The Best Activities to do During the Midnight Sun in Iceland

The Best Activities to do During the Midnight Sun in Iceland

James Taylor James Taylor
1. Feb 2023 ∼ 9 min. read

The Midnight Sun in Iceland: The Best Activities

Imagine an endless day where the sun just nudges below the horizon late at night, casting a soft golden light over a rugged wilderness. This is the experience of the Midnight Sun in Iceland, a stunning phenomenon that occurs during the summer months in the north.

The long days and bright light offer a unique opportunity to explore the country's breathtaking landscapes and natural wonders in a way that is not possible during the shorter days of the year. In this article, we will explore some of the best activities to do during the midnight sun.

From hiking through colorful mountain ranges to soaking in hot springs, there’s a lot to explore. Join us as we discover the best activities to do during the midnight sun in Iceland.

1.    Hiking in Iceland’s Midnight Sun

To immerse oneself in Iceland's natural beauty, there is no better way than to explore the country on foot. And during the midnight sun in Iceland, hikers are blessed with plenty of daylight to appreciate the country's diverse landscapes.

Take the Landmannalaugar trail, for example, where you will trek through a colorful rhyolite mountain range, the unique hues of the rock formations created by the country’s brooding volcanic activity. The trail winds through rugged terrain, past steaming vents, hot springs, and multi-colored lava fields. The landscape is ever-changing and offers a one-of-a-kind hiking experience; made even better under the midnight sun.

Another otherworldly experience awaits in Skaftafell, part of the Vatnajökull National Park. Here, in the shadow of Europe’s largest glacier, ice, rushing rivers, black sand, and waterfalls create a contrasting landscape that feels as if you’ve stepped onto another planet.

These are just two examples of the many trails that Iceland has to offer. The country is renowned for its hiking, and the midnight sun season offers an even more extraordinary opportunity to explore it. The long days allow for more time on the trail and the extended daylight hours provide a unique perspective on the country's natural beauty.

For more ideas about potential hiking in Iceland under the midnight sun, check out this article about the best day hikes in Iceland.

2.    Photographing the Midnight Sun in Iceland

As a photographer, Iceland is a true paradise. And during the midnight sun season, there are even more extraordinary opportunities to capture the country's natural beauty. The prolonged daylight hours provide an extended window for photography, allowing for an unparalleled level of creativity and flexibility.

Imagine the soft pastel hues of a sunrise illuminating the steam of an erupting geyser, the deep oranges and reds of a sunset casting a warm glow over a glacier. The midnight sun's lighting creates a unique and dynamic interplay of colors that can only be found in Iceland.

But Iceland's beauty is not limited to its landscapes. The Midnight Sun also provides the perfect lighting for capturing Iceland's wildlife, from the puffins nesting on the cliffs to the whales and seals playing in the coastal waters. Puffins in particular are most active around midnight when they’re returning from their day of fishing at sea (check out puffin locations around Iceland with this handy map).

The natural beauty combined with the exceptional lighting of the midnight sun in Iceland makes it a prime destination for photographers of all levels. And with so much to see and explore, you'll never run out of inspiration or things to capture.

3.    Soaking in a Hot Spring

There's something magical about the country’s geothermal pools and hot springs and experiencing them under the glow of the midnight sun in Iceland is an experience that is not to be missed.

As you step into the inviting waters, surrounded by Iceland's unspoiled wilderness, it's easy to feel as if you've traveled to another world. The water, heated by the earth's geothermal energy, is a soothing balm for tired muscles, while the natural beauty that surrounds the pools offers a visual feast for the eyes.

Most of the country’s luxurious hot springs (like the Blue Lagoon and Sky Lagoon in Reykjavik) are also open late during the summer, allowing you to linger in the hot water long into the evening. You can buy your entry tickets via the Go Campers’ tours page.

Whether you’re at a luxurious spa or deep in the wilderness soaking in a natural hot spring, the midnight sun creates a soft, ethereal light, offering an atmosphere that is both peaceful and otherworldly. Solo or with friends, the experience of enjoying a hot spring under the midnight sun is sure to leave a lasting impression on you and will be one of your most cherished memories of Iceland.

4.    Horseback Riding at Midnight

Riding horseback through Iceland's rugged and dramatic landscapes is a great way to connect with the country’s culture; the Icelandic horses have been in Iceland ever since the Vikings first arrived. And doing it under the midnight sun makes it even more special.

The gentle gait of the Icelandic horse, a breed known for its sure-footedness and stamina, is the perfect way to explore the country's remote and unspoiled wilderness. As you ride, you'll be surrounded by a tapestry of breathtaking landscapes, from verdant valleys to jagged mountain ranges, and incredible lava fields to steaming volcanic desert.

The midnight sun in Iceland provides a unique backdrop to the ride, casting an ethereal glow over the scenery. It can sometimes feel as if you're traversing a fairy-tale realm. The light also allows for longer riding hours, making it possible to explore remote areas that are difficult to reach during the shorter days of the year.

The Icelandic horses themselves are also special, bred for centuries to thrive in the harsh Icelandic climate and terrain. They are known for their friendly and docile nature. A horseback ride under the midnight sun is an unforgettable experience that connects you to the country’s culture while also providing a unique perspective on Iceland’s natural beauty. Whether you're an experienced rider or a first-timer, it's an activity not to be missed.

Browse our selected range of horse riding tours in Iceland to add to your campervan trip.

5.    Kayaking and Canoeing

Paddling through Iceland's fjords under the midnight sun lets you savor the stunning light. The still waters, illuminated by the golden hour, offer a peaceful setting for exploring the country's coastal beauty.

As you glide along the surface of the water, you'll be surrounded by towering cliffs that rise from the water's edge. Home to a wide variety of seabirds, they’ll often be soaring overhead, their calls echoing off the rocks.

The light is so bright that it's possible to paddle well into the night. This allows you to experience the beauty of the fjords and rivers in a way that is not possible during the shorter days of the year. The still waters also make it possible to get a closer look at the diverse array of wildlife that calls the fjords and rivers home. From seals basking on the shore to whales and dolphins swimming in the deeper waters, there's always something to see.

Kayaking or canoeing during the midnight sun in Iceland is a unique and magical way to experience the country. The stillness and tranquility will stay with you long after you’ve returned home.

To add on a kayaking or canoeing tour in Iceland, browse our range of selected tour operators. You’ll find plenty of different journeys offered around the country.

6.    Observing Wildlife

Another fantastic activity to do during Iceland’s midnight sun is to observe the country’s diverse array of wildlife. With ample daylight hours come plenty of time to search for seabirds such as puffins, guillemots, and kittiwakes, found in large colonies along the coastal cliffs.

The bright light of the midnight sun also makes it easier to spot seals and whales, which can be found in the coastal waters. Inland, keep your eyes peeled for the elusive arctic fox, while in the east, wild herds of reindeer roam through the valleys.

As you explore the coastline, you'll be treated to a spectacular display of seabirds in flight, their calls filling the air as they soar overhead. The puffins, with their distinctive colorful beaks, are particularly charming and are sure to delight birdwatchers of all ages.

Whether you're a birdwatcher, a nature lover, or simply looking for a unique experience, observing Iceland's wildlife during the midnight sun is an incredible way to spend your time during the long evenings.

7.    Joining a Midnight Sun Whale-Watching Tour

Whale-watching tours under the midnight sun in Iceland are an unforgettable way to experience the country’s endless daylight. With the sun hanging for so long in the sky casting a perpetual golden hour across the country, it offers the perfect opportunity to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.

With the midnight sun shining down, the whales often breach the surface of the water, providing a spectacular show as you observe nearby from a boat.

Iceland’s waters are home to a variety of whale species, including humpback whales, minke whales, and even the elusive blue whale. As you embark on your tour, your guide provides insight into the habits and behaviors of the whales, making the experience all the more enriching.

The tour will take you out to sea, where you'll have the chance to observe the whales in their natural habitat. Tours leave from around the country but are most popular from either Reykjavik or Húsavík.

Whether you're a wildlife enthusiast or looking for a unique experience, a whale-watching tour under Iceland’s midnight sun is not to miss.

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