Are the summer months the best time to visit Iceland? Well, they might just be. Although you may associate the island with glaciers, the northern lights and winter temperatures, Iceland is a perfect holiday destination in the summer. We will tell you exactly why travelling to Iceland in summer is one of the best travel plans you’ll have!
10 reasons why to travel Iceland in summer
#1 More daylight hours
Iceland is a northern country, so daylight hours vary greatly in winter and summer. At the start of January there are only 4.5 hours of daylight, but that will soon increase. On the longest day of the year, it doesn’t really get dark all over the country, so the days are very long in the summer months. You can visit all the Iceland attractions day and night, as most of them are in nature and have no opening hours. Although summer in Iceland is the high season, you can use the long daylight hours to visit all the special destinations in Iceland without crowds of tourists.
#2 The temperatures are pleasant
Iceland in winter is cold, very cold. Choose summer to visit Iceland with more pleasant temperatures! Don’t expect Iceland in summer to be actually warm or even hot. The summer temperatures probably only reach 20 degrees in exceptional cases.
#3 All campsites are open
Winter camping is certainly possible in Iceland, but camping is much more comfortable in the summer. For that reason and as it’s high season, all campsites are open in the summer, while you can get disappointed with the limited amount of opened sites during other seasons. When which campsites are opened? Use the camping site map in this blog.
#4 The roads are open too
In winter, you may not be able to drive the Ring Road around the whole island with a normal car. Or winter? We even had that problem in spring, when a snowstorm up north prevented us from visiting that part of the island. We had to change our itinerary, as we didn’t rent a solid 4WD. Choose summer instead, if you want to make sure you can reach all destinations in Iceland with a regular rental car.
#5 Watching puffins and whales
Nature in Iceland is at its best in summer! When the temperatures are higher and the nature greener, unique animals migrate to Iceland. Did you know that Iceland is the best place to spot puffins? These adorable black and white birds come here from April to lay their eggs. But Iceland is also home to many whales in summer! You can book boat trips to spot whales all year round, but in the summer you have the best chance of actually seeing them.
#6 All hikes are open
The beautiful nature of Iceland is perfect for hikes in breathtaking places. But often only in the summer. Not all hiking trails are open all year round. In winter, some trails are simply not passable and are therefore closed for safety reasons.
#7 Experiencing Midsummer’s Eve in Iceland
We already mentioned that daylight hours in Iceland peak in the summer. The longest day of the year is called the Midsummer Night: the sun doesn’t even set! A festive day that should definitely on your bucket list to celebrate someday somewhere around the earth. Choose Iceland! It’s the perfect destination to experience this festive day.
#8 The waterfalls are at their best
The waterfalls of Iceland are beautiful all year round, but even more beautiful in the summer. In summer, less water is trapped in glaciers and ice, so Iceland’s rivers become larger and larger. The result: wide waterfalls that stow huge bodies of water. An impressive sight!
#9 You can visit the Iceland highlands
The highlands of Iceland – the deep, rugged inland – are a whole different part of Iceland. But there are fewer quality roads and nature is a lot rougher. In winter, the highlands are largely inaccessible, so visit this area in summer. But even then, it is often advised to rent a good sturdy 4WD car to manage the highland roads.
#10 The beautiful Iceland flower fields
If you browse Instagram for travel inspiration to Iceland, you will probably find pretty pictures of endless fields of purple lupins. These beautiful flowers bloom in June to mid-July. A beautiful sight!
But also: the downsides of Iceland in summer
The winter in Iceland is of course also beautiful and in addition to these 10 advantages, Iceland also has disadvantages in the summer. What then?
- Iceland is never cheap, but it is at its most expensive in the high season.
- In the busy high season, you should plan and book everything well in advance.
- It is busier and more touristy in the beautiful popular places.
- The glaciers and ice caves aren’t open, more difficult to visit or simply less beautiful.
- Although you can sometimes also see the northern lights in summer, this special phenomenon is usually only visible in winter.