What is the Icelandic landscape and wildlife like in August? What events will be taking place and what is the weather like during the season? 

August in Iceland is one of the hottest months of the year on a multitude of levels. Not only does the weather compete with that of July in being at its warmest, but an array of festivals and events take place virtually every weekend—and the locals flock out of their towns and villages to catch up with both. 



Every man, woman and child in Iceland waits with anticipation each year for this peak of the summer season. The duration of the midsummer solstice approaches its end, with the solstice counting as the period when the sun of the northern sky is at its highest altitude—creating a midnight sun with perpetual daylight.

Wild lupins on a midsummer night

Although this is widely considered a magical phenomenon, which the Icelandic summer is renowned for, the locals tend to welcome a bit of darkness to make up for some of those sleepless summer nights. By the end of August, a couple of hours of pitch black night appear once again, reminding us all of the ever-looming darkness of winter. 

For Icelanders, therefore, August is that small and magical window of the year when the nights are getting dark while the days remain sunny and temperate. 

The average temperature in August usually stays around 10-15°C, but then again, the only predictable aspect of the Icelandic weather is that it's unpredictable—and recent global climate changes have only added to the meteorological inconsistency. 

The waterfall Skógafoss on the south coast of Iceland

Another important factor is the wind; as soon as the sun disappears behind a cloud and there is no shelter from the Atlantic breeze, even the warmest days can feel mighty cold. An ever reliable garment all Icelanders possess, therefore, is the traditional Icelandic lopapeysa; the perfect breathable, yet insulating, piece of clothing. 

If you're planning on visiting Iceland in August, you'll not only enjoy the fair weather but have an abundance of exciting local activities to choose from, so read on to discover just what is happening in Iceland in August.



Verslunarmannahelgin 

Annual Swamp Soccer Championship in ÍsafjörðurPhoto courtesy of Mýrarboltinn 

The first Monday of August is a national bank holiday in Iceland, meaning that the preceding weekend, called Verslunarmannahelgin ('Weekend of the Merchants'), is a long one. It is a holiday loved by all; where the alcohol flows and a body of festivals and events take place in several municipalities around the whole country. 

Þjóðhátíð

The most prominent of all these events is Þjóðhátíð í Eyjum; an annual festival that has been held in the lush volcanic terrain of the Westman Islands for over a century. Originally the festival was a collection of sports events, but it soon evolved into a sizeable open-air music festival featuring a decidedly local variety of artists. 

During Þjóðhátíð, the isolated fishing town of Heimaey Island truly comes to life, as visitors from the mainland flock to Herjólfsdalur Valley by air and by sea to enjoy camping, concerts, fireworks, hookups and the ultimate licence to binge-drink. 

Tourists have started attending the festival in later years, so expect to see some blank and confused stares amidst the crowds of locals who loudly sing along with their favourite folk songs. 

Mýrarboltinn 

Another major and riveting event this weekend is the annual European championship in swamp soccer, held in the town of Ísafjörður in the Westfjords of Iceland. A sporting event unlike any other, Mýrarboltinn was imported from Finland back in 2004, and has since gained nation-wide popularity.

Interested participants sign up in teams, where each team dresses up in costumes and puts on a show. Alcohol is allowed, as is foul play, which arguably makes this the dirtiest sporting tournament in existence—it actually takes place in a formidable field of wet mud. 

Accompanying this event is a collection of concerts and parties, in and around Ísafjörður Town, making it one of the prime places to travel to for the bank holidays. 



Innipúkinn & Other Events

Aron Can is one of the celebrated locals artists playing at Innipúkinn Festival this coming banking holiday in Reykjavík 

There's hardly a corner of the island of ice and fire that doesn't contribute a festival on this weekend of summer weekends. In the 'Capital of the North', Akureyri, you have Ein með öllu, a town festival hosting an array of sporting events, competitions, concerts, an outdoor market and amusement park. 

Even further north, in the fishing town of Siglufjörður you'll find the Síldardagar festival; a travel through time to the action-packed days of bountiful herring fishing in that very fjord.

Meanwhile, deep in the Eastfjords, the tiny town of Neskaupstaður administers Neistaflug, a family-friendly festival of music, entertainment and golf and fly fishing tournaments. 



Each of these festivals is different from the other, with the joining factor decidedly being the copious amounts of alcohol enjoyed by attendees. For those put off by the carousing, Sæludagar is an abstinent event for nondrinkers of all ages, held at the scenic summer camp resort of Vatnaskógur. 

Who wants to venture out when you can stay inside and party?Photo by Óskar Hallgrímsson

With the countryside dotted with festivals, what is left for those inclined to stay in the capital is Innipúkinn ('Homebody), a live music event held indoors in selected establishments in the centre of Reykjavík City.



Fiskidagurinn Mikli

Iceland is a nation built on fishing. The countryside as well as the capital, in fact, hosts several festivals each year to celebrate Iceland's fishing heritage, with what is by far the major one taking place each August in the municipality of Dalvík in the Tröllaskagi Peninsula.

The festival is called Fiskidagurinn mikli ('The Great Fish Day') and lands on the Verslunarmannahelgi's succeeding weekend. The festivities, which include live music and fireworks, centre around a gigantic seafood buffet which is free of charge to everyone attending. 

Local fish producers supply the ingredients, while town residents come together for the preparations; simply to get enough people together for the love of fish.

Dalvík sits close to the largest town in the north, Akureyri and is always well worth a visit—but be sure to go there in August for an unrivalled all-you-can-eat local experience.



Menningarnótt 

Menningarnótt ('Culture Night') is an immensely popular Reykjavík City event with the flair and allure of a carnival. Competing with Icelandic Independence Day in being the most attended event of the nation, Menningarnótt is when the residents of the capital join forces to provide for a boundless array of art events and concerts both indoors and out; in museums, cafés, homes and on the city streets. 

Expect the inner city packed with locals from all over the country attending events and markets during the day, and come nightfall, one of the biggest party nights of the year. 



Icelanders really love their fireworks and grab every chance to light up the sky

Menningarnótt takes place annually on the first Saturday after 18th of August and there is no better day to get to know the full extent of the culture of Reykjavík City. Follow the music and experience the all-local entertainment, and don't forget to look up in the sky at midnight for an across-the-board fireworks display.


Reykjavík Pride Festival 

The days between August 8 and August 13 are dedicated to Iceland's LGBTQIA Community; the city celebrates all the colours of the rainbow and people of all ages, genders and sexual orientation rush to the streets for the annual Reykjavík Pride Parade.

The Pride Parade in Iceland is unique in the sense that it is one of the most attended events of the year, with roughly 1/3 of the nation showing up to support and celebrate love and togetherness.

Last year the president himself addressed the spectators and the event's participants—going down in history as this gesture marked the first time a country's president officially participates in a Pride Parade.



The festival reaches beyond the parade itself, as these days are brimming with exciting events, concerts, film screenings, drag performances and live shows. Participate or simply show your support; all are welcome to Reykjavík Pride. 


Travelling to Iceland in August

Icelandic horses grazing in a summer field

There is a reason why Iceland is one of the more popular travelling destinations in the world today; the country boasts of a myriad of natural attractions and sweeping sceneries such as majestic glaciers, cascading waterfalls, sleeping volcanoes and bubbling hot springs

If you're planning on visiting in August, know that the month is arguably the prime time for backpacking and hiking. The conditions are perfect in terms of weather and road accessibility.



With just a little bit of planning, you can create the perfect Iceland adventure in August and travel the ring road from town to town, all the while catching the desired local events in and outside the capital.

There's nothing quite like driving cross country during this season—it's a high summer activity greatly favoured by visitors as well as the locals who tend to stay in tents and cottages to reconnect with nature. 



Let sleeping birds lie

August also marks the near-end of the period when the Atlantic Puffin graces us with his presence, but they migrate to Iceland each year between April and September to nest on the Isles and coastal cliffs. You'll find them at Látrabjarg in the Westfjords, the Westman Islands, Dyrhólaey on the South Coast and Grímsey in the north, amongst other places. 

The puffins in Iceland have an unmistakable allure due to their striking appearance and sweet nature. They aren't easily spooked, so once you locate them, you are sure to experience an up close encounter if you approach with care. 



Puffins at Látrabjarg in the Westfjords

The natural wonders are on Iceland's every corner, and during this last month of the short but sweet Icelandic summer, you are sure to enjoy all the magnificent landscapes and incredible wildlife this world-favoured destination has to offer. This is everyone's favourite month—and for all the right reasons. 

Iceland looks forward to your visit in August!