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Your Complete Guide to an Iceland Summer

An Iceland summer might not be what you’re used to back home, but the change of the season is quite significant here on the island. Not only does it mean warmer and milder weather, but also a myriad of exciting things to see and do and plenty of daylight hours to see and do them in.


So, if you’ve been planning a trip to the island during the summertime or have been on the fence about when to visit - this article is for you. We tell you everything you need to know about Iceland in summer.


Summer in Iceland

When is Summer in Iceland?


Summer in Iceland is from June to August, with the 21st of June marking the height of summer with our summer solstice. Mid-summer is characterized by one of our most famous natural phenomena, the Midnight Sun. This is when darkness never actually falls despite the sun momentarily dipping behind the horizon, essentially giving visitors 24-hour “days”.


Is It Worth Going to Iceland in Summer?


With most things in life, even summer in Iceland has pros and cons. So, whether summer in Iceland will work best for you will depend on your budget, personal preferences, and what you would like to see and do on the island while you’re here. To decide whether it’s worth it for you to go to Iceland in summer, you need to consider the following pros and cons of the season:


Pros

  • The summertime boasts the best weather you’ll find here on the island. It’s warm (in Iceland terms, of course), and most of our extreme weather conditions have seemingly also gone on summer break.

  • Not only does summer offer plenty of daylight hours to allow for a jam-packed trip itinerary, but you also get to experience a Midnight Sun.

  • If you’re a nature lover or an outdoor fanatic, the summer season is where it’s at in Iceland. You can explore our myriad of natural wonders to your heart’s content and partake in all sorts of exciting outdoor activities.

  • Even the wildlife prefer Iceland during the summertime, and you’ll find the Puffins, as well as some migratory whale species, making their way to the island.

  • Road conditions are absolutely pristine for safely road-tripping around the island, and all the roads usually kept closed during the colder months of the year will be open again.

  • Since summer in Iceland is our peak season, most of our famous attractions and activities, as well as our transport, have extended operating hours, giving you the chance to experience the best the island has to offer for much longer.


Cons


  • While a blessing to some, all the daylight hours can be a curse to others. The lack of darkness can cause havoc on some people’s circadian rhythms, and unless they make use of things such as sleeping masks and reminders, they soon find themselves non-sleeping zombies. And while all the extra daylight hours allow you to experience a Midnight Sun, it also means you won’t be able to see the Northern Lights.

  • As mentioned, summer is peak season here on the island, which means two things: peak season crowds and peak season prices.

  • Because of how busy it gets in Iceland during summer, those who don’t book things such as accommodation, transport, tour, etc., well in advance can be left thoroughly disappointed.


Summer in Iceland

The Weather in Iceland in Summer


We’ve spoken about the amazing weather summer in Iceland has, but what exactly does that mean? Firstly, temperatures are warmer, and you’ll never have to worry about it dipping below the 0-degree mark (even in a country called Iceland). Temperature ranges between a low of +/- 6 degrees Celsius and a high of +/- 14 degrees Celsius


You’ll also have plenty of daylight hours, ranging from +/-16 to 22+, considering that darkness never quite falls mid-summer. It’s not our rainiest season, but you’ll need to come prepared for some rainfall during your trip. The weather is also much milder, meaning our more extreme weather elements have taken a backseat. 


Our legendary winds that can reach speeds of 35+ kilometers an hour mid-winter and have been known to rip off car doors, now only reach speeds of up to 14 kilometers an hour. You also don’t need to worry about things such as blizzards derailing your plans (and your fun).


Iceland summer season

Things to Do in Iceland in Summer


Planning your trip itinerary? No problem! Below are some of the most popular things to do in Iceland in summer for you to use as a guide:


Take a Dip in a Hot Spring


There are hot springs all over the island as all the volcanic activity heats up our underground water supply. Some of these hot springs can be enjoyed in their original form, while others are used in geothermal pools. A few you can consider visiting are:



Must do Iceland summer activities

Explore Our National Parks


Some of the best places to visit in Iceland in summer are our national parks. Each has its own array of attractions and activities, including things such as hiking or diving and snorkeling the Silfra Fissure. Iceland’s national parks are Vatnajökull National Park (which now also includes Skaftafell National Park), Thingvellir National Park, and Snæfellsnes National Park.

Vatnajokull National Park

Check Out Our Impressive Waterfalls


Iceland has over 10, 000 waterfalls, and a few have quite the reputation. Be sure to check out these waterfalls during your trip to Iceland in the summer:


  • Dettifoss Waterfall – the second most powerful waterfall in Europe

  • Seljalandsfoss Waterfall – the waterfall you can walk behind

  • Dynjandi Waterfall – the tiered waterfall that looks like a wedding cake

  • Svartifoss Waterfall – a dramatic-looking waterfall that served as a muse to the artist who designed Hallgrimskirkja

  • Godafoss Waterfall – the waterfall that symbolically marked Iceland’s official conversion to Christianity

Waterfalls in Iceland

Attend One of Our Festivals or Events


Icelanders are a jovial bunch, and you’ll find plenty of celebrations while visiting Iceland in summer. You can consider adding the following to your social calendar if you’re in the area:



Iceland activities summer

Take a Road Trip


As we mentioned earlier, the roads are in pristine condition, and there is no better way to explore the island than by hitting the road. We have many popular road trip routes here in Iceland, each boasting its own list of interesting attractions and activities. Some of the most popular routes are:


Driving in Iceland in the summer

Stroll on Our Black Sand Beaches


Strolling on one of our black sand beaches quite literally means taking a stroll back in time. You see, the black sand beaches of Iceland are actually the result of thousands of years of volcanic activity here on the island.


Hardened lava from past eruptions forms black basalt rock that gets eroded down to the kernels of sand you see on the beaches today. Some of our most famous black sand beaches are Diamond Beach, the Black Sand Beaches of Vik, and Reynisfjara.


Black Sand Beach in Iceland

Book a Spot on the Reykjavik Food Walk


One of the best ways to explore and learn about the capital city of Reykjavik is by going on theReykjavik Food Walk. Not only will you get fed with local knowledge by your experienced guide, but you’ll also get delicious local dishes and drinks served along the way.


Explore the Landscape on Horseback


Iceland has its own breed of horse called the Icelandic Horse. These horses are incredibly unique in both their looks and their nature. At first sight, they appear more like ponies than full-grown horses. They have a very friendly nature and are famous for being able to perform a fifth gait. Exploring the breathtaking Icelandic landscape on one of these majestic creatures is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.


Iceland horses

Go On a Boat Tour


There is no better time to be on a boat during the summertime. And in Iceland, you’ll find plenty of interesting boating adventures to add to your trip itinerary. You can go on one of the boat tours exploring the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. You can also go on a whale watching or Puffin spotting boat tour.


Time to Enjoy Iceland’s Summer!


Now that you know all the ins and outs of Iceland’s summer, you just need to start planning your trip! Use this article as a guide, and you’re in for the adventure of a lifetime. To take advantage of the great weather and to combat some of the peak season pricing in Iceland in the summer, we recommend renting a campervan in Reykjavik once you arrive on the island.


Then you’ll not only be able to road trip to your heart’s content, but you can book spots at affordable campgrounds all over the country and camp in comfort. 

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