The best Iceland summer tours

Exploring Iceland in summer is so much different the exploring the country in winter. We headed on a week-long road trip to admire the country’s beauty driving the whole Route 1, staying at experiential accommodations, and seeking thrilling experiences. So without further ado, here are the best Iceland summer tours.

Puffin watching boat tour in Reykjavik

This tour is one of the most accessible Iceland summer tours as it starts from Old Harbor in Reykjavik and has a few operators that do boat tours around the capital. Out of the many starting times and lengths, we choose a midday tour that lasted 1 hour. We went around mini-islands and not just spotted puffins, but also other birds such as northern fulmars, gulls, Arctic terns, and black guillemots. Our bird-watching was helped by an expert guide. We sailed in an old wooden boat, called Old Skuli (Skúlaskeið), and had a wonderful time. This tour is also child-friendly.

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Link to tour: Reykjavik: Puffin Watching Boat Tour

Silfra snorkeling

This might have been one of the most challenging things we have ever done! Snorkeling in Silfra Fissure where 2 tectonic plates are drifting apart, in crystal clear glacier meltwater of 2 to 4 degrees Celcius, spending time in a UNESCO World Heritage sight – Þingvellir National Park. It’s definitely one of the best summer tours in Iceland, although people do it in winter as well!

Keep in mind that you need to be relatively fit to snorkel in those conditions, and there are other restrictions in age, height, etc. You will wear a very tight dry suit to keep you warm and dry which might cause some inconveniences. But with visibility of 100 meters underwater and some local plant species and marine life like the dwarf char, you will know it is worth it! The bonus is Angelina lips after you get out of the water (for a short time, unfortunately). And there’s hot chocolate for everyone at the end!

Link to tour: Silfra Fissure Snorkeling Tour

Sea kayaking on Snæfellsnes Peninsula

This 2-hour sea kayak tour was the perfect opportunity to discover Iceland’s nature and wildlife from another perspective while exercising. We kayaked along the coastline to some of the most remote islands of Breiðafjörður Bay. The scenic landscapes from sea level and the surrounding glaciers and volcanoes of the peninsula were magical. Our guide was a local who helped us dive into the history of the place in a very authentic way through his stories.

The tour starts at the kayak base located in the charming village of Stykkishólmur. After a short paddle, the first landmark is Landey, the world-famous eiderdown harvesting location. Later, the tour visits shipwrecks, including the eerie wreckage of the Thorgeir. We managed to spot the king of Iceland’s birdlife, the white-tailed eagle, flying far above us. We threaded between local islands on the way back to shore.

Link to tour: Stykkishólmur: 2-Hour Sea Kayak Tour

Husavik whale-watching boat tour

Put on your warmest clothes for this 3-hour tour in the ocean just out of Husavik. After receiving some warm overalls (which were most welcome) we boarded the traditional oak boat for an adventure on the rough seas on that lovely summer day. That was one of the few occasions when we wore our protective masks gladly! But despite the freezing wind and chilly weather, we spotted many humpback and sperm whales, and even some dolphins.

Although there was no hot chocolate and cinnamon buns due to the covid restrictions, we had lots of fun on this tour, trying to snap the perfect photos of the whales and not to freeze onboard. We were lucky to spot so much of the wildlife. It was a lovely tour out of the Eurovision-movie-famous Husavik.

Where the mountains sing through the screams of seagulls

Where the whales can live ’cause they’re gentle people

In my hometown, my hometown

Husavik (My Hometown) – Will Ferrell & Molly Sandén

Link to tour: Húsavík 3-Hour Original Whale Watching Tour

Boat trip in Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon

We had to return to Jokursarlon after our trip in winter Iceland, to admire sculpture-like icebergs and sail up to the very secluded glacier wall of Jökulsárlón, to witness a complete serenity view of a breaking glacier (calving). The face of the glacier is about 8 km away from our starting point, so the duration of the zodiac boat tour is 75 minutes.

Together with our guide, we would fall in love with the pristine vast nature of the glacier lagoon, which is getting bigger and bigger every year with the glacier losing ice. We met a few seals on the way – sunbathing and chilling out on big chinks of ice. This tour operates between May and October and the minimum age for it is 6 years old, it is an easy way for everyone to enjoy the beauty of the lagoon.

Link to tour: Ice Lagoon Adventure Boat Tour

Here you can find all the tours in and around Jökulsárlón:

Beluga Whale Sanctuary and Puffin Rescue Center on Vestmannaeyjar island

We wanted to visit Westman Islands to enjoy their hard-to-dispute beauty. And we somehow spotted the Beluga Whale Sanctuary on Heimaey, the main island. We quickly signed up for a boat tour from the Vestmanneyjar harbor to the beluga whale sanctuary and learn the story of the sanctuary’s first beluga whale residents – Little White and Little Grey. We got a glimpse at how the dedicated international team works to keep them healthy and happy. 

There was a baby puffin that had accidentally fallen into one of the belugas’ pools. The team extracted it safely and offered us to set it free into the ocean. This is a responsible task as puffins return to the places where they swam alone for the first time as babies. It was such a magical experience of freedom and connection! Since 2022, there is a Puffin Rescue Center and the boat trip would take you to see nearby cliffside puffin colonies. You can complement the tour by visiting the Sea Life Trust Beluga Whale Sanctuary Visitor Centre to see the puffin rescue center and local species aquarium.

Visit the website, book your tour, and find out how you can support Sea Life Trust.

So those were our suggestions for the most experiential and amazing summer tours in Iceland to explore the Kingdom of Ice during the warmer months of the year. Have you been on other great tours in the summer? Let us know!

Learn what to explore in Iceland in winter. And here our favorite experiential accommodations in Iceland.

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