In the light of the midnight sun

From mid May until the end of July the midnight sun lights up Iceland with a magical glow, giving the landscape an aura of multi-dimensional existence
May 14, 2018
Kári Gunnlaugsson

From mid May until the end of July the midnight sun lights up the northern nights with a magical glow, giving the landscape an aura of multi-dimensional existence, elf-related perhaps, and this is the time of year that the locals love more than any other. There is no need to check the time, just eat when you are tired and sleep when you are hungry, cast off the shackles of conventional time-keeping and celebrate the explosion of life around the summer solstice. Regular office hours will still apply though.

Whether you are doing The Golden Circle,The South Coast or on The Great Ring Road, you will be experiencing what is essentially nature´s cry of war against the long dark winter, suddenly the fields turn green and lush, tiny arctic plants appear fragrant and colourful in the black volcanic sands, and the hills are alive with the songs of thousands of birds that migrate to their save nesting haven in Iceland for the summer. Try to spot the super cool Arctic Tern who flies around ten thousand miles from the shores of Antarctica to find its nesting grounds here and can be seen for example on the banks of Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon fighting off the Great Skua and other enemies. Or the majestic Wimbrel on hilltops chanting its hypnotic mantra and waiting for crow-berry season to start before heading to West Africa for the winter.

This is also the time of year when most species of whale hang around the coastline of Iceland feasting on the abundant North Atlantic marine life and basking through the fjords and bays in the everlasting sunlight. Make sure you pick a good day/night with reasonably calm waters to check out jumping humpbacks, sliding mink whales and possibly the colossal leviathan magnificence of a blue whale breaking the surface, and of course on the same tour you could easily spot puffins and dolphins for added value and cuteness.There are many places in Iceland that offer wildlife watching tours and most of the locations are pretty good so check out the many variations available for an idea of how you would like your wildlife in Iceland experience to be.

Remember however that the only wild land mammals in Iceland are the arctic fox and the field mouse, plus a few reindeer in the east, so don´t go looking for bears and wolves and so on. Then again every few years a stray polar bear finds its way to Iceland so it might be a good a idea to be on the lookout. Just to keep things exciting.

Yes, the reign of the midnight sun in Iceland is a magical time indeed to visit the country. Also you are more likely to meet some of the locals during this period. Try to find out about arts and crafts markets selling local produce, get recommendations for good eating in the area and find out where the nearest live music can be found.

There are indeed endless surprises out there for those guided by the light of the midnight sun. So good luck and watch out for those tricky elves and their wicked ways.

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