8 Good Reasons to Visit Iceland in May

Iceland in May

Think­ing of vis­it­ing Ice­land in May but need a lit­tle more con­vinc­ing? Well, you’ve come to the right place! We had such a great time dri­ving around, explor­ing, and expe­ri­enc­ing Ice­land in May of 2013, I just have to try to con­vince every­one to fol­low our lead. In this post, I’m going to share the rea­sons why I think May (specif­i­cal­ly late May) is the per­fect time to vis­it Ice­land.

Before we con­tin­ue, I should prob­a­bly let you know the kind of trav­ellers we are. We are bud­get trav­ellers for sure but we are not the back­pack­ing or even the camp­ing type. Our backs pre­fer not to car­ry any­thing heavy for pro­longed amount of time and we like to lay our backs on a soft, warm bed at the end of the day. We’re get­ting old! We also enjoy a good amount of pri­va­cy dur­ing our trav­els. That said, on with the list!

These are the rea­sons why you should vis­it Ice­land in May:

  • Less expen­sive air­fares, espe­cial­ly if you book months in advance. We booked about 6 months in advance and saved a cou­ple of hun­dred of dol­lars that way. We flew with Ice­landair, direct from Toron­to. It was nice enough. They gave each pas­sen­ger a bot­tle of pure Ice­landic water upon board­ing. In-flight enter­tain­ment was pret­ty good. In-flight food was meh. Could go with­out the cry­ing baby sit­ting next to us, though. But it wasn’t the baby’s fault. Moth­er Nature made it up to me by show­ing me the North­ern Lights through the air­plane win­dow. Pret­ty cool! 
  • Less expen­sive car rental. Once the high sea­son is on, the rental fee prac­ti­cal­ly dou­bles! We rent­ed a small, com­pact car because we weren’t plan­ning on going to the high­lands (or as they like to call it, the Inte­ri­or) as the moun­tain roads would still be closed for the sea­son any­way. It served us well. We rent­ed our car from Blue Car Rental because it had decent reviews and a lit­tle less expen­sive than the com­peti­tors. We had no prob­lems with them.
    The little Suzuki Swift that took us around Iceland.
    The lit­tle Suzu­ki Swift that took us around Ice­land in May 2013.
  • Less expen­sive accom­mo­da­tions. This is anoth­er thing that would cost dou­ble in the sum­mer. We stayed most­ly with the Hey Ice­land’s (for­mer­ly known as Ice­landic Farm Hol­i­days) net­work of farm­stays. To save mon­ey, we alter­nat­ed between a room with a shared bath­room and one with a pri­vate bath­room. The price dif­fer­ence could be up to $50, which is like one din­ner for two! The rooms at the farms were basic but nice, warm and clean, which is all we care about, real­ly. They also came with con­ti­nen­tal break­fast, which was anoth­er mon­ey-saver for us. In Reyk­javik, how­ev­er, we stayed at an Airbnb apart­ment down­town because it was cheap­er than a hotel room. We had a love­ly stay in a top-floor apart­ment very close to the big church, Hall­grim­skirk­ja. If you’re not an Airbnb mem­ber yet, sign up using our refer­ral link and you’ll get a $40 CAD ($35 USD) cred­it for your first stay! We’ll get some cred­it too so it’s a win-win sit­u­a­tion. :-)
  • Less busy tourist attrac­tions. The Gold­en Cir­cle would still be busy as it is one of the major tourist attrac­tions that every tour bus oper­a­tor would take the tourists to vis­it, but I would imag­ine it would be mul­ti­ple times busier dur­ing the high sea­son. In some places, we were still able to find our­selves alone with nature and no hordes of tourists around us. It was love­ly. It also helps that we went to many less­er known tourist attrac­tions in addi­tion to the major ones. (Note: Might not apply any­more; Ice­land seems to be busy all year long now.) 
  • Longer days than if you vis­it dur­ing the win­ter or autumn. It’s nev­er real­ly com­plete­ly dark in Ice­land in May. At mid­night, it still looks like sun­set and it stayed that way until dawn. Longer days means more hours to explore and more things you can see. And there is a lot to see in Ice­land!
  • Friend­lier weath­er, at least com­pared to win­ter weath­er. Tem­per­a­tures would be gen­er­al­ly above 5° Cel­sius and we only expe­ri­enced snow maybe once in the two weeks we spent in Ice­land, and it was right in a val­ley sur­round­ed by moun­tains by an old, most­ly for­got­ten swim­ming pool called Sel­javal­lalaug that we hiked to one morn­ing. Even that didn’t last very long. Any­way, it would still be wet and windy, but that’s Ice­landic weath­er in gen­er­al. Do pack a good rain coat/windbreaker and be sure to check the weath­er and road con­di­tions before you head out for the day!
    We found Seljavallalaug swimming pool, and then it started snowing.
    We found Sel­javal­lalaug swim­ming pool, and then it start­ed snow­ing.
  • Lamb­ing sea­son is on, and it means cute over­load at every turn! Baby sheep are super cute and you’ll see them every­where when you vis­it Ice­land in May, but espe­cial­ly in South Ice­land near the town of Vik. You bet­ter watch out, though, because baby sheep have zero under­stand­ing of where they should and should not be so you’ll occa­sion­al­ly find them hang out in the mid­dle of the road. Please don’t hit them.
    My husband had a nice little chat with these little guys.
    My hus­band had a nice lit­tle chat with these lit­tle guys.
  • Last but not least, puffins! Puf­fin sea­son is usu­al­ly between mid-April to mid-August, so mid-May is a good time to view them. We didn’t get to see them in South Ice­land where they were sup­posed to be in abun­dance but we did get to see them at a bird-view­ing area near Bakk­agerði in east­ern Ice­land. They are very enter­tain­ing to watch. You should see them at least once!
    My favourite puffin in the whole Iceland.
    My favourite puf­fin in the whole Ice­land.

So, did I con­vince you? ;-) I hope so! If you need rec­om­men­da­tions on places in Ice­land to vis­it, please feel free to con­tact me or leave a com­ment below and I’ll try to answer the best I can with what I know from expe­ri­ence.

I miss Ice­land so much! :-(

Adden­dum: If you are a Game of Thrones fan, don’t miss my post about our vis­it to sev­er­al Game of Thrones shoot­ing loca­tions in North Ice­land! Try­ing to fig­ure out your way around Ice­land? This post might help!

Fol­low Weblog Wannabe on Face­book for links to inter­est­ing arti­cles about Ice­land and trav­el in gen­er­al!

68 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Hi Fir­da! I’m so glad to have found your write up on your trip to Ice­land. My hus­band and I are look­ing to trav­el day in mid-May as well. So I have a cou­ple of ques­tions for you if you don’t mind shar­ing your itin­er­ary . We are look­ing to do the ring road and a lot of hik­ing and it will be some­what a bud­get trip of 10 days. I’m a nature lover and enjoy sight­see­ing of land­scape and such and in love with those puffins. So here are my ques­tions to you.

    - How many days were you there?
    — How many days did you spend in Reyk­javik?
    — How was the road? Did you encounter any obsta­cles dur­ing your ride around ice­land such as road close? riv­er cross­ing?
    — Did you book hotels/apt/farmhouse before you arrived in Ice­land? or did you just stop and stay whichev­er hotel you came acroos as you trav­eled around Ice­land?
    — Did you rent GPS with the car? 

    Thank you so much in advance for your answers. I look for­ward to hear­ing from you!


    1. Hey Kim, thanks for your ques­tions and here are my answers:

      1. We were there for 15 days so we had an ample amount of time to go off the ring road to explore.
      2. We spent 2 nights in Reyk­javik with only one full day at the end of our trip and wish we’d had allo­cat­ed more time to spend there because we didn’t get to see much of Reyk­javik at all! We booked an apart­ment in Reyk­javik through Airbnb which I can rec­om­mend if you’re inter­est­ed.
      3. The ring road was gen­er­al­ly in good con­di­tion, but in the north­east­ern Ice­land, there’s a stretch of the ring road where you have to dri­ve through a moun­tain pass and the road might still be a lit­tle snow-cov­ered up there, but noth­ing to wor­ry about if you’re used to snowy win­ter dri­ving. We also had a day in east­ern Ice­land with some real­ly strong wind and I think the road author­i­ty might have had to close that stretch of the road because of it, but luck­i­ly not before we drove through it. We always checked the road con­di­tions before we were off to ven­ture in the morn­ing. Here’s a handy link to Ice­land road con­di­tion maps.
      4. We booked all of our accom­mo­da­tions three months in advance (we like to plan ahead) but we prob­a­bly could’ve got away with book­ing on the day, except for the places in South
        Ice­land around Vik and Jokul­sar­lon. Those places are always busy so make sure to book in advance.
      5. We didn’t rent a GPS. There were only a few times that we actu­al­ly need­ed a GPS but we had a tablet with us with a data plan from a local ISP (a pre­paid GSM card) so all we did was open up Google Maps on the tablet, entered where we want­ed to go, and off we went! :-) We also had a real paper map of Ice­land which came in handy at times.

      Hope that helps! If you have any more ques­tions, feel free to ask! I had such a great time answer­ing your ques­tions because they brought back great mem­o­ries, I wouldn’t mind answer­ing more! :-)

    2. Hi Fir­da, thanks for your tips to fel­low trav­ellers’ queries. Look­ing through all, I don’t seem to see any queries on mon­ey chang­ing. We are a bunch of 13 from Sin­ga­pore. Had got­ten a local trav­el agent to do a pri­vate tour for us. So itin­er­ary and hotel accom­mo­da­tions all planned.
      Please let us know how and where we could get our Euro changed to Ice­landic Kro­na. Which gives the bet­ter rates of exchange? Eas­i­ly find a mon­ey change?
      Also noticed that it is about 5–7degrees, so we real­ly need to pack win­ter attire with gloves, scarves etc? Do we need ther­mal inner wear?
      Is it alright to wear sports shoes, eg Adi­das run­ning shoes?
      Thank you a zil­lion
      Siew Wah

    3. Apa Khabar Fir­da.
      I am Reezy from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. My mind has trig­ger to take a trip to Ice­land. I always want to cel­e­brate my birth­day on a white snow land. Do you think in mid to end May I still can expe­ri­ence snow?

      1. There won’t be much snow in Ice­land in late May except in high­er alti­tudes (like moun­tain pass­es). Ice­land doesn’t real­ly get much snow to begin with. :-)

  2. Hi Fir­da,

    Thank you for the info. I final­ly booked a flight to Ice­land a few weeks ago for mid-late May trip. It will be 11 days (10 nights) trip. Now the plan­ning is on! After doing a lit­tle research and plan­ning, I do have a few more ques­tions for you.

    - Do you mind shar­ing your itin­er­ary? I’m think­ing that I will start coun­ter­clock­wise around the ring road.

    - was there any area that you spent more than 2 nights aside from Reyk­javik?

    - Did you have time to go to West­fjord area?

    - Did you do a lot of hik­ing? I def­i­nite­ly don’t want to feel rush to get back to the car and start dri­ving to the next town.

    - Did you get to see puffins? If so, in which area did you see them?

    Thanks again in advance for reply­ing to my ques­tions! :)


    1. Hey Kim. Since it looks like Fir­da hasn’t replied I will do so:

      - to make it all the way around the island we didn’t spend more than one night in the same place — though most of the places were only an hour or two apart. We liked switch­ing it up but made sure that the dri­ve from one loca­tion to the didn’t take the whole day. We also took a lot of side trips from the main road if we found out about some­thing that sound­ed inter­est­ing.

      - we did not make it to the west­fjord area. From what we’ve been told the roads are hor­ri­ble and the weath­er is still ques­tion­able in May. We are plan­ning the west­fjords for our next trip (when­ev­er that is).

      - we didn’t do a lot of hik­ing — though there is a lot of trails out there. We aren’t big hik­ers so we selec­tive­ly decide on which ones to do (so we didn’t burn our­selves out ear­ly in the day). In May a lot of the hik­ing trails may still be closed.

      - we did see Puffins in Bor­gar­fjor­dur Eystri (on the east coast of Ice­land). We stayed at the only place inn in town (which is also a spa) and drove out to the end of the road where there is a huge rock with puffins. They are still wait­ing to head out to sea in May so there are tonnes of them.

      One thing I should also men­tion. We didn’t have a car GPS but we did have Firda’s tablet and a reg­u­lar GPS. The reg­u­lar GPS was good for plug­ging in coor­di­nates and find­ing those places we were stay­ing at which were off the beat­en path. The biggest prob­lem with car GPS is that there is one brand with the map of Ice­land. You might be able to rent one from the car rental place but it was pricey.

      1. Dear Friend
        I am plan­ning a trip myself to ICELAND in May 2017. Do you have some sug­ges­tions of where to stay in the North of North West of Ice­land. I real­ly want to go to the most North­ern point of Ice­land with­out requir­ing to hire a 4 x 4.

        1. I too am think­ing about an ice­land trip in may 2017
          please for­ward any info and rec­om­men­da­tions you have got­ten
          thanks so much

    2. What Troy said! But I can add a lit­tle to it:

      - As far as itin­er­ary goes, we pret­ty much just fol­lowed this sam­ple itin­er­ary from Hostelling Inter­na­tion­al and added a side trip to Heimaey in the West­mann Islands and Bor­gar­fjor­dur Eystri in East Ice­land.

      - We didn’t stay more than one night at one place but we stayed at least two nights in every region, i.e. four nights in South/Southeast Ice­land, two nights in East Ice­land, two nights in North­east Ice­land, two nights in North­west Ice­land, two nights in West Iceland/Snaefellsnes Penin­su­la, and two nights in Reyk­javik.

      And I think Troy already cov­ered the rest. :-) Hope our answers help!

  3. Hi,
    I have been read­ing your Ice­land tips and have booked to go 28 May to 4 June 2015. The weath­er looks/sounds mixed .… haven’t a clue how to pre­pare re what cloth­ing to take.…apart from the water­proof!!
    Sor­ry for all of the ques­tions in advance.……
    The trip is a sur­prise for my part­ner, he has always want­ed to go so i want to make it as spe­cial as i can, but don’t have an open end­ed bud­get. Any tips on how to make the most of get­ting to see and expe­ri­ence the key inter­ests? Think­ing of whale watch­ing, the vol­ca­noes, lights, but we love good din­ing too so did you go to any nice restau­rants?
    Any­thing to avoid?
    Is it cheap­er to book a car in advance, or when we arrive? What docs do you need to have etc? I have nev­er dri­ven abroad before.
    Any advice / tips etc etc would be MOST wel­come.
    Many thanks.

    1. ps. just read­ing some more com­ments. i have booked to stay in same hotel for a week.…is this a bad idea? Most of you seem to trav­el to dif­fer­ent loca­tions. Thanks

      1. Dee Scott, I’ve been read­ing up on Ice­land and found this blog. It looks like my part­ner and I, along with anoth­er cou­ple will be in Ice­land the exact same dates as you! We are fly­ing in from Port­land, OR. We are rent­ing a car and dri­ving to dif­fer­ent areas. It sounds like there are plen­ty of one day tours from Reyk­javik to see the major tourist attrac­tions but seems like if you want to find the “off the beat­en path” type of spots, you’d need to ven­ture to dif­fer­ent areas. Have you dis­cov­ered any advice or plans you’d like to share about the time we’re going?

  4. Hey fri­da,

    Nice­ly writ­ten blog.
    I have booked a self dri­ve trip across the route 1 for may 2014 start­ing may 12. I have no expe­ri­ence dri­ving on the right side as well as dri­ving in Snow kind of ter­rain. Will this have any effect on my trip.
    I have to cov­er a long dis­tance once in my trip, i.e. through hofn to akureyri (east ice­land)

  5. Hi,

    We are head­ing to Ice­land on May 12th and plan on main­ly see­ing South Ice­land since we’re only there for 7 nights. Can you advise as to how wet it actu­al­ly gets? I’m get­ting a rain jack­et and plan on bring­ing many lay­ers (I’m Cana­di­an so the snow doesn’t both­er me). But am con­tem­plat­ing what type of shoes I need to get. 

    Is the rain tor­ren­tial or more of a con­stant driz­zle?

    1. It’s more like a con­stant driz­zle (at least it was when we were there) but it’s also very, very windy. The wind would be more of a con­cern than the rain, real­ly, so make sure you pack a good toque that cov­ers your ears (seri­ous­ly, the strong wind could make your ear-drums hurt, first-hand expe­ri­ence!). Tem­per­a­tures would still be in the one dig­it range. As for shoes, a pair of water­proof boots (prefer­ably with anti-slip soles) is a must. Not many things are worse than trav­el­ling with wet socks! Have a good trip!

    2. Same trav­el dates, Van :)! I have been back and forth about whether to stick to one area or trav­el the ring road. I’m so torn!

  6. Love your blog! Beau­ti­ful pho­tos.
    Just back from a week in Ice­land; breath­tak­ing West Ice­land, Reyk­javik & the Gold­en Cir­cle. The weath­er late Sep­tem­ber was sur­pris­ing­ly nice. Only one very windy & rainy day, how­ev­er it was still beau­ti­ful.
    After read­ing your blog I think the month of May would be a per­fect time for a 2nd vis­it. Puffins & North­ern lights!

    1. It bare­ly gets dark in Ice­land in May so I’d say the chance to see auro­ra at that time of year is next to zero. I took an overnight flight to Ice­land and was lucky enough to see the auro­ra from way up there through the win­dow dur­ing the flight, but it was def­i­nite­ly not over Ice­land.

  7. Hi! Thank you for your arti­cle. I’m going to Ice­land in May but only for a few days. I want to hike to the dor­mant vol­cano and go inside. I also want to go into the ice caves. One day to walk around the city of Reyk­javik and of course vis­it the Blue Lagoon. I trav­el alone and thought 3 days is enough with­out get­ting bored. I would stay longer and do more excur­sions but they cost mon­ey. What would you say is the aver­age cost per night for hotels? I’m not rent­ing a car and want to be close to the city, restau­rants, shops, mar­kets, etc.
    Any sug­ge­tions would be great­ly appre­ci­at­ed.

    1. You might want to check if the ice caves are open in May. As far as I know, they’re only open in tue win­ter months (Novem­ber to March) because the ice will be melt­ing in the spring, mak­ing it unsafe for peo­ple to vis­it. We stayed in an apart­ment in down­town Reyk­javik rent­ed through Airbnb.com two yeaes ago. I think it cost just under 100 Cana­di­an dol­lars per night. A hotel room in the same area would have cost at least dou­ble the amount. I’d imag­ine hotel rooms would cost a lot more now because tourism is boom­ing in Ice­land and hotel rooms are always high in demand. Check out Airbnb if you’re trav­el­ling on a bud­get.

  8. Hi Fir­da,
    Your blog is more than help­ful and it def­i­nite­ly helped me choose dates for my upcom­ing trip to Ice­land — late May. I am also trav­el­ling on a tight bud­get and any addi­tion­al tips you may have are more than wel­come.
    At the moment I’m plan­ning my route (as I’m plan­ning on going all around the island — Ring Road) and I was won­der­ing if about 9 days would be enough to pull it off?
    Did you have to pre order pre­paid sim card or they’re avail­able any­where when there?
    What about gas? Are gas sta­tions hard to find and I should top up every chance I see one or they have decent amount of them on the road?
    When you went hik­ing would you just park the car any­where and go or are there park­ing places where you have to leave them? (Ask­ing these ques­tions as — com­ing from Europe myself — I know how strict we are with laws and I’ve read that their fines are very high for any traf­fic vio­la­tion).
    And last one (I promise :) ) — if you could share your itin­er­ary with me?

    1. We actu­al­ly met peo­ple who were doing the dri­ve around Ice­land in 5 days! You might not be able to stray too far off the ring road but you should be able to pull it off.

      We bought a SIM card at the air­port. Shouldn’t be a prob­lem.

      If you rent a small car like we did, you’re not like­ly to have to fill up too often. I think we filled up only 3 or 4 times dur­ing our 2-week trip. Every town will have a gas sta­tion. As long as you don’t go off the ring road, you won’t have to wor­ry about run­ning out of gas in the mid­dle of nowhere.

      There is usu­al­ly a des­ig­nat­ed park­ing area by every marked trail­head. If not, just make sure that you’re not block­ing anyone’s way where you park and you should be fine.

      Not real­ly know­ing much about the coun­try, we pret­ty much just fol­lowed this sam­ple itin­er­ary from Hostelling Inter­na­tion­al. It did the trick.

      Hope that helps! :-)

  9. My daughter(age 9) and I are trav­el­ing to Ice­land may 11 to 15. I plan on rent­ing a car. Could you rec­om­mend an itin­er­ary as we seem to have the same trav­el style. Do I real­ly need a 4 wheel dri­ve?

    1. Unless you plan on dri­ving on unpaved roads (F-roads), you won’t need a 4WD. The ring road, espe­cial­ly in the south of Ice­land, is gen­er­al­ly in great con­di­tion and most F-roads will still be closed in May/won’t be open until June any­way. I’d rec­om­mend you check out these sam­ple itin­er­aries. Should give you some ideas.

  10. Fir­da!
    How expen­sive do you think Ice­land is trav­el-wise com­pared to the US?
    Also where did you get your hat?


    1. We went to Ice­land in 2013 and car rental was expen­sive because we need­ed a car with auto­mat­ic trans­mis­sion (still expen­sive now). If you know how to dri­ve stick, man­u­al trans­mis­sion car rental should be a lot cheap­er. Gas was and still is expen­sive. About $2 a liter. Restau­rant food was also expen­sive. About the price of food in mid-range restau­rants in North Amer­i­ca but with­out the fan­cy bits. That hasn’t seemed to change. Accom­mo­da­tions were expen­sive back then for what you got but now you can get a nice hotel room for under $100 in low sea­son if booked months in advance. 

      I got the hat from Knitwits.com but they don’t seem to stock that par­tic­u­lar hat any­more.

  11. Hi Fir­da,

    Thank you for writ­ing this post! I am plan­ning on going to Ice­land in mid to late May this year and am won­der­ing if you encoun­tered any annoy­ing bugs are your trip?
    I am hop­ing to avoid peak bug sea­son!

    Thank you!


  12. Hi Fir­da,

    Thanks to your awe­some post, I’ve booked my trip to Ice­land for the 1st week of May 2016! I want­ed to ask you, is a reg­u­lar small car (eg. VW Golf) okay to dri­ve from Reyk­javik to Vik and poten­tial­ly beyond that along the south­ern coast to the Nation­al Park? Were the road con­di­tions bad in May? or just wet?

    Also, can I ask you what is the fre­quen­cy you see fast food restau­rants?


    1. As long as you stick to the ring road, a reg­u­lar small car should do the job. We were dri­ving around in mid- to late May and the road was in a pret­ty good shape, except for the parts that go over some moun­tain pass­es in East Ice­land. Those were still snow-cov­ered and also steep and wind­ing so a bit scary. :-D For the most part, it was just wet. I’d rec­om­mend get­ting the sand/ash pro­tec­tion insur­ance with your car rental, just in case. The sand storm could do a num­ber to your car if you hap­pen to be in the area when it hap­pens.

      As for fast food restau­rants, I only saw those in Reyk­javik and up north in Akureyri, and even then there weren’t too many of them, but it might have changed now. They don’t have any McDonald’s for sure. We nev­er did but I think you can buy cheap hot­dogs from some of the big­ger gas sta­tions. There is a good and cheap-ish cafe­te­ria-style restau­rant in Vik by the gas sta­tion that serves decent fast food-style fares. You should check it out! My hus­band high­ly rec­om­mends the meat (lamb or beef, not sure) wrap.

      1. Thanks for the infor­ma­tion Fir­da! We are plan­ning to go as far as the Jokul­sar­lon Ice­berg Lagoon using the Ring Road (route 1?) from Reyk­javik so hope­ful­ly it will be fine but I will make sure to get the sand/ash pro­tec­tion and check out your husband’s rec­om­men­da­tion :)

        Just noticed you are also from South­ern Ontario! Shout out to Ontario, Cana­da!

        Appre­ci­ate all your help!

        1. Plan­ning a trip around the same time. Honk when you see us…some Cana­di­an logo will be obvi­ous :)

    2. plan­ning a 5 day trip with my adult boys for ear­ly may or mid may.
      work­ing details now.
      i’m won­der­ing if we did fri­day-tues­day will that be enough time.
      we all have to go back to work.
      what would be the high­lights that you all would sug­gest.
      we are all walk­ers and run­ners

  13. Thanks for your post. I’m plan­ning a solo trip to Ice­land in May and your expe­ri­ence was help­ful. I too, enjoy the thrifty and fru­gal tips. I’ve heard that the local flea mar­ket is a great place to shop. Can’t wait to see a Puf­fin in the wild. Please email me with any oth­er blogs you feel may be help­ful. Bon Voy­age!! Peg­gy

    1. No north­ern lights in May since it doesn’t get dark. I only saw the north­ern lights from the plane over the north­ern part of Cana­da.

  14. Hi Fir­da,

    Thanks for your blog! I’m head­ing to Ice­land in May and I’m won­der­ing what to pack. Can you make sug­ges­tions for how warm of a coat to pack? Do I need water­proof pants? Thanks!!

  15. I’ve just dis­cov­ered your blog — love your Ice­land posts. I got back from a trip there last month and am hop­ing to go again dur­ing a dif­fer­ent sea­son — your blog has so much use­ful infor­ma­tion, and the pho­tos are awe­some!

  16. Hi- fol­low­ing your rec­om­men­da­tion. Leav­ing from Toron­to to Reyk­javik for a week from May 21 to 28. Could you rec­om­mend what to see on Gold­en Cir­cle? Plan­ning to rent a car and do a self dri­ve. Will also research on farm accom­mo­da­tions as you sug­gest­ed.

    Many thanks again for your post. I can be reached at sharma.vibha@gmail.com

  17. HI , is it easy to obtain Ice­landic Kro­na to EURO or GBP or USD?
    Thanks a lot for your write. its very use­ful. We are going from 2nd July to 11 July 2016

  18. Hel­lo Fir­da! So hap­py to stum­ble upon your blog :) I hope you don’t mind if I pick your brain! I’m plan­ning a trip from Toron­to May 12–21, 2017 for my new-to-trav­el­ling mom’s 60th birth­day! I’m won­der­ing what you think about our loose­ly planned itin­er­ary:
    *Sat: Arrive 4:40am. Stay in Reyk­javik.
    *Sun: Rent car. Leave for gold­en cir­cle, Sko­gafoss, Myrdal. Sleep Vik.
    *Mon: Vik- sleep Hofn
    *Tues: Hofn- sleep Egilsstadir
    *Wed: Egil- sleep Akureyri
    *Thurs: Day 2 sleep Akureyri
    *Fri: Akureyri — sleep Reyk­javik
    *Sat: last night sleep Reyk­javik

    Does this sound incred­i­bly rushed? We don’t have a lot of time off work, but also don’t want to be stressed out. Was there a place you loooved and wished you had more time in? Or a place you could’ve missed? Thank you so much for any tips, in advance!

    1. I’ve been mean­ing to reply to this but kept for­get­ting. So sor­ry! Your plan seems fine but the dri­ve from Hofn to Egilsstadir is long and involves dri­ving over a moun­tain pass that might still be snowy so you might want to con­sid­er stay­ing the night before the moun­tain pass in the Breiđ­dalsvik area instead of Egilsstadir. The next day, I would rec­om­mend stay­ing the night in the Myvatn area because there is a lot to see there and then spend the night in Akureyri the next night as planned (there isn’t much to see in Akureyri, imho). The next night, unless you real­ly have to have a full day in Reyk­javik, I’d rec­om­mend stay­ing the night in the Snae­fell­snes penin­su­la and do the dri­ve around it the next day on your way to Reyk­javik. It’s quite a beau­ti­ful dri­ve. But what­ev­er you decide to do, I’m sure it’ll be a great trip . :-) Have fun in Ice­land!

  19. Fir­da,

    I stum­bled on your blog and so hap­py to have come across it. I’m plan­ning a trip with 2 oth­er ladies 5/11/-5/15/17. We will have 3 full days to work with. Can you pro­vide what you con­sid­er the top hi-lights that we can real­is­ti­cal­ly do. Obvi­ous­ly, I would love to spend 1–2 weeks in Ice­land but not going to hap­pen. I’m going to rent a car and won­der­ing if we should spend all nights in Reyk­javik and just do day trips. I appre­ci­ate your input.

    1. I’d rec­om­mend doing the Gold­en Cir­cle on the first day, dri­ving up to Vik on the sec­ond day and stop­ping at the many pop­u­lar attrac­tions along the way (Sel­ja­land­foss and Sko­gafoss water­falls, Sel­javal­lalaug swim­ming pool, Dyrho­laey, Reyn­is­f­jara, the black sand beach at Vik) and spend the last day explor­ing the city of Reyk­javik. If you’re ambi­tious, you could push it fur­ther by doing the long dri­ve to Jökul­sár­lón, the glac­i­er lagoon (about 3 hours from Vik, 4.5 to 5 hours from Reyk­javik), and back to Reyk­javik on your last full day but it’s going to take all day! It’s a beau­ti­ful dri­ve, though, and the lagoon and the black sand beach across for it are fan­tas­tic.

  20. Hi Fir­da!
    Love your blog and pho­tog­ra­phy! My hus­band and I are tak­ing a trip to Ice­land this May, the 13th-20th. We arrive at KEF at 5:30am and depart the fol­low­ing Sat­ur­day at 8:30am. Most of the trav­el advice I have been read­ing has the first day spent in Reyk­javik, but what are your thoughts on start­ing on the road right away? I feel like if we start­ed dri­ving first with a few stops here and there, we could get to a rest­ing des­ti­na­tion ear­ly and get a good night’s sleep- how­ev­er I haven’t read that many peo­ple do that!
    The oth­er ben­e­fit would be spend­ing the Fri­day return­ing to Reyk­javik and spend­ing time there before leav­ing Sat­ur­day morn­ing. Also, I keep going back and forth between head­ing north first or south, I know there’s a lot to do right away in the south, but that might also break up the trip a lit­tle more towards the end after hav­ing been in the car for so long. Thanks for any advice!

    1. We start­ed hit­ting the road right away by explor­ing the Reyk­janes Penin­su­la (includ­ing hav­ing a love­ly bath in the Blue Lagoon) after we arrived ear­ly in the morn­ing but we were pret­ty much run­ning on adren­a­line since we didn’t man­age to get any sleep on the red eye flight (one of the perks of sit­ting next to a cry­ing baby) and we were already in bed by 4pm. I kept falling asleep in the car and hus­band would have too if he hadn’t had to dri­ve. :-D It’s def­i­nite­ly doable, but would be more enjoy­able if you actu­al­ly got some sleep on the plane. We stayed in Self­oss on our first night and hit the Gold­en Cir­cle from there on the sec­ond day. We spent our last full day in Reyk­javik but it wasn’t near­ly enough time to see every­thing (we actu­al­ly went back in Octo­ber last year just to see more of Reyk­javik). As for north or south, I’d say do the whole ring road if you can! We actu­al­ly met peo­ple who were doing the ring road in 5 days. The days are long in May so it’s def­i­nite­ly doable. You might have to spend a lot of time in the car but the ever-chang­ing scener­ies make it worth it and there are enough attrac­tions locat­ed just by the side of the road. That said, if you have FOMO (Fear Of Miss­ing Out), def­i­nite­ly do the south. Oth­er­wise, the north or the west would be a bet­ter choice with poten­tial­ly less tourist-packed attrac­tions.

  21. We r plan­ning to go in April would u mind telling me whats the attrac­tions r a must see. We will b in the town that starts with a ry I think. Get­ting excit­ed and try­ing to plan what to see. I han­ks for any info u can give me. Sin­cere­ly, Car­olyn Davis

  22. Hi Fir­da,

    Can you help me out with a Query. I am plan­ning to vis­it Ice­land in May. 

    Do I need to book Rental Cars in Advance or would it be avail­able on Arrival.

    I am not sure where to book Cars from, so is it pos­si­ble to hire it, once we reach there after inspect­ing the options.

    Please revert, if pos­si­ble

    Mayank Gup­ta

    1. May is now con­sid­ered high sea­son so prob­a­bly best to book in advance, just to be safe. I can’t com­ment on any car rental com­pa­nies oth­er than the one I men­tioned in my post since it was the one we used.

  23. Hi Fir­da, may I know your total cost for accom­mo­da­tion & car rental for 7 days?
    As I’m now think­ing whether to rent a car or a camper­van (which means I won’t have to book any accom­mo­da­tion)

    1. It was about $5,000 for two weeks but May was con­sid­ered low sea­son in 2013 (high sea­son now) so it would prob­a­bly cost as much for one week now.

  24. I’m so glad I came across your blog while research­ing my upcom­ing trip! I’m fly­ing out on the last Fri­day of April and will be in Ice­land until May 7. I’m clueless–what to wear, whether I’ll be able to see the North­ern Lights any­where, how to get around if I don’t want to rent a car. I’m excit­ed, though! I’m look­ing for­ward to look­ing through all your Ice­land blog posts.

  25. Won­der­ing what the high­lights in the cap­i­tal are to see? We will have one and half days there.

  26. Hi Fir­da,
    I’m so gland and lucky to come across your blog. It is so infor­ma­tive and down to earth. Please keep up your good work.
    We shall be trav­el­ling in Ice­land between 7 May and 18 May, dri­ving a rental car in the anti-clock­wise direc­tion from Reyk­javik. I would great­ly appre­ci­ate if you can answer my ques­tions:
    1. We’d already booked the accom­mo­da­tions and shall have to trav­el from Hofn to Egilssadir on 11 May. I’d read your reply to a read­er that is not advis­able due to the long dis­tance of dri­ving and the stretch of road is wind­ing and has to dri­ve through a moun­tain pass. We are dri­ving on the left hand side of the road in Aus­tralia and I only have one sin­gle expe­ri­ence of dri­ving on the right hand side of the road. How scary is that part of the road? Is East­ern Ice­land nor­mal­ly still snow­ing in May?

    2. As the sun only sets after 10pm in May, was the sky too bright when you pho­tographed the water­falls etc? Did you man­age to get some colours in the sky that are close to sun­set?

    3. Are there enough space on roads like the ring road to pull the car over for a pho­to stop? I’d heard of the (very) strict traf­fic reg­u­la­tions and heavy fines in Ice­land, do you know it would be a traf­fic offend to stop by the road side?


    1. Hi Antho­ny

      1. The road between Hofn and Egilsstadir is not as much wind­ing as it is windy. East Ice­land seems to be prone to gale force wind. As long as you’re dri­ving a reg­u­lar car and not a camper van, it shouldn’t be a prob­lem. I had to ask my hus­band about the scari­ness of the moun­tain pass since he’s the dri­ver in our team and he said it wasn’t too bad. It was a lit­tle long, steep in the begin­ning, and also snowy. It had been plowed before we passed but still a lit­tle slushy/slippery and steep at some spots. His advice is to dri­ve slow­ly (up here in Cana­da we go by “see snow, go slow”) and you should be fine.

      2. The weath­er is rarely clear in May. You can count on the day being over­cast and, more often than not, wet. :-) We went out at 11:30 pm once when we were in north­ern Ice­land and saw the clos­est thing to sun­set sky.

      3. I’m not sure about traf­fic reg­u­la­tions. In 2013, Ice­land wasn’t as touristy as it is now and we bare­ly saw oth­er cars, let alone police patrol, on the roads. We usu­al­ly go by the rule that if the road shoul­der doesn’t seem wide enough for park­ing prop­er­ly, it’s prob­a­bly not a good idea to stop there. There will be places where you can park legal­ly along the way. Just keep your eyes open.

      Hope that helps!

      1. Hi Fir­da,

        Thanks for the infor­ma­tion. It is real­ly help­ful.

        A bit sad to hear that the clear in May is rarely clear as I’m look­ing for­ward to take pho­tos of the gor­geous land­scape of Ice­land, first I learnt there won’t be sunrise/sunset, now the day is always over­cast and wet :( Look­ing at a pos­i­tive side, do you know which month shall I have bet­ter chance of clear blue sky? May have to plan my sec­ond trip even before I set off for the first.

        1. Ice­land is not the place to go for sun­shine, that’s for sure. :-) The weath­er is unpre­dictable at best, any time of year. I’m sure you’ll see some clear skies every now and then in May. Just don’t expect it to last all day or you’ll be dis­ap­point­ed. July and August might be the best time to go weath­er­wise but I doubt it’ll be sun­ny all day long every sin­gle day, and the sun will bare­ly ever set. Ice­land looks bet­ter when the weath­er is less than per­fect any­way. I per­son­al­ly love see­ing the Ice­landic land­scapes with dra­mat­ic skies as a back­drop. This arti­cle, I think, describes the mind­set you need to have going to Ice­land quite per­fect­ly. :-)

  27. Hel­lo! I’m vis­it­ing Ice­land for four days at the end of May. What part of the coun­try do you rec­om­mend we spend our time?

    1. It depends on what you want to see. I’d stay in or around Reyk­javik, rent a car, and take day trips.

  28. I too am vis­it­ing at the end of May and was think­ing of going to the Blue Lagoon ear­ly am after we arrive, as you did. How­ev­er my con­cern is that air trav­el is nev­er guar­an­teed and if we booked our time at the Blue Lagoon ahead of time for the ear­ly am and nev­er arrived on time we’d lose what we paid for. We lost out on a tour for this rea­son in Venice. Thoughts? Also if it’s rainy and cold in May I pre­sume the air tem­per­a­ture at the Lagoon is the same. How do you stay warm when out of the water? Thank you!

    1. You could book your time at the Blue Lagoon lat­er in the day to com­pen­sate for the poten­tial flight delay. Either that or go to the Secret Lagoon instead. It’s cheap­er and it doesn’t require pre-book­ing. You don’t stay warm out of the water. You just have to hur­ry in and out of the water from/to the show­er room. :-) 

      Edit: Looks like you need to pre-book your time at the Secret Lagoon as well now. Not so secret any­more, I guess!

  29. Hey there,

    This blog has more infor­ma­tion on trav­el to Ice­land in may than just about any­where else online!

    With that in mind, does any­one have any rec­om­men­da­tions on hikes in Ice­land that are open in late May/early June? As I’m on a bud­get, I’m plan­ning on rent­ing a car, tak­ing the rim road, and find­ing great hikes and camp­ing out while dri­ving around the island. Does any­one have any rec­om­men­da­tions to some great hikes that can be reached in late May/early June? Any advice or thoughts would be appre­ci­at­ed.

    Thanks so much!

    1. The trails in the South­west and West of Ice­land (not West­fjords) should be open already, and maybe Land­man­nalau­gar but you need to dou­ble check. Trails in high­er alti­tudes might still be snow-cov­ered. I didn’t do much hik­ing in Ice­land so can’t be much help but maybe oth­ers would be able to help more.

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