Iceland in July is the epitome of summer here on the island. The weather is amazing, there are so many things to do in Iceland in July! All the extended daylight hours make it possible to cram your itinerary chock-a-block. This is specially true when it comes to the various outdoor activities and attractions.
So, if you’ve got an upcoming trip to Iceland in July planned, or you’re still on the fence about whether to visit the island, then read on. We discuss everything you can expect from July and tell you what some of the top things to do in Iceland in July are.
The Pros and Cons of Visiting Iceland in July
Even though there are many things to do in Iceland in July, it still comes with its pros and cons. Check out our overview to help you decide whether July is the right fit:
- As we already mentioned, the weather on the island is ideal for all the Iceland things there is to do in July. Temperatures are nice and toasty (in Iceland terms), and the harsher weather elements seem to have retreated for a while.
- The amount of daylight hours is a far cry from the mere 4 hours experienced during the winter months. That gives you more than enough time for all the things there is to see in Iceland in July.
- All the daylight hours make it possible to experience one of Iceland’s most notorious natural phenomena; the Midnight Sun. This is when, even though the sun sets on the horizon, darkness never quite falls. And, as the name suggests, you experience daylight at Midnight. Just keep in mind that by mid-July, this phenomenon will start coming to an end.
- Things get really wild on the island in July. Some of the best things to do in Iceland in July have to do with the wildlife that can be seen in Iceland during this time. Luckily, whales can be seen throughout the year on the Iceland coast. However, there are certain migratory species that only call the island their home between April to September each year. The same goes for the Iceland Puffins. The island is credited for “housing” 60% of the world’s Puffin population when they come to breed on the island from May to September.
- We’re not the only ones who know how amazing the island is in July. So, July is considered to be the height of the peak season in Iceland. This means that you will need to contend with some peak season crowds.
- With peak season crowds come peak season prices. You might find that your holiday budget doesn’t stretch quite as far as during some of the other months of the year.
- Extended daylight hours bring with them a lot of benefits, but it has also been known to create havoc on some individuals’ sleeping patterns. And if you have your heart set on seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland in July, you’ll be left very disappointed. You won’t be able to see the Aurora Borealis in Iceland in July because it is not cold or dark enough for the lights to appear.
Weather in Iceland in July
The Iceland weather in July is undoubtedly some of the best weather you can ever experience on the island. You don’t need to worry about getting caught in blizzards. The legendary Icelandic winds that can literally rip your car door off its hinges have calmed down. You no longer need to watch your step for those pesky icy patches.
The temperatures also never drop below the 0-degree mark. You can expect temperatures that range between 9-25 degrees Celsius, which makes it the ideal weather to enjoy the outdoors. And the 20+ hours of daylight each day makes it possible to take advantage of everything there is to do on the island. So, even though you may not be able to see the Northern Lights in July in Iceland, the weather makes up for it in all kinds of ways.
Packing List When Traveling to Iceland in July
We hear you; it can be tough deciding what to pack for mid-summer in a country with “ice” in its name. So, to avoid any confusion or unnecessary stress, we’ve created this helpful packing list that you can use as a guide:
- Waterproof jacket
- Warm woolen sweater (we suggest bringing just one or two, so you can buy some authentic Icelandic woolen sweaters)
- Waterproof pants
- Informal pants (when you’re moving around within the city limits)
- Waterproof hiking boots (irrespective of whether you’re going hiking or not)
- T-shirts and long-sleeved shirts
- Warm gloves
- Warm hat (beanies work really well)
- A sleep mask (remember what we said about those sleeping pattern problems due to the Midnight Sun?)
- Bathing suit (for dips in the hot springs)
- Quick drying towel (so you don’t have to carry wet things around with you all day)
- Flip-flops (for at the hot springs and public changing rooms)
- Moisturizing cream & lip balm
- Water bottle (the tap water on the island is pure and of high quality, so you only need to fill up along the way)
- Backpack (for day outings and hikes)
- Toiletries & medication (remember to check flight restrictions. Otherwise, you might need to leave items behind at the airport)
- Electronic devices: chargers, cables, adaptor, power bank, etc.
Can you see the Northern lights in Iceland in July?
July is mid-summer here on the island. This means that the combination needed for the Aurora Borealis is simply not present - the extreme cold + darkness. It will be pretty impossible spotting lights when there is no darkness, and in July, you have 19+ hours of daylight.
This is also why you will not find any Northern Lights tours during this time. If you want to go Northern Lights hunting, you’ll need to plan your trip for some of the colder months here on the island.
Things to Do While in Iceland in July
As we’ve already hinted at, there are many things to do and places to see in Iceland in July. Check out some of our own personal favorites below to see which you might want to add to your trip itinerary:
Hike in Iceland
In a country that boasts some of the most majestic landscapes in the world, it’s no surprise that you’ll find plenty of hiking trails. These hiking trails vary in difficulty levels and length.
Go Horseback Riding
Iceland has its very own breed of horse. Taking a ride on an authentic Icelandic Horse is an incredibly unique experience. These horses are famous for their friendly nature, pony-like stature, and the fact that they can perform an extra gait called the tolt.
Snowmobile Across a Glacier
This might seem counterintuitive, but our glaciers are open all year round. Instead of going hiking across a glacier, why not take it up a notch and snowmobile across an Iceland glacier?
Visit some of Our Waterfalls
We have over 10,000 waterfalls in Iceland, so you’ll have your pick, but we do recommend a few island favorites such as Seljalandsfoss and Godafoss.
Attend a Local Event or Festival
At the height of summer, you will find plenty of exciting local festivals and events, such as the LungA Arts Festival.
Take a Stroll on a Black Sand Beach
Our famous black sand beaches are actually the remnants of hardened lava that’s been slowly broken down over thousands of years. If you want to take a stroll on some local volcanic history, there are a few favorites, such as Reynisfjara and Diamond Beach.
Snorkel or Dive the Silfra Fissure
The SIlfra Fissure is where you can literally lie suspended between two continents. That’s because the Silfra Fissure is a fissure (tear) in the earth where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates push each other apart. It is now filled with glacial water, where one can go diving or snorkeling.
Take a Relaxing Soak in a Hot Spring
You will find hot springs all across the island (yet another result of all the volcanic activity on the island). Some of the hot spring hot spots include places such as the Blue Lagoon and Hrunalaug.
Explore the Capital City and Enjoy Local Cuisine
If you want to learn more about the capital city of Reykjavík whilst stuffing your face with some of the best Icelandic food and craft beers, going on the Reykjavík Food Walk is a must.
Take a Boat Tour on the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
Visiting the Jökulsarlon Glacier Lagoon is a magical experience, and by going on one of the boat tours, you’ll definitely be taking it to the next level. You can opt for a tour on the Amphibian or the Zodiac, although one of these will get you so close to the floating icebergs and the glacier that you can reach out and touch them (don’t though!).
Become a Viking
Okay, not really, but you can have your Viking portrait taken by one of the photographers that worked on the set of Game of Thrones. So, put on the Viking garb and gear (yes, even weapons) the studio provides and have your portrait taken at Mink Studios.
Visit our Interesting Local Museums
If there’s one thing we don’t do it’s boring museums. You will find all sorts of interesting museums all across the island, such as the Icelandic Phallological Museum.
Camping in Iceland in July
As we already touched on, there is no better time for all sorts of outdoor activities than during the month of July. Camping is definitely a favorite amongst locals and visitors alike. But camping is not just an excellent way to truly immerse yourself in the beauty of the Icelandic landscape.
It’s also a great way to save on accommodation costs – especially during those expensive peak season months. If you want to save even more money, we recommend that you purchase a Camping Card for just €159. This will give an entire family of 2 adults and up to 4 children access to various campsites around the country for 28 nights.
If you would like to work out how much savings that equates to; campsites generally charge between $10-$20 per person per night. If camping during your stay in Iceland in July is on the cards for you, we highly recommend the following sites:
Driving in Iceland in July
Driving in Iceland in July is an absolute dream! All the roads and routes that are generally closed throughout the colder months are open again. Road conditions in July are much better compared to the winter months when snow and ice can make driving challenging.
All of this, along with the wonderful weather and extended daylight hours, makes it the perfect time to go on a road trip. Just keep in mind that certain roads can only be accessed via 4x4, so please discuss your planned road trip routes with your rental agency. There are many popular routes to choose from (or you can even do all of them). They are:
- The Diamond Circle
- The Westfjords Way
- The Golden Circle
- The South Coast Way
- The Ring Road
Helpful Tips When Visiting Iceland in July
Is this your first time coming to the island, or is it your first time visiting the island during the month of July? The following helpful tips will ensure that your trip is memorable for all the right reasons:
Always Check the Weather and the Road Conditions
We have a local saying here on the island that goes “you can experience all four seasons in one day in Iceland”. The weather in Iceland can be really unpredictable. You may experience overcast mornings turning into sunny afternoons and possible rain in the evening.
But this means that you need to always be prepared here on the island. And one way to do that is to check the Iceland weather forecast as well as the Iceland road conditions. Especially before heading out for the day.
Always Have Your Waterproof Gear and Clothing With You
This is another way of being prepared for those “four seasons in one day”. But this is not the only reason why you should keep your waterproof items close. When walking the pathways around the hot springs in Iceland, you’ll be very thankful for your waterproof hiking boots, salvaging your feet and flip-flops from a pretty muddy situation.
And you’ll be forgiven for giving a little giggle at the waterfalls in Iceland when you’re posing in your raincoat and waterproof gear for photos whilst others are getting drenched by the mist and spray of the powerful falls.
Always Dress in Layers
It might be summer, but it’s still Iceland (remember the “four seasons” again?). The difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures can also vary extensively. That’s why it’s so important to always wear layers, so you can remove items of clothing whenever it gets too hot and put layers back on whenever it gets cold. You’ll see that we’ve made provision for this in the packing list with long-sleeved as well as t-shirts.
Get Going Early in the Morning
As we already mentioned, July is in the midst of peak season here on the island. You’ll have to share local attractions and activities with the peak season crowds. One way to manage this (except for just booking well in advance, of course), is to get an early morning start. This way, you’ll essentially always stay one step ahead of the masses.
Iceland in July: Will it Work for You?
Now that you know what to expect from the weather, what to pack, and which are the best places to visit in Iceland in July, you should have a better idea of whether an Iceland trip in July will work for you. But it’s definitely not peak season for no reason, and we’ll always recommend a visit in July, especially if you’re a fan of the outdoors.
As we are strong believers that the best way to explore the island is to make a road trip out of it, we suggest you rent a car in Reykjavík. Once you arrive, pick a road trip route, and start ticking off the places to visit in Iceland in July that we mention in this article. Time to make some lifetime memories!