Are you thinking of visiting Iceland in August? What is the weather like in Iceland in August? What wildlife can you see? What sites can you take in? Are there any particularly exciting events to visit?
August is one of the hottest months of the year in Iceland—not only because of its weather, which can compete with July's warm temperatures but also because of its cluster of festivals and events, with something going on virtually every weekend. The locals flock out of their villages to enjoy both.
Every man, woman, and child in Iceland wait in anticipation each year for August, the peak of the summer season. After the summer solstice (when the sun is at its highest altitude), in August the midnight sun approaches its end, bringing back the beautiful (dark) night skies the Icelanders haven't seen for months.
Although the midnight sun, which the Icelandic summer is noted for, is widely considered to be a magical phenomenon, the locals do welcome a bit of darkness to make up for some of those sleepless summer nights.
By the end of August, Iceland has a few hours of pitch black night, reminding us of the upcoming evenings enchanted with the Northern Lights, which you can catch a glimpse of in late August on crisp, clear nights.
Although you can do a number of activities year-round, like visiting the Blue Lagoon, taking adventure holidays, or traversing the famed Golden Circle route, there are a few adventures that only open up in summer.
In August, all of the roads are open--a sudden snowstorm or landslide notwithstanding--so this late summer month is the optimal time to rent a car and head out on a self-drive tour, whereon you can control your own journey and navigate the island with greater ease.
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 while catching a few local events both in and out of the capital.
There's nothing quite like driving cross-country during this season—it's a high summer activity that everyone love—and there's nothing like a road trip to awaken the senses. Break out your tent and or rent a cottage during your trip to reconnect with nature.
If you're planning on visiting Iceland in August, you'll not only enjoy the fair weather, but you'll also have access to innumerable exciting local activities—everything from festivals, to sporting competitions and outdoor markets.
Photo courtesy of Mýrarboltinn
The first Monday of August marks a bank holiday in Iceland; the weekend that came before it is called Verslunarmannahelgi ('Weekend of the Merchants'). These three days of summer are beloved for their wild events and diverse festivals, which take place across the country.
Photo Credit: Þjóðhátíð í Eyjum
The most prominent of all these events is Þjóðhátíð í Eyjum; an annual festival that's 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 vast array of Icelandic musicians.
During Þjóðhátíð, the isolated fishing town of Heimaey Island comes to life as visitors from the mainland flock to Herjólfsdalur Valley by air and sea to enjoy camping, concerts, fireworks, and spectacular views.
For the past few years, tourists have started making the journey to the festival to take in this modern Icelandic celebration of medieval Icelandic culture, belting out traditional Icelandic folksongs in their best Icelandic accents.
Photo Credit: Evrópumeistaramótið í Mýrarbolta
Another major event during the first weekend of August 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, flaunting their banners and jerseys with Viking-like pride. This is arguably the dirtiest sporting event in existence, taking place in a formidable pit of mud, with foul play permitted by the rulebook.
While the match is going on, there are also a number of concerts and parties taking place in and around the fjord-town of Ísafjörður, making it one of the prime places to travel to for the holiday.
Photo Credit: Innipúkinn Festival
There's hardly a corner of the island that doesn't hold a festival during the first weekend in August. In the 'Capital of the North', Akureyri, Ein með öllu ("One with All") takes place, a town festival boasting of an array of sporting events, competitions, concerts, an outdoor market, and a carnival.
Further north, in the fishing town of Siglufjörður, you'll find the Síldardagar festival, which may be for the more historically-minded. This event is held in celebration of herring fishers of the past and present.
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.
Sæludagar is a family-friendly festival held in the scenic Vatnaskógur. There, you'll find plenty of opportunities for the kid's to learn and play, an entire weekend of bliss in a kid's paradise.
Since some of us aren't always up for travelling to the countryside for a festival weekend, the Reykjavik-based Innipúkinn ('Homebody') emerged. Innipúkinn is a live music event that's not only held in the capital city but also, for added comfort, held indoors. Now that's cosy.
Photo Credit: Fiskidagurinn mikli
Iceland is a nation built on fishing. And Icelanders are very proud of their fisherman (and fisherwoman) predecessors. After all, our endurance was shaped by our ancestor's ability to survive in a harsh climate on land and at sea.
The most notable festival in celebration of fisherfolk is called Fiskidagurinn mikli ("The Great Fish Day"). It takes place the weekend after Verslunarmannahelgi weekend. The festivities, which include live music and fireworks, centre around a gigantic seafood buffet that's is free of charge to everyone attending. Local fish producers supply the ingredients, while town residents come together for the preparations and, later, the celebration. The festival takes place each August in the municipality of Dalvík on the Tröllaskagi Peninsula.
Dalvík sits close to the largest town in the north, Akureyri, and is well worth a visit—but be sure to go there in August for an unrivalled all-you-can-eat local experience.
You don't have to leave the city to find adventure in Iceland in August. In fact, many locals like to enjoy Reykjavik's colourful streets during this season, when many of the city's residents have left for hiking or camping trips.
But still, in August, two of the largest cultural events of the year take place.
Menningarnótt ('Culture Night') is an immensely popular event in Reykjavík City, with the allure of a carnival. It even competes with Icelandic Independence Day in terms of attendance. On Menningarnótt, residents of the capital join forces to build a one-night-only art-spectacular, packed with arts and cultural events, as well as indoor and outdoor concerts. The venues are many and varied: museums, cafés, clubs, restaurants, parks, theatres, and, of course, the city's streets.
Come nightfall, Culture Night closes in one of the biggest parties of the year, stretching from one end of Reykjavik to the other.
Menningarnótt takes place annually on the first Saturday after August 18, and there is no better day to get to know the full extent of the culture of Reykjavík. Let the music lead you from venue to venue, and don't forget to look up at the sky around midnight for a spectacular fireworks display.
Photo credit: Helgi Halldórsson
The second week and weekend of August are dedicated to Iceland's LGBTQIA+ Community; the city celebrates and honours people of all ages, genders, and sexual orientation with its annual Reykjavík Pride Parade, which, notably, the former mayor of Reykjavík, Jón Gnarr, has made an appearance in.
The Pride Parade in Iceland is one of the most attended events of the year, with roughly 1/3 of the nation showing up to support and celebrate love.
In 2016, the president himself addressed spectators and event participants—and once again, Iceland's executive leadership set the standard for the rest of the world. It is the first time in history that a president has officially participated in a Pride Parade, standing for tolerance and equality in a revolutionary way.
But the festival isn't simply a one-day parade, but a weeklong celebration, brimming with exciting events, concerts, film screenings, drag performances and other live shows. And everyone, absolutely everyone, is welcome.
There's a reason that Iceland is one of the more popular travelling destinations in the world today; the country boasts of myriad natural wonders, such as majestic glaciers, cascading waterfalls, volcanoes, and bubbling hot springs. And the best part of visiting Iceland in August? The weather won't get in the way of your adventures.
For Icelanders, August is a small and magical window of the year when the nights are getting dark, but the days are still sunny and temperate. The weather in Iceland in August is mild, sunny, and just a little bit drizzly.
Because Iceland is a maritime climate, the average temperature in August is generally no lower than 10° Celsius and no higher than 15° Celsius (50°-59° Fahrenheit). Located at the meeting point of a cold (arctic) air mass and a warm air stream from the south, the island is prime real estate for erratic weather.
In a single day, the weather can change from sunshine, to hail, to rain, to sunshine, and then light snow--even in summer. But more generally, weather in the south of Iceland in August oscillates between grey clouds and rain, called úði, and bright sunlight.
The wind factor is important to note, though. Even on a 15° Celsius afternoon with sunshine, coastal winds cut between the buildings in razor-like fashion. They can chill down even the warmest afternoon, so it's important to bring the right clothing. The quintessential Icelandic sweater, the traditional lopapeysa, is a perfectly breathable, piece of clothing that offers ample insulation from sudden winds.
August marks the closing of Atlantic Puffin nesting season in Iceland; they migrate to Iceland each year between April and September to nest on Iceland's many islands 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, among 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 can approach with care, remembering that they are precious wild animals that should be treated with great dignity and respect: they are not tourist attractions.
August is peak season in Iceland, so the most popular locations might be crowded. Still, there are always corners of the island where you can find peace and quiet, especially if you rent a car or if you book a room in a country hotel or even an entire cabin. But you'll need to book well in advance to ensure that you have a place to stay for the night.
Should you choose to camp as you travel, remember to camp at an authorized camping ground—and to be mindful of the natural wonders around you. A good rule of thumb for travelling in Iceland is that if it seems like you shouldn't do it, don't. The natural environment here is precious and we are stewards of the land.
If you prefer a guided tour to go it alone, we offer multiple money-saving packages that include accommodation and transportation, as well as detailed itineraries to fill your days.