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Summer Activities in Reykjavik

By Viator, May 2013

5 13 Reviews | Add your review

Just because its name evokes images of snowshoeing and glacier hiking, doesn’t mean Iceland is only a winter destination; in fact, the summer months are one of the most popular times to explore with extended sunlight hours providing the opportunity to continue tours late into the evening. Here are a few suggestions for what to do in Iceland in summer.

1. Go horse riding
Take to the saddle on one of the legendary Icelandic horses – a small, tough breed of native horses famous for their unique gait known as a ‘tolt’. Speedy but comfortable, tolting across the Icelandic countryside is one of the best ways to get a view of the country’s spectacular volcanic landscape and there are abundant horseback riding tours around the country.

2. Hike in the National Parks
Shed the thermals and snowshoes (unless you’re heading to the glaciers) because summer hiking is an altogether milder affair and it’s the best time to visit Iceland’s National Parks and tackle some of the country’s world-renowned hiking trails. Head to Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest National Park, for expansive views over the country’s biggest glacier and the thundering Dettifoss falls; take a day trip to the Thingvellir National Park from Reykjavik; or scale the famous rhyolite mountains of Landmannalaugar.

3. Take a road trip
With less chance of icy roads and treacherous driving conditions, summer is the perfect time for hiring a car or campervan and driving around Iceland, either as part of a self-guide tour or a DIY excursion. Cruise around the island on the Ring Road, which circles the entire country, or for an authentic Icelandic summer vacation, brave the rugged mountain tracks and hire a log cabin in the wilderness.

4. Go wildlife spotting
Iceland’s coastline is teeming with a variety of marine life and as the weather gets warmer, boat cruises offer plenty of wildlife spotting opportunities. Spot whales in their natural habitats off the coast of Húsavík; get a view of the Puffins on the Lundey and Akurey islands in the Reykjavík bay area; or take a sea fishing excursion.

5. Enjoy Iceland’s summer festivals
Summer in Iceland brings with it a number of fun festivals, many organized on the Verslunarmannahelgi weekend (a bank holiday weekend at the start of August). The National festival, held on the Vestmannaeyjar islands is one of the biggest, a 4-day music and entertainment festival that draws thousands of visitors from all over the country, but Reykjavík also has a number of summer events including the Gay Pride Festival, the Menningarnótt (Culture Night) and the Reykjavík Jazz Festival. Other popular annual festivals include the Bright Days festival in Hafnarfjordu, the Reykholt Music Festival in Reykholt and the Viking Festival in Hafnarfjordur.

Contributed by Zoe Smith

Tours & Tickets

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Viking Horse-Riding and Gulfoss and Geysir Express Tour from Reykjavik

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 34 Reviews

For a full-day experience with a difference, ride a Viking horse in the morning then spend the afternoon touring Gulfoss, Geysir and other Icelandic natural ...  Read more

Location: Reykjavik, Iceland
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $156.78

Day Trip from Reykjavik: Cave Exploring in Gjábakkahellir and Snorkeling in Silfra

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 17 Reviews

This adventurous tour is your chance to go cave exploring and snorkeling in one incredible day. On this day trip from Reykjavik, visit Iceland's ...  Read more

Location: Reykjavik, Iceland
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $238.47

Thorsmork and South Coast Day Trip from Reykjavik

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 27 Reviews

For those who want adventure - this is the tour for you! Tour over the plateau Hellisheioi and on to visit the beautiful waterfall Seljalandsfoss where you ...  Read more

Location: Reykjavik, Iceland
Duration: 11 hours (approx.)

From USD $171.27

Northern Lights Viewing Cruise from Reykjavik

4 star rating: Recommended 42 Reviews

See the northern lights, also known as aurora borealis, from a comfortable boat on this unique cruise from Reykjavik. Leave Iceland’s coast to experience this ...  Read more

Location: Reykjavik, Iceland
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $71.14

Snaefellsjokull, The Glacier and The National Park Tour from Reykjavik

4 star rating: Recommended 11 Reviews

See Iceland's outstanding nature in just one day! Spot seals and seabirds along the coastal waters off Iceland's Snaefellsnes Peninsula and spend the afternoon ...  Read more

Location: Reykjavik, Iceland
Duration: 10 hours (approx.)

From USD $173.91

Puffin Express Cruise to Akurey from Reykjavik

4.5 star rating: Recommended 30 Reviews

See puffins up close on the puffin express tour from Reykjavik. The specially designed boat takes you close to the rocky shore of Akurey island to see the ...  Read more

Location: Reykjavik, Iceland
Duration: 60 minutes (approx.)

From USD $43.48

Viking Horse-Riding Tour and Blue Lagoon from Reykjavik

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 49 Reviews

For an Icelandic experience with a difference, ride a Viking horse in the morning or early afternoon and then spend the rest of the day relaxing at the Blue ...  Read more

Location: Reykjavik, Iceland
Duration: Minimum 5 hours

From USD $122.53

Iceland from Below and Blue Lagoon

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 12 Reviews

For a unique afternoon of Icelandic activities take the combined Iceland from Below and Blue Lagoon tours, and make the most of your time in Iceland.

Location: Reykjavik, Iceland
Duration: 7 hours (approx.)

From USD $117.26

Iceland from Below Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 21 Reviews

Journey through Iceland's underground caves and craters on this unique day trip about an hour outside of Reykjavik.

Location: Reykjavik, Iceland
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $85.64

Reykjavik Shore Excursion: Puffin Sightseeing Cruise

When your cruise ship docks at Reykjavik Port, take a 1-hour shore excursion to Akurey Island to see where one of Iceland’s largest colony of puffins live! ...  Read more

Location: Reykjavik, Iceland
Duration: 60 minutes (approx.)

From USD $43.48

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