Is October the right time to visit Iceland ?

Is October the right time to visit Iceland? With cooler temperatures and the stunning display of autumn foliage, October offers a unique and captivating experience for travelers. As the landscapes transition from summer greenery to vibrant hues of red, orange, and gold, Iceland becomes a photographer’s paradise.

Additionally, the beginning of the Northern Lights season adds a touch of magic to the darkening nights, providing a chance to witness this mesmerizing natural phenomenon. While occasional rainfall and shorter daylight hours are to be expected, October also brings fewer crowds, lower prices on accommodations, and the opportunity to explore popular attractions with greater tranquility. Whether marveling at cascading waterfalls, soaking in geothermal hot springs, or embarking on scenic road trips along the Ring Road, October presents an ideal time to immerse oneself in Iceland’s breathtaking landscapes and rich natural beauty.

The weather in Iceland during October?

In October, Iceland experiences the transition from autumn to winter, with cooler temperatures and increasing chances of precipitation. Here are some key characteristics of the weather in Iceland during October:

  1. Temperature:
    • Daytime temperatures range from 3°C to 7°C (37°F to 45°F), with colder temperatures experienced in the evenings and at higher elevations.
    • Nighttime temperatures typically range from 0°C to 4°C (32°F to 39°F), with the potential for frost in some areas.
  2. Daylight Hours:
    • October sees a significant decrease in daylight hours compared to the summer months. Visitors can expect around 9 to 11 hours of daylight, with shorter days and longer nights as autumn progresses.
  3. Precipitation:
    • October marks the beginning of the wetter season in Iceland, with an increase in rainfall compared to previous months.
    • Rainfall can be frequent and sometimes heavy, particularly along the coast and in the south.
  4. Sunshine:
    • Sunshine hours decrease in October, with overcast skies becoming more common as the month progresses.
    • On average, Iceland experiences around 3 to 5 hours of sunshine per day in October.
  5. Wind:
    • Wind speeds can vary but are generally moderate, with occasional strong gusts, especially along the coast and in open areas.

Overall, October brings cooler temperatures, increasing rainfall, and shorter daylight hours, signaling the transition to Iceland’s winter season. Travelers should be prepared for changing weather conditions and dress accordingly for outdoor activities.

Here’s a table summarizing the average weather in Iceland during October:

Weather ElementAverage Value
Daytime High3°C to 7°C (37°F to 45°F)
Nighttime Low0°C to 4°C (32°F to 39°F)
Daylight Hours
Length of DayApproximately 9 to 11 hours of daylight
Average Rainfall50 to 100 mm (2 to 4 inches)
Average Sunshine Hours3 to 5 hours per day
Average Wind Speed10 to 15 km/h (6 to 9 mph)
Relative Humidity75% to 85%

Where should we visit in Iceland during October?

In October, Iceland offers a wealth of breathtaking destinations to explore, each offering its own unique charm and natural beauty. Here are some top places to visit during this time:

  1. Golden Circle:
    • Þingvellir National Park: Explore the historic site of Iceland’s ancient parliament and marvel at the geological wonders of the rift valley.
    • Geysir Geothermal Area: Witness the erupting geysers and bubbling hot springs, including the famous Strokkur geyser.
    • Gullfoss Waterfall: Admire the powerful cascade of water plunging into a canyon, surrounded by scenic landscapes.
  2. South Coast:
    • Seljalandsfoss Waterfall: Walk behind this picturesque waterfall and capture stunning photos of the surrounding landscapes.
    • Skógafoss Waterfall: Marvel at the thundering waterfall and climb the staircase for panoramic views of the coastline.
    • Vík í Mýrdal: Visit the charming coastal village and explore the iconic black sand beaches, including Reynisfjara Beach.
  3. Snæfellsnes Peninsula:
    • Snæfellsjökull National Park: Discover the mystical beauty of the glacier-capped Snæfellsjökull volcano and its surrounding landscapes.
    • Kirkjufell Mountain: Photograph the iconic cone-shaped mountain, often referred to as the “most photographed mountain in Iceland.”
    • Arnarstapi and Hellnar: Explore the rugged coastline, sea cliffs, and lava formations of these picturesque fishing villages.
  4. North Iceland:
    • Mývatn: Explore the geothermal wonders, volcanic craters, and unique landscapes surrounding Lake Mývatn.
    • Dettifoss Waterfall: Experience the raw power of Europe’s most powerful waterfall, located in Vatnajökull National Park.
    • Akureyri: Visit the charming “Capital of the North” and explore its botanical gardens, museums, and cultural attractions.
  5. Eastfjords:
    • Seyðisfjörður: Wander through the colorful streets of this picturesque town and admire its scenic surroundings.
    • Borgarfjörður Eystri: Hike through stunning landscapes and visit puffin colonies along the coast.
  6. Highlands:
    • Landmannalaugar: Trek through colorful rhyolite mountains, soak in geothermal hot springs, and explore the rugged beauty of the Icelandic highlands.
    • Askja Caldera: Journey to the remote highlands and marvel at the otherworldly landscapes surrounding the volcanic caldera.
  7. Reykjavik and Surroundings:
    • Reykjavik: Explore the vibrant capital city and its museums, galleries, restaurants, and shops.
    • Blue Lagoon: Relax in the geothermal waters of this famous spa and enjoy the tranquil surroundings amidst Iceland’s autumn landscapes.

These destinations offer a diverse range of experiences, from stunning waterfalls and volcanic landscapes to charming coastal villages and cultural attractions, making October an ideal time to explore Iceland’s natural wonders.

Some Frequently asked questions about Iceland visit in October ?

Can I see the Northern Lights in Iceland in October ?
Yes, October marks the beginning of the Northern Lights season in Iceland, with increased chances of witnessing this mesmerizing natural phenomenon as the nights grow darker. However, sightings may still be sporadic, depending on weather conditions.
Are tourist attractions still open in October?
Yes, most tourist attractions in Iceland remain open in October, although some remote areas and highland roads may become inaccessible due to changing weather conditions. It's advisable to check the accessibility of specific attractions before planning your itinerary.
What should I pack for a trip to Iceland in October?
It's recommended to pack warm and waterproof clothing, including insulated jackets, layers, waterproof pants, sturdy hiking boots, and gloves. Additionally, don't forget essentials like a hat, scarf, and sunglasses to protect against wind and cold.
Are there any cultural events or festivals in Iceland in October?
Yes, October offers various cultural events and festivals, such as the Iceland Airwaves music festival and Halloween celebrations. These events provide unique opportunities to experience Icelandic culture and community life.
Can I still visit the Blue Lagoon in Iceland in October ?
Yes, the Blue Lagoon and other geothermal hot springs in Iceland are open year-round, allowing visitors to relax and unwind amidst the crisp autumn air. However, it's advisable to book tickets in advance, as October may see fewer crowds but still requires reservations.
Is it safe to Self drive in Iceland in October ?
Self-driving in Iceland in October is generally safe but requires caution due to changing weather conditions. Roads may become icy, especially in the early mornings and evenings, and some remote areas may be inaccessible. It's essential to check weather and road conditions regularly, drive cautiously, and be prepared for unexpected changes in weather. Rental cars should be equipped with appropriate tires, and travelers should carry emergency supplies, including food, water, warm clothing, and a charged phone. Additionally, it's advisable to have a reliable GPS or navigation system and to inform someone of your travel plans before setting out.

Pros and cons of Visiting Iceland in October

Here’s a table outlining the pros and cons of visiting Iceland in October:

Fall Foliage: Experience stunning autumn colors as the landscapes transform with vibrant hues of red, orange, and gold.Decreasing Daylight: October sees a significant decrease in daylight hours, with shorter days and longer nights.
Northern Lights: Increased chances of witnessing the mesmerizing Northern Lights as the nights grow darker.Cooler Temperatures: Temperatures begin to drop, with daytime highs ranging from 3°C to 7°C (37°F to 45°F) and nighttime lows from 0°C to 4°C (32°F to 39°F).
Fewer Crowds: Experience popular attractions with fewer tourists compared to the peak summer months, allowing for a more intimate and serene experience.Increased Rainfall: October marks the beginning of the wetter season in Iceland, with higher chances of rainfall and occasional storms.
Lower Prices: Enjoy lower prices on accommodations, tours, and activities as the tourist season starts to wind down.Limited Accessibility: Some remote areas and highland roads may become inaccessible due to weather conditions, limiting outdoor activities.
Hot Springs: Relax in geothermal hot springs, such as the Blue Lagoon or natural hot springs scattered across the country, amidst the crisp autumn air.Transition Period: October is a transitional month between fall and winter, with changing weather patterns and unpredictable conditions.
Cultural Events: Participate in cultural events and festivals, such as the Iceland Airwaves music festival and various Halloween celebrations, offering unique insights into Icelandic culture.Wind Gusts: Strong wind gusts are common in October, especially along the coast, adding to the chill factor and potentially affecting outdoor activities.