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The glacier lagoon, basked in summer light.

Iceland in July | The Complete Guide

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Puffins on Iceland's South Coast are common in July

Find out everything you need to know about Iceland in July, including the best festivals and events. What’s the weather like in Iceland in July? If the midnight sun is out, does that mean you can’t see the northern lights? Continue reading for answers to these questions and more to help plan your summer vacation in Iceland.

Visiting Iceland in July

Is July a good time to visit Iceland? Yes! Iceland in the summer is a wonderful time to visit. For those looking to visit Iceland in July, you can enjoy the long days and short nights. Continue reading for essential information.

Driving in Iceland in July

The geyser Strokkur erupting in July.

Iceland is the perfect vacation spot in July. It’s warmer, the roads are open, and the weather is comparatively mild. July in Iceland means that you can travel around this tiny island without facing winter's hazardous driving conditions and brutal weather.

Almost all roads and trails are open, and you can drive up to the most remote part of the country, only accessible in the summer like the Highlands with 4x4 vehicles. There’s no better way to enjoy Iceland’s weather in July than a road trip and hiking.

Northern Lights in Iceland in July

All types of tours are open to visitors in July, but not the northern lights tours. While they might still be dancing in the sky, the bright midnight sun makes it impossible to see them.

If you want to see the northern lights, it’s best to visit between September and April. But there’s the midnight sun, which is just as stunning.

Midnight Sun in Iceland in July

Visiting Reykjavik, Iceland in July

An opportunity that only exists in Iceland in June and July is sightseeing beneath the midnight sun. Summer's endless hours of light can be disruptive to your sleeping pattern, but they also mean that there are over twenty hours of daylight that allow you to make the most of your trip around the country. 

By joining a sightseeing tour after regular hours, you are likely to avoid the crowds at the popular sites. Considering how busy July can get, it's good to take advantage of all the midnight sun tours.

While places like Geysir geothermal area and Gullfoss waterfall are crowded at noon, there's hardly anyone around at midnight when this Golden Circle midnight sun tour occurs.

Reynisfjara black pebble beach in South Iceland

Those with a passion for photography might be interested in this 12-day photography workshop through the country’s incredible landscapes by night as you’ll never run out of natural light.

Of course, if you don't want to take a tour, you can also rent a car and travel around Iceland at night on your own.



Best Things To Do in Iceland in July

Hiking the Highlands is just one thing to do in Iceland in July.

You could spend weeks traveling across Iceland, exploring its rich natural wonders. You can circle the entire country for a month, and you still won't see everything that Iceland in summer has to offer. 

When making plans for a holiday during this month, prioritizing is essential. Some want to immerse themselves in nature, while others wish to go on adventures.

Or you might be here to learn about its history, literature, and culture, or to take part in one of this country's many festivals. The options are endless, so here are the top things to do in Iceland in July. 

Camping in Iceland in July

Camping is an incredibly popular pastime with the warm Iceland July weather. Campsites across the country are open to guests looking for fresh air, and it’s an affordable option for those on a budget in Iceland.



Most Icelandic campsites are in stunning locations and sit in some of the most famous areas in Iceland, from Skaftafell Nature Reserve to the Landmannalaugar trail.

A campsite in Iceland's nature.Photo by Ryan Shultis

But remember that there are still rules to follow when camping in Iceland. 

Here are some pointers:

  • If it’ll damage nature or violate property lines, you shouldn't do it.
  • Camping on someone’s property or in a national park is illegal and will result in hefty fines.
  • Camping one night on untilled land is allowed, but only if no waste is left behind. Open fires are banned. 

If you rent a campervan or car with a rooftop tent, you can only stay in an official campsite.

You're welcome to bring camping equipment to Iceland. Another option to save on luggage fees is to rent it for the length of your trip to the outskirts.



Hiking in Iceland in July

A standalone mountain surrounded by black sands in the Icelandic Highlands

The best option to enjoy the July weather in Iceland is to go on a guided hiking tour. While several trails are year-round, the most spectacular ones are only open between June and September for safety reasons. 

Avid hikers have a wealth of multi-day treks from which to choose. The most renowned routes are the famous Laugavegur and Fimmvorduhals trail, which takes you from the spectacular Highland region of Landmannalaugar to the verdant “Valley of Thor,” Thorsmork.

The hike usually takes five to six days, but you can complete individual hike lengths in three or four days. You can stay in cabins along the route. Hiking the country will give you unique views of glaciers, volcanoes, lava fields, forests, lakes, and rivers.

Rhyolite mountains of Landmannalaugar.

There are many day hikes for those eager to see some great natural areas but don't want to stay overnight. See our guide on hiking in Iceland for trails we recommend.

Glacier Tours in Iceland in July

Ice climbing may look daunting, but is excellent fun.Photo from Solheimajökull Walk and Ice Climbing | Medium Difficulty

Although you can take a tour of Iceland’s incredible glaciers year-round, the warmer temperatures in July in Iceland and bright sunlight awaken the majesty of these treasures. Calm weather makes summer glacial visits much more pleasant than blustery winter tours. 

There are glacier hikes to almost all of Iceland’s glaciers during July. Classic tours are still available, like the ones to Solheimajokull glacier, Vatnajokull glacier, and Skaftafellsjokull glacier.

Snowmobiling across Langjökull GlacierPhoto from Snowmobile Adventure at Langjokull Glacier

You can also enjoy the glaciers by snowmobile. These tours most commonly take place on Langjokull glacier and leave either from Gullfoss Waterfall or Reykjavik, the latter often in combination with a Golden Circle tour. In summer, this snowmobiling tour of the Vatnajokull glacier is also available.

You should wear warm clothes and sturdy hiking boots for glacier visits—because it’s a glacier, which means that it's cold, potentially windy, and slippery. You might also consider throwing on sunglasses since the sun reflecting off the snow and ice can be blinding.



Snorkeling and Diving in Iceland in July

Snorkelers in the crystal clear waters of Silfra fissurePhoto from Whale Watching and Snorkelling Excursion

Like the glacier tours listed above, snorkeling and diving excursions run year-round. However, the most significant advantage of diving in July is that putting on and taking off your gear will be more comfortable.

The algae in Silfra fissure—the fissure between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates—is in full bloom, offering a doubly colorful adventure. The sunlight also increases visibility. 

However, to take a snorkeling or diving tour, you'll need to meet a few basic requirements:

  • Pregnant women cannot take these tours.
  • People 45 and older, who smoke a pipe or drink heavily, may require a health certificate.
  • Individuals with circulatory, respiratory, or neurological conditions may not be permitted to dive without a health certificate or waiver.

Drysuit Snorkel

  • Minimum age: 12
  • Maximum age: 60
  • Minimum height: 4 foot 9 inches (145 centimeters)
  • Minimum weight: 99.2 pounds (45 kilograms)
  • Experience needed: must be a swimmer

Wetsuit Snorkel

  • Minimum age: 14
  • Maximum age: 60
  • Minimum height: 4 foot 11 inches (150 centimeters)
  • Minimum weight: 111 pounds (50 kilograms)
  • Experience needed: must be a swimmer

Drysuit Dives

  • Minimum age: 17
  • Maximum age: 60
  • Minimum height: 4 foot 11 inches (150 centimeters)
  • Minimum weight: 111 pounds (50 kilograms)
  • Experience needed: At least 10 logged drysuit dives OR a certified dry suit diver.

The clarity of the water creates beautiful effects with the light.Photo from Into the Blue | Silfra Snorkelling Tour from Reykjavík

While you can snorkel in either a wetsuit or a drysuit, you can only dive in a drysuit because of the cold temperatures. In July, the water temperature in Iceland averages 35.6 F (2 C), and the water below the surface can be even colder, making it dangerous to dive without good insulation—in this case, a drysuit.

Algae covers Silfra in summer.Photo from Diving Silfra Tour | Drysuit Dive with Pickup

In July, most snorkeling and diving is in Silfra fissure, a beautiful gorge in Thingvellir National Park with crystal clear water and visibility beyond 328 feet (100 meters). 

You can also find combination tours like Golden Circle with a snorkeling tour or a lava caving with a snorkeling tour.



Horse Riding in Iceland in July

Icelandic horses, their hair blowing in the wind.

Horse riding tours are popular all year but are much more comfortable in the July weather in Iceland when it’s less likely to rain. 

Icelandic horses have a unique gait called a tolt. When the horse is tolting, it’ll always have one foot on the ground. This gait is very smooth since there's no suspension between strides, and rumor has it that you can drink water from a glass without spilling while in this gait. 

Many horse riding tours start from Reykjavik, but they also leave from Northern destinations like Husavik. A five-hour horse riding tour in the Eastfjords runs exclusively in July and will introduce you to many beautiful sites.



Lava Cave in Iceland in July

Rofthellir Iceland is easy to access in July.Photo from Raufarholshellir | Standard Lava Tunnel Tour

Lava cave tours are among the best things to do in Iceland in summer. The snow and ice that blocked many caves' entrances in winter have melted under the Iceland temperature in July.

For those who love adventure, the Leidarendi cave needs a bit of climbing and crawling to go through. The Raufarholshellir and Vidgelmir caves are more family-friendly, where you can stand up and walk around.

To make an entire day out of a lava caving tour, you can combine it with an exploration of the South Coast of Iceland, which includes a glacier hike and an option to take a fat bike ride. This eight-hour Reykjanes peninsula and lava caving tour will show you both the inside of a lava tube and all of the Reykjanes Peninsula's significant sites.



Whale and Puffin Watching in Iceland in July

A whale raises its flukes under the Midnight Sun.Photo from Speedboat Whale Watching in Reykjavik

There are few things more spectacular than whale watching in Iceland in July. Incredible creatures like minke whales, humpback whales, and even sperm, fin, and blue whales have returned from their summer breeding grounds to feed off the coast of Iceland. That means that July presents a unique opportunity to see them.

The same is true of Iceland’s puffins. In June, they return to the island and stay until August, making July the optimal time to spot them.



July is the perfect time to catch puffins in Iceland.

Most whale-watching tours start from Reykjavik during the summer, and they generally range from one to three hours. In July's fair weather, it's more pleasant on the ship's deck, and whale signings are very common.

Few ships return to land without spotting seals, dolphins, or porpoises. Most tours would offer you another trip if your outing were unsuccessful.

The best whale-watching tours depart from Husavik in North Iceland. The amount of fish in Skjalfandi bay means you're likely to see multiple humpbacks feeding.

A humpback whale off of Húsavík.Photo from Traditional 3 Hour Whale Watching Boat Tour with Transfer from Husavik

You can also take whale-watching tours from Akureyri, Iceland's second-largest city. 

If you prefer to stay on land, it's not entirely unlikely that you'll see a whale. Whales are regularly spotted from the coast in the Westfjords, East Fjords, and the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, especially on the northern side, overlooking Breidafjordur's herring grounds.

Of course, puffins are another story since thousands of them congregate around the country every year, particularly in places like Latrabjarg cliff in the Westfjords, Dyrholaey peninsula in the south, and the Tjornes Peninsula in the north.



Things To See in Iceland in July

People party and celebrate year round in IcelandPhoto from Nightlife in Reykjavík

Throughout the summer months in Iceland, the entire country comes to life with festivals, and July is no exception. 

Summer Concerts in Skalholt

From July 8 to Aug. 6, the town of Skalholt offers annual summer concerts, which attract around 4,000 people each year. The festival focuses on modern renditions of seventeenth and eighteenth-century compositions.

Chamber Music Festival in Reykholt

On the last weekend of July, you can head to the western town of Reykholt for their Chamber Music Festival. One of its four concerts collaborates with the Snorrastofa Centre, dedicated to the medieval writer, historian, and chieftain Snorri Sturluson. 

Festivals in East Iceland

The road to Seydisfjordur leads to the Lung A Festival in summer.

Several festivals also take place in East Iceland during July, especially around Seydisfjordur



What to See in Iceland in July

The Highlands can be seen throughout July, unlike much of the rest of the year

Where to go in Iceland in July? Even though you can still wander around the Golden Circle and other popular sites, summer in Iceland is the optimal time to visit destinations that are usually more difficult to access.

Here are the top places to visit in Iceland in the summer.

Jökulsárlón, on the South Coast, is incredibly beautiful and worth visiting year-round.

Eastfjords

The roads in the east aren't open reliably in autumn, winter, and spring because of snow, flooding, and potential avalanches. But in July, you'll be able to wander the winding roads of the Eastfjords and traverse mountain paths on your way to visit villages like Borgarfjordur Eystri and Kollafjordur.

Lake Myvatn and North Iceland

North Iceland also opens up. For example, though Lake Myvatn can be explored year-round, places like the Viti crater (yes, Viti means hell in Icelandic) and the dramatic Krafla lava fields are fully accessible in July. The lake's surrounding shores are also teeming with wildlife with over 15 species of duck, making it an ideal destination for birdwatchers. 

Far more turf houses can be seen in North Iceland in summer months.

The roads around the Vatnsnes Peninsula are also open in the summer, and it’s a popular destination for seal watching.



Westfjords

The Westfjords are impossible to reach in winter, and residents of the smallest villages often have to access the outside world by boat. However, in summer, most of its sites—notably, the iconic Dynjandi waterfall and the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve—are easily reachable by road.

Dynjandi is one of Iceland's most spectacular waterfalls

In summer, you can also drive to the Latrabjarg bird cliffs, which comes to life with thousands of birds from dozens of species. You can get within arms reach of many birds, but remember to remain respectful of their nests.

The Snaefellsnes Peninsula

The Snaefellsnes Peninsula is a lot easier to drive throughout the summer, too. When the mountain passes clear, you can reach destinations like Mount Kirkjufell and Ytri Tunga beach on the peninsula’s south side.

Mount Kirkjufell, on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Highlands

The Highlands are only accessible in 4x4 vehicles, even in the summer. Still, routes like the Kjolur Highland Road and Sprengisandur are open, allowing you to see the little-traveled interior of this beautiful country.

The rough mountain tracks tend to vary in quality, and sometimes it's necessary to ford the river in your vehicle, which is why you need a 4x4. Be mindful when driving as you cannot go off-roading in the Highlands.

The renowned Landmannalaugar and the lesser-known Hveravellir geothermal area are open to travelers within the Highlands. At both of these sites, you can hike to find the most spectacular viewpoints to bathe in gorgeous hot springs. 



If you are traveling to the Highlands to hike or camp, you should register your travel plans regardless of your experience and expertise. That way, if you are out of contact or away longer than you said you would be, search and rescue can take measures to locate you. 

Suggested Itineraries for Iceland in July

Those with enough time could include the Westfjords in their July itinerary

If you are traveling to Iceland in July, you can take plenty of summer tours. From self-drive itineraries to combo tours, Guide to Iceland offers something for everybody. 

Self-Drive Itineraries for Iceland in July

Seljalandsfoss waterfall, in the light of the midnight sun

Let’s begin by looking into self-drive tours. You can rent a car, choose what activities you want to do, plot your route, and book your accommodation yourself, but it's much easier to book a pre-planned Guide to Iceland self-drive package. These packages give you the freedom to travel to all sites you want without worrying about organizing them.

The minimum time recommended for traveling the Ring Road over summer is between six days to seven days, our shortest self-drive tours on offer for this route. 

They include all four corners of the country and take you to a range of stunning locations. You can add extra activities to your day, too. Our most popular additions include glacier hiking, whale watching, and a boat tour on the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon.

Self drive tours will take you to places most don't get to visit, such as this feature, Mount Lómagnúpur

However, those with more time in Iceland will find that they can reach more attractions. This 10-day self-drive tour will also introduce travelers to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, while the 13-day Ring Road package and 14-day around Iceland tour will allow you to see both the peninsula and the Westfjords. 

But we also offer shorter customer-tailored self-drive tours. For example, if you want to travel the Ring Road but don't have time to hit all the sites, we offer a five-day essential self-drive tour that will allow you to enjoy the Golden Circle and South Coast in-depth. This tour includes time at Skaftafell Nature Reserve and the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. We also offer a five-day self-drive tour in West Iceland that visits the Snaefellsnes peninsula.

Lóndrangar on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

Those on a tighter budget or who love the great outdoors can build camping into their tours instead of hotels. These packages generally range from an eight-day budget self-drive Ring Road tour to a 14-day budget Ring Road self-drive tour, depending on what you want to see. 

There are also shorter camping self-driving tours, where you can see the Golden Circle and South Coast over a five-day budget summer self-drive tour.

Guided Packages in Iceland in July

Puffins on the Dyrhólaey rock arch.

On the other hand, guided packages provide you with a guide in a bus and somewhat more structured days on the open road. That way, you can take in the scenery without driving yourself. 

For example, this 12-day summer vacation package of the complete Ring Road of Iceland will take you around the country and includes the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. In contrast, this seven-day guided Ring Road tour is packed with activities and covers the Ring Road in half the time. 

An extraordinary opportunity this July is our Iceland-Greenland package, where you have the option to book a package to Iceland and spend a whole day in Greenland with flights included. These packages can last five, six, seven, or eight days.

Things To Do in Reykjavik in July

Mount Vestrahorn, in Iceland's south-east.

However, if you want to spend your days in Reykjavik, you can make your itinerary based on your interests. Here's one possible plan for you to consider.

You arrive at Keflavik International Airport and take the Flybus to the Blue Lagoon on day one. After bathing in the therapeutic waters, you take the bus to Reykjavik and settle into your hotel.

Hraunfossar waterfall in West Iceland.

You take a Golden Circle tour and an add-on activity like lava caving on your second day.

On day three, your adventure continues with a tour of the South Coast with a glacier hike on the Solheimajokull glacier.

You spend your fourth day recharging in Reykjavik, getting to know its restaurants, boutiques, museums, galleries, and nightlife. If you still have the energy, you can hop on a bus (it takes two with a quick transfer along the way) to Mount Esja for a pleasant hike to the top.

A rainbow over Reykjavík.

On day five, you decide to take a tour of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula and spend a whole day exploring its many sites.

On your penultimate day in Iceland, you can see more glaciers and take a snowmobiling tour on the Langjokull glacier. Or maybe you just decide to put your feet up and relax downtown.

On day seven, it's time to leave Iceland, but not before a morning tour to Hveragerdi hot spring, where you'll hike through Reykjadalur valley to bathe in some natural hot springs before heading to Keflavik airport to catch your flight.

Weather in Iceland in July

What’s Iceland like in July? Before coming to Iceland in July, it's essential to know the climate and weather. In general, it's light out all day and most of the night, too.

The Icelandic Meteorology Office's website is an excellent resource for keeping up to date on weather conditions across the country at any given time. It's essential to check the weather before heading out, especially if you're driving yourself.

Exploring Iceland in July

Though Iceland's roads are open in summer, unseasonable snow, flooding, and even landslides may still lead to closures. The Road and Coastal Administration's website provides around-the-clock information on road conditions in Iceland.

Rain in Iceland in July

In Iceland, summers are relatively mild, but low-pressure systems still pass through the island, bringing heavy rains and storms. The country is at a crossroads between the Arctic and temperate seas, where a sudden summer hailstorm can happen.

Buðir, before Snæfellsjökull glacier.

Weather in the Highlands is volatile and unpredictable, and travelers should come prepared with sunglasses, rain gear, warm clothing, and windbreakers. 

Icelandic news outlets and meteorologists joke that summer in Iceland is canceled every few years because it tends to be overcast and rainy. In July, the average rainfall is still around 2 inches (50 millimeters) with ten days of rain.  

Despite its rainy tendencies, Iceland in July is one of the sunniest periods with little rainfall.

The Temperature in Iceland in July

An "Icelandic summer" seems like an oxymoron, but this mythical beast exists. June, July, and August are Iceland's warmest and driest months. 

By traditional definitions, Iceland is hardly ever “warm” or “ dry.” It’s generally classified as having an oceanic climate or a cool temperate maritime climate, meaning temperatures linger below 71.6 F (22 C) in summer. The average temperatures hover between 50-59 F (10-15 C) in July.

In the past, the temperature has reached as high as 86 F (30 C) and as low as 38 F (3.5 C), reaching 33.8 F (1 C) in the East Fjords in 2015.

To plan efficiently, count on temperatures hovering around 50 F (10 C).

Sunlight in Iceland in July

The glacier lagoon, basked in summer light.

Firstly, the sun does not shine all night in July, although the 3 a.m. twilight might qualify as sunlight. The summer equinox is on June 21. From that point, the sun begins to go down one to three minutes a day earlier, so by the end of the month, the sun will set for a few hours in the early morning.

From July 1, the sun isn't visible from 11:56 p.m. to 3:06 a.m., although the sky will still be very light. On July 31, it’ll set at 10:33 p.m. and rise at 4:31 p.m. Even at that point, however, it won't be dark enough to see the northern lights without specialized equipment.



Did we answer all your questions about things to do in Iceland in July? Now that you know what Iceland in July and its weather is like, and the best things to do in summer, let us know in the comment which activity or place you’re most interested in.