The Best Summer Tours in Iceland

Travellers in Iceland's south

The Icelandic landscape is vastly diverse, showcasing natural contrasts in every area of the country. These diverse landscapes can be seen with variations, including Iceland’s glacial wonders, volcanic plains and lava fields, forests, rivers, cliffsides, and geothermal treasures. Therefore finding the best summer tours in Iceland can be done with ease.

Visiting Iceland in the summer months can be a vastly different experience from when visiting during the winter. Nonetheless, many tours can be experienced both during the summer and the winter, such as visiting the Golden Circle or bathing in the Blue Lagoon.

To fully appreciate the variations and contrasts that Icelandic nature has to offer, we recommend that visitors embark on one or more of the many available tours of Iceland. In this guide, we will go over the best summer tours in Iceland, which allow travellers to witness Iceland’s extraordinary beauty in the 24-hour daylight of the summer months.

 

Explore Iceland in the Summer by Hiking

Iceland offers an abundance of hiking trails and treks throughout the country, where hikers are often captivated by dramatic landscapes and untouched wilderness. There are a lot of different hiking variations available in Iceland, so whether you are looking for a short day-hike or a longer multiple-day hike, you have found the ideal spot for your hiking experience. 

 

Day-Hikes in Iceland 

In Iceland, a great variety of day hikes are available, both in the vicinity of Reykjavík and all around the country. Many popular day-hikes are the Esjan and Úlfarsfell mountains, both located in or just outside Reykjavík. Hiking either Esja or Úlfarsfell mountain takes about 2-3 hours, depending on how many stops are taken along the way.

Another popular day hike is in Reykjadalur valley, located close to Hveragerði town, about 50 km [31 mil] from Reykjavík city. The path takes hikers to a hot spring, making it a perfect two-in-one activity. 

 

Multi-Day Hikes in Iceland

 

Laugavegur Trail

In addition to the many day hikes in Iceland, many multi-day hikes are available for hikers to explore. One of Iceland’s most famous multi-day hikes is the Laugavegur trail in the southern highlands. Hikers usually trek in 3-4 days, which is about 52 km [32 mil] and is generally considered challenging. The trek takes you through lava fields, black sand deserts, geothermal springs, glaciers, lakes, rivers, and forests, making it a perfectly diverse and contrasting hike. The best times to visit the trek are from June through September.

Woman hiking Laugavegur trail
Photo: Berglind – Laugavegur Hike

 

Fimmvörðuháls Trail

Another popular hike is the Fimmvörðuháls trail, which is also located in the southern highlands of Iceland. The trail is 23.8 km [14.8 mil] and is a challenging one. It takes an average of 8 hours to complete, which can be done in a day but is quite common to split over a couple of days. The area is famous for birding and camping, making it ideal to explore wildlife and encounter other people while hiking.

 

Hornstrandir Trail

Located in the Westfjords in Iceland is the Hornstrandir trek, which is about 86 km [53 mils] long but can be split into shorter trails. The trek lets hikers experience breathtaking views where the landscapes of the Westfjords are one of Iceland’s most unique and dramatic ones. The area is quite remote, where you can expect to see untouched wilderness and experience various weather conditions. Due to the area’s remoteness, no infrastructure is in place for backpackers, so bringing enough food, water, clothing and gear to the hike is essential.

 

Glacier Hikes in Iceland

Iceland offers many glacier hikes where hikers can experience a once-in-a-lifetime journey and enjoy the astonishing views of Icelandic glaciers. Though it might sound like it, these tours are meant not only for winter but can be enjoyed all year round. Glacier tours can be embarked on at any of the many glaciers of Iceland, for instance, the Sólheimajökull glacier or the famous Eyjafjallajökull glacier. 

Find more information about the available glacier tours here

 

Water activities in Iceland

 

Snorkel or dive between two continents at Silfra Fissure

Snorkelling or diving in Silfra offers a unique and captivating experience by taking participants on a journey between two continents, making it one of the best summer tours in Iceland. Silfra is located at Iceland’s national park Þingvellir, a fissure between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. By diving into the crystal-clear glacial water, you can expect to see stunning underwater landscapes with visibility exceeding about 100 metres [328ft].

Explore the available tours to Silfra here

People diving in Silfra fissure in Þingvellir National Park Icelande
Photo: Ants Stern and Jóna Kolbrún Sigurjónsdóttir Diving in Silfra Fissure

 

Kayak and paddle tours in Iceland

Whether you are looking for a calm evening paddle tour, a breathtaking kayaking tour through the Icelandic glacier water or a thrilling river ride, there are many options to choose from. One of Iceland’s most popular kayaking tours is the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon tour, which takes participants to a breathtaking view of the ice caps and the dome of ice that rises above it. During the summer, it can also be a great option to enjoy a night of paddling under the midnight sun and watch how it never sets. 

See more information about the kayak and paddle tours available here

 

Get the Perfect Catch in an Icelandic Fishing Tour

Embarking on a fishing tour in the summer in Iceland promises an unforgettable adventure filled with excitement, natural beauty, and the thrill of reeling in a catch amidst stunning landscapes.

As the long days of summer bathe the island in golden sunlight, fishermen and enthusiasts flock to Iceland’s rivers, lakes, and coastal waters in pursuit of the perfect catch. For those that want to get the taste of fishing in Iceland, many tours are offered that are both informative, fun and hands-on.

The Sea Angling Tour sets off from Reykjavík Harbour out to the fishing areas of Faxaflói bay, where the experienced crew are able to spot fish in a blink of an eye. 

The Private Fishing Tour offers participants exclusive fishing trips in both a river and a lake, equipped with all fishing gear. The tours can be set up with short notice and can be specialised to fit all needs participants might have. 

The Whales and Sea Angling Tour combines exploring the majestic whales of Iceland with the fishing experience. So whether participants are experienced fishermen or simply want to relax, enjoy the landscape with a fishing rod on their hand, the tour is a perfect option. 

Embarking on a fishing tour in Iceland is a perfect opportunity to connect with nature, get insight and knowledge of fishing in Iceland and have some fun meanwhile. 

See available fishing tours here

 

Wakeboarding and Waterskiing tours 

Wakeboarding and waterskiing tours can be a great option to enjoy some fun while exploring the surrounding landscape. However, you must be quick as the boat goes fast. Western Iceland offers the perfect conditions for combining the two as it has one of the most breathtaking views of Iceland and plenty of water to go about. Whether you are a premier league professional, or a courageous beginner, the wakeboards and water skis will welcome you. 

See some of the wakeboarding and waterskiing tours of western Iceland here

 

Visit Iceland’s famous Golden Circle

The well-known Golden Circle is one of Iceland’s must-visit and most-visited tourist destinations. The journey takes travellers through some of Iceland’s most iconic natural wonders by stopping in three destinations: Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall and the Geysir geothermal area. 

 

Þingvellir National Park

The journey’s first stop is Þingvellir National Park, a natural marvel and historical site in southwestern Iceland. Its historical status comes from the general assembly, or Alþingi, being established there around the year 930, which continued to convene until 1798. The national park is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites and offers visitors a unique experience of standing on the continental divide between North America and Eurasia. 

Geysir Geothermal Area

After visiting Þingvellir, the second stop of the journey is the Geysir geothermal area. The area is home to the famous Geysir and its more active counterpart, Strokkur, which typically erupts every 6-10 minutes. Strokkur’s usual height goes up to about 15-20 metres. However, it occasionally erupts up to 40 metres high. The surrounding area is vibrant and full of unique colours and landscapes, making this part of the journey remarkable. Close by the erupting geysers and bubbling mud pots are Hotel Geysir, where you can enjoy the beautiful view from the privacy of your room. 

Gullfoss Waterfall

The final destination of the journey, completing the Golden Circle, is Gullfoss waterfall. The majestic and powerful waterfall derives from the Hvítá River and plunges into a deep canyon. The name Gullfoss means golden waterfall, and the golden-toned mist that can be seen above the water a lot of the time gave the waterfall its name. 

Many choose to finish the tour at one of Iceland’s geothermal baths, Fontana. Fontana is located by Laugarvatn Lake, where visitors can relax in the warm water and even go for a dip in the lake. 

See many of the available Golden Circle tours here

gullfoss waterfall golden circle
Photo: Golli – Gullfoss Waterfall

 

Experience the Icelandic Midnight Sun 

The Icelandic midnight sun is a phenomenon that fascinates locals and visitors worldwide. In the summer months, from approximately May to August, the days are incredibly bright, but in the month of June, the sun can be visible nearly 24 hours a day. That is a result of Iceland’s high latitude, where the earth’s axis tilts towards the sun for six months during the summer, and therefore, the country gets to bask in the glow of the midnight sun periodically. 

The longest day of the year in Iceland, the summer solstice, takes place between June 20 and 22 and is often celebrated, for example, with the music festival Secret Solstice Iceland. 

In summary, visitors can enjoy the unique and breathtaking sight of the midnight sun in Iceland during the summer and cross that off their bucket list. 

For booking a midnight sun tour, see more information here

 

See the Majestic Whales of Iceland on a Whale Watching Tour

The large and captivating creatures we call whales can be found all around the island of Iceland. In Iceland’s surrounding ocean, multiple species of whales can be found, such as the Humpback Whale, Killer Whale, Blue Whale and many more. Each species has different characteristics and behaviours, which can be fascinating to explore. 

By embarking on a whale-watching voyage, you can experience the beauty of the wildlife and view the majestic ocean creatures just off the coast of Reykjavík. 

See available whale-watching tours here

A fin of a whale during a whale watching tour in Iceland
Photo: Golli – Whale Watching

 

Ride into the Sunset on an Icelandic Horse 

Even though you might not be able to ride into the sunset with the never-setting Icelandic summer sun, you can still enjoy horseback riding on a majestic Icelandic horse. 

To some, the Icelandic horse might seem relatively small. However, the Icelandic horse is a very elegant and beautiful creature with a lively temperament. 

Riding an Icelandic horse in the summertime can be a very entertaining experience where you can learn more about the horses whilst enjoying the beautiful landscapes of the surrounding area. 

See available horseback riding tours here

Enjoying a horse riding tour in Iceland
Photo: Horseback riding tour

 

Ride in the Icelandic nature on an ATV

There are more ways to ride in Icelandic nature than on a horse, as you can get the adrenaline flowing in an ATV or a quad tour. 

There are multiple types of ATV or quad tours, and you can choose from riding in a lava field, on a black sand beach, taking a midnight sun tour, or other. You can even combine the tour with other tours, such as visiting the Golden Circle, visiting the Blue Lagoon or going caving, and therefore getting a full Icelandic experience. 

See the available ATV or quad tours here.

 

Summer tours in Iceland summary

The best summer tours in Iceland are diverse and offer varied experiences such as hikes, wildlife exploring, thrilling rafting or calming midnight sun watching. Moreover, the experiences all have a common thread of enjoying the captivating Icelandic landscapes showcasing the country’s geological diversity in a compact space. To make the most of your summer in Iceland, we recommend taking any of the tours mentioned above and experiencing the treasures Iceland has to offer!