A Guide to the Iceland Weather in May
May is a great time to visit Iceland, as it marks the beginning of spring on the island. While the Iceland weather in May tends to be more pleasant, there are also plenty of other advantages to traveling during this shoulder season.
Have been wondering whether May may (we couldn’t resist) be the right month for you? This article will help you make your decision. We discuss the Iceland weather in May in-depth and the benefits it holds, and we provide you with a handy packing list to use as a guide.
The Iceland Weather in May
The Iceland temperature in May ranges between 4-10 degrees Celsius. The average temperature in Iceland in May, hovering around the 6-degree mark. The spring weather in Iceland may not be the typical you are used to back home. Still, visitors in May need not worry about the harsh winter temperatures that can dip as low as -20 degrees.
You also don’t need to stress about possible blizzards or our legendary Icelandic winds that can (and has!) ripped car doors straight off their hinges. You will sometimes hear people say that the weather in Reykjavík, Iceland in May is slightly warmer than in the rest of the country. However, this is just a common illusion. In May, the need of renting a 4x4 in Iceland is significantly lower than in the winter months, but it's always a good call.
The buildings in the capital city provide a certain amount of shelter against the weather elements. That could make it feel slightly warmer than it actually is on the outskirts of the city. This illusion is also not unique to Reykjavík, and you’ll experience it in most of the major cities and towns on the island.
The daylight hours in May are also well on their way to those Midnight Sun daylight hours, boasting between 18-20 hours every day!
Benefits of the Iceland Weather in May
The Iceland weather in May offers quite a few benefits:
Although it’s technically not summer yet, the weather in Iceland in May and June doesn’t actually differ that much. Even the daylight hours are just 2–4 hours short of experiencing a mid-summer Midnight Sun. So, in general, you can experience amazing weather during the month of May.
Summer in Iceland is considered our peak season. And since it’s not technically summer yet, you can enjoy all the good things about summer without too many people around!
With no peak season crowds, there will also not be any peak season prices, which means that you’ll be able to make your budget stretch further.
What to Pack When Taking the Iceland Weather in May Into Account
Is this your first trip to the island, or just your first trip that’s scheduled in May? The below packing list will make packing for your Iceland adventure much easier:
Warm, waterproof jacket
Warm fleece or woolen sweaters (pack just one or two so you can buy a few real Icelandic woolen sweaters once you’re here)
Casual pants (for the days spent exploring the city)
Waterproof hiking boots (irrespective of whether you’re going hiking or not)
Casual shoes (also, for the days spent in the city)
Warm, woolen socks
T-shirts and long-sleeved shirts
Warm hat (beanies work really well)
Sleeping mask. (Even though it’s not quite Midnight Sun yet, some will already experience problems with their sleeping patterns due to the lack of darkness)
Earplugs. (Even though it’s not quite a Midnight Sun yet, some will take full advantage of the extra daylight hours. It’s not odd to find people partying till late or even doing construction)
Toiletries and medication. (Just remember to check flight restrictions, so you don’t need to empty half your vanity at the airport)
Electronic devices: chargers, cables, a power bank, an adaptor, etc.
The Iceland Weather in May Makes it the Perfect Time to Visit
As you can see, the Iceland weather in May is almost exactly the same as some of our best summer months. This makes a trip full of outdoor fun and a jam-packed itinerary possible – just at a fraction of the cost of peak season.
We can’t think of a better time to rent a campervan in Reykjavík and go road-tripping on a once-in-a-lifetime Iceland adventure. We hope to see you soon!