The capital city of Iceland is Reykjavik; a cultural and energetic city that is one of the most popular places in Iceland for travellers. Visiting Reykjavik in July means that you can enjoy the country’s summer climate, and spend your evenings underneath Iceland’s famous midnight sun.
Reasons to visit Reykjavik in July
- July is one of the warmest months in Reykjavik, which is ideal for exploring the city and surrounding natural landscape
- The good weather means that all of the roads around the city are clear and passable, so day trips from Reykjavik are easy to do if you hire a car
- The extended daylight hours mean that you can continue exploring the city well into the evenings, and experience summer weather that you won’t find anywhere else
Weather in Reykjavik in July
Reykjavik is known as being a rather chilly destination, but if you visit the city in July then you’ll experience some of its warmest weather (which is still not that warm at all!). The most striking thing about Iceland in July is the nearly constant daylight, so be prepared to struggle to get to sleep the first few nights as you adjust to the lack of darkness in the evening.
The average high temperature in Reykjavik in July is about 13°C, with an average low of 9°C. Temperatures are unlikely to get much warmer or cooler than these, so make sure to pack suitable clothing to stay comfortable throughout the day.
Clouds and Rainfall
There is likely to be constant cloud cover in Reykjavik in July, so don’t expect to see a lot of clear blue sky during your stay. Although there is an average of 21 days of rain in Reykjavik in July, these showers are usually very light and don’t often last long, with the chance of rain increasing towards the end of the month.
What makes Reykjavik stand out from many other July holiday destinations is that it experiences 21 hours of daylight every day, and never really grows dark throughout the month. You can expect about 6 hours of full sunshine each day, which will make outdoor activities very pleasant if you time them right.
Where to go in Reykjavik in July
Just off the coast of Reykjavik is Viðey Island; a tiny spot that is home to incredible natural beauty and interesting art installations. If you want to escape the bustle of the city during one of its busiest seasons, then this is an ideal place to spend a day.
Viðey Island is only three miles from the shore of Reykjavik, and can be reached from the city by boat. As well as being an ideal place for hiking or just relaxing in the great outdoors, Viðey is home to several interesting cultural attractions such as artist Yoko Ono’s ‘Imagine Peace Tower’, sculptor Richard Sierra’s piece ‘Milestones’, and a gallery displaying the paintings of some of Iceland’s best artists.
One of the best districts of Reykjavik to visit in July is Laugardalur, which is also known as ‘the hot spring valley’ because of its collection of natural hot springs. It’s the best part of the city for recreational, outdoor activities, and the weather in July is perfect for enjoying just that.
As well as a sports arena and the country’s largest outdoor swimming pool, Laugardalur is full of beautiful green spaces that include the city’s Botanical Gardens, which are perfect for strolling through when the sun is shining. It’s a great place to come if you want to get out of the centre of the city and enjoy more open spaces, whether you want to walk or partake in different sporting activities.
Things to do in Reykjavik in July
Go Cold-Water Swimming
Cold-water swimming is a big part of Iceland’s cultural heritage, and July is one of the best times of the year to give it a try as the water that surrounds the country is at its warmest during the summer. Be warned though, ‘warm’ here only translates to about 11°C, and won’t be suitable for anyone who is particularly sensitive to the cold.
If you want to give cold-water a swimming a go then the best place in Reykjavik to do just that is the Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach, which was designated a safe swimming spot in 2001 and walled off from the rest of the sea to create a lagoon. The water temperature here can get up to 19°C, in the summer months as it is heated by geothermal currents, so it’s a good way to dip your toe in (so to speak) without completely submitting to the chilly Icelandic waters.
Visit the Hallgrímskirkja
The Hallgrímskirkja is an iconic part of Reykjavik’s skyline; a unique, modernist, concrete church that is one of the tallest buildings in the country. Construction of the church began in 1945, designed by architect Guðjón Samúelsson, but it wasn’t officially consecrated until 1986 and has since been a parish part of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Iceland.
Entry into the church is free, and we recommend arriving either early in the morning or late in the day to enjoy the building when the crowds of visitors aren’t too big. For a fee, you can also climb to the top of the Hallgrímskirkja’s tower and enjoy incredible panoramic views of all of Reykjavik.
Crowds & costs
The high season for tourism in Iceland lasts from June to September, so July is right in the middle of Reykjavik’s busiest period. The city is one of the most popular places in the country all year round, and in July you can expect popular tourist attractions to be quite busy. Flights to Reykjavik in July are some of the most expensive all year round and accommodation can be pricey too, so make sure you plan your trip accordingly to secure the best deals in advance.
July festivals & events
Reykjavik Fringe Festival
A relatively new July event that has taken place in July the past few years is the Reykjavik Fringe Festival; a gathering of artists and performers who exhibit their work across the city for several days. This is a festival that welcomes all kinds of art forms, from comedy to photography, cabaret, film and more.
The Fringe Festival takes place across the city in a variety of different locations, from established performance spaces to domestic venues like people’s houses and gardens. It’s a modern and quirky festival that is sure to keep growing as the years go by, and if you’re in Reykjavik during the Fringe we strongly encourage you to take part and watch something.
Frequently asked questions about Reykjavik in July
Can I see Northern Lights in Iceland in July?
Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that you will see the Northern Lights in Iceland in July. This is because they can only be seen in the darkness and July is one of the lightest times of the year in the country, so chances are incredibly slim.
Why is Iceland so expensive?
Iceland is known as being a very expensive holiday destination, and there are several reasons for this. The country itself is quite expensive to live in because a lot of things need to be imported, and there is quite a high VAT rate on most products. Tourism in Iceland has also increased massively over the years, which has made a lot of the popular tourist attractions in the country more expensive.
Visiting Reykjavik in the winter might mean that you have a higher chance of spotting the northern lights and enjoying the snow, but July is one of the city’s busiest months for a reason. If you’re keen to explore some of Iceland’s natural scenery that can be found only a short journey out of the city then this is the perfect time of year for you to visit and enjoy both Reykjavik’s exciting city centre and the wonderful landscape that surrounds it.