spring flowing water

Iceland in May? It’s like the country’s hitting the switch from winter to summer. Days stretch longer, tours start buzzing, and there’s a whole smorgasbord of adventures to dive into. From the famous Blue Lagoon to riding horses through Iceland’s epic wilderness – May’s got it all.

For the ultimate freedom to explore this land of extremes, grab a ride from Iceland’s biggest car rental hub. It’s your golden ticket to roam around and soak up every bit of this stunning country. Want to know more about Iceland’s spring scene? Get the scoop right here.

Is it Worth it to Visit Iceland in May?

rooftop view in Reykjavik

May’s a smart move for an Iceland trip. Wallet-friendly, longer days, and the weather’s playing nice. Since the crazy summer hustle hasn’t started, May flights to Iceland often come with a friendlier price tag.

Finding a sweet spot to crash? Piece of cake. Luxury hotel or cozy cottage vibes in Iceland’s nature, you’ve got options galore across the country.

How’s the Weather in Iceland in May?

Let’s talk weather. May’s like a weather rollercoaster in Iceland. Winter’s fading, hello more sunny days! But hold onto those layers, temperatures swing from 2°C (36°F) to 11°C (53°F).

Here’s the trick: timing’s key. Early May? Chillin’ around 2°C (36°F) with a good 18 hours of daylight. Late May? Warming up at 11°C (53°F) with a solid 20 hours of daylight. Pack savvy depending on when you’re making the trip!

Iceland in May– snowy or not?

mountain with a little snow

Well, snow’s usually taking a break by then, but hey, it’s Iceland – expect the unexpected. May often means no more snow, but those mountain peaks might still wear a snowy hat, perfect for some high-altitude fun.

Iceland in May: Daylight Hours

Daylight’s the star. Early May kicks off around 5 AM and calls it a day by 10 PM. Come late May, sunrise is at a crazy 3:30 AM and sunset at 11:30 PM. Translation? Only a blink of darkness. Sadly, no northern lights gig in May – blame the never-ending twilight.

Iceland in May: Midnight Sun

a view of midnight sun in Iceland

But wait for it! May’s a slow build-up. With more daylight hours, late May inches you closer to catching Iceland’s legendary midnight sun. It’s a wait that’s totally worth it!

May’s a gem for capturing Iceland’s beauty. Longer sunny days, clearer skies, and fewer tourists—it’s a photographer’s dream.

Wardrobe Staples for a Trip in Iceland in May

wardrobe for spring in Iceland

Now, let’s chat clothes. Iceland’s May weather? Unpredictable. Pack a mix: warm, waterproof stuff, plus some lighter layers. Gotta be ready for whatever nature throws your way.

Wondering what to toss in your bag? Here’s the lowdown:

Waterproof, windproof jacket
Tough hiking boots
Layer up with fleece and such
Stock up on socks
Don’t skip scarves, hats, gloves
Sunnies – essential!
Swimsuits, just in case
And of course, a trusty cap
Oh, quick tip: Reykjavik tends to be a bit warmer than the rest of Iceland. So, if you’re city-bound, you might not need all the heavy winter gear.

Top Must-do Activities in Iceland in May

hiking in the wild in Iceland

Picture this: whale watching, snorkeling, scuba diving, ATV escapades, horseback journeys, lava exploration, glacier hikes, mountain biking, and endless sightseeing.

With longer daylight hours, Iceland becomes an adventure paradise in May! And that’s not all –Iceland in May means diving into a bunch of cool festivals and holidays. Music fanatics? Hit up RAFLOST – the Icelandic Festival of Electronic Arts. For the animal lovers, celebrate the International Day of the Icelandic Horse.

Curious to know more about what’s hot and happening in Iceland in May? Keep reading for the lowdown!

Dipping Adventures in Iceland in May

dipping in blue lagoon in Iceland

In Iceland, hot springs are the superstar summer hangouts. They’re not just about a relaxing dip – these geothermal pools are absolute stunners.
Forget about winter hunts for hot springs in freezing weather. Iceland in May is a game-changer – the weather’s way kinder.

All over the country, you’ll find top-notch geothermal spas decked out with fancy facilities and lavish treatments.

Now, here’s the thing: these hot springs can play hide-and-seek amidst the landscape. It’s like a treasure hunt! Make sure to scope out their locations before you head out.

Keep this in mind: some natural hot springs are on private property. You might need a nod from the landowner for a soak. Local tips are gold here! Chat up the locals or hop on a hot springs tour. They’ll lead you to the gems and ensure you don’t wander off the map.

If you’re up for some pampering, Iceland’s got a bunch of swanky swimming pools waiting for you. Get this – Reykjavik’s packing over 17 public swimming pools alone!

But these pools? Way more than your average swim spot. Saunas, steam rooms, hot tubs – they’re basically relaxation central. Perfect for kicking that jet lag to the curb and starting your holiday right.

Now, if you’re eyeing the primo pool hangout for visitors, Laugardalslaug in Reykjavik’s your spot. Geothermal hot tubs? Check. Water slides? Check. Steam room, sauna, gym right next door, Olympic-sized swimming pool, and a kids’ play area? Check, check, and check! Oh, and a shallow, heated pool? Perfect for stretching out and soaking up that sunshine. And guess what? The water slide? No age limits – because, hey, you’re never too old for a slide!

Quick heads-up: local pool rules are a thing. In Iceland, it’s the norm to shower in your birthday suit before taking a plunge. It’s all about keeping things squeaky clean and bacteria-free.


May’s your ticket to snorkel or dive in Iceland. Let me tell you about a gem: Thingvellir National Park, just a hop, skip, and a jump (about 29.5 miles) east of the capital. It houses one of the planet’s top spots for diving and snorkeling: the Silfra fissure glacial gorge.

Now, this place? Unreal! Crystal-clear water from Langjokull glacier travels through the underground Mid-Atlantic Ridge for about 50 years, ending up in the Silfra fissure. And get this – the current’s a breeze, making it a piece of cake to swim in.

But hey, there are a few things to keep in mind for these snorkeling and diving jaunts at Silfra:
Age: Over 16 years old
Height: Minimum 5 feet (150 centimeters)
Weight: At least 100 pounds (45 kilograms)
Gotta be in good shape, swim like a champ, and, oh, not expecting a little one!

Now, diving into Silfra fissure? It’s got a few more rules:

You’ve gotta be a certified PADI open-water diver and show proof of dry suit diving in the last 2 years. Oh, and minimum age is 17 – if you’re under 18, a consent slip from your guardian’s a must. Plus, you’ll need to sign off on some liability and medical forms before making a splash.

And hey, let’s talk about Thingvellir National Park – it’s a big deal for Icelanders, for a couple of reasons.

First off, it’s the OG spot for one of the world’s first parliaments, the Althingi. Yeah, that’s where it all started over 1,000 years ago. Today, you can stroll right up to where these history-making gatherings went down.

But wait, there’s more! The park’s geology’s a showstopper. You know why? ‘Cause it’s one of the rare spots where you can eyeball both the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates chilling together. Pretty cool, huh?

Now, some scuba diving pros venture to other hotspots too. Ever heard of Davidsgja (David’s Gorge)? It’s like Silfra’s edgier sibling – deeper and darker, nestled in Thingvallavatn. Then there’s Strytan, the sunken WWII “El Grillo” Cricket ship, and the river Litlaa.

But hey, here’s the scoop: each spot’s got its own rules. And here’s the kicker – diving or snorkeling might be on the table only at specific times of the year. Best bet? Hit up the dive crew directly. They’ll spill the beans on what’s cooking during your visit and what you’ll need for these different dives.

Hiking Trails of Iceland in May

hiking in may in Iceland

Hiking? Oh yeah, that’s the way to soak up Iceland’s vibe. I mean, picture this: wandering through meadows, checking out valleys, following streams, and chasing waterfalls – that’s what makes this place so special.

Now, if you’re kickstarting your hiking adventure from the capital, Mt. Esja’s your neighbor – a solid choice. It’s like this awesome overlook, standing tall at 0.57 miles (914 meters). Wanna know the stars of the show there? Thverfellshorn at 0.48 miles (780 meters) and Kerholakambur at 0.53 miles (851 meters) – super popular trails!

Here’s the lowdown: the hike’s split into 4 sections, and let me tell you, it gets real as you climb. But oh boy, the reward? A killer view of Reykjavik and the Reykjanes Peninsula for those who make it to the top.

But hey, if planning’s not your jam, no sweat! Joining a guided hiking tour takes all that hassle out of the equation.

Oh, and a quick tip: Iceland in May is kinder, but weather’s still a wild card. Layer up, my friend. Better safe than soggy when you’re out there hiking in the great outdoors!

Glacier Marvels in Iceland in May

glacier tour

Iceland’s a glacier wonderland – seriously, over 11% of the place is ice. So, when you’re cruising around in May, why not swing by these icy giants?

Now, picture this: hiking, but on glaciers! Getting up close to these massive frozen marvels. It’s the kind of adventure that’ll make your trip legendary.

But here’s the catch – trekking the glaciers solo? Nope, not a good idea. Opt for a guided glacier hike. These guides? They’re like icy superheroes, trained to keep you safe and show you the coolest spots.

They’ll sort you out with all the gear – helmets, snowshoes, trekking poles, crampons – you name it. Your job? Bundle up, layer up, and don’t forget that camera! Glacier hiking, here we come!

Exploring Snowy Terrain on Snowmobile Tours


Alright, thrill-seekers, listen up! If you’re itching to explore Iceland’s glaciers with an extra adrenaline kick, a glacier snowmobile trip is the way to roll. Picture this: zooming across Langjokull glacier in the west – it’s the second-largest glacier in Iceland, serving up killer views of ice valleys and the majestic Eiriksjokull mountain in the distance.

Just like booking a glacier hike, when you sign up for a glacier snowmobile tour, they’ve got your back with all the gear and a savvy guide to lead the way. But here’s your cue: pack in warm, waterproof gear, and definitely don’t forget that action camera! It’s time for some epic snowmobiling fun!

Reeling Relaxation: Fishing in Iceland in May

fishing in hauganes iceland

Iceland in May is like hitting the sweet spot for fishing. It’s the kickoff to the fishing season, and boy, does it promise some good catches!

Now, here’s the scoop – Iceland’s got top-notch river fishing, and hey, don’t forget about the ocean! But here’s the deal – all fishing spots here are private, and the fishing times? Well, they’re set by the landowners. They like giving those fish some peace and quiet, keeping things sustainable and protecting the land from getting trampled by hordes of anglers.

My advice? Book a guided fishing tour ahead of time. These angling pros? They’re the real MVPs. They know all the secret spots, the tricks of the trade, and most importantly, the rules and regs you gotta stick to.

Here’s a heads-up though – the fishing flavor you’re after will decide when you should plan your trip. Brown trout? They’re on the menu from April to October. That’s when the rivers open up for us regular folks.

Salmon’s in the mix during that time too, but hey, if you’re eyeing arctic char, you’ll have to wait till June.

Oh, and a quick note: Iceland takes its fishing laws seriously. Like, really seriously. No bringing gear from outside unless it’s squeaky clean and certified germ-free. And organic live bait? Nope, that’s a no-go.

Before you reel in your plans, make sure to do your homework on fishing in Iceland. Trust me, it’s worth it!

Saddling Up in Iceland in May

Horse riding, anyone? Iceland’s got these tours year-round, but let me tell you, May’s the time when the weather’s just right – not too chilly, not too hot. Plus, bonus points: you get to hang out with those famous Icelandic horses!

Now, these horses? They’re the real deal, dating back to the 9th century when Iceland was just getting settled. They might be smaller than some breeds, but man, they’ve got charm! Known for being friendly, reliable, super strong, and brainy too. Oh, and they’re total pros with us visitors, so even if you’re new to riding, you’ll be in safe hooves!

Once you get the lowdown on the riding basics, it’s time to saddle up and hit the Icelandic wilds. Picture this – cruising through serene farmland, gentle rivers, and just soaking in that countryside vibe.

And hey, if you’re into legends and history, these horses are basically celebrities in Icelandic folklore and Norse myths. Like, ever heard of Sleipnir, Odin’s eight-legged wonder horse? Some stories even say his hoof created the epic Asbyrgi Canyon in North Iceland! Now, that’s one heck of a horse tale!

Lava Caves Exploration in Iceland in May

May’s the ticket for diving into Iceland’s underground marvels with lava caving tours.

Imagine this: you’re surrounded by these vibrant red, orange, and purple rock formations, stepping into Iceland’s geological past. It’s like touching history, feeling the ancient lava flows transformed into fossilized wonders. And hey, where else can you learn about how Iceland got its volcanic groove?

Most of these lava caves are pretty accessible, especially if you’re up for a little adventure. But hey, fair warning – there might be some spots where you’ll need to bend, crawl, or clamber a bit. If tight spaces or darkness make you squirm, it might not be your thing.

Whale Wonders and Feathered Friends: Water Delights in Iceland in May

whale watching tour in Iceland

May is prime time for those awesome whale-watching tours in Iceland. Picture this: you’re on a boat, the sun’s shining, and you’re keeping an eye out for these majestic sea creatures – a perfect day on the water!

Iceland’s shores are buzzing with sea life – killer whales, harbor porpoises, short-beaked dolphins, sperm whales, humpback whales, and even those huge blue whales pass by occasionally.

And guess what? You’re practically guaranteed to spot at least one of these incredible creatures. Look out for those playful minke whales and the lively dolphin pods – they’re the regulars!

From breaching minke whales to playful dolphins, there’s a good chance you’ll catch sight of these beauties during your trip. It’s a sea full of wonders out there!

Whale-watching boats in Iceland are all kitted out with the latest radar gizmos and are always in touch with each other. That means you’ve got the best shot at spotting these magnificent creatures.

For the top spots, check out Reykjavik in Faxafloi Bay, the ultimate whale-watching hub in Husavik – known as Europe’s go-to spot, and the lively “Capital of the North,” Akureyri. Each place gives you a different view and a chance to spot Iceland’s diverse whale crew.

And hey, if you’re into birds, get ready for a treat! Those cliffside nests and birds swooping around in search of fish? Bird lovers, you’re in for an absolute blast!

Tours to Spot Puffins in Iceland in May


Iceland’s got the biggest puffin crew worldwide, chilling on the coasts during summer. These cute ‘clowns of the sea’ start their puffin parties in April, so May’s your golden ticket for spotting them.

Dyrholaey peninsula, part of those self-drive tours along the South Coast or the Ring Road, is a top spot for puffin sightings.

Now, if you’re up for another puffin spectacle, head west to the wild Westfjords. Way out in Iceland’s wild frontier (and Europe’s edge!), you’ll find Latrabjarg, the puffin central.

Latrabjarg isn’t just about puffins; it’s a hub for various bird species. But, hey, be mindful—it’s cliffside turf, so take care while exploring!

You’ve got quite a few tours that dish out a two-for-one deal—puffin peeping and whale watching. Like the Whale Watching & Puffin Island Boat Tour in Husavik. And hey, all around Iceland, tours line up to introduce you to these charming birds. If you’re in Reykjavik, that puffin-watching gig? It’s a blast for animal enthusiasts and families!

Chasing the Northern Lights in Iceland in May

chasing northern lights in Iceland

When you’re in Iceland in May, one thing you won’t catch is the northern lights.

The spectacular aurora borealis is quite a sight, but during this time, clear nights and the right solar activity for the show are pretty scarce. With the nights being super short or sometimes practically nonexistent, spotting those magical lights in May isn’t in the cards.

Yet, witnessing the sun painting the sky pink and purple at midnight is its own special marvel that almost compensates for missing the aurora!

Reykjavik's Marvels: Top Activities in the Capital of Iceland in May

Laugavegur street in Reykjavik

Reykjavik is the perfect home base for your Icelandic escapades. There’s a bunch of hotels and loads of tours that start right from the city. And because Reykjavik isn’t too big, walking around, especially in May, when the weather’s more agreeable, is a breeze.

Let me share some local favorites for things to dive into around Reykjavik during your May jaunt.

Golden Circle Fun from Reykjavik in May

a view of golden circle in Iceland

Iceland in May is a quieter time before the big summer hustle starts. It’s prime for booking tours without the worry of huge crowds. The Golden Circle tops Iceland’s must-see list, and from Reykjavik, there’s no shortage of trips showing off some jaw-dropping sights.

Buzz-Worthy Geothermal Spas in Reykjavik in May

getothermal bath

Near Reykjavik, May’s the time when those geothermal spas start to buzz. Imagine soaking in these natural hot springs while taking in Iceland’s breathtaking views. Places like Sky Lagoon, Blue Lagoon, and the new Hvammsvik Hot Springs are the hotspots (literally!) you shouldn’t miss. Plus, they’re just a short drive from Reykjavik.

And if you’re not feeling the hot springs vibe, Reykjavik’s public pools are also a hit. They’ve got it all—steam rooms, saunas, and more hot tubs than you can shake a towel at.

Foodie Adventures in Reykjavik in May

Iceland food tour

Have you heard about the Reykjavik Food Tour? It’s like a crash course in Iceland’s flavors and history. You get to munch on ten local dishes while a guide takes you on a tasty tour around the city. Sounds like a belly-pleasing adventure!

Best Spots to Crash in Reykjavik in May

hotel in Reykjavik

When it comes to Reykjavik stays, you’re spoilt for choice with over 600 hotels! If you’re watching those kronas, consider cozying up at Skuggi Hotel or the Center Hotel on Laugavegur street. Both are comfy, budget-friendly joints right in Reykjavik’s beating heart, so you’ve got food, fun, and convenience at your fingertips.

Now, if you’re feeling like treating yourself, Sand Hotel’s boutique vibes offer that touch of luxury you’re after.

May’s the golden time to snag great hotel deals before the summer rush hits!

Roadtrip in Iceland in May


Iceland in May is the golden hour for road tripping. You’ll have the freedom to roam this stunning country with just a tiny chance of running into snow up north. It’s your ticket to a tailor-made adventure, giving you all the time and flexibility to soak up every bit of Iceland’s magic.

Rental Options in Iceland in May

Renting a car in Iceland in May? Totally a great call! You’ve got a bunch of rental options available through Iceland’s major car rental hub. If you’re eyeing those wide-open roads and planning to venture off the beaten track, go for a sturdy four-wheel-drive ride like an SUV or a mini truck. That way, you’re all set for any terrain and can pack in everything you need for the trip!

Is Ring Road Roadtrip Doable in Iceland in May?

May’s the sweet spot for cruising Iceland without any ice on the roads. The Ring Road, a giant 828-mile (1,332 kilometers) loop around the country, is like your all-in-one pass to soak in Iceland’s diverse scenes on a road trip. It’s a smooth ride, mostly a single lane, with barely any traffic, letting you hit almost all the hotspots—except the Westfjords and Snaefellsnes peninsula.

Is Golden Circle Roadtrip Doable in Iceland in May?

Driving to the Golden Circle of Iceland in May? Piece of cake. Whether you prefer DIY road tripping or hopping on tours, getting there’s easy. This famous circuit spans about 186 miles (300 kilometers), showcasing three incredible places: Geysir Geothermal Area, Gullfoss Waterfall, and Thingvellir National Park.

May’s got the perfect vibe for exploring these awesome spots with longer daylight hours. It means you can soak up every bit of these places without getting caught up in the summer rush.

While joining a tour to the Golden Circle is awesome, there’s something liberating about driving it yourself. So, consider giving yourself that freedom when planning your trip.

For the lowdown on driving here – from parking tips to road rules and staying safe on the road – check out our ultimate guide to driving in Iceland. It’s got all the info you need to cruise around like a pro.

Highlight Celebrations in Iceland in May

photograph of reyjkavik

If you’re heading to Iceland in May, there’s more going on than just the breathtaking scenery. This month comes with its own lineup of cool festivals celebrating music, art, history, and even the iconic Icelandic horse.

Ascension Day: Christian Celebration

christmas in Reykjavik

This old-school Christian celebration, 40 days after Easter, marks Jesus’ ascension to heaven.
In Iceland, Ascension Day is a public holiday. Kids get the day off from school, and most folks take a breather. Families chill together and indulge in some classic Icelandic dishes.

For those intrigued by religious vibes or stunning architecture, it’s a great chance to check out some of Iceland’s famous churches.
Famous Churches in Reykjavik
You’ve got the modern Hallgrimskirkja, a real standout.

Then there’s the Frikirkjan in Reykjavik, rocking its green roof since 1899 by the city pond, Tjornin.

The Landakotskirkja, known as Basilika Krists Konungs (The Basilica of Christ the King), holds the title for the main Catholic Church of Iceland.

Don’t forget Akureyrarkirkja, the Lutheran Church of Akureyri, with its distinct boxy steeples and that grand clock face.
Out on the Snaefellsnes peninsula sits the impressive black church of Budir, a must-see amidst the stunning landscape.

RAFLOST: Celebrating Icelan’ds Electronic Arts

music concert in Harpa Hall

For the last decade, RAFLOST has been the go-to bash for electronic wizards—think computers, dance, music, games, and even some poetry thrown in! This festival’s a big deal, drawing artists from every corner of the globe who want to dive into this super unique, artistic scene.

Every May, Reykjavik hosts RAFLOST. They team up with big shots like the Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture, plus the Icelandic Academy of Arts, to create this epic showcase for all things electronic art.

This gig has seen some real stars of electronic music like Morton Subotnick, Todor Todoroff, and Mikael Fernstrom blow everyone’s minds with their sets. It’s a wild ride, for sure!

Celebrating the Majestic Icelandic Horse


The International Day of the Icelandic Horse was born from a cool collab between the Icelandic Equestrian Association and the Horses of Iceland marketing gig.

Now, the Icelandic horse is a real gem—been trotting around Iceland since the 9th century, back when the Viking squad settled in.
This breed’s a big deal in Iceland. They’re super protective of these horses—like, they’re the only kind allowed in the country. No outsiders, you know?

On this day, it’s all about bonding with these majestic creatures. Even if you’re in Reykjavik, you can hop on this 2.5-hour Horse Riding Tour of the Volcanic Raudholar Countryside. It’s a way to get a feel for these beauties without venturing too far out.

It’s basically a big community thing—stables open their doors across Iceland. Folks bring their families and pals to get up close with these Icelandic horses. Cool, right?

May First: Honoring Work and Solidarity

flyers and posters in Reykjavik

Falling on the same day as the International Day of the Icelandic Horse, May 1 is a public holiday. Many know it as ‘Labor Day,’ but in Iceland, it’s most often called “May First” (Fyrsti maí) as the day has become synonymous with labor.

May Day in Iceland has become an unofficial day of protest in Iceland. Many carry banners and signs to the streets, making their demands and concerns clear.

The first protest on May 1 in Iceland’s history was in 1923, making it a 100-year-old tradition in 2023.

Although there isn’t a unified subject, many Icelanders argue for higher wages, shorter work days and workweeks, and flexible office hours.

In previous years, protesters have gathered together at Hlemmur Bus Station before marching down the main street in downtown Reykjavik, Laugavegur. Finally, the procession ends at Austurvollur Square by the Parliament of Iceland (pictured above), where some speeches are held, and cakes and coffees are supplied by representatives of Iceland’s trade unions.

How to Choose the Best Time to Visit Iceland: April, May, or June?

May is a great time for travelers looking to explore Iceland without dealing with huge crowds. It’s not the peak of the midnight sun, but it’s easier on the wallet and offers a lot to do. Just a heads up, if hiking in the Icelandic Highlands is your thing, it’s a no-go until June. Iceland’s National Day happens in June, so that might sway your decision based on what you’re into.

May’s your ticket for getting the most out of your money, but if catching those northern lights is your aim, April’s the month to aim for. The weather perks up in May, and many roads start opening up, which means countrywide road trips become doable again.

Are you considering a to visit Iceland in May? Any specific spots or experiences on your radar?

Robert Robertsson

Hey, I'm the founder of Airmango. My love affair with travel and entrepreneurship kicked off in 1994 in Iceland. Fast forward through two decades, and I've been lucky enough to weave my career through five different countries. Each place has left its mark on me, not just in my personal life, but in how I approach business too. With Airmango, I'm bringing all those global insights and experiences to the table – it's like seeing the world through a business lens.