August is yet another of our summer months that has great weather and offers plenty of things to do and see here on the island. If you are planning an upcoming trip to Iceland in August, or are still on the fence as to when to book those flights – this article is for you.
We give you the lowdown on everything that you can expect from Iceland in August, from what to pack to some of the best places to visit in Iceland in August. So, without further ado, let’s get into it.
The Pros and Cons of Iceland in August
Everything in life has its pros and cons - even Iceland in August. Check out our overview below to see if August will be the right fit for your trip:
- Iceland in August has some of the best weather you’ll ever get to experience here on the island (but more on this later).
- Daylight hours might’ve started decreasing. However, there are still plenty of “extra” daylight hours to tackle a jam-packed trip itinerary.
- Driving in Iceland in August is easy with pristine road conditions. And with all roads and routes open, it’s the perfect time to go on that road trip.
- August is one of the best times to get up close and personal with some special wildlife here on the island. You will be able to see some of the migratory whale species that call the coastline home ‘till September. For example you’ll be able to spot a few Pufflings with their adorable Pufflings.
- Since August is one of the best months to visit Iceland, you will find many flocking to the island. That means that you will have to contend with peak season crowds at your accommodation, at attractions, and on the roads.
- Peak season brings with it peak season prices, so your budget might not be able to stretch quite as far as during the “down” season.
- There are downsides to having so many daylight hours. Some individuals have trouble sleeping with the majority of the “night” not actually consisting of darkness. Others suffer from severe burnout by day two after trying to cram in too many things with all the additional daylight hours. The lack of darkness also means that you will not be able to see the Northern Lights in Iceland in August.
Weather When Visiting Iceland in August
As we touched on in our pros, the weather in Iceland in August is some of the best we have all year round. You don’t need to worry about our harsher weather elements such as snow or our legendary Iceland winds. Officially, the summer weather has already started turning as you head toward fall, but it doesn’t feel that way.
Temperatures still range between 8-13 degrees Celsius and tend to stay around the 10-degree mark. With temperatures never dipping below 0, the opportunities for all sorts of outdoor activities are legion. Although daylight hours are also slowly decreasing, you’ll still get treated to roughly 15 hours of daylight each day by mid-August.
Packing List When Traveling to Iceland in August
It’s not easy to wrap your head around a summer vacation in a place called Iceland. So, if you find packing for your trip confusing, you can use this helpful packing list as a guide:
- Waterproof jacket
- Woolen sweater (bring just one so you can buy a few authentic woolen Icelandic sweaters)
- Waterproof pants
- Informal pants (for when you’re out and about in the city)
- Waterproof hiking boots (whether you’re going hiking or not)
- Thermal vests
- Thermal leggings
- Warm woolen socks
- T-shirts & long-sleeved shirts
- Warm hat (beanies work well)
- Warm gloves
- Warm scarf
- Bathing suit (to use at the hot springs)
- Quick drying towel (you don’t want to be carrying around wet things all day)
- Flip flops (to use at the hot springs and other public changing rooms)
- Water bottle (our tap water is of such high quality that you just need to fill up as you go)
- Toiletries & medication (always check flight restrictions so you don’t end up having to leave half your vanity behind at the airport)
- Electronics: chargers, cables, adaptor, power bank, etc.
Camping in Iceland in August
As is the case in July, August is the perfect time to partake in this much-loved activity here on the island. Camping is one of the best things to do in Iceland in August if you want to immerse yourself in the Icelandic landscape. And if you want to cut down on accommodation costs (especially during our peak season in August).
If you want to save even more money, we recommend that you buy the Camping Card. This will leave you only €159 out of pocket and will give 2 adults and up to 4 children access to various campsites across the country for 28 nights. This can amount to a lot of savings when you take into account that campsites generally charge between $10-$20 per person per night. If camping sounds like one of the things you’d like to do in Iceland in August, then these are a few of the campsites that are quite popular:
- Skaftafell Campsite
- Reykjavik Campsite
- Breidavik Campground
- Egilsstadir Campsite
- Siglufjördur Campsite
Driving in Iceland in August
As we mentioned, driving in Iceland in August is easy, and taking a road trip is considered to be one of the top things to do in Iceland in August. All the roads and routes are open, so you can explore the island to your heart’s content.
Just have a chat with your rental agency and discuss your proposed routes beforehand. Certain roads such as the F-roads in Iceland can only be accessed with a 4x4 vehicle. If a road trip sounds like a good way for you to take on your Iceland adventure, these are a few of our most popular road trip routes here on the island:
Things to Do in Iceland in August
You might not be able to see the Northern Lights in Iceland in August, but there are plenty of other things to do and places to see in Iceland in August. Here are a few things you can consider adding to your trip itinerary:
Attend a Local Event or Festival
As the summertime draws to a close, it’s almost like the island is trying to squeeze as much fun as it possibly can out of the long, warm days. During August, you can add any of the following festivities to your social calendar:
- Reykjavík Jazz Festival
- Cycle Music and Art Festival
- The Great Fish Day in Dalvik
- Reykjavík Gay Pride
- Reykjavík Cultural Festival
Spot Some Puffins
As we already touched on earlier, one of the most precious things to see in Iceland in August is the Puffins. These penguin-like birds are lovingly nicknamed the “clowns of the sea” with their colorful beaks.
They come to breed on the island from May to August each year. Iceland is actually credited with 60% of the world’s Puffin population. When you come to visit the island in August one of the cutest things you’ll ever see are the little Pufflings.
They can also be the cause of a few heart-stopping moments as the Pufflings will start hurling themselves off the cliffs and into the ocean. They need to get ready for the time the Iceland Puffins will return to their home on the ocean waves till the next year. If you would like to spot a few Puffins, these are some of the go-to Puffin places here on the island:
- Westman Islands
- Latrabjarg Cliffs
- Breidafjördur Bay
Have a Relaxing Soak in a Hot Spring
One can find hot springs all across the country. This is because the volcanic activity here on the island heats up the underground water supply. Some of these Iceland hot springs can be enjoyed in their original and natural form. Others that are too hot or cannot easily be accessed are used to heat up geothermal public pools.
The hot spring water is incredibly mineral and silica-rich and has healing properties – especially when it comes to dermatological issues. If you would like to take a dip during your trip to Iceland in August, these are a few of our most popular hot springs:
Get a Brain Freeze
Okay, this might not be the goal, but the odds are that it’s probably going to happen. Even though it may seem completely counterintuitive to eat ice cream in a country called Iceland, it is one of the favorite things for locals to do here.
Icelanders are big on ice cream, and you will find plenty of stalls and stores where you can get delicious homemade ice cream in a wide variety of flavors. That is also why one of the recommended places to visit in Iceland in August is Isbud Vesturbæjar in Reykjavík, where you can have your fill of this delicious treat.
Go Horseback Riding
If you were unaware, Iceland actually has its own breed of horse called the Icelandic Horse. These horses are incredibly unique, making the experience of riding them just as unique. They look more like ponies than full-grown horses and have thick, fluffy coats during the winter season. They are also known for their friendly nature and the fact that they can perform a fifth gait called the tölt.
Some Helpful Tips When Traveling to Iceland in August
Whether it’s your first trip to the island or just the first time you’ll be visiting during the month of August, the following tips will help make your stay a safe and memorable one:
We have a local saying here on the island that goes, “you can experience all four seasons in a day in Iceland”. That means that you need to be ready for the unexpected. There can also be a big difference between outdoor and indoor temperatures. To manage all these situations, it’s best to always dress in layers. That way, you’ll always be able to put something on or take something off depending on how cold or hot it is.
Keep Waterproof Gear & Clothing Close
Yes, this is to help mitigate the whole “four seasons in one day” thing, but you will find plenty of things to do and places to visit in Iceland in August where you will thank us for this tip. This includes walking the muddy pathways of hot springs or visiting the powerful waterfalls with their mist and spray.
Ensure that You Book Well in Advance
It’s peak season in Iceland in August, remember? So, if you do not want to be left out in the cold (literally) or be thoroughly disappointed, you’ll need to book everything well in advance – from accommodation and transport to activities and events.
Iceland in August: Making the Most of Summer
From September, fall will set in, temperatures will drop further and the harsher weather elements will slowly start waking up again. Daylight will wane and the operating hours of attractions and activities will also begin to change.
Iceland in August is your last chance to experience the island at its summer best. So, book that flight, rent that car in Reykjavík, and go on that Iceland road trip where the weather is still fine and you’re not too pressured by sunsets.