GuidesBest SeasonsDiscover the Best of Iceland in August: Activities, Weather & Tips
visiting iceland in august during late summer season when the northern lights season is coming soon.
Go Car Rental Iceland travel writer Aron Freyr
By Aron FreyrJun 8, 2024 • 8 min read

Discover the Best of Iceland in August: Activities, Weather & Tips

Imagine witnessing the stunning phenomenon of the midnight sun, or the breathtaking sight of a waterfall cascading over volcanic rock formations. Picture yourself soaking in a natural hot spring surrounded by the raw, untouched beauty of Icelandic nature. This isn’t a dream - it’s Iceland in August.

Key Takeaways

  • Iceland in August is the perfect month to experience all that Iceland has to offer, with mild weather and extended daylight hours creating endless possibilities for outdoor activities.
  • Enjoy cultural celebrations, music festivals and wildlife encounters while exploring natural wonders such as glaciers, waterfalls and the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa.
  • Pack essential warm layers & waterproof attire for a memorable adventure of hiking trails or road tripping around this enchanting island country!

Why Visit Iceland in August?

Visiting Iceland in August offers:

  • Long daylight hours for exploring the country’s stunning landscapes
  • Pleasant weather for outdoor activities
  • Cultural events and festivals, making it a busy and exciting month to visit.

You’ll find the average temperature in August to be quite pleasant, often ranging from 50° Fahrenheit (10° Celsius) to 70° Fahrenheit (20° Celsius). These conditions simplify packing for your Iceland trip and enhance the enjoyment of summer activities.

And with only a few hours of daylight, you’ll have more than enough time to explore and make the most of your stay.

Weather and Daylight Hours

Iceland experiences typically mild and sunny weather in August, interspersed with occasional showers. The season is marked by:

  • Abundant daylight, with the sun remaining visible for nearly 17 hours each day
  • The phenomenon of the midnight sun, a truly remarkable sight
  • Extended daylight hours that afford ample exploration time and foster a unique atmosphere found scarcely elsewhere in the world.

The average daily temperature usually falls between 50-59°F (10-15°C). On rare occasions, the temperature rises to 77°F (25°C).

Although the Aurora Borealis is not commonly visible in August, the overall weather conditions are still enjoyable. Hence, when packing for your trip, remember to prepare for both sunny and rainy days. The weather might be unpredictable, but that’s part of the charm of visiting Iceland!

MonthsAverage Daylight Hour
April 15,2
May18,5
June21,3 (Few days with 24 hours)
July19,9
August16,5
September13,1

Outdoor Activities

August in Iceland is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Whether you’re hiking in the national parks, camping under the stars, or soaking in hot spring pools, you’re in for a treat. Whale watching is one of the most thrilling activities to enjoy in Iceland during August. Imagine witnessing the majestic humpback or blue whales breaching the water surface.

Puffin spotting is another unique activity to enjoy in August. Visit the Látrabjarg cliffs in the Westfjords, the Westman Islands, or Dyrhólaey on the South Coast to see these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. You can also explore the awe-inspiring glacial landscape of Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, renowned around the world. With the pleasant weather and long daylight hours, the opportunities for outdoor adventures are endless.

August Weather in Iceland

The weather in Iceland during August is generally mild and pleasant, presenting an opportune time to visit. However, it’s important to remember that weather in Iceland can be unpredictable and change rapidly. One moment, you might be basking in the sunshine, and the next, you could find yourself in the middle of a rain shower! But don’t let that deter you - the unpredictable weather only adds to the charm and mystery of this beautiful island country.

Despite the unpredictability of the weather, understanding the typical temperature ranges and rainfall amounts is vital for trip preparation. We’ll delve into these details in the following subsections.

Temperature Ranges

MonthAverage high Average low
June to August13°C / 54°F8°C / 46°F
September to November7°C / 44°F4°C / 39°F
December to February 3°C / 37°F-5°C / 23°F
March to May5°C / 41°F0°C / 32°F

During August, temperatures in Iceland generally hover between a pleasant 50-59°F (10-15°C), with the rare warmer day reaching a delightful 77°F (25°C). It’s one of the more temperate months in Iceland, making it ideal for outdoor activities and exploring the country’s stunning landscapes.

However, don’t be fooled by the warm temperatures during the day. The evenings can still get quite chilly, especially if there’s a breeze, so packing some warm layers is essential.

Overall, the temperatures are comfortable, making your visit to Iceland enjoyable and memorable.

Rainfall in August

Rainfall is common in August, averaging around 12 rainy days, providing occasional refreshing showers. The average rainfall in Iceland in August is a plentiful 104 mm (4.1 inches), with the south coast of Iceland experiencing the most rainfall.

While the rainfall might affect outdoor activities for a short while, the rain usually doesn’t last for the whole day. So, don’t let the rain dampen your spirits. Once the rain stops and the sun comes out again, you can continue your exploration and discover the enchanting beauty of Iceland.

Average total precipitation in August

DaysPlaceInches Milli­metres
8Akureyri1.641
11 Dalatangi5.2 131
13Keflavik3.588
12 Reykjavik2.5 65
14 Reynisfjara Beach5.5 140
10 Stykkisholmur2.051

Must-See Attractions in August

August is the perfect time to check out some of Iceland’s must-see attractions. From stunning natural wonders to unique wildlife encounters, there’s something for everyone in this magical country.

Whether it’s the annual fireworks show at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, a sight that’s bound to leave you mesmerized, or the majestic Mt. Kirkjufell, Iceland’s most stunningly photographed mountain, the natural wonders of North Iceland, including the northern lights, are a sight to behold. In addition, the wildlife encounters, including whale watching and puffin spotting, are sure to make your trip unforgettable.

Hraunfossar Waterfalls

A series of waterfalls formed by rivulets streaming over a distance of about 900 meters out of the Hallmundarhraun lava field.

Svartifoss Waterfall

Located in Skaftafell in Vatnajökull National Park, this waterfall is surrounded by dark lava columns, which gave rise to its name.

Hallgrimskirkja

This iconic church in Reykjavik not only offers stunning architecture but also a panoramic view of the city.

Reykjadalur Hot Springs

A geothermal area to the east of Hveragerði town where you can bathe in warm rivers.

Blue Lagoon

A must-visit geothermal spa, renowned for its healing mineral-rich waters.

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

Large chunks of ice constantly break off the glacier, Breiðamerkurjökull, and large icebergs float on the lagoon.

Secret Lagoon

Located in the small village of Fludir, it's one of the oldest natural geothermal pools in Iceland.

Látrabjarg Cliffs

The largest bird cliff in Iceland and home to millions of birds, including puffins, northern gannets, guillemots and razorbills.

The Golden Circle

This popular tourist route in southern Iceland, covers about 300 kilometers looping from Reykjavík into the southern uplands of Iceland and back.

Black Sand Beach

The stunning Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach is a must-visit. It's known for its unique black pebbles and dramatic basalt columns.

Natural Wonders

August is the perfect time to take in the stunning waterfalls, glaciers, and geothermal hot springs Iceland has to offer. The country’s landscapes are some of the most beautiful and unique in the world, and they’re just waiting to be explored.

In particular, the Blue Lagoon, a luxurious and invigorating geothermal spa, is a must-visit. Be sure to book your visit in advance as August is a highly popular time for tourism in Iceland. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to relax and soak in the mineral-rich waters of the lagoon amidst the surreal landscapes of Iceland.

Wildlife Encounters

Wildlife encounters are a highlight of any trip to Iceland, and August is no exception. Whale watching is particularly popular during this time, with species such as these commonly sighted:

  • humpback whales
  • blue whales
  • fin whales
  • white-beaked dolphins

Puffin spotting is another unique experience. These adorable birds can be seen at several locations across the country, including the Westman Islands and Látrabjarg cliffs in the Westfjords. Witnessing these incredible creatures in their natural habitat is a sight you won’t soon forget.

August Events and Festivals in Iceland

August is a bustling month in Iceland, filled with a variety of events and festivals that showcase the country’s rich culture and arts scene. Some of the highlights include:

Reykjavik Culture Night

An annual event where the city’s museums, galleries, and other cultural institutions open their doors for free to everyone.

Reykjavik Pride

A celebration of LGBTQ+ rights and culture.

Reykjavik Jazz Festival

A week-long festival featuring jazz performances from local and international artists.

Reykjavik Marathon

A popular event that attracts runners from around the world.

Early August is truly a month of celebration and joy in Iceland, while late August brings a more serene atmosphere as the festivities wind down.

On top of these cultural celebrations, the country also hosts a variety of music and art festivals, including outdoor concerts, adding to the vibrant atmosphere that permeates the city during this month.

Cultural Celebrations

Cultural celebrations such as Reykjavik Culture Night and Reykjavik Pride Festival are the highlights of August. These events showcase the diverse and vibrant culture of Iceland. Reykjavik Culture Night, in particular, is an exciting annual event where museums, galleries, and other cultural institutions open their doors for free to everyone.

This event offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of the city.

Similarly, Reykjavik Pride Festival is a celebration of LGBTQ+ rights and culture. The festival is filled with a variety of exciting events such as:

  • Queer cruises
  • Pride walks
  • A family festival
  • Concerts
  • Gallery openings
  • Parties

These celebrations provide a wonderful opportunity to come together and show support for the LGBTQ community in Iceland.

Music and Art Festivals

Music and art festivals are a significant part of Iceland’s cultural scene in August. The Thjodhatid festival in the Westman Islands and Innipukinn in Reykjavik are popular events during this month. These festivals often have their own delightful traditions and customs, including exciting activities and amenities such as side channels, local culture, traditions, folklore, costumes, and delicious food.

The Thjodhatid festival, for instance, began in 1874 when islanders were unable to attend the celebration on the Icelandic mainland due to inclement weather. It has since grown into the largest festival in Iceland, with thousands of people coming together to enjoy the music, cultural activities, and tribal atmosphere.

Photo taken elate August or early September during a local events a week long celebration.

Tips for Traveling to Iceland in August

To ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip, here are some travel tips to keep in mind:

Book in Advance

August is peak tourist season in Iceland, so it's essential to book your accommodations, car rentals, and tours well in advance to avoid disappointment.

Respect Nature

Iceland's ecosystems are fragile. Stick to marked paths, don't disturb wildlife, and take care not to damage the moss, which can take centuries to grow back.

Use Apps for Guidance

There are several useful apps for travelers in Iceland, including weather forecasts, road conditions, and even an app to alert you if you're in danger of stepping on fragile moss-covered areas.

Packing Essentials

Ensure you pack essentials to accommodate Iceland’s fluctuating weather, which includes warm layers, waterproof attire, and sturdy outdoor footwear. Remember, while the weather is generally mild in August, it can change rapidly, and you might experience a sudden shower or breeze.

Here are some other essential items to consider for your trip:

  • 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
  • Shorts
  • Hiking boots/sturdy boots
  • Hat
  • Water and/or windproof jacket
  • Light jacket
  • Sunglasses
  • Bathing suit

When planning your trip to Iceland in August, choosing the right rental car is essential for a smooth and enjoyable journey. Depending on your itinerary and the type of roads you plan to explore, here are some recommended rental cars to consider:

Non F-Road Explorers

If you're sticking to paved roads and more accessible routes, these compact and efficient cars are ideal for your Icelandic adventure:

  • Kia Ceed: Offers a good balance of comfort and performance, perfect for exploring the countryside.
  • Renault Captur: Compact yet spacious, this car is great for city driving and short excursions.
  • Renault Megane: Stylish and comfortable, the Megane is a versatile choice for exploring Iceland's attractions.

CarDoorsPassengersLuggage
Renault Megane wagon 55 4
Kia Ceed 55 3
Renault Captur 55 3

F-Road Explorers

For those planning to venture off the beaten path and tackle Iceland's challenging F-Roads, these rugged and capable 4x4 vehicles are recommended:

  • Dacia Duster: Known for its affordability and off-road capabilities, the Duster is a popular choice for F-Road adventures.
  • Toyota Rav4: A reliable and sturdy SUV that can handle rough terrains with ease.
  • Toyota Land Cruiser: A robust and versatile option for tackling challenging terrains and river crossings.

CarDoorsPassengersLuggage
Toyota RAV4 55 4
Dacia Duster 55 3
Toyota Land Cruiser 55 6

Whether you're exploring the Golden Circle or venturing into the highlands, selecting the right rental car based on your travel plans will enhance your Icelandic experience in August.

Outdoor Adventures in August

Iceland in August offers numerous opportunities for outdoor adventures. Whether you’re exploring national parks or snorkeling in the Silfra fissure, there’s an adventure for every enthusiast. The pleasant weather and long daylight hours make it the perfect time for outdoor activities such as:

  • Hiking
  • Guided glacier hiking tours
  • Snowmobiling tours
  • River rafting

Road tripping around Iceland, including the Ring Road and Arctic Coast Way, is an incredibly enjoyable activity in August due to the wonderful weather conditions. You can explore the island at your own pace, stopping to take in the breathtaking sights as you please.

Hiking Trails

Hiking is a favorite pastime in Iceland, and the country offers numerous trails that cater to all skill levels. The Laugavegur Trail and Fimmvörðuháls rank among Iceland’s most frequented trails, presenting stunning views of the country’s diverse landscapes. While the Laugavegur Trail is considered to be a moderate to challenging hike, the breathtaking views of rhyolite mountains, glaciers, hot springs, and rivers make it worth every step.

On the other hand, the Fimmvörðuháls hike typically takes around 8 to 10 hours to complete and is a must-do for any adventure enthusiast. The trail takes you past some of Iceland’s most beautiful landscapes, including waterfalls, glaciers, and volcanic craters.

Road Tripping

Taking a road trip ranks among the top activities in Iceland, particularly during the summer months. The country’s well-maintained roads and breathtaking landscapes make for an unforgettable experience. The Ring Road, also known as Route 1, is particularly popular. This route encircles the island and is approximately 1,332 kilometers (828 miles) long, offering incredible landscapes and attractions to explore, including the famous Golden Circle.

If you’re looking for a more off-the-beaten-path experience, consider taking the Arctic Coast Way. This route takes you along the north coast of Iceland, showcasing the region’s raw beauty and charming coastal towns. Along the way, you’ll find several must-see attractions, including the Húsavík Whale Museum and breathtaking waterfalls.

Summary

Visiting Iceland in August is a truly unique experience. The mild weather, long daylight hours, and a variety of outdoor activities make it a fantastic choice for your summer vacation. Whether you’re exploring the country’s breathtaking landscapes, soaking in a geothermal hot spring, or joining in the festivities at a cultural event, there’s no shortage of things to do in Iceland.

However, it’s important to plan your trip carefully to make the most of your visit. From booking accommodations and transportation in advance to packing the right gear, a little preparation goes a long way. Whether you’re an adventure enthusiast or a nature lover, Iceland in August has something to offer everyone. So, pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable journey!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is it a good time to go to Iceland in August?

August is a great time to visit Iceland - it's lush and green, with full accessibility due to milder weather conditions.

Can I see Northern Lights in Iceland in August?

Unfortunately, it's unlikely to see northern lights in Iceland in August due to the lack of darkness. For the best chance at seeing them, aim for the weeks around the winter solstice.

Is Iceland expensive in August?

August is a popular time for travel to Iceland, so expect costs to be higher than usual. Nevertheless, there are plenty of ways to save if you plan ahead!

What is the weather like in Iceland in August?

August in Iceland is mild and pleasant, with temperatures typically ranging from 50-70° Fahrenheit. Enjoy the sunshine!

What are some popular road trips in Iceland in August?

August is the perfect time to go on a road trip around Iceland, with two of the most popular routes being the Ring Road and Arctic Coast Way. Experience this beautiful country up close and explore its breathtaking landscape.

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