things to do in iceland

Are you planning to visit Iceland? I visited the land of ice and fire in May and loved my trip. Traveling to Iceland in May is not only budget-friendly but also amazing if you’d like to avoid the crowd. What’s more? Continue reading this article and find out the benefits of visiting Iceland in May, as well as tips and tricks for your trip to Iceland in spring.

 

1. Day is longer

Ideally, you’ll want to have longer days in order to see as much as you can. May is the best time for it. As day is longer, comparing to the winter, and the night is still “night” – which is not too bright, you can use your day effectively without changing your body clock due to the extension of daylight (in June it is 20+ hours)

During my trip to Iceland, my day started at 8 am, and ended at midnight, because it was bright until that time. 10 pm looked like 5 pm, so no need to stop :)

>> Read my guide on 10 Icelandic food you should try!

 

2. May is the shoulder season

May is a shoulder season in Iceland. When traveling between a peak and off-peak season, you get the best deals.

You know that Iceland is notoriously famous for being expensive, so if you’re a budget traveler, you will love choosing this month to travel to Iceland.

So, why May is the best time for traveling to Iceland on a budget?

 

3. Everything costs less!

Flights and accommodation are discounted or cost less during the time of the year because fewer people are visiting Iceland.

Iceland on a budget

a) Flights are affordable

Flights to Iceland are affordable in May!

I always use Skyscanner to find cheap flights.

For example, WoW Air is a budget airline that provides cheap flights to Iceland. Although you will have to consider extra fees such as luggage or seats which can add up the actual price, flying with budget airline helps saving lots of money.

I chose WoW air to fly from Copenhagen to Iceland, and the price was affordable. I didn’t pay for extra luggage at that time so the total cost was around $90 both ways.

>> Read my guide on how to find cheap flights

 

b) Accommodation is cheaper

Hotels in Iceland are cheaper in May. In peak season, such as June, the price of hotels, or even budget hostels, can be double.

best accommodation

For example, when I search on Booking.com for the price in Reykjavik Hostel Village for 2 nights on May 28-31st, it costs $58, while June 26-28th (also from Tuesday to Thursday), the price is $105 for 2 nights.

>> Read my tips on finding the best accommodation while traveling

>>Use this coupon code to get $40 off on your stay with Airbnb.

 

c) Car rentals are cheaper

The best way to discover Iceland is renting a car. I rent a car with some friends I knew through Couchsurfing and went on a road trip in Iceland. It was totally amazing and memorable.

As it’s a shoulder season, you will be able to get better deals when traveling to Iceland in May.

 

4. Attractions are less crowded

You know, kids are still studying, many people take their day-offs during holidays or summer, so not many people travel to Iceland in May. In addition to saving money, you are likely to avoid crowds and long lines in tourist attractions compared to peak seasons.

It was actually quite crowded in some attractions when I visited (because of tourist buses), but I supposed the crowd would be even bigger if you travel in peak season. In peak season, more people will block your way and interrupt the view… It doesn’t sound good, isn’t it?

 

5. The weather is awesome

Weather in May is not too cold, but not hot either. So you don’t need to pack tons of thick jacket to avoid being frozen to death and can enjoy the trip with a sunny day.

The temperature in the morning can be around 8° to 10°, while at night is 1° – 3°

Note: Iceland is still windy all the year so it’s unavoidable.

As the weather is better, it’s easy to go on your road trip as well. In the winter, some roads may be closed due to the weather, so it’s not safe to go. We didn’t have any difficulty when discovering the Ring Road or driving to Vik in the South.

things to do in Iceland

A road trip is the best way to discover Iceland!

 

6. Nature is blooming

Iceland is a beautiful country and has various stunning attractions From May, nature starts to wake up. Although most flowers are bloom from June to August, you can already spot some of them in May. Also, you can see green grass on the hills or trees with full of leaves.

 

7. You can go hitchhiking

Since the weather is good, it’s great to try hitchhiking on your trip to Iceland. I hitchhiked from the airport to my friend’s house and back, and saved some money on it.

 

8. Whale watching is starting

If you’re interested in whale watching activity, traveling to Iceland in May is a big bonus. As whale watching in Iceland starts from April to October, May is a perfect month to book a whale watching tour in Reykjavik.

 

9. It’s puffin time

things to do in iceland

A group of puffins resting on the cliffs before the night at Dyrhólaey Lighthouse, Iceland

You can see puffin is from the middle of April to mid-August, so May is a good month to find these cuties.

 

10. You can pack light

You don’t need to pack a big suitcase when traveling to Iceland in May. Since the weather is friendly, you can bring light.

What to pack for a trip to Iceland in May?

  • Lightweight outdoor pants
  • Lightweight weatherproof jacket with hood. You should choose the ones with rain and windproof
  • Good hiking/ walking shoes: As you will need to walk a lot, a good pair of shoes will be necessary. My friend broke his shoes while traveling, and had to buy a new pair, which was expensive.
  • Swimsuit for lagoon
  • Other necessaries: towels, toothbrush, etc.

visit Iceland in May

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16 replies
  1. Lois Alter Mark says:

    These are such good reasons! I love Iceland but didn’t visit in May. And I’m going again this year but in July!

    Reply
  2. Kavita Favelle says:

    Wonderful post! We visited in August / September which gave us really long long sunny days, but we didn’t manage to see the puffins, we were a little too late. Also, we were in an expensive time of year so as you say, things like hotels, cars etc were all more expensive!

    Reply
  3. YUKTI Agrawal says:

    Wow, as May is shoulder season in Iceland then, it is really worth visiting in May. I am planning a trip to Iceland, but was confused in which season I should book for. I would try out next year as in May, climate looks favorable and also also nature is blooming. As day is longer and everything is cheaper then I would really opt for May.

    Reply
  4. Archana Singh says:

    Iceland is really top on the list of my places to visit. And, you have just given me more reasons to visit. May seem like a perfect time to visit. Iceland is so expensive otherwise so May makes perfect sense to visit.

    Reply
  5. Swati says:

    Reading your post was so refreshing. May is the perfect time to visit Iceland since the crowd is less and prices are not that skyrocket. We are planning to go in Aug/ September. Keeping my fingers crossed.

    Reply
  6. Rhiannon says:

    Shoulder season is the BEST time to travel for all the reasons you listed and more! I’ve never thought of May to visit Iceland – it’s always been peak summer or peak winter that springs to mind, but you’ve brought up some excellent points which are definitely worth considering!

    Reply
  7. blair villanueva says:

    Wow I didn’t know May is the best time for Iceland! Thanks for your insider tips. I will save this and plan for Iceland trip for next year.

    Reply
  8. Amy says:

    I have always wondered when the best time to visit Iceland was. I think I’ve come to the conclusion it has to be done both in the winter and the spring/summer. May sounds like the perfect time albeit the temperatures still being rather cold. But if it means packing lighter and I can go whale watching… well, May it is then!

    Reply

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