plenty of excellent tours across the country, all of which cater to a range of holiday itineraries. Keep reading to learn more about the different excursions in Iceland, this way you can plan the best ones for you!
Glacier Hiking Tours
Covering around 11% of Iceland are magnificent glaciers. These icy structures provide the perfect place to get a true sense of the country and its encompassing landscapes. Better yet, you’re not only able to get up and close to the glaciers, but you can also enjoy a hiking adventure on them too!
The best way to explore these natural wonders is by a glacier hiking tour. This way you get to visit some of the most impressive formations in Iceland, alongside learning more about the country along the way. Popular glaciers include Solheimajokull, Vatnajokull, Langjokull, Drangajokull, plus many more.
Lava Caving Tours
One of the best things to see in Iceland in May is undoubtedly the lava caves across the island. These allow for an exciting underground experience, as you explore below the icy surface. The best way to see the caves is by tour, this way you can learn and explore all in the safety of an experienced guide.
With breathtaking colours of red, purple and orange rock, alongside the opportunity to learn more about Iceland’s natural formations, lava caving allows for a great day out.
Horseback Riding Tours
The Icelandic horse has roamed the island for over 1,000 years, making them part of the country’s history and heritage. With this in mind, what better way to explore Iceland than a horseback riding tour?
This popular activity has attracted tourists for many years and with plenty of outdoor space to explore, it comes as no surprise. Visitors spend hours roaming the rural parts of Iceland, the perfect way to take in the impressive scenery without having to put in the leg work!
For wildlife enthusiasts, a puffin tour is one of the best ways to spend your time in Iceland. May and August are known for being the most popular times to catch sight of these beautiful seabirds, as this is when they head back to land and gather on the rocks around the water.
Several tours will take you to the best spots for catching a glimpse of puffins. But it is worth noting that evenings are better for the visibility of the birds, as they are often out catching dinner during the day!
Whale Watching Tours
After partaking in a puffin tour, why not extend your wildlife watching further and try to spot the many whales around Iceland? This is a great way to get out to sea, all whilst searching for these beautiful giants.
Whale-watching tours are perfect for families and couples alike, allowing for an excellent opportunity to see more of Iceland and its stunning wildlife. The large variety of marine life around the island also provides visitors with a great chance of catching a glimpse of over 20 species of whales. This is an exciting adventure for all and one of the best ways to make the most of your time in Iceland.
Driving around Iceland in May
Road trips are very popular in Iceland and for good reason! The stunning landscapes, thrilling routes and several attractions make for the perfect place to partake in a driving adventure. There are however a few things to take into consideration for those travelling to Iceland in May. Below are a couple of things to bear in mind when planning a driving holiday around the island.
Should I rent a car in Iceland in May?
Renting a car in Iceland is the best way to see all that this beautiful country has to offer. Not only does it take the hassle out of planning public transport, but it also gives you the freedom to explore at your leisure.
We recommend hiring a 4×4 vehicle when planning a road trip in Iceland, as this ensures you can travel the country safely. With rural F-Roads and unpredictable weather, these larger cars are better equipped to deal with Iceland’s roads and conditions.
Driving the Golden Circle in Iceland in May
May is a great time to visit Iceland’s Golden Circle as the route can be easily reached during this month. With attractions like Geysir Geothermal Area, Gullfoss Waterfall and Thingvellir National Park along the way, this is one thing not to miss!
As May presents more daylight hours, this means you can also travel the Golden Circle at a more leisurely pace. Plus, with fewer tourists in Iceland during this time, you can also navigate the roads with ease. There is no better way to see the Golden Circle than by self-driving. This allows for complete freedom, meaning you can stop off at all the top attractions and spend as much time as you want at each place.
What to Pack for Iceland in May
Knowing what to wear in Iceland in May can be a little overwhelming at first, with unpredictable weather and changing conditions it can be difficult to know what to pack. Below is a list of essentials for your trip, this should help get you started when planning a trip here in May.
- Plenty of layers
- Thick socks
- Comfortable trousers
- Hiking boots
- Hat/scarf and gloves
- Bathing suit
- Comfortable shoes
We recommend packing early, this way you can add to your items as you go. Keep an eye on the weather beforehand, as this will also help you plan for any sudden change in conditions!
We hope that after reading this article you can now visit Iceland in May with all the information you need. No matter what you decide to do, you will find a country brimming with beautiful terrains and breathtaking nature. With mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, wildlife and much more, you will find something to suit the whole family in this stunning part of Europe.
If you’re planning a trip to Iceland, you’re likely in need of transportation. Fara Car Rental have a fantastic range of vehicles to suit a variety of needs. There is no better way to make the most out of all that Iceland has to offer than planning your very own road trip adventure!