Is it the best choice to visit Iceland in August? Well, August is a peak visitor month in Iceland for so many reasons. The weather, the sights, the festivals – it’s the perfect storm for good times in Iceland! With very little chance of an actual storm! And we’re here to tell you all about them, especially why Reykjavik is so much fun in August.
Your Friend in Reykjavik is waiting to help you make the most of your visit to our island. Join one of our Reykjavik walking tours and explore our capital city and discover the joys of Iceland in August!
Weather in Iceland in August
In August, summer can still be relatively cool for many travellers who visit Iceland. The temperature wanders between 50°F to 60°F (10°C to 15°C). Sunshine hours in Reykjavík are, on average, 155 in August. Iceland is, however, a bit of a rainy country, and on average, there are 11.7 precipitation days in August. That doesn’t mean it’ll rain a lot, though, and the rainfall only measures about 2.65″ (67.3mm) over the whole month. The autumn and winter months see more precipitation, so this is a good thing.
The days are still long, with 16 hours of daylight on average, so you get plenty of time to see the island.
Learn More About When to Visit Iceland:
Nature Puts on Amazing Light Shows in August
Days are starting to get shorter in Iceland, but you can still experience our midnight suns in August. Sunsets are at around 10 pm at the beginning of the month and around 9 pm towards the end. But since dawn is only six or seven hours away, the skies take on a wondrous golden-pink gleam, barely touching darkness.
You may ask, can you see the famous Northern Lights in August if the sun is shining? Well, there is a chance, especially later in the month, when the night skies darken a little longer as we head to longer evenings in Iceland. If you join us on our Reykjavik folklore walking tour, don’t forget to ask who shouldn’t look directly at the Northern Lights!
We also recommend you check out the Aurora Reykjavik – Northern Lights Center in Grandi and The Wonders of Iceland in Perlan, where you can see a Northern Lights show in a state-of-the-art Planetarium.
Spot These Animals in Iceland in August
You don’t have to travel far to get a glimpse of wildlife when you visit Iceland in August. In Reykjavik, you can go birdwatching by the Pond. If swans, geese, and ducks aren’t your thing, walk over to the harbor, and you might see a puffin or two. And maybe land your eyes on a dolphin or a whale! For a better chance to see those beautiful animals, we recommend you join a puffin excursion or a whale-watching tour.
Summertime is an excellent time for whale-watching from any port in Iceland. Blue whales, minke whales, and humpbacks are easier to spot in the calmer waters. They also share these waters with seals, orcas, and dolphins. So, have your camera ready!
Venturing further into the island, you may make friends with an Icelandic horse or get lucky and see an Arctic fox. Polar bear sightings are extremely rare since they need to catch a ride on some ice from Greenland to get here. But we do have reindeer, which live mainly in the East Fjords.
August Festivals Fill the Island with Fun
Summertime is great for festivals. And Iceland is no different!
The first weekend of the month is a holiday weekend, so try to make it for Verslunarmannahelgi, Merchant’s Weekend; if you want epic music, camping, and family fun, head southwest to Vestmannaeyjar for Þjóðhátíð. Suppose you have a thing for history, especially related to herring. In that case, you may want to look into the Síldarævintýri festival in the northern town of Siglufjörður. And still, in the north, Akureyri hosts the Iceland Summer Games, complete with BMX races and beach volleyball tournaments.
Wednesday to Saturday is the Reykjavik Pride Festival in the second week of August. During that week, there are many happenings, such as drag shows, concerts, street theatres, and more. This all accumulates in a fabulous Reykjavik Pride Parade, which about 100.000 people attend to watch (which is just under 1/3 of Iceland’s population). Iceland is considered LGBTQIA+ friendly, and to read more about it, check out this blog post.
The next festival in Reykjavik is Culture Night on the first Saturday after 18 August. The Culture Night is, in fact, a celebration of Reykjavik’s anniversary as it got its municipal rights on 18 August 1786. It is one of the biggest festivals in Iceland, with almost endless happenings. We recommend you check out the program to see what’s going on. There are outdoor performances and markets, but also everyone pitches in with museums, theatres, and businesses hosting events.
The last festival of the month is the Reykjavik Jazz Festival held every year since 1990. Iceland’s second oldest music festival (the oldest is Dark Music Days, held in January). The main emphasis of the festival is to support and introduce jazz music. The festival hosts performances in various styles, from contemporary jazz and avant-garde to Latin jazz, gospel and big bands. You will find acclaimed international jazz players and Iceland’s leading jazz musicians.
The Best Things to Do When You Visit Iceland in August
Clear skies and warmer weather in August mean exploring more of the island! Take a driving tour or rent a car and explore the open countryside. Road conditions are ideal so you can soak in the scenery. Skim the water on a kayak – you may make some aquatic animal friends along the way. Or take advantage of the long days and go hiking. You can get up close to one of our many volcanoes or lava cave, but we suggest going on a tour for that. Better to be safe! Especially if you want to go to Geldingadalir. The famous eruption in Fagradalsfjall ended in the summer of 2021, but the lava is still warm!
In Reykjavik, you can explore the town on your own. Check out the local wares and people at the Reykjavik flea market. Wander around the Pond or the harbor, visiting the gardens and museums along the way. Make sure to snap a pic of the Sun Voyager, and maybe dip your toes in our geothermal beach. Don’t worry, the water’s fine! There is a really cool hot tub there and changing rooms. It’s a perfect combo to swim in the cold ocean a bit before soaking into the hot tub, so they say at least. I am not crazy about such torture. But you will also find a portion of the ocean warmed up for a lovely dip, so it’s not all just cold!
Not sure what to do first? Join us for some great fun on our Reykjavik walking tour! It’s a Walk with a Viking, where you get an excellent introduction to our country. It will help you get your bearings and make the most of your stay in Iceland.
What to Pack for Iceland in August
Summer is pleasant in Iceland, but there are a few things you might want to make sure to pack. Even if you don’t plan on any big hikes, hiking or comfortable walking shoes are always a good idea. Prepare to dress in layers, and make sure to have a sweater and some rain gear. If you forget, no problem. Plenty of shopping tips for Reykjavik here!
Because the nights are short, you may want to pack an eyeshade or some sleeping tablets. Sixteen hours of daylight may not be for everyone! If you’re planning a road trip while you’re here, don’t forget your driver’s license. And pack your swimsuit. You may want the unique experience of a dip in a geothermal pool somewhere in the countryside or the one and only Reykjavik beach.
August or Anytime, Visit Us in Reykjavik!
Whenever you make it to Iceland, we hope you stop by Reykjavik and see us! Our guides would love to share their insights, welcoming you to the best in Icelandic hospitality! Walk with one of our Vikings, or let us show you how we locals enjoy our food and drink. If you have any questions about your visit, just let us know. We can recommend things to do or help organize a private tour to give you the perfect experience!
Please signup HERE for our newsletter for more fun facts and information about Iceland!