Visiting Iceland in June is one of the best times to go. The lupines are in full bloom and paint the countryside purple. During this time the weather is warming and most of Iceland is very accessible allowing most of the countryside to be explored. The waterfalls are roaring and an amazing sight to see after the snow melt. June is also just before the busiest tourist time so you can experience fewer crowds than in July and August. If you’re visiting Iceland with kids it’s a very kid-friendly trip. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about visiting Iceland in June to make it a great trip.
Weather in Iceland in June
The weather in Iceland is very unpredictable in any month and does change frequently, especially in June. The average high in the month of June is 54°F (12°C) and the average low is 46°F (8°C) and there can be high winds and rain.
It’s a good idea to download the Veður app before you go as it’s the official weather app in Iceland. Locals joke if you don’t like the weather wait five minutes and it will change. We found this very true when visiting in June and didn’t find weather predictions accurate.
Iceland Road Conditions in June
If you plan to stay on the Ring Road this is a perfect time of year to travel as conditions are about as good as they come. If you will only be traveling on the Ring Road there is no need for a 4×4 vehicle in June so you can save some money when renting a vehicle.
The F-Roads are the interior highland or mountain roads within the central area of the country and many of these roads don’t open until late June into July but they all have different opening times. Use SafeTravel (also has an app) or Road.is to track which F-Roads are open and get the latest road conditions when traveling.
Lupines of Iceland
Seeing the lupines in bloom is one of the most spectacular sights to see when visiting Iceland in June. Lupines are typically in bloom in Iceland for two months starting in June and they are done by the end of July. They line the roadsides, near waterfalls, and everywhere in between. This was one of our favorite things to see when visiting Iceland in June.
Although they create a stunning backdrop Lupines are not native to Iceland and are considered invasive impacting native plants. The plant was introduced to Iceland in the early 20th century as a way to fight erosion and enhance soil fertility. The lupine’s bright purple color makes it one of the most recognizable symbols in Iceland.
Where to Spot Puffins In Iceland
Iceland is home to half of the world’s Atlantic puffin population. The main season for seeing puffins in Iceland runs from May to Mid-August but seeing them can sometimes be challenging. The Atlantic Puffin that calls Iceland home has been on the “Critically Endangered” list. These puffins have been greatly impacted by a changing and more limited food supply as well as environmental changes due to climate change. To see puffins in Iceland the best time to go is in the morning (sunrise to 11 am) or in the evening (6 pm to midnight), especially if you are watching from land. Puffins are more likely to be out to sea fishing in the afternoon and they tend to be in their burrows in the morning and evening.
Best Places to see Puffins in Iceland
- From Reykjavik’s Old Harbor – tours go to Akurey and Lundey Islands. Lundey Island is also known as “Puffin Island”.
- From Húsavík – Lundey Island or Skjálfandi Bay puffin boat tour
- Westman Islands – Heimaey Island Stórhöfði Puffin Lookout.
- Dyrhólaey rock arch and cliffs (South)
- Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach (South)
- Borgarfjordur Eystri (East) – best up-close experience as there are boardwalks and viewing platforms while not impacting the puffin’s burrow. No tour is needed.
- Hornstrandir (in the Westfjords, in the northwest)
- Latrabjarg Cliffs (in the Westfjords, in the northwest)
Whale watching in Iceland
The whale watching season in Iceland runs from May through September with the best months being summer. In Iceland, there are a wide variety of kinds of whales that you can see including the humpback whales, minke, orcas, fin whales, sperm whales, and even the largest animal on earth, the blue whales. Sometimes tours offer puffin, dolphin, or other wildlife viewing paired with their whale watching tours.
There are many different whale-watching tour experiences in Iceland with most leaving from Old Harbor in Reykjavik, Húsavík (the best option), or Akureyri in North Iceland.
Things to consider when selecting a whale-watching tour in Iceland
- Length of time. The longer the better your chances are of seeing whales but consider that the boats aren’t always kid-friendly and the seas are not always calm.
- Size and type of boat. You can find everything from traditional oak sailboats to yachts and rigid inflatable boats (RIB). Size and type of boat will vary widely in the type of experience you’ll have so make sure to be clear about what type of boat you’re reserving. Some don’t have seating for everyone and others do. If this is important ask in advance.
- Eco-friendly: there are tour companies that use only electric or hybrid wind sailboats that create a quieter viewing experience that is also better for the environment. Some tours also don’t use sonar so as to not impact the natural environment. North Sailing in Húsavík is one to check out for the best eco-friendly tours.
- Prepare in advance. Many tours go for long periods of time and you need to bring any snacks, meals, or water you might need. It’s good to take motion sickness medicine in advance of the tour regardless of if you typically need it. The tours in Iceland are known to be quite rocky and it’s difficult to predict the conditions in advance so best to take motion sickness medicine before you board as most tours do not carry medication on board.
- Most tours will provide weather-protecting full suit to keep you warm and dry. It helps to know if the tour you select provides this so you can manage the layers you’ll wear underneath. It can be much colder out on the water so wool and thermal layers are great to have as are a winter hat and knit gloves even in the summer months. If the tour provides the full suit you won’t need a rain jacket or waterproof pants as the suit will act as the waterproofing layer.
Our experience — whale watching in June
We went with North Sailing from Húsavík. It was a fun experience on a traditional oak sailboat but it was very rocky and should be considered for those who get motion sickness. We saw some whales, but mostly at a distance. Of course, every wildlife encounter is different and can’t be guaranteed.
Horseback riding in Iceland in June
Go horseback riding and try the tölt, which is the famous gait of the Icelandic horse. Horseback riding was such a fun way to mix things up from hiking and waterfalls. It was a beautiful way to get up close with Icelandic horses and was our kids’ favorite activity during our ring road trip.
Experiencing the Midnight Sun in Iceland
If you visit Iceland between May-August you will encounter the Midnight Sun. This is where the sun is up between 17-24 hours a day depending on the month and location you’re in. This brightness is due to Iceland’s proximity to the Arctic Circle. The midnight sun occurs because the Earth’s axis tilts towards the sun in summer.
Iceland’s longest day of the year (the summer solstice) is June 21.
On that day, the sun “sets” or dims just after midnight and rises again right before 3 am, with the sky looking close to normal daylight and never going completely dark. It’s a unique phenomenon not to miss!
Tips for visiting Iceland in June during the midnight sun
- When selecting a place to stay check photos closely or ask about window coverings or black-out shades. Steer clear of vacation home rentals with lofts or open areas without window coverings.
- Bring eye masks for kids or anyone who has difficulty sleeping. Airlines often provide them in-flight so in most cases no need to buy in advance.
- The summer months in Iceland provide more options for sightseeing, hitting popular locations during the evening to beat the crowds. Some tours in Iceland are even offered later during the midnight sun.
- Catch the Midnight Sun Run or a Secret Solstice music and culture festival held under the midnight sun.
- Gives a whole new meaning to the golden hour for photographers! There really is not a sunrise, sunset, or golden hour to catch in Iceland during the midnight sun in June or the summer months.
Icelandic cultural festivals and national holidays in June
Fishermen’s/Seamen’s Festival is typically the first weekend in June. This festival celebrates traditional Icelandic culture and dependency on fishing. There are family-friendly celebrations all over the island this weekend. The Reykjavík Maritime Museum typically offers free admission.
Whit Sunday: can fall as early as May 10 or as late as June 13 and there are many grocery stores and other places of business closed.
June 17, is the National Day of Iceland. Icelanders celebrate their independence on this day. There are parades and festivities around the island on this day. This is a public holiday so there may be closures. When we were there there was a very small parade that is led by the scouts and a band as Iceland has no military. The parade typically starts from the Hallgrimskirkja church and then they walk to Hljómskálagarður Park and all the locals join behind to walk to the park where there are bounce houses and activities for kids and families.
Secret Solstice – an Icelandic music festival with big well-known acts as well as up-and-coming groups.
Reykjavík Arts Festival – is typically held in June and arts events can be found throughout Reykjavik.
International Organ Summer. June-August there are lunchtime organ concerts on Thursdays at noon at the famous Hallgrimskirkja Church landmark.
Viking Festival–a week-long festival held in and around the Viking Village in Hafnarfjordur.
Things to be aware of when traveling to Iceland in June
- Watch out for sheep when driving. In the spring the babies are born and many sheep are slow to react when crossing the road.
- There is no official roadside assistance in Iceland. If you have a flat tire or your car breaks down contact your car rental company first. If you are involved in an accident, you must first contact the emergency services and the number for this is 112.
- Drive the speed limit as tickets are expensive. Speed limits are clearly posted and there are camera-monitored areas throughout the island. In June, since Iceland’s road conditions are often very good, it can be easy to want to speed. Tickets are expensive and often range from $195-460 so it’s good to drive the posted speed limit.
- You won’t see the northern lights as it’s daylight for the majority of the time.
- Iceland is known as the land of fire and ice due to its many volcanoes and is always subject to the possibility of volcanic activity. There are frequent earthquakes and it’s good to be aware of this when visiting.
In Iceland endangered puffin and whale can still be found on the menus of some restaurants. This is because tourist dollars support the hunting of these animals. Please check restaurant menu’s in advance and don’t support establishments that promote the hunting of these animals.
Check out our Money-Saving Tips for Iceland here
What to pack for visiting Iceland in June
It never really gets warm in Iceland due to the Gulf Stream bringing in cooler air throughout the nightless summer so packing involves layers and protective rain gear.
Check out our Complete Iceland Packing List
Our must-have packing list for a trip to Iceland in June
Rain Jacket: this is a must. The highest quality rain jacket you can afford that is both waterproof and windproof with taped seams (no zippers showing). Don’t get one that folds into a bag this will not cut it and you will be wet and regret it.
Rain pants are also necessary because it rains so frequently these items will allow you still explore without wrecking the day because your clothes are wet. Rain jackets and pants are great for getting up close to waterfalls and going behind Seljalandsfoss.
Light down packable jacket: we used this as well as all of these layers multiple times a day.
Fleece jacket: when it’s nicer out it’s great to get down to a t-shirt and fleece jacket. But even in June, this can be rare so expect to have to layer.
Long Sleeve breathable or wool base layer.
Tech T-Shirts that dry quickly.
Hiking pants: comfort and quick dry are essential. For the women, I also brought athletic leggings and they were great for hiking as well as under waterproof pants.
Swim Suit for hot springs. Bring two if you plan to frequent them as it can be hard to find dryers.
Shoes/Boots: we are avid hikers, but we’ve completely switched to hiking shoes or trail running shoes for hiking when traveling. Hiking boots are not necessary and can be challenging to pack during travel. We do recommend having a backup footwear option as it doesn’t matter how waterproof the shoes should be your feet are likely to get wet. We bring waterproof hiking shoes as well as an athletic or trail running shoe that you can use a waterproofing spray on so you have two options to alternate between.
Socks: bring more than you typically would for the length of your trip, as feet get wet frequently due to weather or waterfalls. A combination of wool or cotton for everyday sightseeing.
Winter hat and cotton gloves for warmth. We used these multiple times in June but especially for the whale-watching tour.
Nice to have items when packing for Iceland in June
- Waterproof phone case for hot springs or waterfalls. We’ve used this one on multiple adventures and it works great.
- A foldable cooler works great for storing groceries in between stays and packs flat in the bottom of the luggage.
- Trawire wifi modem is great for ensuring you’ll always have wifi. Pickup and drop-off from the airport make it convenient and it often costs less than renting through your car rental and is more reliable.
- Tripod for taking photos
Lastly, any month is a great time to visit Iceland and it’s a completely different experience. We recommend June or a summer month if it’s your first time and you want to see a lot of the island. These tips could be useful when visiting Iceland in July or August as well. The roads are very accessible (still some F-Roads will be closed) for the most part and the weather is manageable with the right gear. The lupines in full bloom are an amazing experience. Go don’t wait Iceland is an amazing experience in June or any month.