Iceland in August | Northern Lights, Midnight Sun, & Things to Do

Visiting Iceland in August offers incredible wildlife-viewing opportunities (puffins migration & whale watching are at their peak), a myriad of festivals & cultural events, and absolutely beautiful weather. August marks the end of the summer, and therefore is one of the most temperate months to travel to Iceland with pleasant temperatures, little rainfall, and opportunities to experience both the Midnight Sun and the Northern Lights.

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Weather in August in Iceland

August marks the last official month of Summer in Iceland, and is one of the warmest months of the year (second only to July).  There isn't much rainfall and the average temperature is very pleasant at 10-15 degrees Celsius (50-60 degrees F).  Iceland's longest days of the year are in the summer (the longest being at the end of June / beginning of July) so be prepared for 16+ hours of daylight!  At the start of August, the sun often sets close to midnight - a phenomenon known as the Midnight Sun! And as the end of August approaches and the nights get darker, clearer, and crisper the Northern Lights start to make their appearance. 

What to Pack for Iceland in August

August in Iceland brings warm days and cool evenings, so packing light clothing that can be layered is key. Bring a mixture of shorts & t-shirts, long pants & sweaters, and even a light coat.  When you are ready to pack your bag, Discover Our Essential packing list to Iceland

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Top 10 Things to Do in Iceland in August

Captivating people from all around the world, Iceland has so much to offer.  From wildlife-viewing opportunities to cultural festivals there is never a shortage of activities.  Discover the Top 10 activities you should do in Iceland in August,

  • Festivals every weekend
  • Puffin Migration
  • Start of the Northern Lights
  • Golden Circle Visit
  • Ring Road Tour
  • Blue Lagoon & Hot Springs
  • Midnight Sun
  • Waterfall & Glacier hikes
  • Whale Watching
  • Village visits (roads are clear of ice)

Festivals | August in Iceland is full of events, with festivals happening nearly every weekend.  From music, art, sports, and food - festivals take place in the capital city of Reykjavik to the small villages of Vik and Akureyri.  Complete list of Icelandic festivals in August

Puffin Migration | Puffins are exclusive to the North Atlantic Ocean, and are found mainly in Newfoundland, Greenland, Northern Russia, and Iceland. From April to September, Puffins are migrating to Iceland to nest on the Isles and Coastal Cliffs.  You can find them most commonly in the Westfjords, Westman Islands, and the South Coast (among other places).

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Start of the Northern Lights | Many people visit Iceland with the hopes of viewing the of the Northern Lights - one of the most amazing natural phenomenon in the world.  The start of the Northern Lights season begins in August and lasts until the beginning of May (with the peak season being November to March).  If you visit Iceland in August, Northern Lights may be a possibility!

Golden Circle Visit | No trip to Iceland is complete without a visit to the Golden Circle, where some of Iceland's most beautiful natural sites can be found. Also known as the Pingvellir National Park, the Golden Circle is home to Gullfoss Waterfall, to the famous Geysir, and the Kerid Crater. August provides the perfect weather for hiking, exploring, and being outside to visit the famous sites of the Golden Circle. 

Ring Road Tour | If you only have one to two weeks to visit Iceland, make sure that you do the Ring Road Tour which will take you around the entire outer ring of Iceland! The Ring Road is accessible all year round (summer, fall, winter, spring) but the summer months such as August give travelers a better opportunity to see and explore all the highlights that are often inaccessible in the winter months. Visit the South Shore, Vik's black sand beaches, Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, Dettifoss Waterfall, Myvatn baths / hot springs, the Golden Circle, Reykjavik, and more.  Ring Road Itinerary Highlights & Ring Road Tour

Blue Lagoon  & Hot springs | The blue lagoon is a highlight for many travelers visiting Iceland, and is very enjoyable in the month of August.  That being said, August tends to bring in crowds to the most popular locations on the Iceland, so if given the chance I would opt for the Myvatn Baths / Hot Springs on the Ring Road Tour for a more quiet, peaceful thermal bath experience!

Midnight Sun | The Midnight Sun is unique phenomenon where the sun set's at midnight (leaving 16+ hours of daylight each day).  This phenomenon only occurs June to August in Iceland, so visiting during the summer months gives you plenty of daylight to explore!

Waterfall & Glacier Hikes | With the pleasant weather that August brings, people spend a lot of their time in the outdoors - which is what Iceland is all about!  Known as the land of 1000 waterfalls,  you can literally find a waterfall at the end of every road.  What is also unique is that glaciers never fully melt in Iceland, so even if you come in August during one of the warmest months of the year - you will still be able to experience some of Iceland's amazing ice formations!

Whale Watching | The best time for whale watching in Iceland are in the months from March to September, when the whales are migrating from the Atlantic and the Arctic.  During this time over 20 species of whales are visible, including - Humpback, Blue Whale, and the Orca.

Village Visits | August in Iceland is one of the months that draws the most tourists, so we recommend spending your time off the beaten track in smaller (and more quaint) villages.  Many villages are located along the Ring Road Tour, and nearby some of Iceland's largest attractions.  If you get the opportunity to stay in a village, you will find it to be one of the highlights of your experience!  Meet local people, try new foods, and explore all of Iceland's highlights!

Enjoy your trip to Iceland!