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Iceland in May – Useful to Know

Are you coming to Iceland in May? Then read this article to know everything about what weather you can expect, what events you should check out, and what tours are best enjoyed in May.

Weather in May

In Iceland, summer has already started in May. The First Day of Summer is celebrated late April, no matter the weather! In May, you can look forward to gradually rising temperatures and more daylight every day. The average low in May is just above 2°C, and the average high about 12°C. Snow will be rare around Reykjavík, but rainfall is common. As always in Iceland, a fresh breeze can blow, so wearing layers is recommended. Most roads should be fine around this time of year but check www.road.is before you head out to be sure, especially if you’re heading to mountainous areas. Please note that roads in the highlands can be covered by snow well into June and are still closed in May.

Events in May

May 3-5: The Reykjavík CrossFit Championship
The Reykjavík CrossFit Championship welcomes athletes from all over the world to participate and compete against Iceland’s fittest CrossFitters. 30 males, 30 females, and 10 teams have qualified to compete in Laugardalshöll sports hall in Reykjavík from May 3-5. First place winners will be invited to the 2019 Reebok CrossFit Games in Madison, Wisconsin. Next to the championship contests, there are special workouts of the day (WODs) which include running up Esja as quickly as possible, in any weather. Come and watch Icelandic and international top athletes compete!

May 16-18: Reykjavík Metalfest
Reykjavík Metalfest is a metal festival taking place in Gaukurinn bar in downtown Reykjavík, known for its laidback and inclusive vibe. The line-up consists of Icelandic metal acts along with a great selection of international metal bands. Bands performing this year include Almyrkvi, Psyclosarin, Auðn, Beneath, Hamferð, Svart Crown, Potentiam, Orbit, Svartidauði, and Napalm Death. Metalheads, don’t miss this intimate yet extreme metal festival right in the middle of the city! Weekend passes cost 13,000 ISK.

May 23-25: RAFLOST
RAFLOST is an electronic and media arts festival in Reykjavík. The festival connects music, visual arts, dance, (computer) science, and media arts to explore different aspects of art technology. It aims to introduce the public to the history, present, and future of electronic arts. International artists and students have been part of the festival since it was first organised, bringing developments from abroad into the local community. It’s held in collaboration with the Iceland University of the Arts and event venue Mengi.

Check out more events in May in the What’s On Event Calendar!

Tours in May

Glacier hike
Sólheimjökull glacial tongue is a popular spot for guided glacier hiking and ice climbing. Sólheimajökull glacier is easy to reach from Reykjavík, as it’s only 165km from the city. On the way to the glacier, you cross along the beautiful south coast of Iceland and you can stop at Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls. On top of the glacier, you can enjoy the wonderful views all around, and the different colours of ice, and explore its crevasses and swell holes. During the hike, glacier guides will tell you all there is to know about glaciers. You can combine a glacier hike with ice climbing if you’re up to the challenge.

Book your glacier hike here.

Snæfellsnes tour
The Snæfellsnes peninsula has some of the most diverse landscapes in Iceland, with waterfalls, caves, black beaches, and most importantly, the internet famous Mt. Kirkjufell. It rapidly gained popularity in recent years, because it has been used as a filming location for several movies and series, like Game of Thrones. However, it has been a tourist attraction for decades, and Mt. Kirkjufell has been one of the most photographed mountains of Iceland for a long time.

Book your Snæfellsnes tour here.

Puffin watching
In summertime, puffin colonies are found all around Iceland. The first small flocks arrive in April and the last ones leave in September, but the best months to see puffins are from May to August. Just off the coast of the Reykjavík, puffins breed each year on three small islands. Most whale watching companies offer puffin watching tours. For puffin spotting, it’s best to be on a small boat and to bring binoculars. Puffins are tiny, and the closer you can get to them, the better the experience will be. Next to puffins, common sights during these tours include arctic terns and the great skua.

Book your puffin watching tour here.

Puffin in Iceland

Enjoy your stay!