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Iceland in August

Along with June and July, August is the most popular time to visit Iceland. Slightly cooler (and wetter) than July and with just a few less hours of daylight,it’s an ideal – though expensive – time to visit. Temperatures range from 8-13°C (about 45-55°F) with some days as warm as 65°F.

In earlier August, you’ll find more summery days; as the month creeps towards September, temperature drop and a chill comes to the air, especially at night. On average, the sun rises around 5am and sets around 9:20pm – the days of the midnight sun are gone, but you’ll still have plenty of daylight for exploring.

Prices for flights to Iceland cost more in August than they will in September; expect to spend $700-$1000 for a round trip flight from the US, unless you luck out and find a great sale. Most hotels and tour companies don’t switch to low-season rates until September so you’ll pay more for lodging and activities as well.

>> more on weather in Iceland

August visitors will find that the same outdoor activities popular in earlier summer, like horseback riding, glacier-walking, caving, hiking, and  snorkeling, are available in August as well. Whale-watching season is still in full swing, though your odds of of spotting humpback, minke and blue whales aren’t as great as in June and July. Hard to reach areas like the remote Hornstrandir Peninsula and the rugged interior are also still accessible. You’ll still want to bring a warm jacket and good boots and dress in layers for fluctuating temperatures; add more warm clothes if you visit at the end of the month.

>> more on what to wear in Iceland in summer

August is a great month to catch a special festival in Iceland as there are several this month. The Icelandic version of Labor Day – or Verslunnarmannahelgi – takes place the first weekend in August. Most families celebrate by heading out to camp in the countryside.  The weekend after Verslunnarmannahelg, head to Dalvik in north Iceland for Fiskidagurinn Mikli or “Big Fish Day” for a festive atmosphere and seafood feast.  Culture Night is all about the museums and galleries, of downtown Reykjavik, which stay open into the night and offer special exhibitions.

Reykjavik’s Gay Pride festival takes place each year in August, drawing crowds of over 80,000 people. Also this month are the Reykjavik Marathon and the two-week long Reykjavik Jazz Festival.

>> more on holidays and events in Iceland

Photo by pieter.morelion