Though you forfeit seeing the Northern Lights, there’s another reason June is the best time of year to visit Iceland: Midnight Sun.
“Sunset” in Iceland this time of year basically means the sky turns cotton-candy for about three hours in the middle of the night before returning to daylight—and it’s breathtaking. At first site of those bright pink brushstrokes painted across the sky, you don’t think it could possibly get anymore beautiful. But somehow, every time you look back it’s burning brighter, all colors of the rainbow lingering like a kaleidoscope in the sky, until slowly, it gives way to sunrise.
The beauty of the 24-hour sunlight is that it releases you from the time constraint of needing to make it to a given destination before it gets dark outside—which certainly came in handy when a car rental hiccup the night we landed in Reykjavík, the big city, forced us to start our first day at 12 noon. You can read the full story here but essentially, due to a miscommunication and a lot of back and forth, we didn’t make it to our Airbnb until five in the morning, and having already been awake over 30 hours thanks to transatlantic travels, we knew we needed to squeeze in at least seven hours if we wanted to enjoy the rest of the day.
I’m glad we slept. We didn’t know it at the time, but when we pulled out of our driveway, we wouldn’t return until a good 18 hours later.