Things to do in Iceland in July
July is a pretty terrific time to swing by this little country: the weather is very comfortable; the evenings are gloriously long and it’s one of the easiest times to travel around Iceland.
Here is everything you need to know about July in the land of ice and fire, from what to do to where to go and what to expect.
One of the first things visitors ask us about is the weather. And in July it’s very pleasant. In fact, many locals and tourists prefer places like Iceland in July than the tropics – you won’t find any humidity or mosquitos here!
The average temperature is about 13 °C (55 F) but can reach up to 20 °C (68°F). The weather can be a little unpredictable in this part of the world, so pack for some unexpected chills and rain showers. We’re grateful for this variety because it is this diverse weather which crafted Iceland’s incredible and unique landscape that is envied across the globe.
What to do in July
As you might expect, during milder months, there are opportunities that aren’t there year-round. In July, many obstacles to attractions and exploration simply melt away… often quite literally!
Iceland is one of the best countries in the world in which to pitch a tent, and summer is an understandably popular time to do it. The milder weather makes camping a whole lot easier and, with the long days of sunshine, you won’t be pitching your tent in the dark.
Thanks to seasonal migratory patterns, summer is the best time of the year to see these magnificent mammals. Indeed, Iceland is a uniquely excellent place to get up close with humpback, minke, sperm, pilot and fin whales.
Whale watching tours allow you to see many species gliding through their natural habitat. It is a profound and emotional experience. And in July, it’s a slightly warmer one too!
For fans of Arctic wildlife, July also brings puffin season and with it, and a 100% guaranteed chance of seeing the adorable little birds. They’ve had all winter to prepare their poses, so make sure you bring your camera to get the best snaps of them.
There’s a puffin tour for every taste, whether you want to combine it with whale watching, make a multi-day trip of it or even head all the way out to the South Coast.
Iceland becomes easier to navigate during the summer months, as many inaccessible roads clear up when the weather improves. So, this is the time to explore Iceland on your own terms, with your own set of wheels and itinerary, on a self-driving tour.
In winter in Iceland, some of the F Roads (mountain roads) and H Roads are closed and sometimes (depending on weather) parts of the Ring Road too. Fortunately, you will experience no such inconveniences in July.
Like driving, hiking is safer and more accessible in Iceland during the summer. Glymur, the second highest waterfall in the country, is a perfect example of a hike that’s much easier in warmer months.
Some of the northern areas are not hike-friendly at all in winter months, but are positively thriving come July and August.
Only available in summer months, this rafting tour brings you along the gorgeous Hvítá River, offering the splendour of nature combined with the thrills of white-water rafting.
Summer Package Tours
Combining several activities best enjoyed at this time of year, the 3 Day Summer Package is one of the best ways to take in the best of what Iceland has to offer. It combines glacier hiking, a trip to the Blue Lagoon, white-water rafting, hot springs, waterfalls, sightseeing, and more!
There’s more to Iceland than breath-taking glaciers and spectacular volcanoes (although we have plenty of them too!). Iceland is also an enchantingly cultural corner of the world. Here are some seasonal highlights for July.
- Chamber Music Festival – In the west of Iceland there is a town called Reykholt. Its music festival is said to be the oldest in the world. This festival celebrates classical music in a historical environment – the perfect blend of Icelandic culture and history.
- Kexport Festival – if classical music isn’t your thing, then this is the event for you. It’s held in Reykjavik and spreads across the whole city as a kind of massive block party. This event is held on the 3rd of July and includes all different genres of music.
- Rauðasandur Festival – this event is held in the Westfjords and takes place under the midnight sun on the beautiful red sand beach. This experience is truly something that is unique to Iceland. Rauðasandur Festival is a non-profit festival and all proceeds go towards bettering and building up the surroundings. It is also family-friendly festival, and everyone is welcome.
Daylight in July in Iceland
Winters in Iceland are relentlessly dark, so for locals, the long days of summer are more than welcome.
The further north you go, the longer the sunlight hours, Akureyri, for example, does not see much darkness at all during the month of July. Reykjavik sees the sun set around midnight, before rising again around 3 hours later. This is optimum nap time!
The sun rises at about 03:05 and sets at around 23:56. So for all you insomniacs, this is the time to get out and about, without people thinking you’re crazy hiking Mount Snæfell at 4 in the morning.
This abundance of sunlight leads to extraordinary opportunities – like being on top of a glacier in the middle of the night.
The Northern Lights can only be seen in pitch dark, and, as mentioned, July in Iceland is mostly bathed in sunlight. So, the possibility of seeing the Northern Lights in July in Iceland are relatively slim.
This is the price to pay for the glorious sunlight and mild weather. And it’s an excuse to return to this magical country in the winter!
What to Wear in July
One word you’ll hear again and again in Iceland, whatever the month is “layers”! This will always be a go-to solution: it means that when you’re hot you can take a layer off and when you’re cold you’re ready to put one on.
If you are here to explore and take part in outdoor activities (and you almost certainly are) then sweaters, thermals, and gloves need to be in your suitcase.
An eye mask might not be a bad idea either.
If you’re one of those people that insist on wearing shorts even though there’s a blizzard outside, Iceland is the country for you! Nowhere on Earth will you see so many cold-weather shorts-wearers.
Final Tip – Book Things!
Book as much as possible! Tours, accommodation and restaurants can get quite busy in July, so if there’s something you really want to experience, try to book it before you arrive.
See you in Iceland!
There’s a lovely atmosphere in Iceland in July, as visitors start to arrive in greater numbers. Bars and restaurants sing with conversation and epic nature is enjoyed as a shared experience. We hope to see you there!
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