Visiting Iceland in June

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of October 15-21, 1998
Meandering on St. Lucia
Off-roading in Georgia
Visiting Iceland in June

Visiting Iceland in June

By Amy Marr

Question: My husband and I would like to visit Iceland in June. What is the weather like then? Is there more to do that time of year versus the spring, say March? What kind of activities can we expect? Many thanks.

Heather Alpe
Chicago, Illinois

Take in Iceland’s glacial and volcanic landscape in June
Adventure Adviser: Your thought to visit Iceland’s lunar landscape in June is right on — don’t think of planning a trip there in March. For much of the year, fierce winds blow across this vast, empty land, but come summer the gentle breezes and warmer air move in. Plus, you’ll benefit from the midnight sun, which means more time for outside adventuring. But even under sunny skies, temperatures in Iceland rarely top the low 60s, so come prepared.

As for activities, Iceland’s glacial and volcanic landscape provides a stark backdrop for hiking and biking. There are also great camping spots and, if you’re into riding, some pony trekking options.

Iceland boasts five national parks, along with thousands of miles of hiking trails. Head to the Snaefellsnes peninsula, about a three-hour drive north of Reykjavik. From the outpost of Arnarstapi, you can hike onto the Snaefellsjokull glacier. Four hours later, you’ll be atop the 4,744-foot summit, admiring stellar views of the snowy West Fjord Mountains to the north. The scenery is a surreal mix of lava fields and verdant pastures — kind of Kona Coast meets Scottish Islands. You can call the Iceland Hiking Club for more information at 011-354-68-25-33.

Cycling in Iceland can be a perilous affair since many of the roads are unpaved or in dire need of repair. That said, you can piece together a mighty fine four-day ride (about 150 miles) on Iceland’s Ring Road, beginning just south of Reykjavik. You’ll pass through tiny Icelandic villages and by some great geysers and waterfalls, including Gullfoss, one of Europe’s largest. Small working farms and bed-and-breakfasts provide accommodations along the way, or if you want to camp request a guide to sites from the Icelandic Tourist Board (212-949-2333).

If sitting atop a pony sounds better than saddle sore or blistered feet, several companies run pony treks ranging from one-day adventures to two-week affairs. Ask the Tourism Board for information on outfitters.

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