August in Iceland is another of our busiest summer months here on the island, and for good reason. And we will be exploring these and more in our article. Are you planning a trip to Iceland in August, or you’re still trying to figure out what the best time to visit the island is? Keep reading - this article will be very helpful, and might even be the deciding factor.
So, if you’re worried about the Icelandic weather, what to pack, or what to do and see around the island, you’ll soon know all the ins and outs of spending August in Iceland. Let’s get into it!
The Pros and Cons of Iceland in August
The first thing to do in making a decision is to weigh up the pros and cons. That’s why we’ve created this handy overview to see if August is the right fit for you:
- Along with June and July, August weather in Iceland is some of the best that you can experience here on the island. Temperatures are high and the more extreme weather elements have calmed down.
- There are more than enough daylight hours to ensure an absolutely jam-packed trip itinerary.
- Road conditions are absolutely pristine. All roads/routes that are usually closed during the colder months are open, which makes it an ideal time for a road trip.
- If you’re a wildlife fan, you’ll go gaga for August in Iceland since it is Puffin season. What’s more, you’ve come at exactly the right time when the cute little Pufflings will also be out and about.
- We’re not the only ones who know how great August is, so it’s considered one of our peak season months, and you can expect a lot of peak season crowds.
- Along with the peak season crowds come the peak season prices and your trip budget might not stretch as far as it usually does at other times of the year.
- Ironically, there’s a darker side to having so many daylight hours. Some complain that it messes with their sleeping patterns, and you won’t be able to see the Northern Lights.
What You Can Expect From the Weather in Iceland in August
As we already mentioned, visiting Iceland in August almost guarantees you great weather. You don’t need to worry about the harsher island weather elements such as snow and wind. Our winds are legendary for literally ripping car doors off their hinges mid-winter.
It’ll also be nice and warm (in Iceland terms, of course), and the temperature in Iceland in August is between 8-13 degrees Celsius. The average temperature in Iceland in August lingers around the 10-degree mark. So, you can rest assured, there are no below-freezing temperatures when traveling to Iceland in August!
Just keep in mind that there will be a slight difference in the Reykjavik weather in August vs the Akureyri weather in August. This is because the further north in the country you go, the colder it will get. But don’t worry, the island is well-prepared for any type of weather.
In fact, we have a local saying here that goes “you can experience all four seasons in a day here in Iceland”, so, although you’re deep in the Icelandic summer, it’s not strange to wake up to a cloudless, sunny day that turns to rain within the hour and that disappears just as quickly again. When it comes to daylight hours, you can look forward to about 15 hours of daylight each day when visiting Iceland in August.
Packing List When Traveling to Iceland in August
Packing clothing for an Iceland trip in August can be tricky if you’ve never been to the island and don’t know what to expect. That’s why we’ve created this handy packing list that you can use as a guide:
- Waterproof jacket
- Woolen sweater (we suggest just bringing one or two, so you can buy a few authentic Icelandic woolen sweaters here on the island)
- Waterproof pants
- Informal pants (for days spent in the city)
- Waterproof hiking boots (it doesn’t matter if you’re planning on actually going hiking or not)
- Thermal vests
- Thermal leggings
- Warm woolen socks
- T-shirts & long-sleeved shirts
- Warm hat (beanies come highly recommended)
- Warm gloves
- Warm scarf
- Bathing suit (for when you’re visiting the hot springs)
- Quick drying towel (you don’t want to be carrying wet things with you all day)
- Flip-flops (to use at the hot springs and other public changing rooms)
- Water bottle (remember, our water is of exceptional quality, so no one buys water here – you simply need to fill up)
- Toiletries & medication (remember to check flight restrictions beforehand, so you don’t end up with things being confiscated)
- Electronics: chargers, cables, adaptor, power bank, etc.
Driving in Iceland During August
As we already touched on, driving conditions during the month of August are pristine. You don’t need to worry about snow or ice on the road, and all roads and routes that are usually closed during the colder months will be open. So, it should come as no surprise that road-tripping is a favorite activity during an Iceland vacation in August (and probably the best way to properly explore the island).
Just have a chat with your rental agent about your planned routes first, since there are certain roads (such as the F-roads in Iceland) that can only legally be accessed with a 4x4 vehicle. There are also a few others that locals will highly recommend you use a 4x4 vehicle (whether legally mandatory or not).
Your routes will also impact the insurance coverage you will need. For example, if you’re planning on driving down the coast where the wind and sand form a potent combo, you’ll most certainly need Sand and Ash Protection. If a road trip around the island sounds right up your alley, the following are some of our most popular road trip routes:
Camping in Iceland in August
You should really consider camping during your Iceland trip in August. Not only does this guarantee the most immersive experience with the Icelandic landscape, but it’s also a great budget-saving option (especially during our busy peak season). By camping you can drastically cut down on accommodation costs, and you don’t need to rough-n-tough it out there either.
Simply rent a campervan in Iceland, and you’ll not only camp in comfort but sort out both your accommodation and your transport. If you wish to take your savings up a notch, you can also buy a Camping Card. A Camping Card will set you back a mere €159, yet an entire family of 2 adults and up to 4 kids will be granted access to various campsites across the island for 28 nights!
When you realize that most campgrounds charge between $10-$20 per person per night, you’ll understand the type of savings we’re talking about. If camping is something that you’re considering, the following campgrounds come highly recommended:
- Skaftafell Campsite
- Breidavik Campground
- Reykjavik Campsite
- Siglufjördur Campsite
- Egilsstadir Campsite
Things to do in August
Going to Iceland in August and still don’t know what to do or see? Well, try to add some of the following to your trip itinerary:
Relaxing in One of Our Hot Springs
All the volcanic activity here on the island heats up the underground water supply. These natural hot springs can be enjoyed in a variety of ways here on the island; either in their natural and original form or as geothermal pools (when accessing the hot spring in its natural form is not as easy, or it’s simply too warm).
Many prefer visiting the hot springs during the winter, when the contrast between the cold and the warm water makes for quite the experience. But the Iceland hot springs are not just a way for locals and visitors to relax and unwind. Our hot spring water has actually been credited with healing properties. Between the heat and the mineral-rich water, our hot springs can tackle all sorts of aches and pains and dermatological problems.
This is also the reason why many of our geothermal pools have a spa facility on the grounds as well, where you can continue your pampering and even purchase some products made of the hot spring mud and water to take home with you. If a visit to a hot spring is on your to-do list, the following are some of the most popular sites:
Going Horseback Riding
These are not your average horseback riding trails. Except for being able to explore the contrasting and diverse terrain only the Land of Fire and Ice can create, the island also boasts its own breed of horse!
The Icelandic Horse has a pony-like stature and has a thick, fluffy furry pelt during the winter. These horses are known for their incredibly friendly nature and can perform an extra gait called the tölt.
Since the tölt is a stride where the horse keeps one hoof on the ground at all times, the gait is said to be so smooth that it has inspired a local challenge called the beer tölt. During this challenge, the rider is given a pint of beer and asked to perform the tölt without spilling one drop of beer. You will find all sorts of horse farms or horseback riding tours all across the country.
Visiting Some of the Local Museums
Do not keep the museums in Iceland on your to-do list only for the days the weather turns on you. There are simply too many to squeeze into just a couple of days! You don’t want to miss out on some of the unique and interesting museum experiences you can have here. You can go back in time and experience some of Iceland’s most exciting legends and local history through a guided audio tour and impressive wax figures at the Saga Museum.
You also don’t want to miss out on the Icelandic Phallological Museum where you can see the pen… “appendixes” of all the mammals on the island, including whales! And you definitely don’t want to miss the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft where you get to dive into the history and folklore of the island, which even includes a pair of pants made of human skin.
Attending One of the Local Events or Festivals
Icelanders don’t need an excuse to celebrate and you’ll find plenty of local events and festivals to attend during August in Iceland. So, if you fancy adding a few to your social calendar, these come highly recommended:
- Cycle Music and Art Festival
- Reykjavik Gay Pride
- Reykjavik Jazz Festival
- The Great Fish Day in Dalvik
- Reykjavik Cultural Festival
Exploring the Capital City
Reykjavik is full of all sorts of interesting things to do and see. By visiting Reykjavik in August, you’ll have more than enough daylight hours to do them. Our very favorite way of exploring the capital is by doing The Reykjavik Food Walk. This is where an experienced guide will show you around the city and let you in on all its secrets, whilst stopping at various spots to eat local cuisine and drink craft beers.
Visiting One of Our Waterfalls
The island is home to 10,000 waterfalls! And whilst it will be impossible for you to visit all of them if spending just a week or two in Iceland in August, there are a few that you simply cannot miss. Try to add the following to your trip itinerary, each offering very unique experiences:
- Seljalandsfoss Waterfall – the waterfall you can walk behind
- Svartifoss Waterfall – the waterfall that’s got a dramatic backdrop of black hexagonal basalt column
- Godafoss Waterfall – where it is believed a symbolic gesture signaled the island’s conversion to Christianity
- Dettifoss Waterfall – the most powerful waterfall in Europe
- Glymur Waterfall – one of the tallest waterfalls in Iceland
Admiring Our Architecture
Iceland has an incredibly rich history and if you combine that with the fact that Iceland has been voted one of the most creative nations in the world, you’ll understand why we have some of the most impressive architecture you’ve ever seen. So, if you are someone that can appreciate good architecture, the following are a few must-see places:
- The Nordic House
- Harpa Concert Hall
- The National Theatre of Iceland
- Reykjavik Art Museum
Taking a Stroll on a Black Sand Beach
Trips to Iceland in August won’t be complete without a stroll on one of our black sand beaches. This is yet another end product of all the volcanic activity here on the island. What we experience as black sand today was once red, hot lava flowing across the land ‘till it got cooled down by the cool air and cold ocean water.
Once it cools down, it turns into a big mass of black sedimentary rock that slowly gets eroded by the crashing waves and weather elements over time to form the black sand you find on Iceland’s black sand beaches today.
There are many black sand beaches that are worth visiting, such as Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, which stretches out for kilometers. Or Diamond Beach, where pieces of ice wash up on the shore and look like diamonds glistening in the sun.
A Few Helpful Tips When Spending August in Iceland
If this is your first trip to the island or just the first time you’ll be visiting in August, the following tips will be very helpful:
Always Dress in Layers
Remember when we told you about our local saying of “four seasons in one day”? Well, the best way to counter this and always be prepared is to dress in layers. This way, you can always take something off when you’re warm or put something on when you’re cold.
Book Everything Well in Advance
August in Iceland is one of our busiest seasons, and it is absolutely essential that you book things well in advance. This includes everything from accommodation and transport to activities and attractions. If you don’t, you may actually be left stranded, without a roof over your head or without ticking off those items on your Iceland bucket list.
Waterproof Clothing and Accessories are Crucial
Yes, waterproof clothing and accessories can come in handy when that “four seasons in one day” thing hits, but you’ll also thank us for those waterproof hiking boots when traversing the wet, muddy trails around the natural hot springs. Or when you’re standing nice and dry at one of our waterfalls, whilst the other visitors are getting drenched by mist and spray.
August in Iceland; So Much to Do, So Much Time
As you can see, there are plenty of things to do in Iceland in August, and thanks to all the extra daylight hours, you’ll have more than enough time for your full trip itinerary. The added perk of pristine roads and great weather makes for the perfect road trip conditions. Just remember to book your Iceland campervan rental well in advance. Hope you have a great time road-tripping the island in August in Iceland!