Iceland in June: Everything you need to know
June is a very popular time to visit Iceland and with good reason. Although in much of the Northern Hemisphere June is considered summer, in Iceland it feels more like spring. The country is just thawing out from its long winter freeze and the flora and fauna is at its best and most vibrant. The rivers and waterfalls are rushing with melt water from snowy peaks and glaciers. Roads that were blocked by snow and ice are opening up ready to be explored. There is also a palpable sense of excitement amongst the people. In a country that has so much winter darkness, June heralds the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. The midnight sun shines bright in June, and there is so much to do and enjoy.
In this article we’ll share the best things to do in June as well as a few practicalities. We’ll look at the weather and the average temperature that you can expect at this time of year. As well as driving conditions and tips if you are planning a self drive tour of Iceland.
Things to do in Iceland in June
There are many outdoor activities to enjoy if you visit Iceland in June. From making the most of the long sunlight hours on day tours to heading out on a boat for a whale watching tour. Here are a few ideas to get you started…
Touring Iceland’s natural hot springs
Swimming and bathing are a big deal in Iceland. Heading to a swimming pool or thermal spa is a great way to experience the culture of the country. We’ve all heard of the Blue Lagoon and it is an absolute must-visit, but there are many more geothermal hot springs in Iceland. There are warm rivers and many secluded hot pots and pools in the middle of the countryside. Often there won’t be changing facilities at these thermal pools, but this all adds to the magic of the experience. June (along with July and August) is one of the warmer months in Iceland, making it a little easier to strip off and hop in.
Hiking and walking in the National Parks
June is a lovely time to visit Iceland’s national parks and to hike their many trails. At this time of year nearly the whole country, including the highlands, should be accessible. The beauty of the countryside is sublime in June. The sunshine and the abundance of water mean that the grass and moss are verdant and the spring flowers will be in bloom. Add to this the likelihood of sunshine and pleasant temperatures and you have the perfect conditions for hiking.
The long days also mean that you don’t need to rush back to base before nightfall. So you can take your time and meander or take on some of the longer and more challenging hikes. Note that it is really important to stick to marked paths when hiking in Iceland. The flora here is very fragile and slow growing, so tramping boots can do damage.
Whale watching and puffins!
April to September is the high season for whale watching so June is a great month to spot whales in Iceland. This island nation is blessed with frequent visits from these giants of the ocean. Boats head out from several coastal towns and you also have a great chance of seeing dolphins at this time of year. June is also a great time to see puffins as they head in to nest in colonies on the cliffs.
Saddle up and go horse riding
Horse riding tours are another lovely way to experience the beauty of Iceland in June. The Icelandic horse is quite a short and stocky breed. Perhaps more like a pony in size and stature. They are very hardy creatures and known for their gentle temperaments. So even if you are not a practiced rider you will be in a safe saddle on an Icelandic horse ride.
What’s on the calendar in June?
There are quite a few celebrations to join in with in June. Including Iceland National Day on the 17th of June. This marks the day when Iceland became independent from Denmark back in 1944. Now, for a very brief history lesson. Iceland was conquered by Norway in the 13thCentury. It then became a colony of Denmark in 1380. The country regained independence after a long battle. The date for Independence Day was set on the birthday of Jón Sigurðsson. Sigurðsson was the leader of the independence party in the 19thCentury. Although he didn’t live to see Iceland’s independence he was instrumental in it coming about.
June 17th sees a full day of celebrations across the country. There are events for all the family in the towns and villages as well as a big celebration in Reykjavik. The bells of the churches all ring out and there are processions and ceremonies. You’ll get to see Iceland’s traditional dress, hear the national anthem and enjoy music and a carnival atmosphere. There will definitely be hot dogs and ice creams all round on this fun day.
Secret Solstice Music Festival
If you are a music fan then you might also like to get tickets for Reykjavik’s Secret Solstice music festival. It takes place in mid-June each year and always has a brilliant line up. Radiohead and The Prodigy have headlined in the past. You will also get to see plenty of Icelandic and Scandinavian bands on the bill.
Reykjavik in June
As you can see June is a really lively time of year to be in Reykjavik. It is party central with Independence Day and the Secret Solstice festival. The long June days mean that the party can keep going late into the night. It is obviously a busy time in the capital so it is important to book your accommodation well in advance. The same applies whether you are staying in a hotel or camping in a tent or campervan. There are several campsites in Reykjavik, but they book up quickly as people head to the capital for the festivals. Same goes for restaurants and food tours – you’ll need to be a little more organised and plan and book in advance.
Weather in June
The promise of long days and the likelihood of sunshine tempt people to Iceland in June. However, Iceland’s weather is famously unpredictable. Be prepared for the possibility of rain and chilly northerly winds. You’ll definitely need to pack plenty of layers as well as good boots for hiking and wind and rainproof gear. Temperatures usually hover between 10°C and 20°C in June. But the wind can often make it feel cooler. Never the less, temperatures and conditions are generally good for walking, hiking, camping and spending time out doors. Definitely what you want to do on a trip to Iceland!
Driving conditions in June
If you want to explore Iceland by campervan, then June is one of the best times of year to do so. Hiring a camper van is a great way to see the country and in June all of the roads will be open and passable. You won’t need to worry about fitting winter tires and you will be able to drive most roads in a regular vehicle. Note though that quite a few of Iceland’s more remote and highland roads are only suitable for 4x4 vehicles at any time of year.
Another plus is that all of Iceland’s campsites will be open in June, so you’ll have plenty of choice. You can take your time exploring the Golden Circle route and stopping to camp in different beauty spots along the way. Alternatively, if you have more time you’ll be able to tour Iceland’s ring road route that loops right around the coast. Inland too, the roads and the campsites will all be open. June is an access all areas kind of a month, great for driving and a prime time for a trip to Iceland.