Iceland's midnight sun and how to enjoy it
In Iceland in June, the sun extends a sincere (belated) apology for its winter disappearing act. The summertime reward is near-endless bright skies and 24 hours of sun.
The sun’s apology is not so humble that it comes with genuine warmth – in the tropical sense – but as the daytime temperatures hopefully nudge the mid-teens (or mid-’60s Fahrenheit), and the late-evening skies take on a pinky-peach glow, winter’s gloom is generally forgiven.
The summer solstice in Iceland was traditionally a time of bounty in the lives of the Nordic nations and a cause for celebration. Be ready to enjoy a burst of energy and a crazy sense that time is immaterial (and also: pack a sleep mask!).
When can I see the midnight sun in Iceland?
The summer solstice, when the sun peaks and produces the longest day of the year, occurs in 2023 on June 21.
On this date, Reykjavík’s sunrise is at 2:55am; sunset occurs over 21 hours later at 12:03am. For 3 hours of twilight, the sun sits just below the horizon and delivers lingering natural light.
(Fun fact, for contrast: December’s winter solstice offers a mere 4 hours and 7 minutes of daylight in the Icelandic capital.)
The further north you travel in Iceland, of course, the more prolonged the summer light. Akureyri boasts 23.5 hours of light on June 21; Ísafjörður has 24-hour brightness, and Grímsey (the only part of Iceland within the Arctic Circle) also has perpetual light.
In the table below, you get an idea of how the daylight hours change in Reykjavík throughout June. You'll find more useful details on the website timeanddate.com.
Reykjavík's midnight sun
Things to do during Iceland's midnight sun
For 6 weeks either side of the June 21 summer solstice in Iceland, you’ll experience bright nights. The sun lingers long and low on the horizon like a welcome dinner guest. Even after its sunset departure a rosy afterglow remains.
Make your own fun hiking, golfing, fishing or camping, or book an evening tour to whale-watch, bird-watch or horse-ride into the night. And for the simplest solstice pleasure, take a midnight stroll to see the sun dip just below the horizon – and if you walk for long enough – bounce back up before you return. Hot tubs and springs, or geothermal spas like the Blue Lagoon and Sky Lagoon, offer delicious warmth and may help to edge insomniacs closer to sleep.
Midnight sun entertainment and events
Midsummer festivals make prime use of the longest days. In Reykjavík, you can compete in the Midnight Sun Run (June 23, 2023). If you’re in the North, you can tee off at the Arctic Open golf tournament (June 22-24, 2023) in Akureyri, or take a short flight from Akureyri or ferry to Grímsey island to experience the Solstice Festival within the Arctic Circle (June 23-25, 2023).
Thinking of heading to see the midnight sun in Reykjavík for yourself? We offer flights to Iceland from destinations across the US.
Already booked your trips to see this year's summer solstice in Iceland? Take a look at our range of tours to make the most most of those long summer days.