Visiting Iceland in August: Pros, Cons, and Tips for 2023

August is one of the most popular months to visit Iceland. This month has long days, mild temperatures, and a wide range of activities and events to offer. From hiking and camping to attending music festivals and cultural events and more. Visitors can take advantage of the country’s unique offerings in Iceland in August.

However, August is also peak season, with increased prices and crowds at popular destinations. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of visiting Iceland in August and provide tips to help you plan your trip.

About Iceland in the Summer

Summer is one of the best times to visit Iceland, with longer days, milder weather, and stunning natural scenery. During this time, you can experience the famous Midnight Sun, where the sun never truly sets and the days are incredibly long.

This makes it a perfect time to explore Iceland’s national parks and hiking trails, including the popular Landmannalaugar and Thorsmork areas. You can also enjoy whale watching tours, camping, and outdoor festivals like the Secret Solstice music festival and Reykjavik Pride.

However, with the warmer weather comes an increase in tourists and higher prices for accommodations and activities. This means that you’ll need to book your tours and accommodations well in advance to secure your spot.

You’ll also want to be prepared for unpredictable weather, as even summer days can be chilly and windy in Iceland. But with the right gear and mindset, you can enjoy all that Iceland has to offer during the summer months.

For a deeper dive into the best time to visit Iceland, please see our comprehensive guide to the best time to visit Iceland.

Pros and Cons of Iceland in August

As with any month of the year, there are going to be advantages and potential disadvantages to exploring Iceland in August. Keep in mind, every month is wildly different for Icelandic adventures. August is no exception. Below are some of the pros and potential cons of Iceland in August.

Iceland in August: Pros

August is one of the most popular months to visit Iceland due to the mild weather and long daylight hours. This is the month when Iceland is at its greenest, and the highlands are easily accessible. The famous Icelandic festivals, such as the Reykjavik Pride and the Reykjavik Marathon, take place in August, providing visitors with an opportunity to experience the country’s vibrant culture.

The weather is mild, with average temperatures ranging from 9°C to 13°C, making it the perfect time to enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and kayaking.

August is also a great time to witness the Midnight Sun, a natural phenomenon that occurs in the summer months when the sun does not set, providing visitors with 24 hours of daylight. This provides ample opportunities for exploring the country’s many attractions, including the Golden Circle, the Ring Road, and the glacier lagoons.

With the long days, visitors can pack their itinerary with a variety of activities, including whale watching, puffin watching, and horseback riding. August is also the peak season for watching the Northern Lights in Iceland, as the sky is dark enough for the lights to be visible, but not too cold for visitors to spend time outside.

Iceland in August: Cons

One of the main drawbacks of visiting Iceland in August is that it is one of the busiest months for tourism. This means that popular attractions can be overcrowded and there may be longer wait times for tours and activities. Accommodation prices can also be higher during peak season, which may be a consideration for budget travelers.

Another potential downside of visiting Iceland in August is the unpredictable weather. While temperatures can be mild, rain and wind are still common, and there is always the possibility of a sudden change in weather conditions. This can impact outdoor activities and sightseeing plans, so it is important to be prepared with appropriate clothing and gear.

Finally, another factor to consider when visiting Iceland in August is the limited hours of darkness. While this can be a plus for those who want to experience the country’s natural beauty under the midnight sun, it can also disrupt sleep patterns and make it harder to fully unwind and relax.

Additionally, visitors who are used to darker environments for stargazing and northern lights viewing may be disappointed during this time of year.

Events in Iceland in August

There are plenty of events taking place throughout Iceland in the month of August. Here are just a few of the events in Iceland in August:

  1. Reykjavik Pride – This is an annual LGBTQ+ festival held in Reykjavik during the first week of August, featuring a colorful parade, concerts, and various events to celebrate equality and diversity.
  2. Reykjavik Culture Night – This is a one-day event held in Reykjavik on the Saturday closest to August 18th. It’s a celebration of Iceland’s rich culture and arts scene, with various activities such as music performances, art exhibitions, and food stalls.
  3. Reykjavik Marathon – This annual event takes place in August, with participants running through the streets of Reykjavik and along the scenic waterfront. There are various race lengths to choose from, including a full marathon, half marathon, and 10K.
  4. The Icelandic Horse Festival – Held in Hella, a small town in the south of Iceland, this festival celebrates the unique Icelandic horse breed with various horse shows, competitions, and exhibitions.
  5. The Westman Islands Festival – This annual festival takes place in Vestmannaeyjar, a group of islands off the south coast of Iceland. It features various events, such as live music, boat trips, and fireworks, and is a great way to experience the local culture.
  6. The Reykjavik International Film Festival – This film festival takes place in Reykjavik in late August, showcasing a diverse range of international films and documentaries.
  7. The Great Fish Day – Held in Dalvík, a small fishing village in northern Iceland, this festival celebrates the local fishing industry with various fish-related events and activities, including a fish market and a fish-themed parade.

Tips for Visiting Iceland in August

August is peak tourist season in Iceland, so if you plan on visiting during this time, be prepared for large crowds and higher prices for accommodations and activities. It’s important to book your accommodations and tours well in advance to secure your preferred dates and avoid disappointment.

Keep in mind that August is also one of the rainiest months in Iceland, so it’s a good idea to pack waterproof clothing and shoes. Despite the rain, the days are still long and bright, with up to 18 hours of daylight in some parts of the country. This makes August an excellent time to explore Iceland’s beautiful landscapes, from its stunning waterfalls to its glaciers and volcanic mountains.

Just be sure to practice responsible tourism, such as staying on marked trails and packing out all trash, to help preserve Iceland’s natural beauty for future visitors.

As always, if you’re looking to get up-to-date information on the unpredictable weather in Iceland, there is one primary source. That source is

Visiting in July Instead

If you’re considering visiting Iceland in August, you might want to also consider visiting in July instead. While August has slightly warmer temperatures, July still offers comfortable weather, long daylight hours, and fewer crowds than the peak summer season.

Additionally, many of the popular activities and attractions, such as whale watching and hiking, are available in July as well.

For a deeper dive, please see our full article on Iceland in July.

Visiting in September Instead

While August can be a great time to visit Iceland, September can offer some advantages as well. September offers milder temperatures, especially towards the end of the month, making it a great time for outdoor activities like hiking and horseback riding.

The Northern Lights also begin to appear in September, so you might have a chance to witness this incredible natural phenomenon. Additionally, September marks the beginning of the offseason, which means lower prices and fewer crowds at popular tourist spots.

For a deeper dive, please see our full article on Iceland in September.

Our Final Thoughts

Overall, visiting Iceland in August can be a great experience, with plenty of activities and attractions to enjoy. However, it’s important to be prepared for the higher costs, crowds, and potentially unpredictable weather.

If you’re flexible with your travel dates, you might also want to consider visiting in July or September to take advantage of lower prices and fewer crowds while still enjoying the beauty and adventure of Iceland. Whether you visit in August or another month, be sure to pack warm clothing, a waterproof jacket, and sturdy shoes to make the most of your trip.

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