What to Do in Iceland in August

Free Fish, Fireworks on Ice, and Pride Week

Adelina

|July 31, 2019

Adelina is a curious writer, journalist, a keen traveler and a big fan of bonny Scotland, her second home after Lithuania.


August is your last chance to enjoy the bright Icelandic nights before the days become short again. To make the most of this month, Iceland offers plenty of entertainment. Get ready for a cultural night downtown, a music festival on a tiny island, and a concert that had already hit the records long before showtime!


What to Do in Iceland in August

Kayaking & Rafting

Hvita River through Gullfoss Canyon

Grab a paddle and head out into a glacial bay or down one of Iceland’s surging rivers. Paddle the still waters in a kayak along the coast, around floating Icebergs, and see the island from a whole new angle. 

If you’re looking for something a little more extreme, sign on to a river rafting tour that will pick you up from Reykjavik and throw you down the Hvita River through Gullfoss Canyon. Cap off your ride with a satisfying local beer tasting. Summer at its finest!

Snorkeling

Snorkeling at Silfra Fissure

Throw on a wetsuit and hop into the frigid waters to see what lies beneath. August, being one of the warmer months, is the best time to go for a cool dip. Head over to Thingvellir National Park and dip into the Silfra Fissure, a water-filled gap between two tectonic plates.

Sink into the waters that split North America and Europe. Snorkeling at Silfra has been rated as one of the Top 5 Activities in the World by TripAdvisor.

Hiking

Embrace the Highlands

Put on your hiking shoes, hit the trails, and explore Icelandic nature in full bloom. A luscious, green Thorsmork Valley makes for a perfect hike. Step on to newly formed lava fields and hike between two glaciers. 

Combine this route with the famous Laugavegur Trail to explore everything the South Coast is famous for — volcanic rock formations, black sand deserts, and natural hot springs.

What's Going on in Iceland in August

Fireworks in Reykjavik

Verslunarmannahelgi (Iceland Commerce Day): August 5th / All Iceland — Equivalent to a bank holiday weekend, celebrated on the first Monday in August. Every year, Icelanders head to festivals and other events to celebrate the day originally dedicated to Icelandic merchants.

Innipúkinn Music Festival: August 2nd-4th / Reykjavik — An annual music festival that takes place at two venues in Reykjavik. Established 16 years ago, Innipúkinn means “Indoor Demon” and it features a number of new Icelandic bands as well as well-known, established artists.

Þjóðhátíð (The National Festival): August 2nd-4th / Vestmannaeyjar (The Westman Islands), South Iceland One of the largest outdoor festivals in the country with over 10,000 people attending every year. Expect concerts, bonfires, and fireworks!

Reykjavík Pride Week: August 8-17th / Reykjavik — A whole week celebrating equality and human rights with over 40 events across the capital. This includes theatre, cinema, lectures, parties, and even a cruise around the small islands off Reykjavík’s coast.

The Great Fish Day: August 10th / Dalvík, North Iceland — An annual festival that gathers thousands of fish producers and guests for a feast filled with plenty of fresh fish. The day is packed with sea-related exhibitions, cruises, theatre, and music of all styles. The highlight of the day is a mouthwatering seafood buffet!

Ed Sheeran: August 10th and 11th / Reykjavik — World-famous singer and songwriter Ed Sheeran will perform at Laugardalsvöllur stadium. His first concert in Iceland sold out in under three hours, setting a new record in ticket sales in Iceland. The British pop star will be joined on the stage by Zara Larsson, James Bay, and Glowie.

Fireworks at Jökulsárlón: August 17th / Jökulsárlón, Southeastern Iceland — The annual show is a spectacular sight and starts at 11 p.m. Last year, the show attracted over 2,500 visitors and this year it’s expected to be even bigger. All proceeds go to the local Search and Rescue (SAR) teams. 

Reykjavik Culture Night: August 24th / Reykjavik — The Culture Night has been held every year since 1996. Streets, squares, museums, and businesses in downtown Reykjavik open up for the night and invite residents and city guests to enjoy some Icelandic culture. All the events are free and the night ends with a large fireworks display.

Reykjavik Marathon: August 24th / Reykjavik — The marathon is held on the same day as Culture Night and both events welcome sports enthusiasts as well as culture lovers. Runners can choose from five different distances.

What to Know About Iceland in August

Iceland Weather in August

Lupine Flowers bloom near Skogafoss

August is one of the warmest months of the year in Iceland. The average temperature is 50-59°F (10-15°C), but it sometimes gets as warm as 68°F (20°C). Weather in Iceland is often unpredictable, and rain clouds are never too far away. Light showers are quite frequent in August. 

Enjoy the last long hours of daylight before the dark nights take over again and bring back the Northern Lights.

The Packing List

Hiking in the Highlands

No matter what season you visit Iceland, you’ll always need a swimsuit! Swimming pools and natural hot springs are around nearly every corner — you’ll have plenty of opportunities to take a dip or two. 

Once your suit’s packed, you can also think about adding a few other things to the list:

  • Gloves, a hat, and a scarf
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • A raincoat (don’t bother bringing an umbrella)
  • A sleeping mask, if you’re sensitive to bright nights

The weather in Iceland is often unpredictable, so having different layers of clothes, that are easy to add or remove, makes all the difference.

Best Tours in Iceland for August

Rafting near Gullfoss

River Rafting & Iceland Beer Tasting

Raft the baby-blue waters of the winding Hvita River and work up a thirst. Starting at River Base Drumbo, you’ll head on to tackle the Hvita River in a multi-person raft headed by a professional guide. End your day on the water with a beer tasting of local Icelandic brews, a sauna, and some barbeque. Do as the locals do!

 

Scuba it up at Silfra

Scuba Diving in Silfra Fissure

Diving in Silfra should be on every diver’s bucket list. This is the only place in the world where you can submerge in glacial water that is so pure you can see up to 330 feet (100 meters) in front of you! To make it even more special, you’ll be diving between two tectonic plates and on a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Don’t forget to reach out your hands and touch both sides — you may never get another chance to touch two continents again!

Adrenaline rush on the River Jet

River Jet Speed Boat Tour on Hvita River

Discover the famous Gullfoss Canyon, one of the three major landmarks of the Golden Circle, from a different perspective. Explore the white water of the Hvita River on a jet speed boat. It’s the only motor-based white water tour in the country and it’s perfect for both families and thrill-seeking groups of friends. Prepare to get wet on this heart-pounding experience!

 

Visit the country that knows how to make the most of their long days! Squeeze a little more sun and fun out of your last summer month in Iceland.