Iceland in Summer 2023

Are you visiting Iceland in the summer time?

Congratulations! You've pick one of the best times of year to visit.

I've lived in Iceland all my life and worked in the tourism industry for the past nine years, helping and hosting thousands of travelers.

I can't wait to share my insider secrets and my top travel tips to ensure your Iceland trip is the most fantastic and unforgettable experience ever!

Whether you're an Iceland newbie or a seasoned traveler, get ready for a wild ride as I share with you my expert tips!

Daníel Andri (Dan)
Daníel Andri (Dan)
Last updated: April 28, 2023

8 Iceland Summer Travel Tips

Let's start with a few quick tips that will come in handy for your trip ahead!

1) Embrace the Midnight Sun and Northern Lights seasons:

Icelandic summer can be split into the early midsummer (midnight sun season) and the later part of summer (Northern Lights season).

May, June, and July offer endless sunshine-filled days since we have a very late sunset, while late August and September give you a chance to catch the incredible Northern Lights in the darkness.

Tip: Northern Lights Tours start again on August 20th. Visiting in late August? Don’t miss the best small groups Northern Lights Tour in Iceland.

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2) Whale Watching and Puffin Spotting:

Summer is the time for whale and puffin encounters in Iceland. Whale sightings skyrocket during the warm months, and puffins grace us with their presence between May and August. The whale watching and puffin tours depart from the harbor in downtown Reykjavík, just a short walk from most hotels in the central area.

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3) Touchdown at Keflavik International Airport:

You will land at Keflavik International Airport, which is about a 45-minute drive from Reykjavik. There are three ways to get to the city, taxi, rental car, or the good ol' FlyBus. Be aware of tickets that say "Reykjavik International Airport" since that doesn't exist. It's often confused with the Reykjavík Domestic Airport.

4) How long does it take to get from Keflavik Airport to Reykjavik?:

To estimate your arrival time in Reykjavik, add two hours to your flight's landing time. This covers customs and your thrilling journey to your accommodation.

Example: Flight arrives at Keflavík at 6:00 am -> estimate arriving at your accommodation in Reykjavik at 8:00 am.

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5) Don’t miss out on the duty-free (tax-free) shops: Alcohol in Iceland is crazy expensive because of all the taxes, but there's a way to save some money! Before heading to Reykjavik, hit up the airport duty-free shop to grab some of your favorite drinks. Your wallet will thank you later!

6) Book your accommodation in central Reykjavík:

Booking accommodation in downtown Reykjavík keeps you within walking distance of delicious restaurants, quirky shops, cozy cafes, buzzing bars, and convenient tour pickup locations. Trust me; it's worth the extra money compared to staying in neighboring towns like Grindavik or Keflavik.

7) Reykjavík's late morning risers:

Most restaurants and shops in central downtown Reykjavik open their doors around 11 to 11:30 a.m. Keep this in mind when planning your fabulous mornings.

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8) Ditch the bottled water:

Save money and savor fresh, ice-cold glacier water straight from the tap. There's no need to buy bottled water in Iceland; we have the world's best water!

Voilà! There you have it – my top travel tips for an epic Icelandic summer adventure! I hope you find these tips super helpful, but now, let's get into your unforgettable Icelandic summer itinerary!

Here's my four-day plan to make sure you experience the absolute best of what Iceland has to offer during your stay.

The Perfect Icelandic Summer Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival and Reykjavik Grand Entrance

  • Touchdown at Keflavik International Airport, grab your luggage and hit the road to Reykjavik.
  • Settle into your central Reykjavik accommodation.
  • Hop on the Reykjavik Food Walk, hosted by us here at Wake Up Reykjavik - the best-rated food experience in the entire world on TripAdvisor!
  • Unwind at the Sky Lagoon, a toasty geothermal lagoon just 15 minutes from central Reykjavik.
  • Treat yourself to a mouthwatering dinner at a local hotspot and explore downtown Reykjavik or recharge for the next day's excitement. (Hit us up via email for some delicious dinner recommendations!)

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Day 2: South Coast Scenic Extravaganza

  • Leave Reykjavik behind and venture down the stunning south coast on a small group tour. We got a great selection of different south coast tours on our website!
  • Gaze at jaw-dropping waterfalls, the mysterious black sand beach, and the charming coastal town of Vik.
  • Head back to Reykjavik for a delectable dinner and a night out downtown or a swanky rooftop lounge; some great recommendations are the Petersen Svítan Rooftop Bar and the Edition Rooftop Bar.

Click here to view the best small group South Coast Experience.

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Day 3: Cozy Day in Reykjavik

  • Pick your pleasure from these recommended activities: visit Hallgrímskirkja, swim in the public pools, feed the ducks by the pond, take a stroll in our local zoo, go on a puffin or whale-watching tour, check out our countless museums, go to an Icelandic craft beer tastings, or have a sip inside a quirky coffee house.
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Day 4: Golden Circle or Snæfellsnes Peninsula Adventure

  • Reserve a small group sightseeing tour of the awe-inspiring Golden Circle or the enchanting Snæfellsnes Peninsula.
  • Marvel at waterfalls, geysers, national parks, or unique sights like Snæfellsjökull and Kirkjufell.
  • Savor a delicious lunch at a local farm or hot spring.

Click here to view the best Golden Circle and the best Snæfellsnes tours.

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For a discount on our tours, use promo code "SUMMER."

Keep in mind that the summer temps average a cozy 10°C (50°F) and can climb up to 20°C (68°F). Revel in endless daylight, with the summer solstice on June 21st giving you 24 hours of sunshine.

Special Summer Dates & Events

Special summer festivities include Iceland's National Day on June 17th, Verslunarmannahelgi (Merchant's Weekend) in early August, Reykjavik Pride in mid-August, and the Wake Up Reykjavík Summer Solstice Yacht Party on June 21st, Iceland's summer solstice.

This yacht party will be an unforgettable three-hour event as we set sail around Reykjavik Harbor, bathing in the glow of the midnight sun! By snagging your ticket to the Wake Up Reykjavik Yacht Party, you'll unlock the door to this exclusive event. And guess what? We have drinks and live tunes to keep you dancing all night! Our lively Wake Up Reykjavik team will be there to boogie down with you, ensuring this summer solstice party is, hands down, the best event of the season!

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And there you have it!

Dan, your local Icelandic foodie fan, signing off with a massive THANK YOU for reading my blog on my favorite summer tips and tricks!! 🤗🌞🇮🇸