Weather in Iceland in August Travel Guide

The weather in August in Iceland marks the height of summer, offering a unique blend of mild temperatures and extended daylight. This month is characterized by its relatively stable weather, making it an ideal time for exploring the diverse landscapes of Iceland. With daylight stretching well into the evening, you have plenty of opportunities to experience the natural beauty.

Visiting Iceland in August: an overview

August in Iceland is a time of mild weather and endless daylight, perfect for exploring. With long days, you can enjoy the diverse landscapes, from geysers to black sand beaches. Experience the warmth of natural hot springs and the vibrant culture in Reykjavik. 

For a worry-free journey, we offer tailor-made trips, including personalized plans and full support throughout your adventure.

Pros and cons of visiting Iceland in August

Visiting Iceland in August comes with many perks. This late summer month is the optimal time not just to enjoy warmer weather, but also to experience the stunning midnight sun coupled with the northern lights towards the end of the month. 

It's a great time to explore the Golden Circle in Iceland's southwest, a journey that perfectly blends wilderness sightseeing and hiking. If you're hoping for a dip in hot springs amidst freezing temperatures, August's generally pleasant weather might disappoint. 

August brings the opportunity to appreciate Iceland's lush highlands and mountains, still dotted with snow patches. You can also admire stunning waterfalls and witness the awe-inspiring sight of active volcanoes like Fagradalsfjall.

Feeling inspired? Here's a list of other great destinations in August.

Arnarstapi-iceland-shutterstock_562737007

Arnarstapi, Iceland @ Shutterstock

Is August considered high season?

Yes, August is considered high season in Iceland, which typically lasts from June to August. During this time, the weather is generally mild and more stable, which attracts more travelers. 

However, be aware that this popularity means more crowds at tourist spots and higher prices for accommodations.

Not sure about August? Explore our comprehensive guide to the weather in Iceland throughout the year.

What is the weather like in Iceland in August

In August, you can expect average temperatures, typically ranging from 10°C to 15°C (50°F to 59°F). This is relatively warm for Iceland, making it an ideal time to explore the country's stunning landscapes.

You'll have long daylight hours to enjoy sightseeing, as the sun sets late in the evening. This means more time for you to discover Iceland's natural wonders, like its geysers, waterfalls, and volcanic landscapes. Rain is common, but it usually comes in short, light bursts, so it won't disrupt your plans too much. Just pack a waterproof jacket, and you're good to go!

As our local expert, Jenny, says, “August in Iceland is like a final, splendid display of summer – with brighter days, lively nature, and an energetic atmosphere. It’s the perfect time for travelers to immerse themselves in the beauty of Iceland.”

What is the average temperature in August

In August, the average daily temperature in Iceland generally fluctuates between 10°C to 15°C (50°F to 59°F). On particularly warm days, the temperature can soar up to 25°C (77°F). At night, the mercury can drop to a comfortable 7-10°C (46-50°F). 

However, the weather in Iceland in August can be unpredictable, and it can be both sunny and rainy on the same day. The highest temperature recorded in August was 82°F (27°C) in Akureyri, the "capital of North Iceland."

Laugavegur, Iceland © Shutterstock

Laugavegur, Iceland © Shutterstock

Is it warm in Iceland in August?

Yes, August is one of the warmest months in Iceland. The average temperature in the capital Reykjavik ranges from 10-15°C (50°F - 59°F) and on particularly warm days, the temperature can soar up to 25°C (77°F). 

While this may not seem warm compared to some other destinations, it is relatively mild for Iceland.

What about crowds and costs in August?

In August, Iceland experiences a surge in tourism, resulting in crowded tourist spots and accommodations. As a consequence, hotels tend to be booked out, and prices for rentals and tours increase significantly. Despite this, many travelers still choose August for their Iceland trip due to the favorable weather conditions and various festivals taking place. 

While in popular areas, especially Reykjavík and the Golden Circle, you might have to navigate through hordes of tourists, there are quieter spots in the north and inland regions where you can enjoy relative tranquility.

Tip from Rough Guides: also learn about the best ways to get to Iceland.

Average rainfall in Iceland in August

Rainfall in Iceland during August is quite unpredictable. For example, Reykjavik on average experiences about 2.4 inches or 62mm of rainfall. However, it's not uncommon for the weather to change several times within a single day with the morning starting with a downpour and then clearing up by the afternoon. 

It's also important to note that rainfall is generally higher in September in comparison, reaching up to around 6.4 inches. Despite this, sunny days seem to outnumber the rainy ones in August, so, be ready for a mix of sunshine and drizzle when planning your trip.

Gullfoss waterfall, Iceland © Shutterstock

Gullfoss waterfall, Iceland © Shutterstock

Best things to do in Iceland in August

There are a ton of things to do in Iceland, but here's a breakdown of the best things in August.

Explore the Golden Circle

Taking a trip around the Golden Circle is a must-do in Iceland, and August is a great time to visit. This sightseeing tour covers 186 miles, stopping at three breathtaking natural sites. First, you'll visit Thingvellir National Park, a scenic location renowned for hiking adventures, home to the awe-inspiring continental rift between North America and Eurasia. 

Visit Landmannalaugar

Furthermore, consider dropping by Landmannalaugar, a geothermal wonderland known for its multicolored mountains and beautiful rhyolite formations. Then you can end your day with a peaceful soak in its bathing hot springs, surrounded by a landscape dotted with lava fields. Another bonus for August visitors is the chance to indulge in a traditional activity – picking wild blueberries, crowberries, and whortleberries during your hike.

Still haven't decided where you're going this summer? Explore our list of the best August holiday destinations.

Things not to miss: Hot springs in the mountains, Landmannalaugar, Iceland.

Hot springs in the mountains, Landmannalaugar, Iceland.

Visit the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

One of the most magical places to visit in Iceland is Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. This large glacial lake, located south of Vatnajokull (Europe's largest glacier), is filled with blue icebergs that have calved off the giant glacier. August is a perfect time to visit as the lagoon's surface is often dotted with graceful seals, and you may even spot puffins along the shore. 

Experience the Midnight Sun

August provides the last opportunity to witness the beautiful phenomenon known as the Midnight Sun in Iceland. The extended summer days, with the sun setting around 10 pm at the beginning of the month and 8 pm towards the end, offer a unique display of colorful sky illuminated by the lingering sun. 

Also be sure to explore our guide to the best places to visit in Iceland in the summer.

Seals perched on floating glacial ice in a deep blue glacial lagoon, Jökulsárlón, Iceland ©  Travis J. Camp/Shutterstock

Seals on floating glacial ice in a deep blue glacial lagoon, Jökulsárlón, Iceland © Travis J. Camp/Shutterstock

Can you see the Northern Light in August

The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, are generally more difficult to observe during the summer months, including August. This is because natural light conditions in summer, especially in high-latitude regions where the Northern Lights are most often observed, make it difficult to see the aurora.

Best months to see the Northern Light

The ideal time to see the Northern Lights is when the nights are long and dark, typically from September to March. At this time, your chances of seeing the Northern lights are higher due to longer stretches of darkness and clear night skies. 

For the best chance to see the lights, keep a close eye on the Icelandic Meteorological Office's Northern Lights Forecast. Also consider visiting hidden gems in the highlands, the F-roads, for a more isolated, and potentially rewarding experience.

For more information, read our detailed guide to the best places and times to see the Northern Lights.

Reynisfjara-Reynisdrangar-Northern-Lights-Iceland

Reynisfjara, Reynisdrangar, Northern Lights, Iceland

Unforgettable and fully customizable Iceland itineraries

Our tailor-made trip service allows you to fully enjoy the weather in Iceland in August without the planning or hassle. All of our planned itineraries are created by local Iceland travel experts and can be tailored to meet your specific needs.

  • Arctic Coast Way Fly & Drive (10 days): North Iceland is one of Iceland's most fascinating regions with many famous and lesser-known attractions - spectacular waterfalls, geothermal activity, lava formations, and canyons. The itinerary includes a visit to Akureyri as well as charming fishing villages along the coast.
  • Wild West Drive and Strandir (8 days): This trip is perfect for travelers who want to get off the beaten path and explore the stunning scenery of Vestfjord and Snefellsnes, including the remote areas of Strandir. With a rented off-road vehicle, you'll be able to schedule your own exploration of the scenery.
  • Ring Road Express with the Golden Circle (7 days): The Iceland Ring Road is the most popular tourist route around Iceland. It has everything you dreamed of: breathtaking waterfalls, volcanic landscape, black sand beaches, glaciers, fjords and charming fishing villages.

FAQs

Here are some answers to some common questions while planning your trip.

What to wear in Iceland in August

When packing for Iceland in August, remember that the weather can be quite unpredictable. As a key tip gleaned from personal recommendations, remember to pack a base layer or thermal shirt, and don't forget your waterproof and windproof pants - especially smart for those chillier encounters. 

Lighter layers are great for warmer days, but also remember a few warmer layers like a fleece or wool sweater, even consider some Icelandic wool sweaters. These are perfect for when the temperature drops in the evenings. Waterproof hiking shoes, preferably durable water-proof ones, are essential for any outdoor activities, just like your favorite pair of pants. 

A hat and gloves may come in handy, especially in the evening or while on those enthralling whale-watching tours. For a touch of comfort and flexing, leggings are a must-have, as is a swimsuit for that thrilling snorkeling adventure in the many geothermal springs, or a relaxing dip in numerous geothermal pools.

Mountain Stapafell in the background at Arnarstapi Village in summer sunny day in Iceland © takepicsforfun/Shutterstock

Mountain Stapafell, Arnarstapi Village, Iceland © takepicsforfun/Shutterstock

Do you need to book ahead in August

Absolutely! August is a part of Iceland's high season, meaning it attracts a large number of tourists. Accommodations, car rentals, and popular tours can often be fully booked months in advance. 

To make sure you have the best choices and avoid any disappointments, it's highly recommended that you book your flights, accommodations, and tours as early as possible. A booking of up to six months is not unheard of for peace of mind and guaranteed reservations during your trip.

Is it crowded in August?

Yes, August is one of the busiest months in Iceland as far as tourism is concerned. Many travelers from around the world prefer this period because of the warm weather, the long days of the midnight sun, and an array of exciting outdoor activities. 

This results in crowded tourist attractions, particularly in well-known spots such as Reykjavík, the Golden Circle, and the South Coast. However, there are many ways to escape the crowds by heading to off-the-beaten-track locations or exploring during off-peak hours. Checking out our guide for tips and tricks for navigating Iceland during busy periods could be beneficial!

Olga Sitnitsa

written by
Olga Sitnitsa

updated 13.06.2024

Online editor at Rough Guides, specialising in travel content. Passionate about creating compelling stories and inspiring others to explore the world.

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