July 2011 in Iceland- Will the Sun Ever Set?

Iceland is definitely one of the most mysterious and misunderstood countries in the world. Few have visited the land of fire and ice, but those who do make the trek certainly find that it is absolutely different from anything they have ever experienced before. The landscape is literally unlike any other place in the world, filled with geysers, volcanic mountains, and glaciers. Whether you think of Iceland as the land of 9th century Vikings, or as the home of current alternative music singer Bjork, Iceland is a place that is always full of surprises and wonderment.

Despite its name, Iceland is really not all that cold and foreboding. We have planned the Deluxe Kosher Tours Trip for the month of July because this is when Iceland’s weather is most temperate. During the summer, temperatures in Iceland normally climb to about 50 degrees F, so it is really quite pleasant and not at all painful to be outdoors at this time of year. Most visitors to Iceland during this time of year are very surprised to see how much of the land is green during the summer, too.

Because it is close to the Arctic Circle, Iceland famously experiences very long stretches of daylight during the summer. You may have heard the term “midnight sun” before to experience this phenomenon, wherein the sun is visible for a full 24 hours. (Despite what many American pre-teens think, “midnight sun” is not just a title in the Twilight series.) This naturally occurs only at latitudes north and nearby to the south of the Arctic Circle, such as northern Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, and Iceland. The opposite phenomenon, polar night, occurs in the winter when the sun stays below the horizon for the entire day.

So will we experience midnight sun when we are there in July. No… but we will come close! When we are visiting Reykjavic (pronounced rake-ya-vick), Iceland on July 4, the sunrise will occur at 3:11 am, and the sunset will occur at 11:52 pm. That is nearly 21 hours of daylight!

While some may suspect that this much daylight would be strange and disorienting, I find it quite fascinating, and obviously unique. In how many places can you stroll along the day lit streets at 11 pm? For those who wish to explore Reykjavic, the country’s most populated city, this means that you can do at pretty much any time of day or night. You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the city’s famous waterfront, towering Church of Hallgrímur, parliament building at Austurvollur Square, Scandinavian designer shops, and non-stop nightlife at pubs, bars, clubs, and restaurants downtown. You’ll also have plenty of time to chat with locals about the supposed “hidden people” of Iceland, a population of elves who live in rocky outcrops. You’ll discover than nearly all Icelanders believe in their existence!

For those who still wish to get a good night’s sleep despite the long hours of daylight- don’t worry! We’re staying at the wonderful Hotel Selfoss, a modern four-star hotel where you can draw the curtains and get a great night’s sleep. Whichever way you choose- to take advantage of the sun that scarcely sets, or to catch up on your beauty sleep, you’ll find that next morning in Iceland will be equally welcoming and beautiful.

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