For many May is one of the best month in Iceland with warmer weather and more sunshine, but the summer is not here quite yet so it can still feel a bit cold especially in the North part of the country.

The average temperature in May is around 6,3°C (43,3°F) but the temperature can go as high as 10-12°C (50-53,6°F). The average precipitation in May is 44mm so it is the driest month of the year.

It is the perfect month to travel around the country exploring different towns and villages and enjoying the good weather, daylight from early morning until late (average sunshine is 192 hours), also the summer season has not started yet so there are not as many tourists around.

Driving in Iceland in May

Renting a car is one of the most popular way to get around in Iceland and May is a good month to do that as the weather is getting warmer and usually there is no ice or snow on the road. But the weather is always very unpredictable in Iceland so you need to be prepared for all kinds of weather including heavy rain and blizzards.

It is important to always check road and weather conditions before heading out on the road and we recommend renting a 4WD car if you are travelling to more remote areas. Remember that off-road driving is strictly forbidden and the fine for speeding can be very high.

In May most roads are accessible but some roads in the remote areas of the country are still closed as well as the mountain roads. The main roads are well maintained in May and the most popular tourist destinations around Reykjavík are accessible including the Golden Circle, the South Coast as well as Snæfellsnes peninsula in the West and the North part of Iceland. May is also a good month to drive the full circle around Iceland.

If you are not comfortable driving multiple bus tours and private tours are available during the winter in Iceland.

If you decide to drive in Iceland here you will find useful tips and more extensive information.

What to wear

The spring in Iceland is usually warmer than the winter but it is still cold, the average temperature during the spring is around 3°C (37,4°F), but with the wind it feels colder.

In May the temperature starts to rise as the winter is now over. Even though there are usually not snow storms in May it might be raining and windy, also it might get cold if you are staying outside from early morning until late night so we recommend warm clothes in May.

You might not need the parka with you but essentials are hiking shoes, warm base layer and good rain gear.

  • Hiking boots - If you are planning on only staying in Reykjavík then sneakers might be enough but if you will be travelling around the country and staying outside you need good hiking shoes that will keep you warm.
  • Base layer - warm layers under the clothes might be the best thing you bring to Iceland. We recommend wearing long wool or thermal underwear, you can buy it in outdoor clothing stores in Iceland.
  • Fleece or wool - The Icelandic wool sweater or fleece is a must. The Icelandic wool sweater can be bought all over the country in local stores.
  • Parka or water and windproof jacket - You want to wear the parka on cold days but it might also rain during the winter so a water and windproof jacket over the wool/fleece sweater is essential.
  • Water and windproof pants - It is windy in Iceland and it rains so bring the pants.
  • Hats, gloves and warm socks - Bring at least two sets of everything a lighter pair and a thick one as well.
  • Swimsuit - You are going to want to relax in our warm swimming pools or hot springs after a long day outside