Iceland in July | All you need to know
After a long wait, Summer is here! The pressure to see everything in the small window of daylight in the winter is long gone. You could say Iceland is the perfect summer destination, being from England we love to moan when it’s too hot or too cold. But that’s not an option here because summer in Iceland sits right in the middle. All the roads are open without the fear of dangerous driving conditions, so now is your time to explore the island as you wish.
Weather in Iceland in July
If good weather is important to you when planning your trip to visit Iceland, then July is your best bet. We are fully aware that it is not a tropical destination, but it is one of the warmest and driest months of the year.
If vitamin D is what you’re in need of, forget the Carribean or Canary Islands, Iceland has the most sun out all of them. Not to say that it’s boiling hot, but the daylight hours are so long, you’ll be soaking it up for days on end.
The average temperature is about 13 °C but can reach up to 20°C on a good day. I did warn you it’s not the tropics, but heat isn’t the reason you’re visiting Iceland right? It’s for the amazing landscapes, midnight sun and the beautiful nature Iceland has to offer.
However, I would recommend packing for all kinds of weather just because you don’t know what curve ball Iceland is going to throw at you. You may well be able to fit all four seasons into one day. Of course, there will be wind and rain, it wouldn’t be a typical Icelandic summer if there wasn’t. It’s all part of the fun. But the bright blue skies, astounding scenery and unbelievable natural wonders will be all the worthwhile.
Check out for more information about the Iceland weather.
Daylight in July in Iceland
For people that live in Iceland, being in the dark for so long over the winter means the months of light are more than welcome. It means soaking up the sun and remembering that going outside is normal.
The more north you go the longer the sunlight hours, Akureyri, for example, does not see much darkness at all. Reykjavik has sunset at around midnight or just after but don’t be fooled it will be back up 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 (like me), this is the time to get out and about, without people thinking you’re crazy hiking Mount Snæfell at 4 in the morning. Iceland is a place waiting to be explored and discovered and having this much light means an extraordinary experience of being on top of a glacier in the middle of the night. The time for this opportunity only happens for a short period of the year and being able to do it in such an incredible place is something you’d be silly not to do.
Good to know before visiting Iceland in July
- Camping – camping by waterfalls and mountains and being able to see them at all times, couldn’t really ask for a better sightseeing experience if you ask me! The peaceful summer valleys are a perfect place to set up your tent for the ‘night’.
- Sunglasses – not sure if you can tell from this blog, but it’s quite light in Iceland in July. Sunglasses are a must.
- Book tours in advance – this is imperative for any month in Iceland.
- Plan wisely – doing a degree in event management is basically a degree in the organization so this is a necessity when visiting and therefore I know how important this is. Know what you want to see and do before you arrive so that you manage to fit it all in. It can take a while to get to certain destinations, so make you’re prepared for this.
- Puffins and Whales are here – whales are here all year round, but there is a higher success rate of seeing them in the summer. Puffins, on the other hand, are only in Iceland a few months of the year and July is one of them. Make sure this tour is on your itinerary.
What to wear in July in Iceland
Here it is again, that word you see in every blog about Iceland and what every Icelander lives by. Layers! This will always be a go-to solution, it means that when you’re hot you can take some off and when you’re cold you’re prepared to add.
- If you are here to explore and take part in outdoor activities (if you’re not then I’m not 100% sure on what you’re doing instead) then jumpers, thermals, and gloves need to be in your suitcase.
- As said before, it is essential that layers are part of your wardrobe. Everything from tops, jumpers, scarves, thermals and waterproof clothing!
- Swimming attire is also a big must because of the natural pools and lagoons. It’s also a nicer experience than having to hysterically get changed after leaving the pools than in the winter because your body hasn’t taken the shape of an ice cube as it would in January.
- An eye mask might not be a bad idea either.
- If you’re one of those people that insist on wearing shorts even though it’s a blizzard outside, this is the perfect climate where people still wonder what you’re doing but it’s slightly more accepted.
Best things to see in July in Iceland
Puffin season is back and with 100% success of seeing them, there will not be a hint of disappointment. They’ve had all winter to prepare their poses so make sure you bring your camera to get the best snaps of them.
Humpback, minke, sperm, pilot and fin whales, you are spoilt for choice. These majestic animals grace our oceans and I could be biased here because of my love for the sea, but getting to see these creatures is the most wonderful, emotional experience. Especially in their natural habitat. It is honestly amazing! Summer is the better time to do this trip as more whales have migrated to this part of the world and are gliding through Icelandic waters.
Þríhnúkagígur (Thrihnukagigur crater)
Lowering 120 meters down inside a volcano is a breathtaking experience. The closest you’ll probably get to journeying to the centre of the earth, standing inside a magma chamber is truly an unforgettable experience.
Best things to do in July
All snow blocking any entrance to the caves is long gone. Channel your inner Spiderman because climbing and crawling are all part of the experience (of course not as dramatic). Lava tubing is a magnificent way to see Iceland from underground.
There is a wide range of tours that combine lava tubing with different activities such as horse riding or visiting the golden circle.
Hiking in Iceland in July
There are many tours and hikes that are only available in the summer due to the snow and other weather conditions. However, in the summer months, these hikes are more than available for you to climb, explore and see views like none other.
Glymur Waterfall is a great hike and an added bonus is that it’s not too far out from Reykjavik. Combining a waterfall, a cave and a river this is one adventurous hike.
A more advanced hike is Thorsmork Hike. This includes experience in a super jeep and a great hike through a valley and being up close to some of Europe’s biggest glaciers.
If you are up for a challenge then Landmannalaugar 3 day hike is made for you! Valleys, mountains, lava fields and volcanoes, packed full of sights this hike will take your breath away. Away from the city, in the beautiful wilderness of Iceland is Landmannalaugar. A brilliant way to spend your time seeing the natural wonders of Iceland.
Driving the Ring Road in Iceland in July
The winter months often makes driving road the Ring Road very difficult. However, this is not a problem that you will have in the summer. This is the ultimate way to see the whole of Iceland. You will have to make sure that it is well planned out and you understand at what points you should stop to see all the best Iceland has to offer.
Self Drive Tours in Iceland in July
This type of weather is perfect for a self-drive tour around the island. Freedom to roam and wander as you please, a self-drive tour is great when you just want to explore without the hassle of planning. Everything is done for you, just put the car in gear and drive into the midnight sun.
Always wanted to feel like James Bond?
Then I’m sure the adrenaline rush of speeding on a jet boat is exactly what you’re in need of. Racing in white Icelandic water between rivers and waterfalls will make sure to get your blood pumping. You can off staring in your own action film off of your bucket list.
Camping in Iceland in July
The stress of getting to your campsite quickly so that you don’t have to pitch your tent up in the darkness is long gone. Take your time in the late sun taking in the sights of Iceland and not have the worry of hitting the tent pegs into your foot instead of the ground by accident.
Camping is not only a more affordable option but it means you are able to go to bed with views of mountains and waterfalls and if you pick the right spot, spend time in natural hot-springs, no matter what the time.
There are a few rules about camping in Iceland so be sure to understand them before your trip. Wild camping is illegal in Iceland, nature deserves to be protected so make sure you stick to staying in campsites.
Events in July in Iceland
- Chamber Music Festival – In the west of Iceland there is a town called Reykholt. It is considered Iceland’s oldest music festival. It is a festival that celebrates classical music in a historical environment. The perfect blend of Icelandic culture.
- Kexport Festival – if classical music isn’t something that interests you too much, this festival is a perfect event for you to attend. It is held in Reykjavik and spreads across the whole city as a block party. This event is held on the 3rd of July and includes all different genres of music.
- Rauðasamdur 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. It takes place on the first weekend of July and is a chance for everyone to enjoy the sunlight and trip to the beach. It is a non-profit festival and all proceeds are put towards bettering and building up the surroundings. It is a family-friendly festival and everyone is welcome.
Tours to do in July in Iceland
Canyon Rafting in Iceland in July
Only available in the summer this fantastic experience sees you rafting your way below one of the most amazing waterfalls Iceland has to offer. Relaxing in a warm sauna is a great way to end your exhilarating day out.
Multi-day packages are a great way to see all the sights you want to see but in a more concise and planned way. All the planning is left down to us so all you need to do is simply turn up and enjoy yourself. This tour includes The Blue Lagoon, Golden Circle, River Rafting, Glacier Hiking, Whale Watching, Gullfoss Waterfall, Skogafoss Waterfall and the Geysir Hot Spring area.
As there is a lot more sunlight in the summer it means that there is a better chance of seeing the sun rays light up what is known as ‘The Cathedral’. This is a part of the tectonic crack that is slightly deeper and when the sun catches it just right, gives the illusion of a cathedral window. It is part of the experience when snorkelling Silfra Fissure. This isn’t to say the water will be any warmer as it stays at a constant temperature no matter what the season. No matter when you go, this will be amazing.
Glide over the gentle icy waters that Iceland has to offer. Reflections of glaciers and mountains will greet you as you kayak on the calm waters that surround these natural wonders. There are many different tours to allow you to experience the type of kayaking that you want. Adventure and challenging kayaking trips to steady trips around the glacier lagoon. If you’re lucky you might even bump into some ocean wildlife, a seal perhaps?
Driving in July in Iceland
It is the easiest way to travel around Iceland if you have a 4×4, this way you are prepared for any road type and typically have access to more places. In the summer, you can get away with not having a 4×4 but maybe slightly limited in some ways. Renting a car is a good way if you want to explore Iceland yourself or meet tours on location.
When travelling around Iceland the Icelandic Road website will be your best friend. Live updates and information will keep you updated on everything you will need whilst driving around the island.
Can you see the Northern Lights in July in Iceland?
The Northen Lights can only be seen when it is very dark outside and with clear weather. As you are now close to the end of the blog, you should be well aware that it doesn’t get that dark in July. Therefore, your chance of seeing the Northern Lights are very slim. If this is something you are really wanting to see then at least you have a great excuse to come back in the winter months.
Is July a good time to go to Iceland?
If you like the sound of everything you’ve read in this blog, then July is the perfect time for you to come to Iceland. There is plenty to do and especially see and the dark days have certainly been left behind. This is a great opportunity to explore the country with no limits.
Is Iceland safe to travel alone?
Iceland can be a really good place to explore on your own and this is for many reasons. One being that it is easy to communicate, if you speak English, which I’m sure you can as you’re reading this blog. This is a great thing if you’re alone as it will be a lot easier to meet people. Another reason is that it is a great mix of adventure and relaxation. One day you can be racing over the snow on a snowmobile and the next floating in the Blue Lagoon. Lastly, Iceland is a safe place, crime rates are low, so you’re going to have the best time!
What are the pros and cons to traveling to Iceland during summer? What is there to see, to know and to do? Inga takes on the Icelandic summer in an excellent way.
For most Icelanders, August month marks the end of summer and we try to make the ABSOLUTE most of it. Because of this, there is a lot going on everywhere. Here I will tell you all about where to go and what to do in August in Iceland