Category: Things to Do
What should you do on your Iceland trip. See if we can give you some ideas.
Imagine exploring glistening icebergs and stark black sand beaches during the day. Then spending your evening relaxing or partying at festivals in the glow of the midnight sun. This is what awaits you on a summer trip to Iceland.
To help you plan, we’ve compiled this guide of what to see and do during your Iceland summer adventure. You’ll also find a few added tips of what to pack and what to expect from that famous Icelandic weather.
How is Iceland in summer?
What can you expect when you visit Iceland in summer? Long days, the best weather of the year, good driving conditions, and plenty of outdoor activities.
All of this makes summer a great time to visit Iceland. The longer daylight hours mean you can take more time to explore each day, drive greater distances, or simply bask in the sunlight well into the night.
How is the weather in Iceland in summer?
The summer months enjoy the best weather of the year. It won’t be the Caribbean, but it is called Iceland after all.
Generally, you can expect average temperatures to hover around 10-13°C (50-55°F). But every year there are warm days in the low 20s°C (68-77°F).
When to visit in summer?
This may depend on your summer holidays, but here is our advice.
The height of summer, between June and August, is the popular travel season. For that reason, you may find you’re not alone at famous sites and on the roads.
This is especially true along the south coast and for day tours from Reykjavík. If you want to visit at that time, maybe you could head off the beaten path instead.
Or, to see a quieter side of the country, visit during the shoulder season, in May or September. During these months, you’ll still benefit from some lovely weather and long days, but with more of the popular sites to yourself.
- Browse our Iceland summer packages.
Top things to do in Iceland in summer
Spend your summer vacation in Iceland and you could get up to so much. Experience new things and relish Iceland’s stunning landscape.
We’ve compiled our favorite 15 things to do in Iceland in summer to give you some inspiration:
1. Take a dip in swimming pools and hot springs
Thanks to its volcanoes and geothermal activity, Iceland has a large number of naturally heated pools. In Reykjavík only, you’ll find almost 20 of them. Or you could book a slot to soak in the soothing waters of the Blue Lagoon in the Reykjanes peninsula.
You could also experience the more natural pools in the countryside. Go hiking and then relax in hot springs. Make sure to bring your swimsuit and towel for this activity.
2. Camp your way around the country
While the winter isn’t as harsh as you may expect from this Nordic island for camping you’ll want to do so in summer. Camping is a fantastic way to wake up each day amidst the scenic landscape. And it’s cheaper than hotels, so you’ll save money along the way too!
- Look up our summer camping tours of Iceland.
3. Experience long days with the midnight sun
The midnight sun is a natural phenomenon whereby the sun doesn’t set at all below the horizon. It occurs in the summer in the extreme north and south of our planet. As Iceland is almost within the Arctic Circle, it boasts extended daylight hours in summer.
Between May and July, you can expect between 18 to 23 daylight hours each day. This means you have longer days for driving, exploring, hiking, or simply enjoying the midnight sun.
4. Hike in the stunning landscape
Discover Iceland along the hiking trails for an adventurous getaway. With the better weather, hiking paths start to open for the summer season around April and May.
If you’re in Reykjavík for a short stay, you could hike up the nearby Mount Esja. With more time, drive to the highlands to take on the multi-day Laugavegur Trail. You’ll find plenty of other options, from East Iceland to the Westfjords.
- If you’re an intrepid traveler go on a hiking tour of Iceland.
5. Celebrate the summer solstice
The summer solstice is either on the 20 or 21 June in the Northern Hemisphere. It marks the longest day of the year and in Iceland, it happens to be very long!
The period surrounding the summer solstice is also called midsummer. You have probably heard about it being celebrated in many Nordic countries. Iceland is no exception, and you’ll find parties across the country at this time of year.
The biggest one has to be the (not-so) Secret Solstice festival in Reykjavík. Don’t miss it if you’re visiting during midsummer.
6. Go off the beaten path
As we’ve mentioned before, Iceland’s top sights attract a lot of visitors in the summer months. So, if you have time, travel off the beaten path. This way you’ll discover other fantastic attractions and have them more to yourself.
Certain regions, like the Westfjords, aren’t as accessible in winter. Another great example is the highlands. The roads into this region only open between June and August (dependent on weather). So, summer is the best time to head up there.
Explore parts of Iceland that few take the time to see and you’ll find breathtaking scenery at every corner.
- Spend some time in the highlands with these Iceland tours.
7. Spot whales on a cruise
Whale-watching tours are available all year long but keep a few things in mind before booking this fun activity. Summer has 3 major benefits for whale watching.
First, the weather is usually better, meaning you’re more likely to want to spend your time on the deck waiting for the whales to make an appearance. At this time of year, the water is usually less choppy too, perfect if you don’t have the strongest sea legs.
But the biggest benefit is the higher number of whales that migrate to Iceland’s coast in summer. You may spot minke, humpback, and sperm whales, and, if you’re lucky, even the elusive blue whale.
8. Enjoy some fresh local food
Iceland is a pleasure to visit for foodies. You’ll find plenty to dig your teeth into here.
Make sure to visit Dalvík in North Iceland. In summer, you could join the friendly locals for “Great Fish Day,” a celebration over a large seafood feast.
In Reykjavík, there are restaurants of all kinds that serve delicious Icelandic dishes as well as international cuisine. You could even take a food tour of the capital to get a taste of local ice cream, pastries, seafood (including shark!), Icelandic spirit, and more.
Or take a day tour to the idyllic Friðheimar greenhouse cultivation center. Or include it in your itinerary as you tour Iceland. At Friðheimar, they grow pesticide-free tomatoes and cucumbers with the aid of geothermal heat.
9. Party at music festivals
Summer is a great time to visit Iceland to immerse yourself in the culture. The country opens after a dark winter and Icelanders celebrate with loads of festivities.
Attend festivals with the locals or join an international audience at major events, such as:
- Reykjavík Arts Festival – May or June
- Seafarer’s Day – June
- Iceland’s National Day – 17 June
- Viking Festival in Hafnarfjörður – June
- Secret Solstice in Reykjavík – June
- Siglufjörður Folk Music Festival – July
- Bræðslan music festival – July
- Þjóðhátíð in the Westman Islands – August
- Reykjavík’s Culture Night and Marathon – August
- Reykjavík Pride – August
10. Try a sea swim
Although not for the faint of heart, why not dip your toes in the cold Northern Atlantic Ocean? A beautiful spot to do so is Nauthólsvík, a beach in Reykjavík. It’s probably best to keep this activity for a warm summer’s day!
- Visit on a city break of Reykjavík, Iceland.
And in case it’s too cold, there are hot tubs nearby to warm you up. Or you can keep your dips exclusively for hot springs and heated pools instead.
11. Explore the national parks
Iceland has 3 stunning national parks: Þingvellir, Snæfellsjökull and Vatnajökull. They are oases of natural wonders that are worth taking the time to discover. Not only because they encompass magnificent beauty, but because they are a treasure trove of fun activities. Imagine hiking, snowmobiling, or chasing waterfalls.
12. Go on exciting day trips
- Look up all the great activities you could add to your Iceland itinerary.
13. See glaciers from up close
Did you know there are 269 named glaciers covering 11% of Iceland’s landmass? That’s a whole lot of glaciers! You could take a day tour to explore one or more of them with an experienced guide.
Try your hand at driving a snowmobile on top of Mýrdalsjökull glacier or along the Langjökull Ice Cap. Or go glacier hiking on an outlet glacier in Skaftafell. These will allow you to see the snowy landscape, glacial ice sculptures, ice ridges, and deep crevasses from up close.
14. Spot puffins in the wild
Ever wanted to see these cute birds in person? From late April to early August, around 8 million puffins come to mate and nest on the Icelandic coast. That’s 60% of the entire Atlantic puffin population that call Iceland their home during the summer.
The 4 million pairs create colonies along large sea cliffs. You’ll find quite a few around the country, but the best ones are in North Iceland and the Westfjords. A great way to see them is hiking, or you could take a whale- and puffin-watching tour.
15. Tour the island along the Ring Road
Think we would have forgotten this one? The Icelandic summer is nothing but perfect for an impressive road trip. With long days, you have more time to explore and enjoy yourself. Or you could also take fewer days to travel around Route 1 as you could drive more each day.
- Check out our summer self-drive tours of Iceland.
- Related: Learn more about driving the Ring Road on our expert’s blog.
Top places to add to your must-see Iceland summer list
You now have an exciting list of things to do and activities to add to your itinerary. But what are the must-see places? Pick some (or all!) of the following Icelandic locations for a memorable summer tour.
Here are the 15 best places to visit in Iceland in summer:
- Explore the Golden Circle’s top attractions – Geysir, Þingvellir and Gullfoss
- Experience the summer buzz of the capital, Reykjavík
- Walk around the lush canyon of Ásbyrgi in North Iceland
- Drive through the fjords of East Iceland
- Visit the village of Vík and its nearby beach, Reynisfjara
- Discover the varied wilderness of the Vatnajökull National Park
- Roam around the lunar landscape of the Lake Mývatn area
- See the icebergs glistening in the sun at the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon
- Tour the volcanic Heimaey in the Westman Islands
- Visit the remote Westfjords for unspoilt beauty
- Witness the highlights and rock formations of the Snæfellsjökull National Park
- Photograph epic waterfalls like Goðafoss and Seljalandsfoss
- Adventure yourself into the mountainous highlands
- Spot whales on a cruise from Húsavík
- Wander around the mossy boulders of Iceland’s lava fields, such as Eldhraun
Can you see the northern lights in summer?
If you’re visiting between mid-April and mid-August, the answer is no. Because it takes darkness to see the Northern Lights, you should avoid the months with endless daylight hours.
Peaking in June, the midnight sun is a spectacular phenomenon, but will restrict your ability to see the Aurora Borealis.
But visit in late summer, from mid-August into September, and you may be able to spot them. At that time, the nights are growing longer, giving you more opportunities to see the lights.
- To see the Northern Lights, look into visiting Iceland in winter instead.
What to pack and what to wear on a summer trip to Iceland
Icelanders have a saying: “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing”. This is the philosophy to keep in mind when visiting Iceland, even in summer.
With its ever-changing weather, the best thing to do is to be ready for everything. Bring layers so you can adapt to the day’s weather and appreciate all that Iceland has to offer, come rain or shine.
Here is a list of packing essentials for your Iceland summer trip:
- Short-sleeved shirts and lightweight layers
- Fleece or lightweight wool jumpers
- Waterproof and windproof jacket or shell layers
- Waterproof trousers
- Gloves, scarf, and warm hat
- Cap and sunglasses
- Sturdy walking or hiking boots with good socks
- Thermal underwear and socks for cooler excursions
- Binoculars for wildlife watchers
- Eye mask to help you sleep with the midnight sun
- Swimwear, flip flops, and towel to take a dip or go to the spa
Planning your summer vacation to Iceland
Activities, tours, and accommodation book out early during this popular travel season, so start planning early.
Decide what you want to see and experience most and then put together your tour. For road trips, look at renting a car and booking accommodation or camping spots. Then add activities to your day-to-day itinerary.
Or you could let a local do the work for you. The travel experts at Iceland Tours are based in Reykjavík and know the country inside-out. They can advise you on the best activities and routes to take.
Get in touch or browse our Iceland vacation packages to pick the one that’s right for you. You can choose from self-drive itineraries, camping tours, city breaks, or even privately guided experiences of Iceland.
Have you always wanted to witness the Northern Lights in Iceland? Or are you intrigued by them? This magnificent feat of nature has inspired people for centuries and it’s definitely worth adding to your bucket list.
With our ultimate guide to the Aurora Borealis in Iceland, you’ll learn more about this phenomenon, how it is formed, and where and when to see it in the Land of Fire and Ice.
About the Northern Lights
The Northern Lights, also Aurora Borealis, are the green and sometimes pink ribbons of color that can be seen in dark skies. They are “northern” because they occur near the north pole. You’ll find a similar occurrence in the southern hemisphere called Southern Lights or Aurora Australis.
Now onto the real questions. What are they? How long do Northern Lights last? Do the Northern Lights happen every night? We’re here to dish it all out for you.
What are the Northern Lights?
This phenomenon is created by giant flares from the sun or solar storms. These happen about 150 million kilometers away from Earth. The flares then send blasts of charged particles towards our planet.
These solar winds take around 40 hours to reach Earth, and once the particles come into contact with Earth’s atmosphere, it creates a reaction. The results are glowing emissions that create the light show in our night skies: the Northern Lights!
It’s good to know that the lights can have more than one appearance. The type of atoms involved, the intensity of the solar activity, and the pull of Earth’s magnetic field all have a role to play. The lights can appear in a variety of shapes, movements, brightness, and colors.
The most common color of the Northern Lights is green. But, if you’re lucky, you may be able to see pink, violet and red ones. As for shape, they vary from simple ribbon to a full rippling curtain, and sometimes arcs and streaming rays.
The length of the display also varies depending on the solar activity. Generally, you can expect a good light show to last between 15 and 30 minutes. And if you’re really lucky, it may go on for a couple of hours.
- See all the activities you could add to your itinerary, from Northern Lights to super jeep tours.
Can you predict Northern Lights?
As they are dependent on the “space weather”, it’s difficult to accurately predict the Northern Lights in advance. Just like normal weather, it can vary and change at a moment’s notice.
But once you’re in Iceland, you can keep an eye on the Icelandic Met Office’s aurora forecast. It gives you a rating, between 0 to 9, of your likelihood of seeing the Auroras. Anything above a 2 is promising.
As the Northern Lights are best witnessed on a clear night, one without cloud cover, you should keep an eye on the weather conditions too.
These tools can also help with your Northern Lights hunt:
- Aurora Forecast app: Track where and when the Northern Lights will appear.
- Cloud Cover Forecast: Receive the latest weather updates to find out whether you’ll have a clear night or not
- SolarHam: Get a reliable 3-day geomagnetic forecast so you can plan your upcoming excursions.
Is Iceland a good place to see the Northern Lights?
This is the question if you want to see them while visiting Iceland. And thankfully the answer is yes! Iceland is an excellent location to witness the Aurora Borealis.
Did you know that there is a region called the “Northern Lights belt”? It circles the Earth between 65 and 72 degrees north (parallel) and has a high auroral frequency and intensity. The north of Iceland sits just within this belt, making it a prime location for a sighting.
How often are Northern Lights visible in Iceland? As part of the country is sat within this famous belt, in winter your chances of seeing the Northern Lights are high. That said it is a natural phenomenon and therefore always dependent on weather and solar activity, as explained above.
- Book a private tour of Iceland to hunt for the Northern Lights with a local guide.
When to visit Iceland to see the Northern Lights
So when should you plan your trip to Iceland if your main goal is to see the Auroras? Read below to plan your dream winter getaway. (And yes, that was your first clue!)
When is Northern Lights season in Iceland?
You could simply call the Northern Lights season winter. This is the best time to visit Iceland to see the Northern Lights thanks to the longer nights of the season. Some regions get as many as 19 hours of darkness in the depth of winter.
This means you’ll have a greater chance of seeing the lights between October and March.
- Browse all Iceland Tours’ winter and Northern Lights packages.
Can you see the Northern Lights in summer?
Anytime between mid-April and mid-August is not ideal. With the phenomenon of the midnight sun, it’s much harder to see Auroras with the naked eye at that time of year.
But we can dispel the myth that the Northern Lights aren’t visible in summer. From mid-August you may be able to see the lights in the dark sky. This is because daylight hours are starting to decrease. Longer nights give you more opportunities to see the Aurora Borealis.
What is the best month to see the Northern Lights in Iceland?
There is no single best month to see the Northern Lights. As mentioned above, you should visit Iceland between the months of October and March for your best chances.
Check out our expert’s blog about when to visit Iceland to pick the best month for you.
When is the best time of the day to see the Northern Lights?
As you can only see the Aurora Borealis if the sky is dark, that rules out the daytime. Even in wintertime, you’ll want to avoid hunting for the lights during the few hours of daylight.
Once darkness sets in, the Auroras can be visible at any time. To increase your chance of seeing them, stay up late at night. The optimum time for sightings is between 9:30 PM and 1 AM.
Where to go in Iceland to see the Northern Lights
Iceland is a fantastic destination to witness the Aurora Borealis, and you’ll probably be able to spot them from just about anywhere on the island. That’s exciting, isn’t it? But we realize this may not narrow down your choices. Read below for our top locations.
Which part of Iceland is best for Northern Lights viewing?
The best part of Iceland to witness the lights is in the countryside as you’ll be away from light pollution, like streetlighting. Thankfully, that means a lot of the island is ideal for this nocturnal activity.
We also recommend heading north if you can cross into the “Northern Lights belt”.
Where in Iceland can you see the Northern Lights?
Our favorite spots in Iceland to see the lights dancing in the sky are:
Westfjords – As it is a remote peninsula, the Westfjords are perfect to seek dark skies. Here you’ll definitely be away from light pollution and enjoy stunning, unspoilt natural beauty.
North Iceland – From Lake Mývatn to Akureyri, passing by the Tjörnes peninsula, North Iceland is ideal to hunt for the Northern Lights. That’s because the north of Iceland is almost inside the Arctic Circle and sits right inside the “Northern Lights belt”.
And, thanks to its small population centers, you’ll have a lot of darkness to look forward to.
Snæfellsnes peninsula – Located off the Ring Road and with a magnificent national park, this peninsula is another worthwhile, quiet region to discover. And bonus point, you’ll recognize some of the top filming locations from Game of Thrones here.
Reykjavík – Yes, even the capital is on our list! If you’re lucky you’ll be able to admire the lights straight from the city. Maybe you’re only staying in Reykjavík for a short stay? Try heading out to the Grotta Lighthouse or go on a boat tour to step away from the city lights.
But also keep an eye out near Vík, on the south coast, and in the East Fjords. If the conditions are good, anywhere in Iceland could become a backdrop to these spectacular natural wonders.
Planning your Northern Lights getaway to Iceland
Are you even more excited about your adventure in Iceland now? To start planning consider our further advice below.
There are multiple ways to see the Northern Lights in Iceland. On a road trip, you could drive to remote corners of Iceland to hunt for the lights. See a quieter side of the country and take your time to enjoy it.
- Browse our winter self-drive tours of Iceland.
Or leave it to the experts. A private tour will allow you to enjoy Iceland from the passenger seat and with a dedicated, local driver-guide.
There are also day tours and optional activities you can add to your itinerary. Pick from bus tours that drive to the countryside, or even cruises to enjoy the Northern Lights from the sea. Group tours take the hassle out of planning it by yourself.
And, did you know some hotels offer wake-up calls if the Northern Lights show up in the middle of the night? It’s a good option if you’d rather not stay up and wait.
When you’re ready to book your Northern Lights adventure to the Land of Fire and Ice, browse our Iceland vacation packages or get in touch with our travel experts. They’ll tailor an itinerary for you to enjoy the best winter getaway!
You may have seen the tranquil photos of bathers in milky-blue waters set against stark lava fields. The Blue Lagoon in Iceland is synonymous with relaxation and incredible spa experiences. It’s no wonder this geothermal pool has become one of the most popular attractions in Iceland!
If you’re looking to know more about this spa and what you can expect from your visit, we answer your frequently asked questions about the Blue Lagoon below.
- Interested in Blue Lagoon tours? All of Iceland Tours’ packages can be tailored with a visit to this geothermal spa
About the Blue Lagoon
First things first, what is the Blue Lagoon? Maybe you’ve heard the name and know it’s a must-see in Iceland, but not much more?
The Blue Lagoon is a spa pool with milky-blue waters enriched with minerals. As the lagoon is soothing as well as a spectacular sight, it has become a very trendy stop in Iceland. In fact, it is one of the most visited places on the island!
Read on to learn about how it was formed, what is in those iconic blue waters, and more.
What is in the Blue Lagoon?
The Blue Lagoon is famous because of the unique color of its water: a milky shade of blue. This is thanks to its high silica content. The water is also rich in salts and algae.
And you’ll be glad to hear nothing else is added. In fact, the Blue Lagoon holds 9 million liters of geothermal seawater, which naturally renews itself every 40 hours or so. As foreign bacteria don’t thrive in this ecosystem, no disinfectants are needed.
Where is the Blue Lagoon in Iceland?
The Blue Lagoon is located on the Reykjanes peninsula, south of Reykjavík. It is set amidst the lava fields of Grindavík near Þorbjörn mountain.
The lagoon is only a 20-minute drive from Keflavík International Airport and about 45 minutes from Reykjavík. This handy location makes the Blue Lagoon an ideal spot to visit upon arrival or departure from Iceland, or as a day trip from the capital.
- Find an Iceland city break to suit you
Is the Blue Lagoon a natural spring?
It may surprise you to hear that no, the Blue Lagoon is not a natural hot spring but is actually man-made. And in the same vein, the water actually comes from the nearby Svartsengi geothermal power plant.
After the geothermal extraction at the power plant, the extra water that isn’t used to heat the homes of Icelanders is released onto the nearby lava field. This is how the Blue Lagoon got its humble beginning.
After a lot of research into the benefits of geothermal seawater, including the algae and silica, the Blue Lagoon was founded officially in the 1990s. It has since evolved into the well-known hub of hospitality and wellness that exists today.
Does the Blue Lagoon smell like sulfur?
Generally, the hot water in Iceland sometimes smells of sulfur, the effects of its geothermal origin. Although some geothermal areas you might visit smell strongly of sulfur, like Námaskarð or Seltún, you may not notice it at the Blue Lagoon.
Some do smell it upon arrival, but you’ll get accustomed to it as you relax and enjoy this memorable experience.
Good to know: The smell is natural and nothing to be worried about. In fact, did you know Iceland has one of the cleanest waters in the world? Icelanders drink it straight from the tap, unfiltered. So, to do like the locals, don’t forget your bottle to refill during your trip.
Is the Retreat Spa at Blue Lagoon worth it?
Only you can answer that question. It depends on what you want out of your visit, how much time you have and, importantly, your budget.
The Retreat Spa is the luxury spa of the Blue Lagoon and therefore you’ll enjoy an exclusive experience if you book it. The price starts around 50,000 ISK (321 EUR, 390 USD, 278 GBP) for a 5-hour stay.
You can expect access to:
- The famous Blue Lagoon
- The exclusive Retreat Lagoon
- A private changing room
- The Blue Lagoon Ritual, an exhilarating spa journey
- The Blue Lagoon skincare amenities
- The Spa Restaurant
- The 8 subterranean spaces (relaxing rooms, a sauna, and more)
You’ll also get a drink of your choice and the chance to enjoy massages and beauty treatments.
How much does it cost to go in the Blue Lagoon, Iceland?
Prices to visit the Blue Lagoon depend on the package you choose. There are 3 levels: comfort, premium and luxury. For up-to-date information and prices, we recommend checking the Blue Lagoon website.
And if you’re wondering how much money you need for a trip to the Land of Fire and Ice, check our budgeting guide to Iceland.
What are the Blue Lagoon opening hours?
The Blue Lagoon is open 365 days a year, but the opening hours vary depending on the season. In summer, you’ll find that opening times are longer. Check their website for up-to-date information.
Please be aware that pre-booking is essential. As it is one of Iceland’s most popular spots, you’ll want to reserve your slot in advance to avoid disappointment.
During your visit to the Blue Lagoon
You’re booked in and ready for all the comforts of bathing in the Blue Lagoon. Here is what you can expect of your visit.
What is included with the Blue Lagoon entrance?
There are 3 different packages you can purchase at the Blue Lagoon. Comfort, premium, and the luxury entrance for the Retreat Spa, which we’ve discussed above.
On a comfort package, you’d enjoy:
- Entrance to the Blue Lagoon
- A silica mud mask
- One drink at the in-water bar
- Use of a towel
- Sauna, steam room and steam cave
- Lagoon waterfall
In addition to these, on a premium package you’d also have:
- A second mask of your choice
- Slippers and use of a bathrobe
- Table reservation at the Lava Restaurant and a glass of sparkling wine if you dine here
How long do you need to spend at the Blue Lagoon?
It is recommended that you schedule at least 2 hours to savor the full wonders of the Blue Lagoon. But on average people spend around 4 hours here. This way you’ll have plenty of time to soak up all the benefits of the warm waters.
And it’s good to note that you book an arrival slot, but there is no time limit until closure, so relax and enjoy!
- As well as a visit to the Blue Lagoon, see all the activities you could add to your itinerary with Iceland Tours
What to pack to visit the Blue Lagoon?
If you’re visiting on a day trip from Reykjavík, you’ll want to pack a small bag with:
- Your swimsuit (and bag for the wet swimsuit)
- Flip flops or water shoes
- Any soaps or products you want to use
- Water bottle to stay hydrated
- Sunglasses for bright days
Please note that shower gel, conditioner and body moisturizer are available in the changing rooms. So are hair dryers.
Every package also comes with the use of a towel, but you can bring your own if you would rather do that. You may want to pack a robe too as it is not included in the comfort package.
You don’t need to pack a lock as you’ll be given a wristband upon entry which also acts as your changing room locker key.
If you have your luggage with you, on your way to or from the airport, you can still store it at the Blue Lagoon. You’ll have to pay a small fee to leave your suitcase or large bags in the Luggage House in the main Blue Lagoon parking lot.
Don’t forget to pack a smaller bag with your essentials.
- Book a private tour of Iceland to enjoy the company of a local guide
Does the Blue Lagoon ruin your bathing suit?
No, the water of the Blue Lagoon is unlikely to ruin your swimsuit, or even cause stains. But it is recommended that you rinse your swimsuit with cold water and soap after your stay. If you’re worried about it, you can actually rent a swimsuit from the Blue Lagoon for a small fee.
On that note, the Blue Lagoon does recommend you remove any jewelry or glasses, so they aren’t damaged (or lost) while you’re in the water.
Does the Blue Lagoon ruin your hair?
No, your hair won’t be ruined as the water isn’t harmful. But the silica of the water may make your hair stiff and difficult to manage for a few days after your visit.
Our recommendation is to tie your hair up if it’s long, and apply plenty of leave-in conditioner, which you’ll find in the changing rooms. We also advise you not to put your hair in the water.
Is the Blue Lagoon good for eczema?
While eczema isn’t mentioned specifically, the waters of the Blue Lagoon are generally soothing for the skin. The water is rich in minerals as well as silica, algae and salts, and the combination helps improve the skin barrier.
In fact, the Blue Lagoon offers treatments for psoriasis. You could book a stay at the Silica Hotel for this. Bathe in the private lagoon and follow that up with UVB narrowband light therapy, all supervised by a nurse and a dermatologist.
There are decades of research that support the efficacy of the Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater for treating psoriasis.
Do you shower after the Blue Lagoon?
Yes, you should shower before and after your stay at the lagoon.
Guests are required to shower, without their swimsuit, prior to using the geothermal spa. Simply use the showers and soaps available in the changing rooms.
After your stay, you’ll probably find it more comfortable to shower, wash your hair and dry up before leaving.
Can you eat at the Blue Lagoon?
There is a café located in the main Blue Lagoon complex, where you can grab some light snacks and beverages. Make sure to keep hydrated while at the spa.
To make it a full day, you could also lunch or dine at one of the restaurants on site. They all combine stunning views of the lava field surroundings with fresh Icelandic cuisine.
The Spa Restaurant and Lava restaurant are more casual. You could even dine in your bathrobe! For a treat, book dinner at the Moss Restaurant.
Can children visit the Blue Lagoon?
The lagoon is not suitable for children under the age of 2. Children age 8 and under are allowed entry with the use of arm floaters, which are provided free of charge. This is because in some places the lagoon has a depth of 1.4 meters (4 feet 7 inches).
Best time to visit the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is open all year long, so you have the choice to come for a dip whenever is best suited for you. If you’re visiting Iceland in order to bathe in the mineral-rich waters, here are our suggestions.
- Find out more about when to visit Iceland with our expert’s blog
Visiting the Blue Lagoon in summer
As it is never too hot in Iceland, you’re likely to enjoy the soothing warmth of the Blue Lagoon even in summer.
Another bonus point of the high season is that you could actually bask in the midnight sun if you book for late in the evening.
Keep in mind that the summer months of June to August are the most popular with visitors to Iceland. For that reason, we recommend visiting in the shoulder months of April, May and September if you want to see a quieter side of the lagoon.
- Check out our summer tours to Iceland for more inspiration
Visiting the Blue Lagoon in winter
We often get asked if the Blue Lagoon is warm in winter. Yes, it is! The water temperature in the bathing and swimming area of the lagoon averages 37-39 °C (99-102 °F). So it’s pleasant whatever the season.
The only difference is that if you’re visiting between October and April, you may want to walk from the complex to the pool swiftly. Don’t worry, it’s just a short distance, and you’ll warm right up once you’re in the water.
- Look up our winter and Northern Lights tours of Iceland
Is it worth going to Iceland and the Blue Lagoon in winter? We think so! Winter is a generally quieter season if you want more time and space to yourself. After days of adventures on glaciers or in national parks, you’ll really appreciate a visit to the geothermal spa.
One of the added benefits of visiting in winter is the chance to see the Northern Lights. If you book later in the day, you may be able to admire them dancing in the sky as you bathe below. What a sight that would be, right?
When you’re ready to book your adventure to the Land of Fire and Ice, browse our Iceland vacation packages or get in touch with our travel consultants. They’ll tailor a memorable trip for you, including a visit to the famous Blue Lagoon.
Have you always wanted to go on an epic road trip? Take the wheel and drive around an entire country. Sing along to the radio as your partner in crime puts their feet up on the dashboard. Then you look outside, and you can see black sand beaches, volcanoes, ice caps, and steaming hot springs.
This is what awaits you when driving the Ring Road in Iceland. A safe route with amazing sights and attractions along the way. In this article, we tell you everything you need to know about driving Iceland’s famous Route 1.
What is the Ring Road in Iceland?
First and foremost, the Ring Road is the nickname for Route 1, or Þjóðvegur 1, its official name on the map. This is the national road that makes its way around the island in a circular loop.
It is 1,322 kilometers (821 miles) long and connects most of the inhabited regions of Iceland.
Look at a map of the route and you’ll see that some areas aren’t included on the Ring Road. These include parts of North Iceland, the Westfjords, the highlands, and the Snæfellsnes peninsula. Any of these can be added to your summer itinerary if you want to head off the beaten path.
- You can view all our Ring Road tours for your Iceland road trip.
How long does it take to drive around the Ring Road?
But we don’t recommend doing that! Not only because the journey would be exhausting, but because you’d miss all the amazing sights and attractions that make a visit to Iceland so memorable. It’s all about the experience along the way, isn’t it?
For a good amount of time to visit locations along the Ring Road, we recommend taking at least one week to explore the route. This should get you around the country with a comfortable amount of driving each day.
Depending on what you want to visit during your time in Iceland, you can extend your road trip as much as you want. Then you can stop at iconic waterfalls, take detours, and spend more than one day in a single location. The possibilities are endless!
Is it also worth pointing out that the speed limit is only 90 kilometers (55 miles) an hour? And the speeding fines aren’t cheap. So take your time and enjoy it!
- Check out our summer tours to Iceland for more inspiration.
Tips for driving the Ring Road in Iceland
Ready for your road trip but unsure about how to take on the Icelandic roads? We’re here for you. Read these tips to know what to expect and make driving in Iceland easier.
Drive on the right
If you’re coming from North America, you won’t have to worry about this. But if you’re visiting from Australia, the UK, or South Africa, among other places, be aware that motorists in Iceland drive on the right side of the road. And the left side of the car.
- If you would rather leave the driving to someone else, book a private tour instead. You’ll enjoy a local guide as your driver.
Be aware of Icelandic conditions
Driving in Iceland may be slightly different than you’re used to. This includes the weather and road conditions. So it’s best to come prepared.
Always check the coming day’s conditions before setting off, especially in winter. And make sure to leave enough time to reach your next accommodation safely.
It’s good to also be aware of potential road hazards. These may be unique challenges you’ve not encountered before, such as the many sheep in the country.
Most of the highway is paved, but short stretches of the road in East Iceland have a gravel surface.
There are also a number of narrow passes, blind summits, and single-lane bridges to take with caution. When in doubt, always slow down.
Finally, be aware that you’re likely to drive through road tunnels, built to bypass mountain roads. These includethe sub-sea Hvalfjörður Tunnel (5.7 kilometers) and the Almannaskarð Tunnel (1.3 kilometers).
- Browse our camping tours in Iceland.
Stop when you can
Don’t take stops for granted. In certain parts of Iceland, there can be long stretches of road without shops or towns. This is especially true along the south and east coasts.
For that reason, refuel, use the bathroom, and grab snacks whenever you can. Most importantly, make sure to keep an eye on your fuel levels to avoid running out.
Do not drive off-road
Off-road driving is prohibited and you shouldn’t attempt it. This is because it damages the vegetation and could potentially be dangerous. People caught driving off-road are fined heavily by the authorities.
You can always go for a hike if you wish to see the natural beauty from up close.
Enjoy the journey
After taking these tips and precautions to drive safely in Iceland, all that’s left is for you to enjoy yourself. It isn’t a race. Take your time to make the journey and marvel at the scenic views along the way.
- Check out all the amazing activities you could add to your Iceland itinerary.
Which way do you drive the Ring Road in Iceland?
As the Ring Road is a circle, you can pick whichever way you want to drive it. You’ll notice a lot of our tours go clockwise. This means you’ll first head north before coming around the east and south coast, finishing with the famous Golden Circle. What a way to end your epic Iceland adventure!
But maybe you want to start with the Golden Circle? It’s all up to you. As it’s a loop, you’ll see all the same spots regardless of which way you drive.
Can you drive the Ring Road in Iceland in the winter?
Yes, you can drive the Ring Road in wintertime. In fact, some people prefer to visit in winter to experience a quieter side of the country.
At this time of year, you can enjoy less traffic on the roads as well as the stunning beauty of the snowy landscape. You can maybe even spot the Northern Lights. Winter road trips are growing in popularity for these reasons.
If you decide to visit at this time, you should prepare yourself for the adventure. Be aware of road safety precautions, be a confident winter driver, and always purchase travel insurance!
The top tip for a winter road trip is to always check the weather and road conditions before setting off each day.
For the best experience, why not hire a 4×4 vehicle? It will make driving in such conditions easier and more comfortable.
Suggestion for an Iceland Ring Road itinerary
There are so many ways to see the highlights of the Ring Road in Iceland. Here is one of our most popular itineraries, taking you around Route 1 over 8 days in Iceland. This timeframe allows you to relax and explore to your heart’s content.
Day 1: Arrive in Iceland
Depending on when you fly into Iceland, you’ll have the rest of the day to explore Reykjavík. The capital city is a treasure trove of interactive museums, fun activities, cozy cafés, and excellent restaurants. You can also marvel at the surrounding natural beauty from here.
If you would like to relax after your flight, you could also book a slot at the Blue Lagoon to dip into the geothermal waters. It’s the perfect way to decompress before setting off on an adventure!
- Book one of our self-drive tours in Iceland for a memorable road trip.
Day 2: Drive north to Akureyri
Today you start your road trip by heading north. You’ll make your way through Borgarfjörður and Skagafjörður. The latter is known for its horse breeding, so keep an eye out for the fluffy and sturdy Icelandic horses.
As one of your stops for the day, you’ll want to see the magnificent Hraunfossar waterfalls, flowing from lava fields into a river.
Reach the capital of the north, Akureyri, for your overnight stay.
Top tip: If you want to extend your stay to include the Snæfellsnes peninsula or the Westfjords, this is when you would do it. These regions are located in the western parts of Iceland.
Day 3: Lake Mývatn area
You have a full day of adventure ahead of you. Drive to the Lake Mývatn Nature Reserve to see why it is one of the most inspiring areas in Iceland. On the way, don’t miss the impressive Goðafoss, known as “the waterfall of the gods”.
The Mývatn Baths are very popular if you would like to spend the day relaxing instead of exploring.
You are staying for a second night in Akureyri.
Day 4: Exploring the northeast
Are you a fan of whales? Because today you’ll start the day by driving to the charming fishing village of Húsavík. It is known as the whale watching capital of Iceland.
You’ll then follow the coast and drive the Tjörnes peninsula. We recommend making a pitstop at the tip of the peninsula to enjoy the view and try to spot some seabirds.
Another recommendation for a leg-stretching stop is the lush canyon of Ásbyrgi where you could go for a walk.
Continue your journey southwards to the edge of East Iceland. You’ll spend the night in the Egilsstaðir area.
Day 5: The East Fjords
Today you drive through East Iceland and discover the East Fjords. Visit small museums and marvel at the long fjords and quaint seaside villages. At times, you’ll see that the road hangs precariously on the mountain slope providing stunning views below.
You’ll spend tonight in the Höfn region.
Day 6: Highlights of the southeast
Today you’ll stop by one of Iceland’s biggest bucket list items. After passing various outlet glaciers from Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest ice cap, you’ll arrive at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Many travel to Iceland just to see its glistening icebergs.
This enchanting sight nestles at the foot of Iceland’s highest mountain, Hvannadalshnúkur. In summer, you could book a boat trip to go onto the lagoon to see the bobbing icebergs from up close.
We then recommend spending some time in the Skaftafell National Park. This natural oasis, surrounded by glaciers and stark black sand plains, is ideal for hiking.
You’ll stay in the Vík area tonight.
Day 7: The Golden Circle
From Vík, you’ll continue west back to Reykjavík. Along the way, you’ll discover some breathtaking waterfalls and the highlights of the famous Golden Circle.
As you make your way back to the capital, through South Iceland, stop by Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss. These last two waterfalls will not disappoint!
And then head on to the Golden Circle, featuring three of Iceland’s most famous landmarks. See jets of steam being blasted over 50 feet in the air by Strokkur at the Geysir area. Walk through history and marvel at the geology of Þingvellir National Park. Take a picture of the magnificent Gullfoss waterfall.
If you are visiting for a shorter amount of time, don’t miss the Golden Circle as it is an ideal day trip from the capital.
Day 8: Departure
And just like that, your journey in Iceland is over. Or maybe it isn’t if you’ve extended it. Stay as long as you wish!
But in this itinerary, you’re boarding your flight back home today. Depending on what time it is, you may have time to squeeze in more visits and tasty treats in Reykjavík.
Top tip: Don’t leave without trying the local ice cream!
If you didn’t go on arrival, you could book a slot at the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa. It is located near the airport and the perfect activity to say goodbye to Iceland.
How to book a trip to Iceland to drive the Ring Road
You may think the first step is renting a car and booking accommodation, but we recommend choosing what you want to see before doing anything else. Pick what you want to experience most and it’ll direct you to the best time to visit.
Then you can start reserving your transportation, hotels, camping sites, flights, and so on. When you travel around the Ring Road, make sure to keep the driving distances in mind when booking your accommodations.
Want to have it all done in one? Book through the local travel specialists at Iceland Tours. We know the country like the back of our hand and have created tried-and-tested packages so you can see the very best of Iceland.
We can even tailor your tour or advise you on attractions and activities depending on your interests. Just ask!
It’s easy to do on the Iceland Tours website. Select your vacation start date and length of travel and then add what you’d like to do. You can pick your car, accommodations, and activities based on your budget. Then we organize it all for you, so when you arrive, all you have to do is enjoy yourself!
Look up all our Iceland vacation packages to get started with planning your dream trip.
You can’t go wrong when choosing a trip to “The Land of Fire and Ice”. Iceland is a great year-round destination! Whether you’re visiting during the snowy months or at the height of summer with its never-ending days, you can experience Iceland’s stunning beauty.
If you’re wondering when to visit Iceland, it’s all broken down for you here. We explain each season’s benefits as well as when to go to Iceland for specific pursuits. Only you can decide which matches you best!
Visit Iceland in summer – June to August
The summer months have the best weather of the year. Expect less precipitation, much higher number of daylight hours, and the warmest temperatures. Generally, Iceland experiences highs of 15°C (59°F) and lows of 9°C (48°F) at this time of year.
That means if you’re not too keen on cold temperatures, this is the ideal time for you to visit. You could take the opportunity to go hiking and explore remote corners of the country in the midnight sun.
Take advantage of the sunny days, that go on and on, to explore to your heart’s content. Drive the Ring Road around the island in less time. Having longer days means you can cover more distance.
Or you could take all the time you want and really soak up the atmosphere and gorgeous landscape of glaciers, lagoons and jagged mountains.
- Check out our summer tours to Iceland for more inspiration
Visit Iceland in fall – September to November
This is the time of year when the weather starts to drop, and the days become shorter. This shoulder season is ideal if you are seeking smaller crowds and don’t mind cooler temperatures.
Travelling to Iceland during the fall period means witnessing the transition from summer to winter. As the darkness slowly sets in, you’ll start having good chances to spot the Northern Lights. There are also good chances of snow fall the later it gets in the season.
At this time of year, you could still take on a road trip around the country. Or it’s the perfect time to discover the Golden Circle and south coast in more depth.
Visit Iceland in winter – December to February
The winter months are the coldest of the year, as you would expect for a northern country. But don’t let the winter weather in Iceland put you off.
From mid-October, it can be cold, dark, and windy, but thankfully the climate is tempered by the ocean and the Gulf Stream. That’s why it won’t be as cold as you may expect from the ice-land. Between December and February, average temperatures hover around -2°C (28°F).
At this time of year however, the weather becomes less stable. It means you may encounter all seasons in one day. Always be prepared for it all when visiting Iceland in winter: storms, snow, rain, and wind.
During this snowy season, you may prefer a city break with guided activities from Reykjavík. It’ll allow you to settle into one location, but still see the highlights of the surrounding regions.
If you feel adventurous or want to test your winter driving skills, opt for a self-drive adventure. Take the wheel to see specific regions or tour around the country.
Photograph the glittering waterfalls, admire the snowy mountains, and hopefully catch sight of the colorful Northern Lights in the night sky.
Visit Iceland in spring – March to May
Did you know that the country celebrates the “First day of summer” in April? That’s because it’s an exciting time of revival and reawakening.
The spring season is the most varied time of the year, transitioning between snowy winter weather to bright and sunny days. From March, the temperature in Iceland starts to climb back up and so does the number of daylight hours.
This is another ideal time to visit if you’re looking to get away from the crowds and enjoy Iceland in a bit more peace. Relax in the hot springs or heated pools after days of exploring around the south coast. This is a great time for birdwatching as well.
Best time to visit Iceland for the Northern Lights
The Northern Lights, also called Aurora Borealis, are a natural phenomenon that occur all year long. However, in summer they are rarely seen, thanks to the midnight sun in the northern region where they occur.
From late August, you could catch a glimpse of them as the nights start to lengthen. For the best sightings, travel to Iceland in winter, between October and March.
Auroras are one of the world’s most beautiful natural sights to behold.
The best way to see them is standing under a clear dark sky, free from city light pollution. This location would preferably be somewhere between the 65th and 72nd parallel north. That area is called the “Northern Lights Belt” because it has some of the strongest solar activity necessary to see the beautiful dancing lights.
- Browse our best tours to spot the Aurora Borealis in Iceland
- Related: Read our Northern Lights guide to Iceland
Best time to visit Iceland for a road trip
Dreaming of taking on the Ring Road, the affectionate name for Route 1 and the highway that circles Iceland? Just imagine putting on your favourite playlist and then seeing the glaciers and mountains ahead of you…
The summer is the best time to go on a road trip in Iceland, and there are many reasons for that.
Thanks to the long daylight hours of summer, you could spend more time exploring or driving each day. Wake up early if you want to set off and see a popular attraction in relative quiet or drive until the evening to reach your destination.
There is simply more time to do outdoor activities in summer!
The other bonus of this season is that more remote routes and areas of Iceland are accessible at this time of year. This includes the stunning Westfjords, which are often cut off during the winter.
If you’re keen to visit the highlands, this is the ideal time as mountain roads are shut the rest of the year.
- You can view all our Ring Road tours for your Iceland road trip.
Best time to visit Iceland on a city break
You can enjoy a stay in Reykjavík for a short city break all year long. The capital city is buzzing and thriving whatever the season, with fun events, excellent restaurants, and plenty of attractions to visit.
Although we do recommend booking excursions to see more of the surroundings in the Reykjanes, west and south coast regions. All within a day or two’s drive, you could discover some of Iceland’s biggest highlights and jaw-dropping scenery.
What you want to do on your city break will influence when you visit Iceland.
To go on walks on the beach and maybe even dip your toes in the sea, come in summer. Want to witness the Imagine Peace Tower in honor of John Lennon? Visit Reykjavík in the autumn. Many museums, like the Perlan’s Wonders of Iceland exhibition, are open all year long.
For the northern lights, always visit the capital (and book a tour outside the city!) between October and March for the best sighting opportunities.
Best time to visit Iceland to go camping
Camping in Iceland will be something you remember for a long time. Wake up in the quiet of the stunning Icelandic countryside. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Most camping sites (and you should only camp in designated areas) are open between May and September. In more remote regions, you may find they have restricted times between June and August. That may be due to roads not being accessible to reach them until the summer.
Best time to visit Iceland for hiking
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that summer is the best time to travel to Iceland if you want to take on its rugged mountains by foot.
Hiking on his volcanic island will be unforgettable, so if you’re a keen mountaineer, don’t forget your gear at home. Come between late May and September for the best weather and most accessible mountain trails. You’ll also enjoy long days to take advantage of the paths and gorgeous views.
You may find that if you come earlier or later in the year, mountains will have snow on the top and make hiking more perilous. Activities such as hiking in Iceland are extremely dependent on weather after all. Always make sure to keep yourself safe!
Perhaps you also have your eye on Landmannalaugar in the highlands. Hiking in the highlands is an incredible experience! However, visiting this remote region is limited by the opening of the road leading into it. Usually, it opens around mid-June.
- Check out these Iceland tours that are ideal for hiking enthusiasts.
Best time to visit Iceland for wildlife watching
It’s not just the landscape that is awe-inspiring in Iceland, but also the wildlife! The spring and summer are the best time of the year to spot two of the most famous animals that visit our shores.
The cute puffins and mighty whales.
Nearly 60% of the entire Atlantic puffin population spend their summers in Iceland. That’s 8 to 10 million puffins!
These adorable and clumsy birds start arriving in late April and head back to sea around early August. You’ll find them in largest quantities in the Westman Islands in South Iceland, Grímsey island in North Iceland and the beautiful Westfjords.
Whales on the other hand are present all year long. But the summer is the best time to see them. This is when you’re most likely to spot minke, humpback and sperm whales.
The waters are also usually less choppy at this time of year, making the experience better if you don’t have strong sea legs.
And even if you’re only in Reykjavík for a short city break, you could go whale watch from the capital.
Best time to visit Iceland for music festivals
Icelandic music is recognised worldwide and it’s no wonder! Some amazing bands come from this small nation, including Björk, Kaleo, Sigur Ros, and Of Monsters and Men, among many others.
Not only that, but it attracts talented acts from around the globe for its fun (and scenic!) music festivals. Look out for:
Do you feel ready to pick which season or month is best for you now? We hope so! Your next vacation could be one of “fire and ice”.
Iceland Tours has a selection of summer or winter packages to take you to specific areas or around the country if you want to. You can browse depending on your preferred season or interests. Or get in touch if you have more questions!