July is Iceland’s warmest month of the year with the least amount of rainfall making it your best bet for decent weather. The highlands open up for active adventures granting an all-access pass throughout the country.
On average the country sees a range between 50-59 degrees Fahrenheit, though some days the mercury can spike up to 68 degrees. With that said, the island is notorious for weather extremes and you may get all seasons in one day, so pack accordingly, think layers, waterproof jacket and shoes, and thermals alongside your shorts and swimsuit.
Traveling to Iceland in July offers a unique experience with the amount of daylight the country receives. Expect the sun to set around midnight in the south and around Reykjavík and rise again a few hours later (3:00 am). The further north you go, the more daylight. Akureyri, for example, does not see much darkness at all.
Crowds & Costs
July is Iceland’s busiest month for tourism. The hiking trails in the Highlands open up, each town has its own festival event, and unique Midnight Sun tours embark regularly, so you can expect more crowds and higher prices. Hotels tend to sell out and the popular sights near Reykjavík and along the South Coast get very crowded. And with the significant pressure on facilities, travelers should be aware that hotels book up months ahead of time, so advance planning is recommended.
Though with so much daylight at your disposal, small adjustments to your itinerary could land you that tourist-free photo you’re after. Alternatively, a visit to the less-frequented Westfjords, Troll Peninsula in the north, and Egilsstadir in eastern Iceland is an option to consider.
Where to Go
Visitors in July will appreciate long summer days and short nights, and even sunshine around-the-clock at the start of the month. With all this sunlight and drier weather, now is the time to drive the Ring Road as well as head into the highlands (with a proper 4x4 vehicle) to explore the whole of the island.
Spend a day or two in the trendy, design-forward capital, Reykjavík before heading out to discover popular sights along the Golden Circle. From there, continue along the southern coast passing waterfalls, black-sand beaches, and striking rock formations. As you circumnavigate the island, consider stopping to check out the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach, the rugged fjord coastline and the Vestrahorn mountain along the eastern coast, and Mývatn Lake, mountains, hot springs, and craters of the northern coast. If there’s time make the detour to the Westfjords, Snæfellsnes peninsula, and Reykholt.
If you’re short on time, your best bet is to stick closer to Reykjavík and load up your days with excursions to popular attractions along the Golden Circle and South Shore routes. Making small adjustments to your plan and opting to visit these super popular routes early in the morning or late at night will afford rewarding photos without the hordes of tourists.
Alternatively, spending a couple of days in “little Iceland”, the Snӕfellsnes Peninsula will cover all your bases—all of the country's characteristic landscapes can be found here. Check out Best Time to Visit Iceland for more tips.
What to Do
With some of the island’s best weather in store, July offers a lot to do and experience in Iceland, including island hopping, whale watching, kayaking, and hiking. Reykjavík’s Austurvöllur Park, cultural attractions, and djammith (nightlife) will be in full swing, and a number of music festivals in July add to the festive atmosphere.
And with so much to do and see in Iceland, there are plenty of opportunities to avoid the massive crowds, like exploring the Diamond Circle in northern Iceland, the fjord landscape on the eastern coast, and of course the remote Vestfirðir or Westfjords peninsula. If you’re in Northern Iceland explore the Diamond Circle and visit Húsavík, Ásbyrgi Canyon, Lake Mývatn, and Dettifoss for a taste of volcanoes, geothermal hot springs, caves, waterfalls, and lava fields. Check out this article for other alternatives to the south coast highlights.
Adventure seekers can head underground to the Leiðarendi lava tube, a cave beneath the active Tvibollahraun lava field. Protected by a millennia-old rock layer between the caves and the lava, you can trek, scramble, and squeeze your way through this 2,000-year-old cave. Stay above ground and Join a Super Jeep tour for an off-roading excursion near the Hekla volcano. Traverse Landmannalaugar’s rugged lava fields and end the day in one of the many hot springs.
Iceland is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts and one great option is to explore Landmannalaugar—a geothermal wonderland in the Fjallabak Nature Reserve. There are plenty of hiking options to stunning sites: glacial rivers and lakes, volcanic plains, and rainbow-colored hills. In addition to hiking, you can camp, fish, and relax in natural hot springs. There’s also the option to hire a horse to cross some of the more difficult terrains. Read this guide for in-depth details of the region.
Events in July
Rauðasamdur Festival. Taking place under the midnight sun, this family-friendly event is held in the Westfjords on the unique-to-Iceland red sand beach.
Siglufjörður Folk Festival. The small town of Siglufjörður hosts this five-day folk music festival and sees artists from different countries take part in the festival, giving concerts, courses, and lectures. The festival’s aim is to introduce Icelandic culture to outsiders, and foreign culture to locals.
Eistnaflug. A four-day international metal music event offers punk, rock, metal, hardcore, and indie acts in Neskaupstaður, a small town in eastern Iceland.
Medieval Trading Weekend. Historic Gásir, on the northern shores of Eyjafjörður, offers a weekend of medieval experiences through guided tours around archeological sites and archery, arts and crafts, and pottery workshops. Fortune-telling and parchment making are their most popular events.
Bræðslan. July’s last weekend in Borgafjörður Eystri hosts a friendly music festival with a mix of indie, rock, and pop artists.
Traveling to Iceland in July? Check out these great itineraries.
Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Southern Highlights, and Golden Circle: 7-9 Days. Explore the best of the west and south with this 7-9 day itinerary. Hike through lava fields, along cliffs, and up volcanoes in Snaefellsnes. Walk behind waterfalls, on black sand beaches, and on glaciers in the south, and finish with a tour of the famous Golden Circle with tips to avoid the big crowds.
Iceland's Western & Northern Highlights - 7 Days. On this scenic road trip, you'll skip Iceland's busier south coast in order to explore the lesser-known Snaefellsnes Peninsula and northern beauties of Akureyri, Husavik, and Lake Myvatn. This all-season itinerary is especially ideal for anyone interested in the unique geological features of Iceland, with lava fields, volcano hikes, massive waterfalls, and geothermal pools—all there for the taking.