According to the old Icelandic calendar the year was divided into only two seasons, summer and winter and the first Thursday after April marks the start of summer.
Although in April and May it may not quite feel like it’s summer yet and the Icelandic summer is generally defined as June, July and August, here's a list of things to do in Iceland in the summer when the days are longer and the weather is wonderful.
1. Long Days and the Midnight Sun
The long days and nights make it easier to stay up late, see more and do more! Due to Iceland’s northern latitude, the sun doesn’t really set during the height of summer,
especially in the north. Imagine walking along a fjord and watching the sun merely touch the surface of the water before rising up again – now this is something to see!
The best time to see whales is between April and October but don't overlook the huge Puffin migration from mid May to mid August. New! Whales of Iceland Museum any time of the year. Opened in Reykjavik harbor area last year it is the largest museum of its kind in Europe. It exhibits 23 LIFE SIZED whales from Iceland is open daily 9 ‐ 7 in the summer and 9‐6 in winter.
3. Explore the highlands
Iceland‘s rugged interior is only open for traffic during the summer months with some areas not opening until July. The stark landscape can seem almost otherworldly and is certainly worth seeing.. Some of the most popular highland locations include the colorful mountains of Landmannalaugar in the south and Kerlingarfjöll in the central highlands, the geothermal crater lake Víti in Askja Caldera in the northeast. Lakagígar craters in the southeast and the natural hot river at Hveravellir on the ancient highland route Kjölur - which once helped outlaws to stay warm!
We recommend that you check road and weather conditions before heading into the highlands and note that some areas require a 4x4 vehicle.
4. See puffins
Iceland is home to one of the world's largest puffin colonies and these charismatic creatures are certainly worth looking out for. The puffins arrive in April and depart in August and can be seen around the coast during this period. Some of the best places for bird watching are Cape Dyrhólaey in the south, Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands) off the South Coast and Látrabjarg Cliff in the Westfjords.
5. Celebrate with the locals
Summer is festival season and not a week goes by without some kind of village festival going on. Some of our favorites are the National Day celebrated all around Iceland (17 June), The Great Fish Day in Dalvík (August), Bræðslan music festival in East Iceland (July), Bank Holiday weekend in Vestmannaeyjar (August) and Gay Pride and Culture Night in Reykjavík (August). See the Visit Iceland website for more details on each region's events and attractions.
6. Get off the beaten path
Escape the crowds and explore more remote areas such as the Westfjords in summer, when the sometimes craggy roads are easier to navigate and villages spring to life. Some of our favorite spots in the Westfjords are the beach at Rauðasandur, Dynjandi Waterfall, Hornstrandir for hiking, the island of Vigur and the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft in Hólmavík. We also recommend a hot spring pool hunt!
7. Blue Lagoon
One of the 25 wonders of the world. A geothermal spa located in a lava field in the southwest corner of Iceland. The water temperature is 98 ‐ 104 degrees year round. It's blue because of the silica, algae and minerals that are present in the soil. The water is self cleansing, renewing itself every 40 hours. Remember to stay hydrated, remove your fine jewelry and bring sunglasses.
8. Take a hike
Iceland is a paradise for hikers and summer is the best time to explore the country on foot. We are big fans of slow travel and think there is no better way to truly experience the Icelandic landscape.
The opportunities are endless but classic trails to consider if you enjoy some serious hiking include the Laugavegur trail from Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk in South Iceland, the shorter Fimmvörðuháls hike between Skógar and Þórsmörk passing the infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano, the Víknaslóðir (Deserted inlets) trail in the east and Hornstrandir in the Westfjords.
If you prefer something less strenuous we recommend asking the hosts at your accommodation about walking trails in the neighborhood – you can often find hidden gems such as canyons and waterfalls right behind where you are staying!
9. Golden Circle
This is a popular route featuring some of the most visited destinations in Iceland. The three most iconic stops are the Pingvellir National Park, the Gullfoss Waterfall (golden falls) and the geothermally active valley of Haukadalur which contains the geysers Geysir and Strokkur. Strokkur erupts at 5 ‐ 10 min. intervals. Pingvellir is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its strong cultural heritage but its striking beauty has great appeal to painters as well.
10. It's the place to be this year!
If winter numbers tell us anything this is a hot destination this year. Iceland used to be a great short stopover on your way to Europe for low, low airfares. Now Iceland is a destination in it's own right. With lots of media coverage the world is finding out what a gem this little island is. And in the summer you have more time to see more of it.
Iceland is a destination for all seasons. However, it is still most popular in summer and for good reason.Gleðilegt sumar everyone!
See what we have to offer in Iceland!.....