Summer Activities in Reykjavik

By Viator, July 2015

4.5 30 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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