August is a great time of year for a holiday in Iceland and a month that a lot of Icelanders look forward to. The month begins with a long holiday weekend honoring merchants and tradesmen, and the country celebrates by holding festivals and activities for all to enjoy. And that’s only the beginning! Reykjavik Pride, Culture festival, and Westman Islands festival are but a few of the other events that all of Iceland celebrates in the month. Another reason to celebrate in August is that the sun is starting to set again and everyone knows what that means - Northern Lights! By the end of the month, nights tend to be dark enough to see those beautiful lights dance across the sky once again. The weather still remains warm which means that roads with access to the highlands are still open and summer tours such as the Whale Watching Evening Tour offer the most unique sunsets you’ll ever experience.
WHAT TO DO?
SOUTH ICELAND & PARAGLIDING ADVENTURE
The South Iceland & Paragliding Adventure tour offers a unique chance to admire Iceland's incredible nature from up above. Highlights of the South Coast include the infamous Icelandic waterfalls Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss, the black sand beaches and quaint town of Vík as well as the glaciers and volcanoes along the way. And that's just what you see from the ground. When you're up in the air, you fly over the ocean's coast, over the jagged mountain peaks and up to the ice cap of Mýrdalsjökull. With no experience required, this is one bucket list item you shouldn´t pass up!
WHALE WATCHING EVENING TOUR
The mysteries of the world underwater come to life on this tour with whales, dolphins and a variety of marine wildlife coming to the surface as you around travel Faxaflói Bay by boat. Just outside of Reykjavik, you also get to witness a variety of thriving birdlife as they continue to enjoy the warmth of Icelandic summer. What’s more, you get to experience the unobstructed sun setting into the horizon of the Atlantic ocean on the Whale Watching Evening Tour. Can you imagine a more picturesque setting?
NORTHERN LIGHTS MYSTERY TOUR
The bonus to darkness returning to Iceland is the inevitable return of the Northern Lights, and our Tour Experts keep their fingers on the pulse of the weather conditions and viewing locations so you have the best chances of crossing off an item on your bucket list. It is the best show on earth, in the most beautiful place on earth—take our word for it. With a variety of tour options, you can watch the aurora borealis to cap off a tour of the Golden Circle or go on the Northern Lights Mystery Tour the same day you land. We highly recommend that you book a tour early in your visit so that if the lights happen to be shy one night, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to go on another complimentary tour.
WHAT’S THE WEATHER LIKE?
Being one of the warmest months of the year, the average temperature in August can be anywhere from 10-15°C (50-59 F) and just like in July, temperatures reaching closer to 20ºC (68ºF) can occur throughout the country—you just have to be in the right place at the right time. Of course, the weather in Iceland is unpredictable throughout the year and the chances of rain at this time of year is still a reality, so keep your eye out for weather conditions. Although August still has extra long daylight hours, things are starting to get dark at night which is excellent news for those longing to see the Northern Lights. Beginning with nearly 18 hours of daylight and going down to 14 hours by the end of the month, nights are usually dark enough by the end of the month for prime aurora viewing.
WHAT TO PACK?
When it comes to packing your suitcase for a holiday in Iceland, the rule in August remains to dress in layers and bring clothing that keeps you warm and dry. Although the weather does lean towards the warmer side during the daytime, nights can be chilly and you never know when a rainstorm is coming. Having a fleece or wool base layer, waterproof jacket, warm socks, gloves, hat, and waterproof boots means that you’ll be equipped for Iceland’s unpredictable weather. And just because the weather is cool doesn’t mean that the sun can’t do damage, so don’t forget your sunglasses and sunblock.
FESTIVALS, CULTURE, MERRIMENT AND MORE!
August is a great time to be in Iceland only because you have so many cultural activities to choose from. The month begins with arguably one of Iceland’s favorite long weekends—verslunarmannahelgi or merchants holiday weekend. During this long weekend, festivals, sporting events, and activities are held throughout the country such as the popular Westman Islands Festival, European swamp soccer championship, and Innipúkinn music festival, to name a few. Reykjavik goes rainbow and celebrates love and inclusivity with Reykjavik Pride from August 8-17, with the highlight of the celebrations—the Pride Parade happening on August 17. The glacier lagoon, or Jökulsàrlòn as it’s known to Icelanders, holds its annual fireworks show the night of August 17 and it is an event not to be missed. Fireworks over a glacial lagoon with icebergs floating by? How often do you get to see that in a lifetime?! For those looking for a physical challenge, the annual Reykjavik Marathon takes place on the morning of August 24 and with race options of 42.2 km, 21.1 km, 10 km, 3km or 600 meters, there is something for anyone willing to get active. Meningarnótt or Culture Night takes place later on in the night on August 24 and it marks the start of the city’s cultural year when museums and theatres and other cultural institutions launch their annual program of events. To celebrate, the streets, museums, businesses, and gardens are taken over by DJ's, art installations, performers and food trucks sharing the slogan of ‘come on in!’—a reference to good old-fashioned customs of Icelandic hospitality. All in all, you can’t go wrong with a holiday in Iceland in August.