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Most visitors think of Iceland as either a winter or a summer destination, but to limit yourself to those two seasons is to miss out on one of the most wonderful Icelandic times of the year - the springtime.

If all you want from a holiday or short break is to soak up some rays of sunshine, then Iceland is probably not for you, but if you fancy something unique and quite different from any other holiday destination that you've ever been to, then why not give it a whirl?

Thanks to its close proximity to the northernmost part of the world, Iceland is subject to months of darkness through the winter and months of daylight through the summer. Although part of the attraction for some tourists, those of us used to European hours of daylight can struggle to adjust. Visit at this time of year and you will find yourself in a familiar world - at least when it comes to day and night.

By May, the worst of the rain has been and gone, although in this part of the world the weather can be unpredictable, so pack a few items of wet-weather gear and you should be fine. The country is affected by the Gulf Stream, meaning that you probably won't be as cold as you might be expecting, so layers are very much the order of the day.

Although some of Reykjavik's museums and attractions tend to open only for the summer months during the height of the tourist season, the nature of Iceland's volcanic geography means that there's always plenty to see and do. Geysers, hot springs and volcanic activity don't confine themselves to any specific season, but during May you won't be disturbed by crowds.

One added bonus of visiting this fascinating country during May is that everything is much cheaper than at other times of the year. Prices rise steadily through June and July, which is the beginning of the peak tourist season, so this is the perfect time to take advantage of rock-bottom prices. The islanders are very appreciative of visitors who take the trouble to visit their beautiful country at quieter periods, so you'll find a friendly welcome everywhere you go.

Some of the country's roads may not be passable until mid-May or even later, but there are still plenty of things to see and do. Depending on the weather, some of the activities that you can try your hand at include dog-sledding, horse-trekking, fishing and skiing. You can take a jeep tour, go hiking or simply kick back and relax in one of the thermal pools or excellent spa resorts that the island is becoming renowned for.

Add in the fantastic nightlife of Iceland's lively cities, and you'll quickly find that Iceland is a truly captivating destination that you'll wish you'd discovered even sooner.

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