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Things to Do During Iceland Off-Season

Why it is the best time to visit Iceland and the top things to do

|January 11, 2024
Konstancija is a writer who enjoys long walks and hikes in nature, "hunts" for second-hand goods, and is a frequent guest in public libraries where she loves to read and roam around stacks of books.

What does off-season mean in Iceland, and how can it impact your trip? Continue to read to find out when is off-season in Iceland and what perks it can bring during your next trip.

“Off-season” might not sound too tempting at first, but traveling to Iceland during the low season can bring you a lot of advantages. From cheaper travel tickets to smaller crowds, Iceland will surprise you no matter the season. So, what should you know before choosing dates to visit Iceland so that you can get the best deals and the most out of your trip?

When is the high and low season in Iceland?

The seasonality in Iceland is an important factor to keep in mind, primarily because of its unpredictable weather that tends to change every minute. Iceland is known to have three main traveling seasons:

  • High or peak season – the time when the number of travelers in the country is the highest. The high season in Iceland takes place between June and August and later in December (during the winter festivities). 

  • Shoulder season – the period between peak and off-seasons, during which you can already appreciate lesser crowds and lower prices. Iceland's shoulder season lasts from September to October and March to May.

  • Off-season or off-peak season – time travel with the least tourists in sight. In Iceland, the low season means the calmer time from November up until April.

Reasons to visit Iceland during the off-season

Off-season for Iceland doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to do. On the contrary, there are plenty of advantages that this time of year presents. What are some of those?

Explorer in Stugladil Canyon, Iceland

It’s the cheapest time to travel to Iceland

If you have ever wondered when the cheapest time to fly to Iceland is, off-season months are the answer to your question. Flight tickets, accommodation, car rentals, and tour bookings are much more affordable compared to peak season. So, if you enjoy cost-friendly destinations, Iceland during winter and spring would be a perfect choice.

Off-season Iceland is known to be less crowded

Who likes to be pushed by crowds or, even worse, not get to see and experience the beautiful attractions? During the off-season, you get a chance to see Iceland in all its glory, with many opportunities to take nice pictures without other people photobombing them.

Off-season in Iceland – like no other

While you might think that going abroad during the winter and spring seasons is not worth it because of how much you can do activity-wise, that’s not how it is in Iceland. There’s a reason it’s called Iceland, as winters here are phenomenal. Perhaps because of its glaciers, snowy mountains, ice caves, and the Northern Lights that you get to admire. And the fun thing for winter lovers is that the season here takes place not for three months but much longer, up until April.

Activities to do during the Iceland off-season

So, we already established that the cheapest time to visit Iceland is during the off-season. But what can you do here? How can you make your trip worth remembering?

Explore Golden Circle & South Coast

If it’s your very first trip to Iceland, then the best way to start it is by following the Golden Circle and its major attractions: Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall, and Geysir geothermal area. This way, you’ll learn Iceland’s fascinating history, followed by even more stunning views. If the South Coast of Iceland sounds familiar to you, that’s probably because of how popular of a destination it is, so you cannot simply miss it and the number of beautiful places it contains: glaciers, waterfalls, black sand beaches, and so much more. Don’t know where to start? Not a problem, book a tour to South Coast and Golden Circle, and forget any planning.

Catch the Northern Lights

The Northern Lights is one of the greatest gems you can witness in Iceland. This natural phenomenon attracts many tourists every year. The only tricky part is that you need certain conditions to be able to see them. That’s why it’s better to book a guided tour to see the Northern Lights to skip any unnecessary disappointment. This way, you’ll increase your chances of seeing them and also get helpful information about this beautiful phenomenon.

Watch puffins and whales

In case you’re an animal lover, then why not spend a day watching puffins or whales, or both? This activity is especially fun if you decide to travel during warmer months – April and May. Start collecting your precious memories by looking at the little adorable birds or trying to grasp the glory of majestic whales.

Go ice caving

Ice caving is among one of the must-see things in Iceland. It’s also an exciting activity during which you get to see unique ice compositions and find out all about how they were formed. The good news is that an ice cave can be reached during warmer months in Iceland. How’s that possible? Iceland’s gem – Katla Ice Cave, is a natural ice cave that can be visited during summer.

Hike on a glacier or try ice climbing

If ice caving is not enough and you feel it’s time to spice things up, try hiking on a glacier or even ice climbing. That will definitely leave an unforgettable mark on your trip. While glaciers are a beautiful natural wonder, they might also be dangerous, so don’t forget to book a guided tour instead of going there alone.

Snorkel or scuba dive between two tectonic plates

Did you know that Thingvellir National Park is the only place in the world where you can find yourself between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates? What makes this place even better is the fact that you can snorkel and scuba dive here. Our Silfra scuba diving tour is a fantastic opportunity to experience these mesmerising waters.

Try horseback riding

Perhaps you already heard how special Icelandic horses are. So special that they’re not allowed to leave the country or, if that happens, be brought back. Don’t miss out on traveling around Icelandic landscapes on this noble creature and thick one more box on your Icelandic adventure to-do list. 

The possibilities are endless once you step your foot in Iceland, no matter the season. So it might become a bit overwhelming when planning your perfect holiday. And you can rest assured that they can be fun and unforgettable even during the off-season.

FAQ about Iceland during the off-season

Person in front of Skogafoss waterfall

What is the cheapest month to visit Iceland?

The cheapest time to go to Iceland is during the spring or autumn seasons, so from September to November or from January to April to May.

Does Iceland have an off-season?

It surely does, but when is the off-season in Iceland? Starting from November until April, with an exception or celebratory peak during December festivities. It also has a shoulder season that’s considered to be in between peak and off seasons.

What is the best month to visit Iceland

It all depends on what you want to see and how much time you have for exploration. But one of the best suggested seasons to visit Iceland is summertime, as you’ll be able to enjoy longer and warmer days. Just remember that summers here are short and a bit different than in other countries. Of course, if you’re more of a winter person or just want to try out exciting winter activities such as a chase for the Northern Lights or a walk on a glacier, you’re welcome here from November until March.

Can you visit Iceland all year round?

No matter which time of the year you decide to visit Iceland, it’ll welcome you with its mesmerizing nature and many unforgettable activities. Just be sure to plan in advance to get the best experience.

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