We have previously written about what we would see when visiting Iceland in winter, but as the warmer months are now almost upon us, we could not check back on the top adventurous things to do in Iceland in the summer!

Iceland is a beautiful country that boasts of an abundance of natural wonders that make it a top destination for adventurers like us. During the summer months, the country comes alive, offering a range of activities that adventurous spirits can engage in. From hiking and camping to glacier walking and whale watching, there are plenty of adventures to choose from! In this article, we will explore the top adventure activities we will surely enjoy in Iceland during the summer. Thinking about going in the colder months? Check out our Iceland in Winter post!

What to See in Iceland in the Summer

Here are some popular activities, attractions and places to visit in Iceland that we are considering during our visit:

Visit the Blue Lagoon

Located in the heart of a lava field, the Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland’s most iconic attractions, and as such, the ultimate Iceland must see attraction. This geothermal spa is renowned for its milky blue waters, which are rich in minerals and are believed to have healing properties. Soak in the warm waters, relax in the saunas and steam rooms, and enjoy a range of spa treatments.

Adventurous Things to Do in Iceland in the Summer // Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon

Explore the Golden Circle

The Golden Circle is a popular tourist route that takes in three of Iceland’s most spectacular natural wonders: the Þingvellir National Park, the Geysir Geothermal Area, and the Gullfoss waterfall. See geysers erupting, walk between the tectonic plates, and marvel at the power of Iceland’s most famous waterfall.

Adventurous Things to Do in Iceland in the Summer // Geothermal Activities and Geysers

Geothermal Activities and Geysers

Drive the Scenic Ring Road

The Ring Road, also known as the Route 1, makes a loop around the country. From there, explore other paved or dirt roads that will lead to different parts of Iceland.

Adventurous Things to Do in Iceland in the Summer // Iceland Scenic Drive

Iceland Scenic Drive

See the Northern Lights

Although most people associate the Northern Lights with winter, it’s also possible to see them in Iceland during the summer months. The midnight sun makes it more challenging to see the Aurora Borealis, but with the right conditions and a bit of luck, witness this spectacular natural phenomenon which is one the ultimate things to see in Iceland.

Admire the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

This stunning glacier lagoon is located in the southeast of Iceland and is fed by the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier. Join a boat tours around the lagoon and see the icebergs floating on the turquoise waters, as well as seals and other wildlife.

Chill at the Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach

Among the several back sand beached in Iceland, Reynisfjara is the most stunning one. Check the basalt columns as they constrast against the Atlantic Ocean. 

Adventurous Things to Do in Iceland in the Summer // Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach

Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach

Visit Reykjavik’s Museums

Iceland’s capital city has several excellent museums, including the National Museum of Iceland, the Reykjavik Art Museum, and the Reykjavik Maritime Museum. Learn about Iceland’s history, art, and culture, as well as its maritime heritage.

Attend a Music Festival

Iceland has a thriving music scene, and there are several festivals throughout the summer months. Some of the most popular festivals include the Reykjavik Arts Festival, the Secret Solstice Festival, and the Siglufjörður Icelandic Folk Festival.

Adventurous Things to Do in Iceland in the Summer

Wondering what to do in Iceland? Search no more! Here is a list of some of the fun things to do when it comes to outdoor activities and adventure travel!


Iceland is a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts, and camping is a popular way to experience the country’s wilderness, its rugged landscapes and natural beauty. There are plenty of campsites around the country, from basic sites with no facilities to fully-equipped sites with showers, cooking facilities, and other amenities.

Adventurous Things to Do in Iceland in the Summer // Haifoss Waterfall

Haifoss Waterfall

Camping in the summer months is ideal, with milder temperatures and longer daylight hours to enjoy the great outdoors.

Glacier Hiking

Iceland is home to several glaciers, including Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Europe. Many other glaciers that are easily accessible during the summer months, and glacier walking tours are the best way to experience the stunning ice formations up close and safely.

Guided glacier hikes usually explore the ice caves, crevasses, and otherworldly landscapes of these frozen wonders.

Whale Watching

Iceland is one of the best places in the world to see a diverse range of whales species in their natural habitat, including humpback whales, minke whales, and blue whales, as well as dolphins, porpoises, orcas, and seals.

Several companies offer whale watching tours from Reykjavik, Húsavík, and other coastal towns

Natural Hot Springs Dipping

Iceland has an abundance of natural hot springs and geothermal pools, perfect for relaxing in the warm, mineral-rich waters and enjoying stunning views of the surrounding landscapes. The most famous of these is the Blue Lagoon, but there are many other natural hot springs that are worth a visit, including the Secret Lagoon, the Reykjadalur hot springs, and the Landmannalaugar hot springs. Some are free, while others require a small entrance fee.

Adventurous Things to Do in Iceland in the Summer // Landmannalaugur


Horseback Riding

The Icelandic horse is a unique breed that has been isolated on the island for over a thousand years. As a horse rider myself, I can wait to join on the local horseback riding tours and explore Iceland’s landscapes on these sturdy and sure-footed horses. Probably one of the best things to do in Iceland!

Adventurous Things to Do in Iceland in the Summer // Icelandic Horse

Icelandic Horse

For more horse-back riding adventures, read about our experience riding in Mongolia or in a Montana ranch.


Iceland has a diverse range of hiking trails that offer stunning views of its unique landscape. From the famous Laugavegur trek to the more challenging Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, there is a hike suitable for all levels of hikers, ranging from easy walks to multi-day treks on many well-marked hiking trails. This is also a great way to get off the beaten path and explore lesser-known areas of the country.

The summer months offer the best weather for hiking, with longer daylight hours, milder temperatures, and less snow on the trails. Read about hiking trails in Iceland and Europe.

Adventurous Things to Do in Iceland in the Summer // Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

River Rafting

Iceland’s rivers offer an exciting and challenging adventure for those who love water sports. Rafting tours are available for all levels of experience, from beginners to advanced. There are three main rivers for white water rafting:

  • The East Glacial River, also known as the Beast of the East, one of the most challenging rafting in Iceland.
  • Hvítá River, from the Langjokull, Iceland’s second biggest glacier.
  • West River Rafting, which can accommodate for more family-friendly beginner rafting.


Kayaking is a great way to explore Iceland’s coastline and lakes. Some of the best kayaking in Iceland can be done around Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, under Mt. Kirkjufell on Snaefellsnes, Heinabergslon, Hvalfjördur Fjord, Breiðafjöður Bay, Westfjords Peninsula, Faxaflói Bay, among many other places.

Guided tours are available for those who want to venture out on the water safely.

Mountain Biking

Iceland’s rugged terrain offers a challenge for mountain bikers, with trails available for all levels of experience: Skógafoss Waterfall, Laugavegur Trail, Fagradalsfjall Volcano Routes, Kjaran’s Avenue / Svalvogur Circuit, and more.

The summer months offer the best weather for mountain biking, with longer daylight hours and milder temperatures.

Adventurous Things to Do in Iceland in the Summer // Skogafoss Waterfall

Skogafoss Waterfall


For the more adventurous traveler, cycling is a great way to see Iceland’s landscapes up close and personal. There are many bike rental shops throughout the country, and Iceland’s well-developed road system makes it easy to bike from town to town. Just be aware that Iceland’s weather can be unpredictable, so be prepared for rain and wind.

Adventurous Things to Do in Iceland in the Summer // Grundarfjorour Kirkjufell Mountain

Grundarfjorour Kirkjufell Mountain

Scuba-Diving and Snorkeling

Snorkeling or scuba-diving in Iceland’s crystal clear waters offers a unique experience to explore the country’s underwater world. The Silfra fissure, located in Thingvellir National Park, offers a stunning snorkeling experience. The West Fjords offer also good snorkeling options.

Volcano tours

Iceland is home to some of the world’s most active and unique volcanoes, especially when volcano eruption occurs like the in Geldingadalur Valley on the Reykjanes Peninsula.

Guided tours are available for those who want to explore these natural wonders safely.

Rock Climbing

Iceland’s rugged terrain offers a challenge for rock climbers, with plenty of routes available for all levels of experience. Guided tours are available for those who want to explore Iceland’s natural rock formations safely.


Paragliding offers a unique perspective of Iceland’s stunning landscape. In addition, tandem flights are available for those who want to experience the thrill of what paragliding is about.

Helicopter Tour

For a truly unique and unforgettable experience, consider taking a helicopter tour of Iceland’s landscapes. This allows seeing the country from a completely different perspective and accessing areas difficult to reach by car or foot. There are many helicopter tour companies throughout the country that offer a variety of tours.

Island Boat Tour

Iceland’s rugged coastline has many incredible sights, from towering cliffs to colorful puffin colonies. A boat tour is a great way to see these sights up close and personal. There are many boat tour companies that offer such an incredible experience.

Adventurous Things to Do in Iceland in the Summer // Puffin


Planning a Trip to Iceland

For any planning of a summer trip to Iceland, transportation is key to making the most of the trip. Renting a car is by far the most common way to travel in Iceland, but other options like

Renting a Vehicle in Iceland

Here are some travel advice and transportation tips for rental in Iceland during the summer.

  1. Rent a car: The easiest way to get around Iceland during the summer is by renting a car. With a rental car, you can explore Iceland at your own pace and on your schedule. The roads in Iceland are generally well-maintained and easy to navigate, making it easy to explore the country on your own. Renting a car is perfect if you use one main city or village as your travel hub.
  2. Rent a camper van: If you want the ultimate freedom to explore Iceland’s landscapes, consider renting a camper van. This allows you to sleep under the midnight sun, cook your meals, and explore at your own pace. Please make sure to book in advance, since camper van rentals can be in high demand in the summer.
  3. Choose the correct type of car: When renting a car or a camper van in Iceland, choosing the right kind of car for your needs is essential. If you plan to do a lot of driving on unpaved roads, a four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended. A regular car will do if you only plan to stick to the main roads. A 2WD car is all you need to navigate Iceland’s main roads during the summer.
  4. Book in advance: Summer months tend to be the busiest, and the demand might be over the availability, so make sure to reserve a car before you arrive in Iceland
  5. Check for insurance: Before renting a car in Iceland, check the insurance coverage. Some rental car companies offer a basic insurance, while others provide more comprehensive coverage. It’s important to ensure you have adequate coverage to protect you in an accident.
  6. Fuel up: When driving in Iceland, keeping your gas tank full is important. Unfortunately, gas stations can be few and far between, especially in remote areas, so it’s essential to plan and fuel up when you can.
  7. Plan your route: Before setting out on your road trip to Iceland, it’s important to plan your route. Iceland has many amazing sights to see, and it’s easy to get sidetracked. A plan will help you make the most of your time in Iceland.
  8. Watch out for animals: When driving in Iceland, it’s important to watch out for animals, mainly sheep. Sheep are free to roam in Iceland and can often be found on or near the roads. Therefore, driving cautiously and preparing to stop for animals on the road is important.

Public Transportation

Taking a bus is an excellent option if you’re uncomfortable driving or prefer not to rent a car. Iceland has a comprehensive bus route network connecting all major towns and cities. The buses are modern, comfortable, and equipped with Wi-Fi. This is also an affordable option for travelers on a budget.

Adventurous Things to Do in Iceland in the Summer // Green grass-covered houses in Iceland

Green grass-covered houses in Iceland

Organized Tours

Iceland has many tour companies that offer guided tours of the country’s most popular attractions. This is an excellent option to sit back and relax while someone else takes care of the driving and planning. Most tour companies offer a variety of tours, from day trips to multi-day adventures. You can choose from tours focusing on sightseeing, hiking, glacier climbing, and much more.

Best Time To Visit Iceland

The best months to visit Iceland are from June to August for summer activities.

However, even if summer is the best time of year to visit Iceland, be prepared for rapid weather changes! Indeed, the weather in Iceland is known to be unpredictable. It’s important to pack warm clothing and rain gear, as well as sunglasses and sunscreen. You should also be prepared for high winds, common in Iceland. Always check the Iceland weather forecast before any outdoor activity.

Adventurous Things to Do in Iceland in the Summer // Traditional Icelandic Red Church

Traditional Icelandic Red Church

Iceland Summer Travel Tips

These Iceland travel tips could apply to any popular summer destination.

  1. Book in advance: During the summer months, Iceland is a popular travel destination, and many popular attractions and tours can sell out quickly. This includes booking accommodations, activities, and transportation in advance.  So planning any of your Iceland trips and making your reservations early is essential.
  2. Bring the proper clothing: Iceland’s weather can be unpredictable, even in the summer. Therefore, it’s essential to bring warm clothing, waterproof jackets, and sturdy hiking shoes. Layers are key, as the weather can change quickly. It’s also important to bring swimwear, as Iceland has many natural hot springs and geothermal pools.
  3. Get off the beaten path: While Iceland’s famous attractions like the Blue Lagoon and the Golden Circle are a must-see, getting off the beaten path can lead to incredible experiences. Iceland has hidden gems, like secluded waterfalls, abandoned villages, and hidden hot springs. You can do some research before your trip to find lesser-known attractions.
  4. Enjoy long summer days: Take advantage of the long days In the summer months, as Iceland experiences nearly 24 hours of daylight. This means you have more time to explore and experience the country. Consider taking a midnight hike, visiting a hot spring at midnight, or simply taking in the stunning landscapes under the midnight sun.
  5. Explore the local cuisine: Icelandic cuisine is unique and delicious. Be sure to try traditional dishes like lamb soup, smoked salmon, and skyr, a thick yogurt-like dairy product. There are also many food festivals and markets throughout the summer where you can sample local cuisine and meet local producers.
  6. Respect the environment: Iceland’s natural beauty is fragile, and it’s essential to respect the environment. This includes following Leave No Trace principles, staying on marked trails, and avoiding off-road driving. It’s also important to respect the local wildlife, which includes puffins, seals, and reindeer. Keep your distance, and don’t disrupt the animals.
  7. Learn about Icelandic culture: Iceland has a rich history and culture, and learning about it can add depth to your trip. Consider visiting museums, attending concerts, and exploring local art and architecture. Iceland is also home to many unique festivals throughout the summer, including the Icelandic National Day and the Reykjavik Pride Parade.
  8. Learn some Icelandic language: Speaking a few words is a great way to meet people. Pick an English-Icelandic Phrasebook for handy conversation tips.

Have you been to Iceland? What’s your experience? Please share with us in the Comments section! Looking for another European destination? Check out our other Europe travel blog posts below:

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