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7 Best Ways to Experience the Midnight Sun in Iceland

A once unknown travel destination, Iceland has slowly been growing in popularity over the past few years for its incredibly diverse landscapes, jaw-dropping nature scenes, and awe-inspiring views of the northern lights.

But while the northern lights of Iceland may attract tourists there, summertime in the Land of Fire and Ice offers a unique experience that’s nearly impossible to find anywhere else in the world: Midnight Sun.

The Midnight Sun allows travelers to experience the wonders of Iceland while the sun shines all day and all night.

How many hours of daylight does Iceland have?

The Midnight Sun is a phenomenon that occurs during the summer months when the earth’s axis is tilted toward the sun, resulting in 24 hour daylight for Iceland.

Now technically, at the peak time of year, the sun sets just past midnight and rises again before 3 AM. However, you will be able to observe non stop daylight in the time in between.

How long is Midnight Sun in Iceland?

Continuous daylight can be experienced between the months of May-August in Iceland, with the peak of the Midnight Sun being around the Summer Solstice (typically June 21).

Due to it’s proximity to the Arctic Circle, Iceland is able to experience the eternal sun throughout the summer, and still provide some of the best northern lights views around.

What is the best place to see Midnight Sun in Iceland?

No matter where you choose to roam, you’re sure to be able to experience the mystical magic of the Midnight Sun in Iceland. 

The back of Seljalandsfoss during the sunset
Seljalandsfoss during Midnight Sun!

If you’re intrigued by the heart of Iceland, Reykjavik, you can find 27 ways to enjoy the capital here.

However, you can also go the nature route as there’s no shortage of unbelievable views to be found throughout the country. You can read my Perfect Icelandic Road Trip Itinerary to maximize your time exploring Iceland’s beauty.

There’s many ways to enjoy the Midnight Sun, and you can use these 7 expert tips to enhance your experience.

1. Wait, where is everyone?

Ever gone sightseeing at 2 am? 

While this might seem like a typical schedule for a party country, it can truly spice up an already adventurous Iceland itinerary!

To avoid all of the crowds that can come with Iceland’s top hits (especially in the summertime), go at night instead of during the day!

Fjadrargljufur Canyon surrounds a winding river
One of the beautiful views that Iceland has to offer

No need to wait for the perfect moment where there’s no other tourists in your photo, or spend all of your time cropping them out after the fact. You will rarely see anyone when going out this late, though the pictures you can achieve are just as stunning with the continuous daylight.

2. Car Camping

There are some tours you can find from Reykjavik that allow you to experience the Midnight Sun, but the best way to do it is by making your own itinerary!

It’s possible to get the same (if not better) experience in the midnight hours, so why not try it out? You’ll also be able to make your trip to Iceland more affordable by avoiding the costly accommodations.

An Icelandic campsite at sunset
There are so many options along Ring Road for camping

I have an Ultimate Guide to Car Camping Iceland that will give you everything you need to have your Iceland experience uninterrupted and uniquely beautiful. 

(P.S. You’ll also find an exclusive Iceland campsite map here that highlights the top sites that we stayed in!)

You can also use my Icelandic Road Trip Guide to help you plan your car camping journey. I used this itinerary to travel between the hours of 9pm and 7am for the best, quiet views.

3. Photography Like you’ve never seen before

Though the intricate designs that the northern lights can paint in the sky is an unforgettable attraction, the midnight sun can have just as beautiful- and lesser known views. 

Shooting in the midnight sun is truly something spectacular. If you’re venturing out late, you can find some great shots that aren’t available during regular daylight hours.

Laynie hanging out in a Lupine Field in Iceland
Time has no effect on the photos you can get during midnight sun

Wandering Words of Wisdom: Use Instagram and other social platforms to scope out potential photo spots and pin them on google maps! This will allow you to get a visual idea of what your route will look like, and plan what time you will visit each spot accordingly.

Remember to use the light! At the peak of the Midnight Sun near the end of June, the sun will set just past midnight and rise again before 3 am, but the sky will never be dark. The time in between will give you the opportunity to get those “golden hour” shots!

4. Celebrate with special events

Discover a true Icelandic experience with some of the events that unfold around the Summer Solstice.

The Suzuki Midnight Sun Run is an annual tradition where runners have the opportunity to participate in a night run! With 3 different race options (5k, 10k, and half marathon), you get to choose your difficulty.

While not only being a great way to bask in the neverending sunlight hours, there’s a pool party at the finish line! The races begin at 9pm, while the pool party goes from 10pm-12:30am.

The Secret Solstice Festival was a four day music festival celebrating the summer solstice of Iceland, however it has since been discontinued. 

5. Touring like never before

As opposed to the many tours that leave Iceland’s capital during the day, there are some experiences to be found in Iceland during the time of the Midnight Sun. You can book these special excursions here:

Though there are countless tours from Reykjavik, these later tours allow for a gorgeous golden hour experience.

You could also consider taking a walking tour or even scooter tour throughout the heart of Iceland. You may even stumble upon one of the many bars that are open until 5 AM in Reykjavik, as experiencing the nightlife is one of the best things to do in Reykjavik at night.

6. Laugavegur Hike

What better way to embrace the endless daylight than with a 6 day long trek? 

Arguably one of the best (and most challenging) things to do in Iceland, completing this trek during the midnight sun adds a completely new layer of magic to the Laugavegur trek. This is undoubtedly the best thing to do in Iceland in summer.

You can complete this trek independently, or choose to book a guided tour!

7. Soak in the midnight sun (literally)

Consider relaxing late at night in the Blue Lagoon, and bask in the ambient and everlasting light. 

(If you completed the aforementioned tour, this is also a great way to loosen up those muscles for your next expedition!)

This natural wonder is one of the most popular attractions found not far from the Keflavik International Airport, and it attracts many tourists throughout the day.

However, to combat these crowds, choose to book your stay later in the day at 9 or 10 pm, as they are open until midnight June 1-August 20, when the midnight sun is most prominent.
If you’re looking to stay closer to Reykjavik, the Sky Lagoon is also open until 11 pm, and you can also make reservations there at a later time slot.

I find it best to save these relaxing stays for the end of my trip, where you’ll be most fatigued from the adventures of Icelandic nature!

Laynie basking in the blue lagoon
Taking in the natural wonder of the blue lagoon!

Through the midnight sun phenomenon that lights up the nights of the summer months, Iceland unveils a world of endless wonder and beauty. 

Whether you find yourself basking in the soothing geothermal pools in the later hours of the night, or rather choosing to challenge yourself with a race or trek, Iceland’s midnight sun season promises experiences that are unforgettable.

For more information for your Iceland trip, check out these posts:

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