Things to do in Iceland in July
Summer is no doubt the best time of the year to travel and see new places! Sure in the summer months, Iceland’s temperature remains around 10 – 20 degrees, but then this as warm as it gets in the country!
Traveling to Iceland in July allows you to experience all the best parts of the country without being hindered by snow or ice. It also gives you the opportunity to see the country in all its glory. However, to enjoy your July trip to Iceland, you need a comprehensive list of the best places to visit, the most enjoyable activities, and what to expect. For answers to these questions, check out this list on what to do in Iceland below!
1. Go camping
Dive right into your vacation in Iceland by going camping. Icelanders are big fans of camping. They take full advantage of the warm July weather and spend nights outdoor with nature. So during your trip, you should try this too! Luckily based on the inhabitant’s love for camping, there are specially made campsites all over the country where you can join a bunch of other campers. These campsites are located in beautiful spots that provide memorable views.
There also some rules made to keep everyone in check and ensure everyone has a good camping experience. So remember that campers must not indulge any activity that is dangerous to nature or fellow campers. Camping in any of the National Parks or on a person’s property is also not allowed and might result in fine payments. Lastly, open fires are not allowed. So if you can refrain from breaking any of these rules, you are sure to have a great camping experience!
If you are on a budget, camping is one activity you should definitely look into. With a few dollars, you can have an experience of a lifetime.
2. Watch the Midnight Sun
The midnight sun is a must-see during your trip to Iceland! This fascinating occurrence only takes place in Iceland and during the months of June and July. During this period, the sun remains in the sky even during the late hours. While it might affect your usual sleep period, it gives you more time to enjoy your trip. So you can head out without being cautious of the dark… because there is no dark!
On normal evenings, taking a sightseeing tour might not be as fun as daytime tours because most people will be home, leaving popular sites empty. However, the summer sun keeps everyone out late, giving you the chance to enjoy an evening tour like the Golden Circle tour as much as a daytime tour.
If your budget allows, you can swap a sightseeing tour for a car rental and drive through Iceland at night with the aid of the midnight sun. So rent a car in Iceland and tour the Snæfellsnes Peninsula viewing the basalt cliffs, Olkelda Mineral Spring, YtriTunga Beach andKirkjufell Mountain. A quiet drive through Iceland can be inspiring and fulfilling. It also gives you opportunities to test your photography skills!
3. Sign up for a hiking tour
Another thrilling outdoor activity to enjoy in Iceland is hiking. Sure hiking can be done at almost any time of the year but in July, you can be assured of a safer and more convenient experience!
Iceland provides a large option of hiking trails and guided tours to choose from. The most popular trail for hiking goes from the highlands of Landmannalaugar to the Valley of Thor. In groups, the hike often takes 5 to 6 days and individually, it can be completed in 3 to 4 days. You can also take Golden Circle tour and the South Coast tour which takes 5 days. During the hike, there are cabins where hikers can sleep and eat.
The best thing about hiking in Iceland is that you get a view of wonderful natural elements such as forests, volcanoes, lakes, glaciers, rivers and lava fields. These sights can serve as a form of inspiration for creatives and also show you how wonderful nature is. If you’re not an avid hiker or would prefer shorter hikes with lovely views, there are also options for you. Thorsmork, Myvatn, Landmannalaugar and so many more are hiking trails that can be completed in a day.
4. Visit a Natural Hot Spring
All over Iceland, you can find refreshing natural hot springs. Visiting one, or all, of these hot springs will definitely make your trip worthwhile.
Finding a natural hot spring can also turn out to be a great adventure as you literally search unknown areas for a hidden pool.
For a nice hot spring experience, you can visit Seljavallalaug. While Seljavallalaug is a man-made pool, it was built close to a hot spring right in the middle of two huge mountains. After Seljavallalaug became abandoned, the hot spring received more attention, attracting tourists and residents yearly.
Another hot spring you should consider visiting during your trip is the Blue Lagoon. It is the most famous hot spring in Iceland, and for good reason. You can also visit the Secret Lagoon and experience a little bit of history as it is the oldest hot spring in Iceland. A few years ago, residents modernized it by building changing rooms and adding other necessary facilities.
There are so many natural hot springs in Iceland, some even yet to be discovered. You might just be lucky enough to be the first to discover a hot spring of your won if you explore wide enough!
5. Take a Glacier tour
July is the best time of the year to tour Iceland’s glaciers. In July the temperature is warm enough for you to spend as much time as you need on your tour and the sunlight allows you see them in their entire splendor.
All the glaciers in Iceland offer glacier hikes in July. If you don’t wish to hike, you can also visit the glacier by snowmobile rides. Snowmobile tours are fascinating, thrilling and something to write about!
Remember to always carry warm outfits for a glacier tour –either hiking or by snowmobiling. Also make sure your boots are strong and warm because glacial areas are cold, slippery and sometimes windy. You can also add a nice pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sunlight.
6. Go Snorkeling and Diving
Your trip to Iceland cannot be complete without some snorkeling and diving! Once again, these activities can be carried out at any time of the year but the warm July weather makes it even more enjoyable. In July, you can wear and remove your swimming gear easily. Also, the sunlight helps the algae bloom fully in July, making your dive a colorful, thrilling experience.
To go snorkeling or diving in Iceland though, there are basic requirements that must be met. Pregnant women for one are not advised or allowed to take these tours. Heavy drinkers and smokers over the age of 45 must provide a health certificate to dive/snorkel, and people with respiratory, neurological and circulatory health issues are not advised to dive or snorkel.
7. Go caving
Caving is thrilling, adventurous and an experience you must have while in Iceland! In July, the snow and ice that obstruct the entrances of caves melt, making them safer to traverse. During your trip, you can choose to visit caves that allow simple walk-throughs like Vidgelmir and Raufarholshellir, or visit more complex and adventurous caves like Leidarendi that allow crawling and climbing.
8. Enjoy the view on horseback
Horseback riding is one of the best activities to carry out in Iceland in July. Usually, horseback riding can be done all year long in Iceland, but in July the weather is more predictable, assuring you of a warm bright weather for riding.
Iceland horses are one of the best types of horses in the world. Their tolting ensure that each rider, even amateur horse riders, can have a smooth ride. So if you’ve never ridden a horse before, your trip to Iceland is a great time to give it a try.
You can sign up for a horse riding tour in any part of the country. The most popular tours begin from Reykjavik and Husavik. During a horse riding tour, you will definitely come across amazing sites in the area. For a better experience, especially with limited time, you can combine different activities together e.g. horse riding with glacial hiking.
9. Visit Vestmannaeyjar
Vestmannaeyjar is a combination of small islands in Iceland. In this southern part of Iceland, the small islands are surrounded by a bigger island – Heimaey Island. There is a fascinating active volcano on Heimaey Island so if you’ve never seen an active volcano before, this can be a great opportunity for you to see one!
In 1993, the volcano erupted, giving the Island a fascinating look. You can also hear some interesting stories of the volcanic eruption from the locals.
Lastly, In July you can also see the largest colony of puffins in the world!
10. Watch Whales and Puffins
Iceland boasts of an impressive number of whales and puffins. In July, different whale species such as humpback whales, minke whales, blue whales, and fins return from their breeding grounds, providing the best chance to watch them. The Puffins – small, bright-beaked seabirds – also return in millions to land from the sea to mate and reproduce in July.
To view these interesting creatures, you can sign up for a whale watching tour. Most of these tours leave from Reykjavik in July. They range from 1 to 4 hours, based on which you choose. In July, the warm weather makes ship decks comfortable enough for whale watching. You also have a better chance of sighting a whale, dolphin or seal during the ship ride in the summer month. If there are no sightings of whales during your trip, you can take your ticket with you and use it later for another tour.
If you don’t want to get on a ship, you can also watch whales on land –although the chances of seeing them are quite slim. To watch whales on land you can visit East Fjords and West fjords, amongst other places.
To see puffins, you can visit places like Westfjords, Latrabjarg, Tjornes, and Dyrholaey.
11. Stop by at the museum
Touring a country can never be complete without a tour of the museum. In Husavik, North Iceland, there is a small but enlightening museum waiting for your visit. The Exploration Museum was made in 2011 by ÖrlygurHnefillÖrlygsson a space enthusiast and hotelier. Exploration Museum was dedicated to the accomplishments and contributions of explorers.
The museum is filled with artifacts and tales of the human exploration history, starting from the Vikings tales to that of the Apollo astronauts.
In July you can stop by at the Exploration museum at any time between 2 to 6 pm. With a planned visit, you can have a staff volunteer to give you a museum tour and explain each history and artifact. There is also no entry fee so if you are on a budget, Exploration museum should definitely be on your list!
12. Join the festivities
One of the best things about visiting Iceland in July is that there are so many festivals to enjoy! During the first week of July, you can enjoy the Raudisandur Festival in Westfjords. The festival takes place on the red sand beach during the midnight sun. And the best part is, any money gained is used to preserve the beach!
If you choose to spend your vacation in Skalholt or don’t mind visiting, from the 8th of July until August, you can enjoy numerous summer concerts! These festivals imitate renditions from the 17th and 18th centuries.
13. Visit the Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon
Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is a July in Iceland must-see! The canyon has a cliff that stretches to 2 kilometers and has a river flowing below. When hiking on the canyon’s edge, you can enjoy an amazing view of the entire canyon.
July presents the best opportunity to visit Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon because the weather is safe and convenient. There is also no entry fee for the canyon, making it a great spot for anyone on a budget.
14. Visit the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is one of the most famous spots to visit in Iceland. It is a health center and geothermal spa located in the southwestern Iceland. A trip to the Blue Lagoon can help you feel revitalized as it has facilities and treatments specifically for this.
Iceland is nature at its finest. It offers so many sites to see and so many activities to enjoy. To make sure you get the best out of your trip to Iceland in July, try out these activities above!
15. Golden Circle tour
Golden Circle is the most popular tour in Iceland. Every single traveler visiting Icelands takes this tour. Ans there Is a reason for that. Golden Circle has a little bit of everything Iceland has to offer.
You can take the classic golden circle tour with the main stops like Thingvellir national park, geothermal erupting hot spring Geysir or Geyser and the famous waterfall, Gullfoss waterfall.
Then you can take other tour that have more included like Kerid crater, Fontana spa, snowmobiling, ice cave on Langjokull glacier, visit some farms, go horseback riding or soak in Secret Lagoon.
There is also a geothermal bakery next to Fontana spa.
Reykjavik Outventure has created the perfect Golden Circle tour with a lot of inclusions like a dairy farm where you get to taste home-made food and meet one of the farmers. They have also included the volcanic crater name Kerid. And of course, you stop at all the main sights like Thingvellir national park, Geysir and Gullfoss. Then after the tour you get to soak in Secret lagoon which is a natural hot spring.
16. South Coast tour
The South Coast is 2nd most popular tour. This is the home of glaciers in Iceland and volcanoes. You get to drive past the volcano that erupted in 2010, Eyjafjallajokull glacier/volcano. On the classic tour tou visit Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Skogafoss waterfall and Reynisfjara beach or the Black Sand Beach.
Then you can do a lot of glacier activity like Ice cave in Katla ice cave, blue ice cave or somewhere else, snowmobile, glacier hike on Solheimajokull, ice climbing on Solheimajokull and glacier kayaking next to Jokulsarlon or Solehimajokull. It is usually done in glacier lagoons. You can also do a 2 day South Coast tour where you go all the way to Glacier Lagoon. On the way there there are many sights to see like the famous plane wreck down at Solheimasandur. Dyraholaey cape is popular and beautiful, fjadrargljufur canyon which Justin Bieber made famous. Hike up to Svartifoss waterfall and more and more.
Reykjavik Outventure has created 3 great tours on the South Coast.
1.st is the classic South Coast tour with all the classic stops like Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Skogafoss waterfall, Reynisfjara beach/ Black Sand Beach. Walk up to a glacier(not on it) and then having a dinner at the Viking house.
2. Is the South Coast with glacier hike on solehimajokull. This is a semi private tour with maximum 8 passengers. There is also a dinner at the Viking house on this tour.
3. Is the South Coast tour with glacier hike but with a stop at Skyr factory for tastings and dinner. This house is an old yoghurt factory. Skyr is the Icelandic yoghurt.
17. Snaefellsnes Peninsula
Snæfellsnes Peninsula is one of our favourite tours. That´s because it has so many beautiful sights but also because it isn’t as crowded as the other routes. The classic Snaefellsnes Peninsula tour is like this: Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall, Saxholl volcanic crater, Arnarstapi, Djupalonsandur black beach, Budir black church. This is a really volcanic peninsula with lava all around.
Reykjavik Outventure has created a tour there with an extra stop for the best fish & chips in Iceland.