Iceland In Summer: Exploring the Beauty of the West Fjords and North

Summer transforms Iceland in the most beautiful ways. The blanket of snow thins—and you can see the beauty of the region in its true form! During my trip, I specifically loved the emerald valleys and cascading waterfalls of Iceland. It wouldn’t be a hyperbole if I said I left a piece of my heart in the stunning fields of wildflowers in the island country. 

I’d like to take this blog post to share my experience visiting Iceland in summer, specifically the West Fjords and the North. From the weather and activities to the ultimate Iceland summer packing list, let’s talk all about it! 

What Is Iceland Like in the Summer? 

Iceland can indeed get very touristy from June through August, but this is one of the rare places I’d recommend visiting during these peak tourism months. Because Iceland is just so good in the summer!

Weather in Iceland in Summer 

Iceland’s summer temperature range feels like what I’d call a borderline ‘cold summer’. Generally, you can expect temperatures to range between 10 and 13 °C (50 and 55 °F). A few days can reach 20 to 25 °C (68 to 77 °F). This means it’s warm enough to enjoy the outdoors—but cool enough so you don’t overheat during activities. 

So, when is summer in Iceland? Iceland summer spans from mid-June to late August, with July and August being the warmest months. Sitting just below the Arctic Circle, the country experiences long daylight hours during summertime, with the famous Midnight Sun illuminating the sky for almost 24 hours a day from mid-June to early July—a truly spectacular sight that I recommend everyone experiences at least once in their lives! 


June marks the beginning of summer in Iceland. Days start to lengthen, and the Midnight Sun begins to cast its day-long light on the landscape. As ice slowly thaws and temperatures warm up, the scenery bursts into vibrant greens dotted with the occasional patch of snow. Temperatures remain relatively cold, typically ranging from 8°C to 13°C (46°F to 55°F), but with the right clothing, this is the perfect time for outdoor adventures like hiking, whale watching, and exploring Iceland’s beautiful waterfalls and geothermal wonders.

Iceland in July

July is the height of summer in Iceland, with long days filled with endless sunlight. Iceland’s weather in July is generally mild, with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 15°C (50°F to 59°F) on average. This is one of the most popular months to visit Iceland, as the countryside is in full bloom, offering spectacular landscapes for hiking, camping, and photography. This is also an excellent time to attend events and summer festivals and immerse yourself in the local culture. 

Iceland in August

As summer draws to a close, the days in August remain long with pleasant weather, though temperatures start to cool slightly, ranging from 9°C to 14°C (48°F to 57°F) on average. Despite the slight drop in temperature, August is still a great month to explore Iceland’s natural landmarks, from glaciers to volcanic spots. It’s also an ideal time for activities like horseback riding, birdwatching, chasing sunsets, and soaking in geothermal hot springs.

West Fjords in Summer 

The Westfjords are a landscape photographer’s dream. Rugged mountain peaks scrape the sky—and their slopes are carpeted in vibrant green in summer. Iceland is known for its majestic fjords, which cut deep into the land, creating imposing panoramas where towering cliffs meet the sea. This reveals one of the most dramatic coastlines I’ve ever seen! 

Forget black sand beaches (although they exist here too!). The Westfjords are famous for their long stretches of golden sand. Rauðasandur beach, for example, boasts reddish-gold sand that shimmers in the sunlight. Let’s picture it this way: you’re strolling along these pristine shores, the cool Atlantic waves lapping at your toes, and the expanse of the ocean meeting the horizon. 

And don’t forget the fields! The West Fjords boast stunning green fields—a sight you’ll witness only at this destination. 

North Iceland in Summer

While the Westfjords impress with their dramatic coastlines, North Iceland offers a different kind of magic. Here, the landscape is dominated by national parks, waterfalls, and a touch of the Arctic chill.

Volcanic mountains—painted with shades of black, brown, and red—rise from the flat plains. Massive glaciers carve their way through the landscape. And this leaves behind icebergs that dot turquoise glacial lakes (see below for an apt view!). This raw, untamed beauty is a sight to behold. 

The drive through North Iceland is an experience in itself. Long, winding roads snake across plains. Sometimes, you’ll spot an Icelandic village along the way. The feeling of remoteness is so exhilarating—I was truly empowered by the raw nature that surrounded me during my trip! (You want to be prepared for the chilly air you’ll feel when you roll down the window, though). 

What to Pack for Iceland in Summer 

As you can expect, packing for Iceland in the summer is not the same as packing for the Caribbean in the summer. When packing for Iceland’s summer weather, be sure to add in layers of short- and long-sleeved shirts and sweaters so you’re prepared for sudden changes in temperature. You can also expect drizzles of rain, so bringing along waterproof jackets and hiking shoes is a good idea. You also want to pack other travel essentials. Swimsuits, sun protection, moisturizers… you know the drill.

Here’s what to pack for an Icelandic summer adventure:


  • Lightweight, moisture-wicking base layers 
  • Fleece jacket
  • Waterproof and windproof jacket
  • Waterproof pants
  • Comfortable hiking pants (jeans, leggings, etc.) and shorts 
  • Long-sleeved shirts for layering
  • T-shirts
  • Swimwear (for hot springs or swimming pools)
  • Thick socks (wool or synthetic for hiking)
  • Waterproof hiking boots, preferably with a taller ankle for more stability (be sure to break them in before you leave!) 
  • Comfortable walking shoes or flats for going to dinner or exploring the city
  • Water shoes or flip flops
  • Hats, gloves, and scarf for cold nights

Gear and Accessories

  • Hat and sunglasses for sun protection
  • Daypack for hiking and exploring
  • Reusable water bottle 
  • Eye mask, if you’re planning on visiting during the Midnight Sun or Summer Solstice
  • Binoculars
  • Portable power bank 
  • Camera gear and batteries
  • Travel adapter and converter for Icelandic outlets
  • Lightweight towels (quick-dry)
  • Personal toiletries and medications
  • Insect repellent (especially for hikes in grassy areas)
  • Sunscreen with high SPF
  • Lip balm with SPF
  • First aid kit
  • Cash in Icelandic Krona

What to Do in Iceland in Summer 

In Iceland, things to do in summer are plentiful, so no matter how long you’re planning to visit, you’ll never run out of outdoor activities to enjoy. I especially loved the West Fjords and the North Island for their stunning scenery. So, all my recommendations revolve around making the most of the natural beauty of Iceland. 

Go Whale Watching 

The town of Holmavik is nestled amidst dramatic fjords. But its serene waters are what make it special. Here, you can take a boat tour and witness massive whales in their natural habitat. You will most commonly spot a playful humpback whale. During my tour, I got lucky and even spotted a giant blue whale breaching out of the water! And I’d also like to mention—I sometimes tend to feel seasick when at sea. But the waters of Holmavik were so calm that I barely felt any sickness.

If you’re looking for an experience, Laki Tours has plenty of promising reviews on TripAdvisor.

Experience Kayaking 

The Westfjords are aptly named. Deep fjords slice into the land—their emerald waters reflecting the snow-capped peaks that often linger in the distance. Imagine kayaking through these tranquil fjords, surrounded by towering cliffs that are home to countless seabirds. Keep an eye out for playful seals basking on the rocks.

Soak In Geothermal Pools 

You’ll forget a five-star spa when soaking in the natural hot springs of Iceland! And the good news is, the West Fjords are riddled with these wonders. At the Drangsnes Hot Pot, the steaming hot springs let you relax sore muscles after a day full of adventure. What’s more—the pools are out in the open and are surrounded by rugged terrain. It’s a relaxing experience in nature I’d recommend to every traveler. 

However, because the activity is free, timing is everything! Be sure to experience the bath late at night or early in the morning to make sure it isn’t too crowded. And while you’re at it, don’t hesitate to chat with the locals

Make Puffin Friends 

After a good 8 months at the sea, puffins return to the shore for the summer to reunite with their mate. They arrive late in April and stay for the summer months. Fun fact: 60% of the puffin population in the Atlantic calls Iceland their home! This means you stand a good chance to spot them—and click cute pictures for the gram. 

While puffins can be spotted across the country, you’re most likely to find them along the West Fjords and North Iceland. I spotted quite a few during my hike to the Latrabjarg Cliffs in West Fjords. (The destination is called “Europe’s Bird Cliffs” for a reason!).

Marvel at the Dettifoss 

When in North Iceland, Dettifoss, the “Beast of the East”, is simply a must-see. I say this because it’s Europe’s most powerful waterfall. And it’s located in Vatnajökull National Park, the largest national park in Europe. Here, you can enjoy dramatic landscapes around the massive volume of water. I forgot my raincoat during my visit, so got a good spray of mist. You want to take yours along to stay dry.

Also, nearby is the shining Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, where you can sail amidst icebergs. (And maybe even see some seals).

Explore its Cities 

For that charming city experience in North Iceland, head to Akureyri. This is the second-largest city in the country. What makes it special is its colorful harbor, lively town center, and cultural gems. Here, you can walk through Icelandic shops, cafes, and restaurants. And for a dose of culture, head to the Akureyri Art Museum or the impressive Akureyrarkirkja church. 

Akureyri is also a great spot for day trips to nearby attractions. Fun fact: The city’s own Christmas House is open year-round for visitors!

Visit Flatey Island

Flatey Island in western Iceland is a hidden gem that’s well worth a visit, especially during summertime. The island, dotted with quaint little houses built over a hundred years ago, offers a glimpse into Iceland’s rich history and natural beauty. 

Once you get off the ferry, which takes about an hour from Brjanslaekur, you’ll be greeted by a few sheep, and chickens instead of cars. But don’t worry, there’s a small motorized wagon that takes visitors to the one and only hotel in town. Other things that only come in ones in Flatey: one church, one café, one store, one campsite, one graveyard, and, supposedly, one single dog. It’s completely off-the-grid, making it the perfect place to unplug, relax, and reconnect with simple things in life. 

Sleep Under the Stars

Sleeping under the stars in Iceland is a truly unforgettable experience that you just can’t miss, and renting a camper van gives you the freedom to explore the country and discover its hidden gems on your own terms. In the Westfjords, you can park your camper van along the rugged coastline or nestled between towering cliffs and watch the incredible Midnight Sun illuminate the sky in hues of pink and gold. 

In North Iceland, you can venture into the vast wilderness of Vatnsnes Peninsula or the untouched beauty of the Tröllaskagi Peninsula, where you can set up camp beneath a blanket of stars. If you’re lucky, you might even witness the magic of the aurora borealis! 

Travel Costs for Iceland in Summer 

When planning a trip to Iceland, you can expect an average Iceland trip cost estimate around the following lines— 

Accommodation: A budget traveler is likely to spend 100 to 150 USD per night. Mid-range would be up to 300 USD. And there are luxury options costing over 300 USD, too. 

Food: If you cook your own meals, expect to spend between 30 and 50 USD per day. Eating out would be 50 to 100 USD—but there are also opportunities for expensive fine dining. 

Transportation: For a rental car, expect a starting point of around 50 USD per day (plus gas). Catching the bus is a more economical option, but can be less flexible of course.

Ready to Tour Iceland?


And, that’s a wrap! I hope this blog was helpful and you now know better what stunning gems Iceland reserves for you. 

Stay wild! 


Check Availability

"(Required)" indicates required fields

MM slash DD slash YYYY
MM slash DD slash YYYY
<div style="display: none;">

Check Availability

MM slash DD slash YYYY
MM slash DD slash YYYY