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Iceland’s one of those countries where you’re never guaranteed with the weather, but June is a pretty good bet for a chance at sunny skies. In this post, find out why June is the perfect time to visit Iceland, the best things to see and do, and what to pack for a summer in Iceland.
Why June is the best time to visit Iceland
24 hours of daylight
Iceland is the land of the midnight sun! On June 21, the summer solstice, the sun is visible for the full 24 hours in the Westfjords and North Iceland. In the capital city, Reykjavik, the sun actually does set below the horizon, but only for a couple of hours.
The sun “sets” a few minutes past midnight, and rises again at 3am. The sky won’t actually get dark – it just creates this beautiful sun setting light for hours. It’s magical.
Not only is this super cool to witness, but it means you have so much time to explore outside! You don’t have to worry about running out of light because it doesn’t happen. Wanna go see a waterfall at 2am? No problem, go for it!
Most of the attractions in Iceland are natural, so you won’t have to worry about closing times for attractions. Calling all midnight explorers! I loved being able to go for midnight walks and visit the local horses.
Although it felt strange having constant daylight, I loved experiencing this. Just remember to bring a sleeping mask with you. Not all accommodations have black-out curtains, so it can be difficult to sleep with the sun coming through the windows.
Great Weather (by Iceland standards)
You should never go to Iceland expecting good weather but June is about as good as it gets. I was pleasantly surprised during my visit in June, especially compared to when I was there in September. It was sunny almost every day, hardly any rain, and not that chilly.
In the North of Iceland it was much colder, but in Reykjavik it was actually quite nice. It was an average of 1 59f/15c degrees each day. In the North, it dipped down to 39f/4c some days.
This also makes planning a road trip way easier, because you don’t have to worry about snowy/icy roads – for the most part. I say this because it is still possible to see snow in the summertime, especially in the North of Iceland.
We got a warning sign from our car to watch out for slippery roads as the temperature was dropping, but it never went below freezing. If you plan a road trip around the main highway, you’ll be fine in a regular economy car during the summertime.
Secret Solstice Festival
Celebrating the Summer Solstice (June 21st) in a place where they have 24 hours of daylight is cool regardless, but Iceland has an entire music festival to celebrate it. This 3-day festivals takes place in the capital city of Reykjavik and features artists from all over the world.
Secret Solstice has all different types of music. The year I went the Black Eyed Peas, Jonas Blue, and Robert Plant were the headliners – that just goes to show the diversity. They also have many local musicians.
The festival is not as crowded as you would expect from a summer festival in Europe, which was so nice. You can pretty much leave the front main stage , go to the washroom, and still get back to the front. Many Icelandic people go to the festival, as well as travellers from all over the world.
I’m used to summer festivals where it’s sweltering hot, so it was a nice change of pace to be able to dance and not have to worry about getting sweaty. It’s also fun to switch up your festival attire from crop tops and shorts to sweaters. I saw people wearing all kinds of outfits, from NorthFace jackets to bright green fleeces.
Secret Solstice is one of the most unique music festivals I’ve ever been too. It was so much fun to be dancing in the daylight all night. The festivals goes until 11pm, but then everyone goes out afterwards in Reykjavik. If you are a lover of music festivals, I recommend checking this one out. A full-weekend pass cost me 120 Euros this year.
June is prime lupin blooming season in Iceland. These beautiful purple flowers add another gorgeous elements to Iceland’s stunning scenery. The amount of lupin fields you will pass while road tripping through in Iceland is surreal, they seemed to go on forever.
I never got sick of driving past them, and had to pull over the car to get out and take photos a few times. The purple flower against the backdrop of Iceland’s already gorgeous landscape is just perfection.
I love fresh fish and chips, and Iceland knocks it out of the park with this dish during the summertime. There’s no shortage of places to try fish and chips – there’s a good restaurant downtown aptly named ‘Reykjavik Fish and Chips’.
We ate at another nice restaurant named Grillmarkadurinn. They had a special on during June to try an Icelandic trio of specialities including whale, puffin, and lamb. I don’t eat meat so I wasn’t interested in this, but my friends loved it.
Another great restaurant I visited in Reykjavik is Cafe Loki. Try the smoked trout on Rye Bread with creamy eggs – it’s heavenly. This restaurant is right across from Hallgrímskirkja, a famous church in Reykjavik. Cafe Loki has a lovely outdoor seating area in front of the restaurant where you can enjoy the church views. It’s so beautiful with the flowers blooming in the summertime.
Iceland is one of the world’s best places to go whale watching, as the ocean surrounding it is a bountiful feeding ground that attracts twenty-three species of whales.
While Minke whales can be seen all-year round, Humpbacks, Orcas and Sperm only come during the summer months from April – October. If you want to maximize your chances of seeing a variety of whales, June is an excellent time to go whale watching in Iceland.
The best places to go whale watching in Iceland are from the capital city of Reykjavik, Olafsvik on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, as well as Akureyri and Husavik in the North of Iceland.
Iceland is home to sixty percent of the world’s Atlantic Puffin population, but you can’t see them all year. Puffins hang out on the surface of the ocean, and only come on land in order to breed, lay their eggs, incubate them, and raise their new puffin babies. This process occurs throughout summer which in Iceland lasts from June to September.
The best places to spot puffins in Iceland are the Látrabjarg bird-watching cliffs in the west, Dyrholaey in the South, the Tjornes Peninsula in the North, and the Westman Islands, which are all accessible in the summer.
Okay, so you can actually see seals throughout the year in Iceland, but who wants to stand by the ocean in the freezing cold? Summer is a much more enjoyable time to come see these furry guys. I found them driving through the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
If you love seals, you can actually apply to take part in the annual Seal Census which happens during the summer! This rallies a large group of volunteers to search 80km of coast in the local area to determine how the seal population is changing.
You’ll find sheep and goat all around Iceland throughout the year, but during June you’ll see whole families. Spring is when the animals breed and as a result there are a lot of baby animals hanging around in June. Is there anything cuter then a baby goat learning from its mom? Awww!
Iceland Summer Packing List
If you plan to travel to Iceland in June you’ll still need to pack warm clothes. When packing for a trip I always pack about a weeks worth of clothes +/- a day or two. I try to travel light/carry-on and you can always do laundry.
This intent of this Iceland summer packing list is for someone who plans to be outside exploring Iceland’s beauty. If you only plan to stay in Reykjavik then you need less outdoor gear and will want more outfits for going out. There are a lot of restaurants and bars in Reykjavik, and the Icelandic are fashionable.
I found the temperatures much more mild in Reykjavik and needed fewer layers, especially compared to the North. That being said, If you visit Iceland in June then I highly recommend leaving Reykjavik to visit some of the amazing attractions Iceland has to offer.
- 7 x T-shirt and long sleeved Shirts. You want to have a mix of layers of short and long-sleeved shorts to wear in Iceland, as it can go from warm to cold quickly. Ideally a few of these shirts will be quick dry and thermal layered if you plan to do a lot of hiking and outdoor activities.
- 3-4 Pairs of Pants (at least 1 waterproof). Forget shorts – it won’t be warm enough!
- 1 ‘nice’ outfit for Reykjavik (or more if you plan to go out a lot there)
- Warm Pajamas
- 8 pairs of underwear (weeks worth + 1 extra)
- 7 pairs of socks (a few pairs of waterproof hiking socks)
- Sweater/Light Fleece
- Light fashionable jacket for going out
- Waterproof/Windbreaker Jacket
- Gloves, buff and warm hat – yes really!
- Waterproof Hiking Shoes
- Regular shoes for walking around Reykjavik
Other Packing Essentials
- Sleeping Mask
- Swimsuit, towel, and flip-flops – for the hot springs.
- Reusable water bottle. Save money and the environment – the water in Iceland is so fresh and tasty! Plus, you can fill up your bottle with spring water when you’re hiking.
- Day Backpack with rain cover
- Sun Protection – It may be chilly, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get sun burnt!
- European Plug adapter
- Camera Gear – I love my GoPro, Sony A7ii, and Mavic Pro Drone (RIP). Iceland is one of the few countries where it’s completely legal to use a drone and you don’t need permits. There are a few spots it’s banned, but generally it’s an amazing place for drone shots.
- Portable Battery Charger
If you plan to visit Iceland, June is a great time to do it! Between the weather, scenery, and things to do, you can’t beat visiting Iceland in June. Have you been to Iceland before? What time of year did you visit? Let me know in the comments below!
Need more help planning your Iceland trip? Check out these posts!
- 25 Tips for Your First Trip to Iceland
- Best natural attractions in Iceland
- Tips for renting and driving a car in Iceland
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