Iceland in May
From black sand beaches to icy glacier lagoons, the stunning scenery of Iceland guarantees that there is never a dull time to visit. However, this tiny Island packs a ton of variety, and every month offers something different than the last.
May, for example, is a very special time to visit Iceland. Many migratory animals are making their homes throughout the island, and as the weather warms up, more parts of the country become accessible.
Check out our top tips for visiting Iceland in May:
Benefits of Visiting Iceland in May:
- Because it is still considered to be the tourist "low season" until May 31st, things like car rentals are cheaper.
- Sections of the Central Highland roads will start to open up as the month progresses.
- More dependable for road travel - while weather is never a guarantee in Iceland, if you are planning on taking a long road trip, it is more likely weather wont interfere with your trip in May. Be sure to check out our Iceland driving guide for any road trip!
- It is possible to visit parts of the country that are hard to get to in the winter - like the icy north and the Westfjords.
- The famous Thingvellir Church opens for the season.
Daylight in Iceland in May:
While May is technically still spring in Iceland, the country's Midnight Sun comes into effect. At the beginning of May, the sun rises at 5:00 AM and sets at 10:00 PM, giving the day 17 hours of daylight. By the end of the month, the sun rises around 3:30 AM and sets around 11:30 PM, providing over 20 hours of daylight.
Average Temperature in Iceland in May:
May is still considered Spring in Iceland, and while the weather is warming up, it is still important to pack for anything and everything. Check out our Spring in Iceland guide for packing tips.
The average temperature for Iceland in May is around 45°F (7°C), with the temperature rising all month.
Festivals/Holidays in May:
- Reykjavík Arts Festival - The Reykjavik Arts festival is one of the oldest art festivals in Europe, dating back to 1970! This unique event features national and international artists, and is a two week long celebration of theatre, dance, art, and design! 2017 Dates TBD
- RAFLOST Festival: RAFLOST festival is a celebration of the electronic arts and media in Reykjavik. Various art forms are featured, including music, visual arts, dance, science, hackers, media art. The event will be held from 25th until 27th of May in Reykjavik.
Things to do in Iceland in May:
- Bird Watching: Iceland is considered to be a bird watcher's paradise, and May is the perfect time to view the dozens of migratory birds that visit Iceland in the spring and summer.
- Puffin Tours: Speaking of which, May is the perfect time to see Iceland's most famous bird. Puffins usually return to Iceland in April, and there will be many areas to view them in May.
- Travel the famous Ring Road.
- Whale Watching: May is the true start of whale season, where over two dozen whale species visit Iceland’s waters. One place to see them is Húsavík - the whale watching capital of Europe.
- Cycling:Maymarks the beginning of cycling season in Iceland. The following months will be filled with cycling festivals and races.
- Kayaking: The warmer weather inspires some people to venture into newly thawed water. While it is a bit early for surfing, may people kayak in May.
- Seal watching: The rocky coastline of Iceland is home to multiple species of seals. Most travelers with a keen eye who spend time on the shores will be able to spot them. A few popular spots include the Vatnsnes Seal Center, Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon, and Svalbarðshreppur in the north.
- Spot the Arctic Fox in Hornstrandir: As the weather warms up and you make your way north, stop over in Hornstrandir for a chance at seeing the famed Arctic Fox, which roams in this area.
- Camping: May also marks the beginning of camping season! While some brave souls camp year round, May is the time of year when the weather more predictable, and many camp grounds start to open up for the season.