Tuesday, July 4, 2017
July is finally here – the biggest month for domestic traveling among the locals and the busiest tourist month. That comes as no surprise, since Iceland in July can be quite lovely.
I’ve already covered Iceland in May and June, and now I turn my eyes to Iceland in July. Granted, the weather can fluctuate quite a bit and it tends to be more rain in July than June but when the sun comes out we all forget about our wet nemesis, take our shirts off and put some Icelandic hot dogs on the barbecue!
The highs and lows of Iceland in July
The average temperature in Iceland is July is 10-13°C, 50-55°F. You might not think that’s a lot but for us Icelanders it is. Especially those exceptionally warm July days where the temperature can rise to 20-25°C, 68-77°F. Then you will definitely see the locals strutting around in shorts, topless and loving it!
The Eastern fjords are getting hotter and hotter the last few years, where temperatures can soar up to almost 30°C, 86°F. So, if you don’t mind the drive I would recommend making the East of Iceland your destination.
The average low temperature for the whole country is 9°C, 48°F. But we have daylight almost around the clock so the bright skies can fool you into thinking that you don’t have to dress warmly. Well, you have to. I mean, it’s Iceland. Did you expect something else?
Don’t forget the layers
In Iceland in July you will probably hear the phrase Peysuveður a lot, which literally means Sweater Weather. That phrase is used when the weather is so good, you only need a sweater to go frolicking around town. Yep, we have a special word for that! I do however urge you to pack wisely for your July trip since it can get chilly. Bring a light coat, some gloves, a hat, sunglasses, sun screen, good footwear and rainproof coat and trousers. And don’t forget those layers of thin wool – they are essential in every season in Iceland.
Go road tripping
For me, July is the perfect month for a good old fashioned road trip. Put your swag on, make a kick ass playlist and just drive into the unknown. The good thing about Iceland in July is that all roads are open, except if nature decides to rattle our nerves. You can basically go where ever you want and even venture into the highlands. If you decide on that, I must however warn you that the highlands are not a place to mess around and you should do your research before journeying through the uninhabited area of Iceland.
In July you could do the entire ring road in a few short days and just camp where ever you feel like it, since most, if not all, camp sites are open. Read our guide on where you can camp in Iceland.
Or join a tour
If you don’t feel like driving, here are a few tours I recommend you check out in Iceland in July so you can really enjoy the wonder of the Icelandic summer:
Enjoy the many hiking trails around Þórsmörk and spend the day in this beautiful nature reserve. It truly is a must see when in Iceland.
Start your day with a relaxing horse back riding tour at Laxnes Horse Farm and get friendly with the Icelandic horse. Finish the day on a Golden Circle Tour to experience some of Iceland’s most popular attractions. You just can’t go wrong with this tour!
The Reykjanes Peninsula is a place like no other and nothing beats exploring that part of the country, followed by a soak in the Blue Lagoon.
Hike to Reykjadalur in Hveragerði, bathe in a hot spring and enjoy the view at one of the biggest geothermal areas in Iceland.
It’s high season for the beautiful Puffins and nothing beats getting up close and personal with them on a vintage fishing boat.
A day on the peninsula is a day to remember. See unforgettable landscapes and visit attractions such as Kirkjufell mountain, Snæfellsjökull glacier and Lóndrangar cliffs.
Spend 2 days roaming the South coast of Iceland and go glacier hiking on Sólheimajökull. You’ll have the chance to visit Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, Reynisfjara black beach, Seljalandsfoss waterfall and many other beautiful places that adorn the South coast of Iceland.
Hike Esja, the mountain that’s just a few minutes away from Reykjavík, and get a drone video of the whole thing.
RHCP visit for the first time
There is a truck load of stuff to do in Iceland in July. I’ve compiled a short guide of what’s on, but there’s no way I could fit all events in one blog post.
One of the biggest events in July is without a doubt Red Hot Chili Pepper’s first concert ever in Iceland. That takes place in Laugardalur in Reykjavík on the 31st of July. Icelandic electro rock band Fufanu opens for the rock band and tickets are still available. See more here.
And there’s more for rock fans. Alternative rock band Dinosaur Jr. will take the stage in Harpa on the 22nd of July with tickets still being available. And if you want to visit Harpa but are not big on rock, you can enjoy the sound of Herbie Hancock on July 20th.
All rap fans should flock to venue Græni hatturinn in Akureyri on the 29th of July at 10 PM when Icelandic rapper Emmsjé Gauti takes the stage. Emmsjé Gauti is undoubtably the biggest rapper in Iceland today and has won the heart of people of all ages with killer rhymes and kick ass beats. He’s amazing on stage!
East coast rules
There are also some festivals around the country worth checking out. One of Iceland’s most popular music festival, Eistnaflug, starts tomorrow, the 5th of July and ends on the 8th in the lovely town of Neskaupstaður on the Eastern coast of Iceland. It’s a metal festival which has been on every year since the summer of 2005 and the festival’s slogan is: Idiot’s not allowed. Among foreign bands performing this year are Akercocke, Anaal Nathrakh, Asyllex, Atari Teenage Riot and Bloodbath. Among local bands are Dimma, Brain Police, 200.000 Naglbítar, Dr. Spock and Ham. Check out the festival’s website here.
Bræðslan is another festival in the East, being held on the 29th of July at Borgarfjörður Eystri. It’s a festival with a lovely, chilled out vibe and boasts a beautiful camp site in a quiet environment. Among the acts you can expect to see at Bræðslan are rap duet Úlfur Úlfur, legendary pop band Todmobile and Irish singer songwriter Lisa Hannigan. Go to Bræðslan’s website for more info.
And we stay on the East coast of Iceland because art and music festival L.ung.A is held there from the 16th to the 23th of July at Seyðisfjörður. It’s a really fun and exciting festivals with loads of arty events and a music festival at the end of the week. Well worth checking out.
If you want to stay in Reykjavík, you can check out KEXPort in the back alley of KEX Hostel in down town Reykjavík. Admission is free and you can enjoy tunes from bands such as Dynfari, Between Mountains, Daði Freyr and Une Misére. That’s on the 14th and 15th of July and starts at 5 PM.
You can also laugh in Iceland
Icelandair Hotel Reykjavík Marina is hosting an interesting event on Tuesday the 25th of July from 4.30 PM to 5 PM at Kaffislippur Café by the harbor. There, performers Stefán Ingvar Vigfússon and Adolf Smári Unnarsson will give guests a brief introduction to Icelandic literary history. It’s only 30 minutes, in English and doesn’t cost a thing.
And when you’ve finished laughing a bit, you can laugh some more on the evening of the 25th of July at bar Húrra on Tryggvagata 22 in Reykjavík center, where legendary local comedian Hugleikur Dagsson has a stand up show, starting at 8 PM.
Mountain race, a chocolate run and a sweat lodge
And now something for the outdoorsy types. We’ll start at the top with the Laugavegur Ultra Marathon, a 55 kilometer mountain race which starts on Saturday July 15th. The course of the race takes runners through challenging courses in the Icelandic highlands, a distance that hikers usually cover in 4 days. So, if you’re in excellent shape, you can sign up here.
For those just wanting to do a light bit of jogging, I suggest you check out the Chocolate Run at Siglufjörður in the North of Iceland on the 29th of July. You can either run 3 kilometers or 10 kilometers and the race is for charity. You can register here. And if you don’t feel like running, I recommend you visit Siglufjörður anyway during that weekend because the family festival Trilludagar is on, with loads of activities for the whole family.
I also recommend the Runners’ Festival, an annual event in the Ísafjörður and Þingeyri area in the Westfjords. The festival is held from the 14th of July to the 16th and participants can choose from running a half marathon, 10 kilometers and a wilderness run which is 45 kilometers, 24 kilometers or 10 kilometers. There’s also open water swimming, mountain biking and a 3 day triathlon. You can register here.
And last, but not least, there’s the Sunlight’s Sweat Lodge, where you can purify your soul and mind. The first one will be on July 8th at 5 PM at Finnastaðir in Akureyri and the second one is at the same location on July 21st at 6 PM. You can be part of either one of them or both, but there’s only 9 spaces available. See more info on the Sweat Lodge’s Facebook page.
Well, that’s it then for Iceland in July. I hope you found something that tickles your fancy. If not, you can always send me an email at email@example.com and I can help you navigate your way around Iceland.