By May, Iceland is in the full bloom of spring. There are still plenty of cold days and spring storms, and temperatures hover between 3 and 6°C (about 40-50°F). It’s still off-season, so though the hours of daylight stretch from about 4am to 10pm, you’ll still see lots of savings on hotels and tours and far fewer tourists than in June and July. May is also one of the driest months so though it’s still cold my most standards, you have a good chance at lots of sunshine on your trip.
May is one of the best months to visit if you want to avoid most of the summer crowds, save a little a money and still be able to experience Iceland under the summer sun. Though prices for flights to Iceland cost more in May than they do in colder months, you can still find deals for around $500-$600 round trip, as compared to $700 or more during high season. Most hotels still consider May off-season, so you’ll find costs for accommodations significantly less now than in a few weeks. Some hotels start charging high-season rates at the middle or end of the month though, so inquire before you book.
May visitors will happily find that the same outdoor activities popular in summer, including horseback riding, glacier-walking, caving, hiking, and snorkeling, are available in May. Whale-watching season also begins in May, though the odds of spotting humpback, minke and blue whales increase in June and July. Roads in southwest Iceland are clear in May, making it easy to self-drive around to the area’s attractions. and you can easily drive around on your own. Bring a warm jacket and good boots and dress in layers for fluctuating temperatures. It’s also a good idea to bring a hat, scarf and gloves for colder days.
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The Reykjavik Arts Festival has been held this month every year since 1970, with exhibitions, concerts, dance, theater and opera performances from national and international artists and performers.
Photo by chadmagiera