April 18, 2019

June in Iceland

by Aslaug
Things to do
Aslaug writes scripts and plays and does copious amounts of research by watching hours upon hours of Netflix and visiting the local theaters and restaurants. Her favorite spot in Iceland is Skardsvik beach on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, with Husavik village a close second. Her favorite Icelandic saying is „Þetta reddast“ – roughly translated as „Eh…it‘ll be fine.“
June in Iceland

Updated April 2022

Summertime in Iceland is a unique experience. You will very soon feel energized by the long days (with an average of 20 hrs of daylight) and the Midnight Sun will deliver some mind-blowing late night sunsets.

Midnight sun

The sheep and horses roam free on vibrant green fields, and the mountains take on multi-colored hues. The weather is generally mild, with an average temperature of 9°C (48°F). So while you shouldn’t expect heat waves, you should be free from blizzards. Icelanders’ moods have always been intrinsically linked to the weather, and that’s never more apparent than in June. When the darkness of winter is finally lifted and the long-awaited sun confidently starts peeking out from the clouds, you can sense the change in energy just by walking out in the street. Everyone is smiling, and there’s a buzz of energy in the air. Perhaps that’s why June is full of various arts and music festivals, as well as other celebrations that are well worth checking out.

Lupins in Iceland

Weather in June in Iceland

June is undoubtedly the month of the Midnight Sun. Even though the documented time of daylight is 20-21 hours,  the sun never actually sets, so it seems more like 24 hours!

The average temperature of Iceland in June is between 9°C and 15°C (48-59°F). This is quite significantly lower than the record temperature, which was documented early in the last century at 30,5 °C (87°F). Still, like most places in the world, Iceland is at its sunniest at this time of the year,  so you should not forget to bring sunscreen and sunglasses.

Rain is another factor you might want to consider. Although June in Iceland is not known for being a particularly rainy month, Iceland’s island location (being in the middle of the Atlantic ocean and all) will occasionally provide some rain showers. Or at least a sprinkle.

Daylight in June in Iceland

Iceland is dominated by daylight in June. There really is no other way to put it. From the beginning of the month until the end,  the daylight cycle is around 20-21 hours a day, leaving only a short time period for the sun to set before it starts to come back up. There really is no evident darkness. So you might want to consider bringing those bedtime eye masks if you intend to get some sleep. Actually, most hotels are prepared to meet these unusual quantities of daylight with thick drapes and special sun blocking curtains.

Westfjords in Summer

However, when you consider pros vs. cons, this little con is far outweighed by the many, many pros of the Midnight Sun.  Enjoy the gifts of Mother Nature and bask in the Midnight Sun. There is some real magic to be found in it!  

Northern Lights in June in Iceland

The good news is that the Northern Lights are still present in June, just like in winter. But the bad news is that summer daylight creates too bright of a background for them to be visible to the naked eye. The northern lights are pastel colored,  and when the sky background is the same color they don’t pop out as much. I think we might just have found con number two. But, that’s it, trust me!

What to Pack for Iceland in June

The packing list for June in Iceland is not much different from a packing list for any other month BUT you can leave your parka at home. You will still want to keep in mind that dressing in layers is key, no matter the time of year you visit Iceland. The base layer is very important. The second most important part is to wear good shoes and a waterproof jacket. What you choose to wear around these essentials is pretty much up to you. Still, we would like to assist with the basic things that will come in handy on a June trip to Iceland:

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

  • Base Layer: Wool Underwear/Thermals
  • Thick Socks (more pairs than usual)
  • Mid Layer: Sweater, Fleece or Wool this is up to you
  • T-Shirt
  • Long Pants (could be jeans but then bring another pair for activities)
  • Shorts
  • Hiking Boots/Sturdy Boots
  • Hat
  • Water/Windproof Jacket
  • Light Jacket
  • Sunglasses
  • Bathing Suit
  • Sunscreen (surprisingly important)
  • Lip Balm (you will know why when you land)

What to do in June in Iceland

Reykjavik in Midnight Sun

Experience the Midnight Sun

The Midnight Sun is for many the highlight of Icelandic Summer. Just imagine if the Golden hour was a Golden month and you will start to understand why!

ATV in Midnight Sun

There are so many different ways one can enjoy the Midnight Sun. Some like to camp out, others do a late night BBQ, some enjoy bird watching.  Then there are those who like hiking mountains to see the setting sun slightly touch the horizon before coming right back up. Whatever might be your thing, just make sure to make the most of it.  This is a memory that lasts!

Take a Road Trip

There are endless amazing one-day road trip opportunities to take out from Reykjavik. You can visit the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, often nicknamed “Iceland in a Nutshell.”  Two other popular day trip regions include the geothermally active Reykjanes Peninsula and the South Coast.

Bathe in a Hot Spring or a Geothermal Pool

Iceland is the land of natural hot springs and geothermal swimming pools. Weather you choose the famed Blue Lagoon, the hot river in the Smoky Valley or the Laugardalslaug public swimming pool in Reykjavik this experience simply must be a part of your trip to Iceland. Some pools are even free! Visit our guide to the best pools in Iceland.

Blue Lagoon Iceland

Take a Hiking Trip

Many don’t know this but Iceland is actually famous in the hiking world for its unique and extraordinary trails. There are trails that go over glaciers and volcanoes, those that go up colorful mountains and those that end with some hot spring bathing.

It is safe to say that the Icelandic hiking scene has something for everyone, no matter your fitness or experience. This list of the top 10 hiking trails in Iceland might help with finding yours!

Events and Festivals in June in Iceland

The Reykjavík Arts Festival is a festival that takes place from June 1st to June 17th with a great selection of local and international artists contributing to events all over Reykjavik City. It is an excellent affair for anyone interested in the arts and a great event to experience on a rainy day.

The First Weekend in June – Sjomannadagurinn or Sailor’s Day

All around the country you will find parties, dances and parades. The actual celebration day is on Sunday,  but the night before a lot of people go out dancing and cheer our fisherman heroes with a celebratory “SKAL” (or four).

classic whale watching 1

In Reykjavik, the celebration has been turned into an all weekend thing, named Hatid hafsins (Festival of the Sea), where all things nautical are in the spotlight. The festivities take place down by the harbor, where people of all ages gather to see wondrous sea creatures, listen to music and watch a thrilling, pirate-style pillow fight.

The 17th of June – Iceland’s National Day

On June 17th people gather for Iceland’s National Day. On this day Icelanders celebrate their official independence from the Danish Rule, when the Republic of Iceland was established in 1944. The 17th of June was chosen because the leader of the independence fight was born on that date. His name was Jon Sigurdsson and you can see him today on the 500 kronur banknote.

Icelandic Flag

Today the people of Iceland celebrate this occasion with parades, concerts, balloons and candy floss (much to the chagrin of health-conscious parents). The day is notorious for bad weather, but Icelanders have never let a little rain stop them from enjoying themselves and you shouldn’t either.

Jonsmessa – The Icelandic Midsummer

Between the 20th and the 22nd each year Icelanders celebrate the Summer Solstice. There is no place in the world better to celebrate that than Iceland. The longest day of the year is gorgeously lit by the magical Midnight Sun.  Something that needs to be experienced to fully grasp the idea of 24-hour daylight. In order to lengthen this special time, Icelanders celebrate Jonsmessa or Midsummer Night. Jonsmessa is always celebrated on the night of the 24th of June. The night, named after John the Baptist, is thought to have supernatural powers. Cows gain speech, magical stones float to the top of ponds, seals become human and elves will try to tempt you over to their world (which is not a good thing for humans), so be careful. It’s also said that rolling around naked in the dew on Jonsmessa has healing qualities, although we wouldn’t recommend doing that in any public places.

The Secret Solstice Festival

The festival of the Icelandic Solstice has been getting bigger and better every year and with international superstars like Stormzy, Anderson Pack, Die Antwoord, Black Eyed Peas, Gucci Mane, and the legendary Bonnie Tyler headlining. During these four days, the family-friendly festival also hosts a number of unique off-site events.  Including concerts on top of a glacier or inside an actual volcano. The main location is though, in Laugardalur, central Reykjavik, which offers camping for those who want. This is one for the party people!

Driving around Iceland in June

Driving around Iceland in June is a breeze compared to a winter road trip. Now the weather is calmer and better behaved. The only real obstacles you might run into are deciding which attractions to visit and dealing with the bright sunlight (which might go in your eyes while driving).

The roads are in excellent shape. In fact, many say June is the best month to drive the Ring Road. Still, just in case do check the forecast for each day. It is always better to know what to expect.

Top tours to do in June in Iceland

Guided groups tour are the ideal vacation when travelling in June in Iceland. These tours are packed with visiting amazing natural attractions and fun activities. If adding in extra nights before or after the tour, enjoyable June activities include whale watching, snorkeling between the continents in Thingvellir, and watching out for puffins.

If you are looking for a longer trip to explore the country better,  Iceland Travel also offers excellent multi-day road trip tours around Iceland.

Subscribe to our blog