The Best Times To Visit Iceland

Amazing display of Northern lights over snow-covered Vestrahorn mountain

What is the Best Time to Come on a Photo Workshop in Iceland?

We get this question a lot from photographers of all skill levels who are interested in the beautiful landscapes of Iceland. But to be able to answer this question we ask them one back “What would you like to photograph in Iceland?”

There are endless things to photograph on this small island that sits in the arctic circle. From the moment you land at Keflavik airport, there are amazing landscapes everywhere you look. You feel like you are on the moon when you see the vast lava fields with not a tree in sight.

If you are not sure what you want to photograph, then let’s take a closer look at the seasons and what they have to offer.

Seljalandsfoss waterfall in the summer vs. winter

In Iceland, there are two main seasons. First, we have summer for about 3 months. Yes, we insist on calling it summer with average highs in temperature of 14°c (57 F) and average lows of 9°c (48 F). We celebrate the first day of summer in late April but we still have to wait a good month for it to arrive.

Then we have winter for about 6-7 months the average temperature is from 6°c (43 F) to -2°c (28 F). Last but not least we have about 2-3 months that we call spring and fall and sometimes it can feel like those two don’t even show up at all.


Is the longest time of year and one of the best times to visit to photograph. We celebrate the first day of winter at the end of October but usually, it arrives much sooner. Shorter days give us amazing sunrises and sunsets leaving time for hunting the northern lights in the evenings. They can be seen from late August through March.

The northern lights dancing over a snow-covered mountain top

Iceland in winter will give you unique experiences like ice caves, glaciers, frozen waterfalls, lagoons, snow, and frost-covered landscapes. We also have Icelandic horses, wildlife like reindeer, foxes, and seals that might make an appearance during a workshop.

Icelandic horses in a snowstorm

The ice caves are everchanging tunnels of Ice, if you see one you have most certainly not seen them all. Seeing the different shades of brilliant blue ice is a wonderful thing to experience and photograph.  

Skarpi owner and head guide with a group of happy photographers inside an ice cave.

The weather is always a favorite talking point in Iceland for a reason, it is ever-changing and can create dramatic and interesting conditions for a multitude of photo opportunities. Don‘t worry we‘ll provide you with a packing list of what to wear and what gear to bring.

Does this sound like the most amazing thing in the world? Then winter photo workshop in Iceland is something for you!

Sunset at the famous Dimond beach at the Glacier Lagoon in Iceland


On the other hand, summer brings the midnight sun giving us endless daylight to photograph. Brilliant sunrises and sunsets happening almost back to back. Wildlife blooms, the puffins return to Iceland along with a great variety of other birds. The lambs are born, we let the cows go out on pasture and horses can be found roaming around. The highlands will open up again with geographical color schemes and geothermal locations. Lush green moss, black beaches, and waterfalls with rainbows. What’s not to like about the Icelandic summer?

Icelandic cows having a good time on a sunny day

The Atlantic puffins are very popular to photograph. They start to arrive in late April and May to breed. By mid-August, they then leave again so if you want to photograph a puffin then June and July are your best options. Fun facts about puffins, 60% of puffins breed in Iceland, they mate for life and are sometimes called sea parrots!

A puffin with his beak full of fish on his way to feed his family

The Highlands of Iceland are only open during the summer months as they are not open during winter. We use custom 4×4 super jeeps when traveling the highlands as they are not accessible with regular vehicles. July to early September is the best time to visit Iceland if you want to see the highlands. We offer highlands workshops where we visit unique locations that combine glaciers, moraines, red–yellow and black deserts, geothermal areas & hot springs, lava, lakes, rivers, and waterfalls. 

Landmannalaugar in the Highlands of Iceland

If this sounds like a dream come true to you then summer is definitely the time for you to visit Iceland.


Even though it‘s a very short season spanning the month of September and claiming a bit of October as well. Iceland transforms into a fall wonderland with the vegetation changing from bright greens to rich shades of orange, yellow, and reds. It is quite glorious and a wonderful time of the year for photography.

Thingvellir National Park in fall colors

During this time of year, you can get an amazing balance of light as day and night are equally long during the fall equinox. Highlighting the glorious display of fall colors during the day and the return of darkness might bring you the northern lights. 

You can photograph national parks, cascading waterfalls, black sand beaches, glacier lagoons, and a variety of known and unknown landmarks in their fall colors.

Whatever the season is you can‘t go wrong with a photography workshop in Iceland. Year-round the island offers amazing landscapes you can‘t find anywhere else in the world; who knows there might even be an erupting volcano when you get there!

Vestrahorn Mountain during a beautiful sunset

For more information contact:

Skarpi the head guide and owner at Arctic Exposure
[email protected]
Cel:  +354 617 4550
Instagram: @arctic_exposure

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