Summer in Iceland
Here’s a little secret. Icelanders generally kind of love their winters. Yes, they’re quite long, they’re very dark and they can be cold but they’re also kind of lovely, incredibly cozy and they come with the most wonderful light display in the form of our beloved northern lights. But after these long stretches of darkness, the mood undeniably lifts in spring when the days get longer, and the endless daylight and the midnight sun of summer are just around the corner.
When is the best time to visit Iceland?
It all depends on what you’re after. The northern lights are probably the most popular attraction in these parts and while they are certainly there and active all year round, they’re only visible in the dark. That’s why they’re a seasonal experience, generally on display between late September and April.
The summer is a wonderful time of endless daylight, perfect for outdoor activities and excursions and spring and fall are less extreme with a hint of the best of both worlds. Read our blog about the best time to visit Iceland to research your dream vacation and make up your mind.
Summer in Iceland
Say what you will about cozy winters, summer is undoubtedly every Icelander’s favorite season. The days are literally endless over the peak summer months. Yes, the sun does technically set for a couple of hours but only dipping below the horizon means there’s always daylight. That also means that you’ll appreciate blackout curtains to avoid sleepless nights on your holiday. The upside is you can go sightseeing in the middle of the night and party in daylight until the wee hours of the morning. Summer is high tourist season in Iceland so most services, tours and accommodation will be open and available. But it’s also high-energy season for Icelanders who go all out in activities to entertain themselves and anyone who will join in the festivities. Towns and villages throw fairs and festivals, concerts, art shows and general entertainment is widely available and the event calendar is packed, wherever you go. There’s a sense of freedom in the air, a laid-back and cheerful atmosphere and a general theme of lightening up, and we mean that in the healthiest, most natural way. Northern lights excursions are out of the question during summer because of all the daylight. However, the sky’s kind of the limit when it comes to any other activity. So, what should you do in Iceland in summer? Here’s a few of our absolute favorite things to do during summer in Iceland.Link opens in a new tab
The Wildlife of Iceland
They are simply the best. One of the major perks about Iceland is that lack of dangerous or scary wildlife. Think puffins instead of spiders, whales instead of bugs, fun-loving arctic foxes instead of polar bears, and the most adorable horses you’ll ever see. Whale watching is an awe-inspiring experience we highly recommend in summer and if you encounter a fluffball of friendliness in the streets, it’s most likely the adorable Icelandic sheepdog. The species that occupy such a remote island with sometimes extreme weather are generally speaking incredibly hardy, fluffy and due to rigorous regulations in Iceland, they’re highly protected. Read more about our adorable wildlife here.
The Great Outdoors of Iceland
When the long dark days of winter start wearing us down, most Icelanders dream of summer and all the numerous hikes they plan on conquering come summer. Hiking is frankly a national sport in Iceland and widely regarded as the ultimate pastime. You can of course hike in winter but such adventures require far more preparation, gear and a faster pace as you’ll have limited time in daylight. Come June, you might decide to embark on a highland hike in the late afternoon and get away with it. That said, Iceland is no theme park. The wild interior of Iceland is vast, and the weather can be unpredictable. This vast wilderness means it’s easy to get away from it all and be alone in the untouched landscapes but it also means you should really know where you’re going and what you’re doing. Read more about hiking in Iceland here and check out our Safe Travels blog because safety is definitely the name of our game!
Your Summer Driving Excursion
After a long winter of wonderful darkness, the summer is an excellent time for a proper driving excursion and there really is nothing quite like a road trip in Iceland. Whether you might take on the world-famous Golden Circle or do the full Ring Road, the drive promises beautiful views, vistas and wonderful encounters. Along with the otherworldly landscapes and the wide variety of natural phenomena, the endless daylight means you’ll have plenty of time to take in the views.
We have no doubt Iceland can charm you any time of the year, but if you’re in Iceland in summer, bring your sunglasses, your party vibes and be prepared to blow up on Instagram.