Iceland’s never setting sun
The summer solstice or the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere takes place on the 21st of June each year. This is when the sun is at its highest point in the sky, or, in astronomical terms, when the Earth reaches its maximum axial tilt towards the sun.
During the summer months, Iceland enjoys near 24-hours of daylight—with the sun barely setting around 12 am and rising at 3 am. This natural phenomenon creates a glorious array of unique and endless skyline horizons mixed with warm tints of dreamy colors as the sun slowly disappears, only to make its reappearance shortly after.
Wondering what to do in the midnight sunlight? This short compilation will get you up and going in no time.
During the summer months, from late June to early September, all of Iceland’s roads are accessible by car, providing a great network of routes and activities.
For a country like Iceland that encapsulates unique otherworldly natural backdrops, longer days allow for even more countless hours of memorable road trip escapades for tourists and Icelanders alike. There’s something truly unique about driving around the country’s South Coast, with waterfalls on one side and the black beaches on the other while admiring the twilight slowly falling upon you.
A midnight road trip to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon should definitely be on the to-do list since it takes a good five hours to drive there from central Reykjavik, making it impossible to accomplish in one go during the winter months. Seeing the icebergs that broke off from the glacier slowly making their way into the Atlantic Ocean illuminated by the midnight rays is, quite a sight to see.
The Highland, Westfjords and some northern destinations are also great places to go during these months since accessibility can be limited, if not dangerous, during the winter.
Nightlife and music
With a quirky and unique creative vibe, it comes as no surprise that Iceland boasts an exceptional and dynamic nightlife and music scene. Once the temperature starts rising and the days get longer, the town comes to life, and entertainment becomes a daily occurrence.
Icelanders are night owls, therefore bars and clubs usually open late and close late as well, giving you plenty of time to try a genuine Icelandic beer (or ten). A night out during summertime is another unique experience. Regardless of the time, you’ll be stumbling back to your hotel room in ubiquitous daylight.
We can’t talk about nightlife and music without mentioning the Secret Solstice Festival, which is the highlight of the summer solstice, spread over a couple of days in mid-June, with both local and international musicians sharing the stage. Think merry-go-rounds, Jacuzzis, multiple open stages and yes, you guessed it, 24-hour daylight, talk about once in a lifetime experience!
Reykjavik ocean views
Last but not least, if you happen to find yourself wandering around Reykjavik during the early hours of the morning, do yourself a favor and head to Grotta Lighthouse from where you can enjoy spectacular views of the sun slowly disappearing in the Atlantic Ocean. With a clear sky, you could even see Snæfellsnes’ icecapped volcano in the far distance!
Wherever you are and whatever you choose to do during the summer solstice in Iceland, make sure to enjoy it to the fullest.
Text and photos: Donna Tsaneva