Summer is a great time to visit Iceland. The country has shaken off the cold of winter and now the whole island comes alive. From hiking and other outdoor activities to summer festivals and the Midnight Sun, let’s talk about why summer is the best time of year to visit Iceland. If you come to the small Nordic island during the months of June, July or August you will surely not be disappointed.
But first, let’s talk a little bit about the weather in Iceland during the summer months. When most people think of summer, they picture sweltering heat, tank tops, flip-flops, and swimming pools where they can take a dip to cool off. While these images are lovely, they don’t exactly convey the reality of Icelandic weather. Summer temperatures in Iceland have been known to reach a high of around 15 °C (59 °F), not exactly a heat wave. And because the weather is so unpredictable in Iceland, there have even been snowstorms in June! So make sure you pack the right clothes for your trip to Iceland.
Now that you’ve been warned about Icelandic weather, let’s take a look at some of the fun things you can do on the island during the summer months.
Summer Festivals in Iceland
A complete list of festivals and activities throughout the year can be found here on the official Iceland tourism website. It’s organized by month and each event has a short description and lists the website if you’d like to learn more.
Whale Watching and Puffin Watching
Iceland is fortunate to be home to many different species of animals that you won’t find in many places. Booking excursions to view some of the islands flora and fauna in their natural habitat is a popular activity. Whether hopping on a boat to go whale watching or seeing the famous Icelandic puffins return home to form colonies and mate, animal lovers have a lot of options in Iceland.
Hiking Landmannalaugar and other parts of the country
Iceland’s famous Laugavegur Trail takes hikers from Landmannalaugar to Thórsmörk and back. You’ll see rolling green hills, colorful volcanic rock and black lava fields along this diverse route. For the especially adventurous, there are races through the countryside. Sign up for the Laugavegur Ultra Marathon if you’d like to join your fellow runners in taking on the Icelandic landscapes.
Visit Iceland’s Highlands
During most of the year, the roads that access the inner parts of the country (F-Roads) are closed. They open up around the 2nd or 3rd week of June and provide an extra layer of adventure to your travels in Iceland. Please note, in order to drive on F-Roads and access Iceland’s Highlands, a 4×4 vehicle is mandatory.
Take a dip in one of the country’s many geothermal baths
While you can do this year round, it’s definitely easier to run around in your swimsuit when temperatures aren’t below freezing. And because the daylight hours are longer in summer, that gives you more time to spend at those roadside hot pots or geothermal hot springs you find along the way.
Whichever option you decide to choose, know that Iceland in the summer is when the country is at its best. You’ll find friendly people, lots of activities, and you are sure to have a good time. Tell us about your adventures and let us know your favorite things to do in Iceland during the summer.
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