How to celebrate summer solstice in Iceland

Written by paul travers Google
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How to celebrate summer solstice in Iceland
The summer solstice is a great time to connect with nature in Iceland. (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

The summer solstice is the day when the tilt of the Earth's axis puts us closest to the sun, resulting in the longest day of the year. In the northern hemisphere it falls on or around June 21. In the UK you might experience around 17 hours of daylight but in Iceland it stays bright for 24 hours. If you are far enough north you might even see the famed Midnight Sun shining in the sky, making Iceland the perfect place to celebrate the summer solstice.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Check what date the summer solstice falls on at the Greenwich Meantime website (see Resources). It usually falls on June 21 but will be on June 20 in 2016 and 2020. Book your trip so you arrive in plenty of time.

  2. 2

    Join in some of the special events and celebrations that occur up and down the country. What's on will vary from year to year but may include talks, nature walks and traditional pagan rituals and celebrations.

  3. 3

    Join the party in Reykjavik. You can join in yourself or simply watch the raucous singing, drinking and eating. Many of the locals will wear traditional Viking garb and bars in the capital stay open until 6am, according to BootsnAll (see Resources).

  4. 4

    Participate in a sport that is usually played in the daytime. There are usually various sporting events lined up in the middle of the night, including running, swimming and golf.

  5. 5

    Follow the Midnight Sun. Most of Iceland experiences a "white night" on the summer solstice. The sun does not fully set but it does dip behind the horizon. To see the sun high in the sky at midnight, take a boat to the island of Grimsey, which is further north than Reykjavik, and lies on the boundary of the Arctic Circle.

  6. 6

    Visit the Blue Lagoon in Grindavik on the southwest coast. The lagoon is a huge, heated geothermal pool and there is also a sauna, a steam bath carved from a lava cave and a massaging waterfall.

  7. 7

    Stick around for Jónsmessa or St. John the Baptist's Day on June 24. According to Virtually Virtual Iceland, the day has inherited many of the customs and folklore associated with the solstice. It is considered one of the most magical days of the year and the dew that forms in the night was traditionally believed to have healing powers. Be warned though, you will only benefit if you roll in the dew naked!

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