June in Iceland | All you need to know
June is a great month to visit Iceland. Why you might ask? Well, for many different reasons. There are so many things to do in Iceland during this month that you can’t get bored. From the Icelandic National Day to the biggest outdoor music festival of the year, everything is here to enjoy the perfect holidays. Between pleasant temperatures, longer days and nice weather, June is definitely a great month to visit Iceland. Don’t hesitate and book your flight ticket for June!
Good to know before visiting Iceland in June
- June 17 is Iceland’s National Day. The nation became independent from Denmark in the year 1944.
- Prices begin to get a little higher as the high season is approaching. This concerns mostly accommodations and rental cars.
- Be ready to have up to 24 hours of daylight a day and experience the midnight sun.
- Many Highlands roads will open again for traffic.
- More and more tourists are coming. It is better to book everything in advance.
- Puffins are here! These little cuties are just waiting for you.
- A big part of Iceland is covered with purple flowers (actually weed) called lupines. June is the perfect month to find huge fields of those purple wonders.
Weather in Iceland in June
June is the first official summer month followed by July and August. This means that temperatures are beginning to get higher, and sunny days are coming. Indeed, June is one of the warmest months of the year and has the least rain. During this period, Reykjavík has an average temperature of 9°C (48°F). If you are lucky, the temperatures can go up to 15°C (59°F)! In June, Icelanders will dress like it is 30°C (86°F) just because it is officially summer, even if the temperatures are not that high for other people.
Now you are probably wondering what kind of clothing you should put in your suitcase, am I right? Dressing in layers is always the solution. You can bring shorts if you are not really sensitive to the cold, but don’t forget to bring some pants as the wind can be chilly. I would suggest packing thermal underwear if you are planning on exploring and doing some outdoor activities. A wool sweater and a good jacket are also a must, as well as good hiking shoes. Note that June marks the ultimate switch to a Summer Hiking season! Also, check out the Iceland weather forecast for the whole year.
About the midnight sun
The midnight sun is a natural phenomenon occurring every year before and after the Summer Solstice. The Icelandic Summer Solstice takes place between the 20th and the 22nd of June depending on the year. This is known to be the longest day of the entire year. The Summer Solstice is celebrated each year under a bright sky at midnight. Icelanders love to celebrate this moment as they waited so long for the days to increase throughout the long winter. As you can guess, Reykjavík’s nightlife is awesome during this time of the year. It is also possible to observe this phenomenon in June and July, with not less than 18 hours of daylight.
On June 21, the sun is the farthest away from the equator line. This particular phenomenon can be seen if you are North of the Arctic Circle or South of the Antarctic Circle. As Iceland is just a bit South of the Arctic Circle, the midnight sun is still visible from there due to the atmospheric refraction. But if you want the full experience, you should definitely go to the North of the country to have even more daylight.
This period of the year is a great opportunity to explore Iceland without any time limit. This allows you to discover the wonderful landscapes during night with fewer people around. Some day tours are longer for this special occasion.
As the daylight is omnipresent, it is not possible to see the Northern lights in June. However, the midnight sun is not less spectacular! It is a once in a lifetime event that you should definitely experience.
Best things to do around Reykjavik in June
- Go for a picnic at Austurvöllur Park
When the sun is out in Iceland, everyone is out too! Icelanders, just like anyone else, love spending sunny afternoons outside. Many people are going to Austurvöllur, which is a nice park by the city center, to have picnics or enjoy the sun.
- Climb Mount Esja
Mount Esja, also called Esjan, is a great option for hikers who are staying in Reykjavík. Only a 30-minute drive from the Icelandic capital, Mount Esja is easy to climb, especially during summer. It is 914 meters high (2,999 feet) and the path is well-marked. Plus, it is really simple to get there if you don’t have a car as there are buses heading to this beautiful mountain.
- Experience the crazy nightlife
Reykjavík is a lively city. Iceland has a wide range of local beers, and they are all delicious! Try the best bars in Reykjavík to taste the golden drinks everyone loves here. Party under the midnight sun is something unique you will for sure not forget about. The nightlife, or “Djammith” as Icelandic people say, is different here than in any other countries.
- Visit some of our local geothermal pools or relax in a natural hot spring
Icelanders love to chill out in a hot swimming pool or in a natural hot spring. There are plenty of them around the Icelandic capital. Locals usually eat a hot dog after and we recommend it. The closest geothermal pools to Reykjavík that are still out of the city are the world famous Blue Lagoon, the hot river of Reykjadalur and the Secret Lagoon. Those three are really outstanding and special. Inside Reykjavík, you will find a lot of regular hot swimming pools.
- Chase the midnight sun down
The midnight sun will give you incredible picture opportunities. Don’t forget your camera to immortalize this unique moment! You can go by the seashore, where a picture of the Sun Voyager with Mount Esja in the background is really a good photographic subject. The mountain sun gives a really nice light, reflecting on the ocean.
Amazing Tours to join in June
There are so many things to do in June in Iceland. The day tours are longer as the sun is always up! For the special occasion of the midnight sun, ATV companies are doing midnight sun excursions! What a great experience to drive those fast and fierce engines and have the incredible lights of the sun at midnight! For those who prefer more tranquil outdoor activities: trade the ATV for a sweet Icelandic horse. Horse riding is definitely worth it! Ride the friendliest horses on Earth as they will lead you through the picturesque lava fields and along the mountains.
In June, many of the Highlands roads open again after the harsh winter (the exact date varies each year). This means that various day tours that take place in remote places will be available again! You can finally access to the beautiful region of Landmannalaugar with a Super Jeep. Landmannalaugar is located near the Hekla volcano, the most famous active volcano and its lava field will make you feel like you have landed in another world. There are many hot springs around this place so don’t forget your bathing suit!
If you are in Iceland for many days and you enjoy hiking, then you should join a multi-day hiking tour to Laugavegur. This hiking trail is in the top 20 best hikes in the world according to National Geographic. The 55-kilometer long route between Landmannalaugar and Thorsmork is the most famous trek in Iceland. Its scenic and extremely diverse landscape is going to blow your mind! Find out more about Iceland’s best hiking routes!
The puffins arrived one month ago and now they are ready to show off their younglings! There are many places around Iceland to spot those cute little birds, but if you are staying in Reykjavik, you can join a puffin watching tour from the city’s harbor. Joining a tour is the ideal way to get really close to the colorful “Lundi”, as they call it in Icelandic. The guides will know exactly where to find them. The only time of the year to see puffins is from May to August, where the bird life in Iceland is in full bloom. Puffins tours are also very popular in the Skaftafell area where a tractor will take you out to an island where the cuties stay over summer. The Skaftafell Puffin watching tour is not to be missed.
The peak season to see whales is also during the summer months. Even though they can be spotted all year round, the highest chance of seeing them is from April to September. Iceland is a perfect destination to spot whales in their natural habitat. During summer, there are over 20 different species of whales and dolphins. The most common are Minke, Humpback and Harbor Porpoises! In the North of Iceland, there is a higher success rate to see them while on a whale watching boat tour. However, the chances to spot a whale departing from Reykjavik stay high.
Iceland has incredible geothermal energy. There are many natural hot springs around the island. A unique tour to take in June would be the Hot Spring Hunt. What could be better than relaxing in a natural hot river, surrounded only by nature? There is a short 7-kilometer hike throughout a geothermal area before you enjoy the warm waters.
Something incredible that just reopens in June is the kayak tour Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. What an incredible experience to paddle between the huge icebergs! This is a truly magical place. Some icebergs are bright white, others are glacial blue and some have gray stripes, which is ash from old volcanic eruptions. Kayaking on Jökulsárlón, you will certainly encounter some seals on your way. They are sometimes seen playing around the ice chunks or just chilling on them, enjoying the sun. You can also spot seals on the Snæfellsnes peninsula, at Ytri-Tunga beach.
After some adventures, taste the traditional Icelandic food with the Golden Circle Local Food Tour. This allows you to visit the must-see of Iceland and to stop at local farms as well as restaurants to get the best culinary specialties. What a great combo!
Important events in Reykjavík
- Listahátið – Reykjavík Arts Festival
This multidisciplinary festival wants to highlight the creative intersection of different forms of art. Exhibitions and performances of contemporary and classical works occupy unconventional spaces in the capital as well as major cultural venues. Hundreds of artists from around the world come to perform and exhibit their work.
- The first weekend in June: Festival of the Sea
The Festival of the Sea is the biggest event held at Reykjavík’s harbor to honor the sailors (it is also celebrated all around the country). Among the activities: local parades, art and craft activities for children, food tastings and sailing competitions and so much more! The festival is all about traditional Icelandic culture and the nation’s dependence on fishing. Most things offered by the festival are free of charge. You can sail, enjoy free food tastings, go to the playgrounds, watch the competitions and enjoy the entertainments – all for free.
- Color Run Reykjavík
The Color Run is a 5-kilometer race where, after each kilometer, runners are splashed with colorful powder. This event supports local charitable organizations for children rights and welfare. Last year, it raised 60.750 dollars for the Icelandic Red Cross and The Benefit Society for Children with Disabilities.
- 17 June: Icelandic National Day
Iceland was a Danish colony from 1380 until 1944. The date is then the birthday of Jón Sigurðsson (1811-1879), the leader of the country’s independence movement. He was so important in the independence process that the Icelandic people honored him by choosing this date to celebrate and creating a public holiday.
To begin this special day, all of the church bells in Reykjavík are rung. Then, the Icelandic Government holds a ceremony outside the Icelandic House of Parliament (Alþingihúsið), in Austuvöllur Square. Afterwards, there is a great parade to the cemetery near Suðurgata, where the Chairman of the City Council will place a wreath on Jón Sigurðsson’s grave. During the day, there are playgrounds for kids, many stalls selling cotton candy, hot dogs and ice-cream. A puppet show, dance entertainments and a circus will keep children of all ages amused.
This is an important day for Iceland. Each year, an Icelandic woman will play Fjallkonan, ‘The Mountain Woman’. Dressed in the Icelandic National Costume, called Skautbúningurinn, she will recite poetry as part of the ceremony. At the end of the day, there is a concert with some Icelandic artists at Austurvöllur. An accordion ball is also held in the City Hall.
- Secret Solstice Festival, Reykjavík
People are waiting all year long for the Secret Solstice Music Festival to come. For those 96 hours of festival, the sun will not set and people will party on and on under the midnight sun. The festival has won accolades from the national and international press, such as Time Magazine describing it as “One of the top festivals on Earth”. World famous artists such as Foo Fighters, The Prodigy, Radiohead and so many more have already performed at the festival. Each year over 150 acts perform at the festival which is held at Laugardalur park.
This is not just about a simple festival. There are three unique side events making this festival even more special: The Lava Tunnel, Into The Glacier and the Geothermal Pool Party. Note that they are not included in the ticket price of the festival and that the number of participants is limited.The Lava Tunnel event is a concert taking place in a 5,200-year-old lava tunnel, formed by a former volcanic eruption. The Raufarhólshellir cave is truly breathtaking, the lava walls display many different colors. The event is limited to only 50 guests who will receive a guided tour of the cave and witness one of the most unique concert experiences on the planet. It is strongly recommended to book a ticket well in advance.Into The Glacier is the only existing party and concert performance inside a glacier. Just 120 guests will get a chance to experience this unique and unforgettable event within the majestic Langjökull, Iceland’s second largest glacier.A new special event has recently appeared in the program: the Geothermal Pool Party. The great British DJ Lee Burridge will perform while 82 party people will dance in a geothermal pool on the countryside.
During the festival, if you had too many drinks the night before and don’t feel really good, every local knows that snorkeling in Silfra is the best hangover cure around. Indeed, as you let the slow current lead you, the 4°C clear water will for sure refresh you. You will barely feel the cold as your drysuit will keep you warm and dry, while your hands and most of your face are protected by neoprene to keep them warm. However, the invigorating water will still wake you up after your hard night of partying and get you ready for the next round.
- Midnight sun run
The Jónsmessuhlaup Midnight Sun Run is a good challenge if you like to run in a beautiful and unusual landscape. Running under the midnight sun is a unique experience. There are three different types of race. First, the half marathon (21-kilometers) for people above 15 years of age. Then, a 10-kilometer race for young people over 12 years old. And finally, a 5-kilometer race which is open to all age groups. After the race, all the participants are welcome to bathe at Laugardalslaug, the geothermal swimming pool close to the finish line.
Events around Iceland in June
- The first weekend in June: Sjómannadagurinn
Sailor’s Day, or Sjómannadagurinn, is a festive day dedicated to people involved in Iceland’s fishing industry, especially those working at sea. In every coastal towns and villages around the island, Sjómannadagurinn honors the role that fishermen have played in the history of Iceland. It has been celebrated annually since 1938 and became a legal public holiday for Icelandic fishermen in 1987.
Grindavík, a fishing town not far from Keflavík Airport, is a great place to celebrate the special day, just 45 minutes away from Reykjavík. The scenery around Grindavík is incredibly diverse and beautiful, the sea cliffs around Reykjanes peninsula are home to up to 60,000 bird pairs of various species.
- Mt. Esja Ultra Mt. Esja Ultra has become the most popular mountain trail race in Iceland. Mount Esja is located about a 30-minute drive from Reykjavík. Many Icelanders from the capital enjoy hiking, climbing and running there. It is strongly recommended that runners have previous experience of long distance trail running. It is very important to be physically fit for this event, which is considered to be the most difficult trail race in the country. The participants will have to run a 7-kilometer loop. Easy peasy I hear you say? Yes, but they have to run this loop eleven times, making this a race over 77 kilometers. And we don’t even talk about the ascents and descents all the way.
- The second weekend of June: Viking Festival, Hafnarfjörður
The Viking Festival is certainly the oldest and largest event of its kind in Iceland. Located in downtown Hafnarfjörður, the Viking Festival aims to demonstrate most aspects of Viking culture and traditions. There, you can discover Viking ships, cuisine, handcrafts, storytelling, archery, games, music and so on. Without a doubt, the battle reenactments are the main attraction for most people.
There, you can also learn how to throw spears and axes, shoot with bows and arrows and even go to see a fortune-teller. Viking baptisms and weddings have already taken place during the Festival, leaving the participants with an unforgettable day.
Jónsmessa, The Mass of John, is an Icelandic holiday named after John the Baptist, a Christian figure in the New Testament – interestingly the festival blends in quite a few older Icelandic beliefs! Certainly, it has been celebrated since the Viking times and is also known as the Midsummer Night.
During this special day, strange things are believed to happen around Iceland. It is believed that the hidden people (Huldufólk) come from their homelands. If you sit for a moment at a crossroads where the four roads lead to separate churches, elves would come and try to seduce you with gifts and food. If you ever follow them, you can go crazy, but if you succeed to resist the temptation until dawn, the elves would vanish and you can keep all the treasures. If you want to know more about elves and the global Icelandic folklore, join a multi-day tour with an experienced local guide.
- Late June: WOW Cyclothon Around Iceland
The WOW Cyclothon is a big cycling event in Iceland. Actually, it is the largest cycle race in terms of the number of participants, and the longest road race in the whole country. The cyclists will ride all around the island, for a distance of 1358 kilometers within only 72 hours.
The race has four different categories: A, B, Solo and Hjólakraftur. A is for a team of 2-4 and B is for a team of 5-10. Hjólakraftur is specially designed for young people.
WOW Cyclothon is also a great fundraising opportunity. Every year, the organization chooses a different charity. Last year, it was the ICE-SAR, the Icelandic search and rescue association, who benefited from a total of 20,655,210 ISK (about 209,000 dollars).
If you want to know more about events and festivals in Iceland, consult our other blog post about it!
The Secret Solstice Festival is definitely a good reason to come to Iceland in June. The Secret Solstice Festival is one of the biggest and longest-awaited festivals of the year in Reykjavík. Renowned stars from all over the world come to perform and celebrate at the Secret Solstice along with up-and-coming Icelandic artists.
Coming to Iceland for the festival is a fantastic idea and if you are looking for the ultimate guide on how to do the Secret Solstice festival in Iceland then here is your click!
All the music & food festivals, events and national days you don't want to miss when visiting Iceland. What are the current events happening in Iceland and what will be going on in Iceland when you visit? Here is your guide to Events and Festivals in Iceland.