Midnight Sun in Iceland


What is the Midnight Sun?

A natural phenomenon that occurs during the months of summer in some places in the north of the Arctic Circle or to the south of the Antarctic Circle in which the sun is visible at the local midnight time of a region is known as Midnight Sun. During the period of the summer solstice that approximately on June 21st in the north region and December 22nd in the southern regions, the sun is visible for a period of 24 hours, if the weather is fair. The potential of midnight sun occurring for a number of days increase as the poles are moving further from the Sun. Even though the midnight sun is defined by the polar circles, in reality, the midnight sun can be seen as much as a distance of 90KM outside the polar circle. The exact latitudes that the midnight sun reaches depends on the topography of the region and every year, it varies.

Who Sees the Midnight Sun?

Since there is no permanent area of residence in the southern parts of the Antarctic Circle, there are only a limited number of regions that experience the midnight sun – Yukon, Nunavut and Northwest Territories of Canada, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Greenland, Finland, Russia and Alaska in the United States. In the northern part of some of the countries mentioned, the sun does not set for a period of 60 days during the summer. In the Svalbard region of Norway, the sun does not set at all from 19th April to 23rd August.

Some regions below the polar circle may experience midnight sun due to refraction of the atmosphere and the sun is a disk and not a point. But, places which exceed one degree below the polar circle does not experience the midnight sun. Iceland is known to experience midnight sun even though most of the region of the located slightly to the south of the Arctic Circle. At the poles, the period of sunlight is a little bit more than six months.

Common Questions

Now, when a person is visiting Iceland during the period of the Midnight Sun, a lot of questions crop up in his or her mind. When does the midnight sun in Iceland happen? For how long does the sunrise or sunset last? In Iceland, what is the time frame during which the midnight sun can be experienced? Is it possible to sleep during the midnight sun?

Summer and Winter in Iceland

During the summertime, in Iceland, the days are quite long. Iceland’s nights are bright from the period of late May to early August. This is quite unfathomable to some people and they have various questions about it. One of the most common questions about Iceland’s midnight sun is that if is it possible to sleep during the period of the midnight sun. The answer to this question is that it is quite possible. Just like a person can sleep with the lights on or in the middle of the day, a person can sleep during the period of the midnight sun. If a person requires complete darkness to sleep, he or she can use curtains to block out the midnight sun. After a period of dark winters, it can be a bit weird to have endless days. But as time goes by, the period of longs days becomes adjusted to the lifestyle of a person and if you want to do some sightseeing then you can do it all night and day long.

On the planet, the further you go north or south, the more the effect of summer and winter solstices that you can feel. The summer solstice in Iceland is the longest day of Iceland’s year and it happens during the 21st of June. In Reykjavik, the suns set after midnight and again rises before 3AM. The days are even longer in Akureyri or Ísafjörður due to fact that it was further north in the country. The winter solstice in Iceland is the shortest day there and it occurs on the 21st of December. This means that in Reykjavik, the sun rises around 11:30AM in the morning and sunset occurs at 3:30PM during the afternoon. The day is even shorter as you go further north in the country. In between this period of time, that the period between the longest and shortest days of the year, the days are either getting shorter or longer. This shortening and longevity can vary between a few seconds to a period of several minutes per day. Twice a year, equinoxes occur on the 21st of March and the 21st of September. During these days, the amount of daylight and darkness are equal in length.


Generally speaking, in Reykjavik, the midnight sun occurs during the period from 16th to 29th June. These are the only days during which the sun sets after midnight in the region. If the consideration is taken into account that the sun will rise a few hours later, at approximately 3:30AM in the morning, it is still quite bright even though the sun wasn’t in the sky yet. These beautiful bright nights occur for up to a period of 3 months. The time frame is one and a half months before the 21st of June and one and a half months after the 21st of June.

An incredible and beautiful picturesque display of the colorful and bright night sky is done due to the slow sunsets and sunrises. These bright skies tend to last for quite a long time and for several hours. When August begins, a few hours of the night can be quite dark, but it is not darker than dusk though. When August is ending and September is beginning, a couple of hours in the night will be quite dark that is pitch black dark. Iceland is truly a place of mystery and beauty and you can enjoy summertime and daytime activities for quite a long time due to the midnight sun. So, if you are interested in going to a place where you can enjoy more hours of the day without it affecting your crazy nightlife, then Iceland is definitely the place to visit. Things that you can do in Iceland even though it is night is that you can play golf or go on a tour of the Golden Circle in Iceland or enjoy the attractions that are there on Route 1 of Iceland.