From Iceland — Guide: What To Do On A Rainy Or Sunny Day?

Guide: What To Do On A Rainy Or Sunny Day?

Published July 1, 2016

Guide: What To Do On A Rainy Or Sunny Day?
Photo by
Art Bicnick
Geidi Raud

Rainy Day Guide:

The Pool

You’re thinking this should be over on the sunny side guide. But trust us, there is nothing better than being in a warm pool while refreshingly cold drops of rain plunk down upon you. You don’t have to remain indoors just because of grey skies and stormy weather. And when it comes to finding a convenient pool, Reykjavík’s got ya covered!

Rainy guide: Laugardalslaug pool

Stofan coffeehouse

Coffee shops—they’re just about everywhere and no guide is complete without them. But for an overcast day you want a cosy hide-away. With its exposed brick walls, hanging tapestries and velvet green armchairs, Stofan delivers the perfect ambience for finally reading that Russian novel you’re always going on about finishing. Downstairs boasts a bar, cabinet of card and board games and a projector, which screens football matches.

Bíó Paradís

The eclectic, vintage-inspired movie theatre is located in the soul of downtown Reykjavík, making it the perfect location to duck in quickly, and guide yourself out of that troublesome rain (I mean really, who does it think it is). Make sure to take in the walls dedicated to unique posters of classic movies. Bíó Paradís (a direct translation of Cinema Paradiso) tends to show indie and arthouse films, and are also currently screening a series of classic Icelandic movies. This means that although you may not be presently experiencing the culture on the streets of Reykjavík, you’re still getting a taste of Icelandic cinema history, all the while remaining dry and toasty!

Bókin, used bookstore

If you emerge from the movie theatre with that pesky rain still hounding you—never fear, just down the block from Bíó Paradís sits Bókin, a wonderful used book store. Meander through rows of vintage books, minding your step, as piles of old maps and photographs tend to jump out from behind stacks of more books. Founded in 1964, it the shop was Bobby Fischer’s favorite bookstore.


Harpa concert hall and conference centre is one of Reykjavík’s most notable pieces of architecture. Once inside and safe from the Iceland’s unruly weather, Harpa’s glass walls afford sheltered views of the Old Harbour and Mt. Esja. The Iceland Symphony Orchestra and Icelandic Opera both perform here and Eldborg Hall is famed for its acoustics. Their programme guide normally boasts daily shows, so it would be easy to catch whatever may be about to begin. For example, the noon concert every day at 12:30.

Rainy Guide: The Harpa Concert Hall

Pretend to be a University of Iceland Student

Bear with me. Make your way through whatever hellish downpour (be it sleet, snow, rain, or a concoction of the like with which Loki has found amusing to trouble you) is currently taking place outside and onto the University of Iceland campus. Once here, you’re golden. Check out the National Museum of Iceland, which gives a solid historic overview of the country. It also presently houses the great exhibition ‘A Woman’s Place…’, focusing on the working lives of women from 1915 up until 2015. Snag some postcards from the gift shop (and by snag I mean purchase legally and in an orderly fashion) and head to the cafeteria. Here you can sit and scribble underhanded jibes to friends who aren’t traveling to marvelous locales, and watch the goings-ons of your average Icelandic college student (they are strange yet majestic creatures, if at first a bit standoffish). The university cafeteria has a coffee shop, bookstore and food market; peruse at your leisure. After the postcards are written and you are properly fed, head around the corner to Stúdentakjallarinn (“The Student Cellar”), the campus bar. They have great happy hour prices and host ongoing events (from live music to pub quizzes to popcorn movie nights), and serve wonderful vegetarian options.

Sunny Day Guide:

Picnic places

If the sun is exceptionally good, we recommend a picnic. Prepare a lunch at home and bring a blanket to downtown Reykjavík. If you’re are interested in people-watching, Austurvöllur is the best picnic spot. Stop by the liquor store at Austurstræti and grab a few beers (Víking Lite Lime or Sommersby is recommended) and enjoy the sun. This is the most inexpensive pre-party trick in Reykjavík. However, if you are looking for a more quiet or private picnic place, Klambratún should be your pick. It’s close to downtown as well and has a frolf (frisbee golf) course, a playground and a grill.

Car rental

Breathe calmly in and out and imagine this scenario: you are driving along the Iceland’s lunar landscape, rolling down the car windows to enjoy fresh mountain air and warm sunbeams on your face while listening to your favorite music at maximum volume. Yes, it can’t get any better than this. So for now you’re probably googling a car rental in Iceland or about where you can hand in your driver’s licence application. Keep in mind though that Iceland’s F-roads don’t tolerate little Mr. Bean cars, so if you want and explore these epic roads you need a four-wheel drive. Who needs a guide!?

Sunny Guide: Rent a car

Bicycle rental

If you have no driver’s licence or are not fond of any horsepowers other than your own, you can also explore Iceland by bike. You can either stay in the city area or pedal out to glimpse the country’s wilderness. Cycling is a perfect way to see interesting landmarks and sights around Reykjavík—especially the ones outside walking distance from downtown. What is more, with bicycle ride you have exploring and training 2 in 1! While you may lack a guide, nothing can compare to the wonder of finding things for yourself and creating your own stories.

Sunny Guide: Rent a Bike


The average July temperature in the southern part of the Iceland is 10–13 °C (50–55 °F). Warm summer days can reach 20–25 °C (68–77 °F). Icelanders are happy for every sunny day that their cold oceanic climate provides them, as they enjoy themselves laying on the grass in parks and wearing thin summer clothing. Though tourists, commonly dressed in winter jackets, watch with amazement, they should really try to adapt to the conditions and enjoy the nordic summer. There are many beautiful parks in Reykjavík where you can just relax and enjoy the sun. Also there are deck chairs beside the public pools where you can close your eyes and, despite the goosebumps, imagine yourself laying on a paradise beach. However, if the weather happens to be amazing (might happen once a year), Then this guide recommends Nauthólsvík beach as the spot to hit.

Day tours

When it comes to day tours, Iceland can provide something for everyone. Start by riding towards sunset in the saddle of an Icelandic horse, or watching gigantic whales bathing in the ocean, and finish with the classic Golden Circle tour with a local guide. The ones who are looking for something more extreme can climb down to a volcano’s belly, dive between tectonic plates, do some glacier hiking or explore ice caves. There are even tours that can take you for alcohol tasting if you require something to quench your thirst.

Sunny Guide: Meet horses

Tinder dates

Tinder isn’t JUST for looking for one-night stands. It is actually possible to use Tinder to meet some pretty cool and friendly people who can show you around and take you to fun and cool places only known by locals. You can add information to your Tinder profile and mention that you are not into meaningless relationships but rather looking for new friends and fellow adventurers, that way there will be no misunderstandings. But if you, by any chance, are looking for love then what would be more romantic than a date under Iceland’s midnight sun? 


Use resources like (the Icelandic weather website) to check the weather for your stay in Iceland and then use this guide to plan the best trip possible.

Or click here for more interesting articles and guides about weather here in Iceland.

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