VISITING ICELAND IN OCTOBER!
Spending October in Iceland?
October is one of the best months to see this beautiful country and enjoy everything it has to offer!
From hikes to hot springs, from walking on glaciers to whale watching & northern lights, Iceland in October has it all!
Keep reading to get all my local tips for an unforgettable trip to Iceland in October!
In one word, yes! October is a great time to visit Iceland for a number of reasons. While the summer months are perfect for outdoor activities, October also has good weather and also a major plus; you can see the northern lights!
As the good weather persists even through October, you will find very few days with wind or rain.
In my opinion, October in Iceland is one of the most beautiful months. The fall just begins to set on the Icelandic nature, making the landscape even more dramatic and majestic.
Photographers in particular will definitely enjoy October in Iceland. There is nothing quite like the Icelandic landscape and its rawness once the autumn sets in. The rivers and the waterfalls become wilder, the clouds roll in, and the earth is covered in golden grass. It can't get much better than that!
It's no wonder that many choose to film in Iceland in October. Even the most mundane landscape can look like a whole different world!
WEATHER IN ICELAND IN OCTOBER
You might worry that the notorious Icelandic weather will foil your plans for a nice trip to Iceland. However, there is no reason to worry! October's weather will -most likely -treat you very nicely.
The average temperatures in October ranges from 10°C (50°F) to 0°C (32°F).
That might sound quite low, but the cold in Iceland isn't...well, that cold! As long as there is no windchill, 10°C is actually quite nice! You might even see some locals in t-shirts, but I would not recommend it!
While there might be some rain and wind during your trip, it won't prevent you from having a great time. The rain in October is barely a drizzle, and there are definitely no storms!
Another thing you won't find in Iceland in October is snow -at least nowhere but on the mountaintops. So, if you want to enjoy a white landscape or go skiing, I would recommend visiting Iceland another time.
However, if you want nothing to do with snow, but still want some darkness for the northern lights, then October is the month for you! I will tell you more about the northern lights in October in a minute!
WHAT TO PACK FOR YOUR TRIP TO ICELAND IN OCTOBER
Since it's so hard to predict the weather in Iceland, you might be wondering what you should bring with you on your trip. Simply put, layers, layers and more layers! They can keep you warm in the cold, and you can take them off during the warmer parts of the day.
Here is a packing list to help you prepare for your trip!
- Thermals! Bring some good base layers to keep you warm when you explore Iceland, and make sure your tops are moisture-wicking to stay dry throughout the day
- Sweaters and hoodies
- Jeans, sweatpants and other comfortable clothes that you can wear while exploring the Icelandic nature!
- Good hiking boots for your adventures!
- Wind and rain-proof jacket. You'll want to stay dry when you visit the famous Icelandic waterfalls! If you can get a pair of pants, bring that too! You never know what the Icelandic weather will throw at you
- A swimsuit and sunscreen. You might think you don't need them, but the swimsuit is necessary for all the amazing hot springs you can find in Iceland! The sunscreen is also a must, as due to the geographical location of Iceland, the sun can easily give you a sunburn
- Some party clothes that you can wear when you go partying in downtown Reykjavik or to one of Reykjavik's amazing restaurants, if that is more of your thing
- Your camera! You'll want to take a lot of pictures!
CAN YOU SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS IN ICELAND IN OCTOBER?
Absolutely! October is, in fact, one of the best months to see the northern lights in Iceland!
In order to see the northern lights, three conditions need to be met; darkness, clear skies and high northern lights activity. (You can become an expert on the subject by reading our 'Guide to Northern Lights' here.)
With an average of 15 hours of darkness, October is ideal to see the northern lights. Furthermore, as the weather in October is generally nice, there is a good chance that there will be no clouds obstructing your view!
Finding the northern lights on your own takes some planning where you'll need to monitor both the weather and northern lights forecast carefully - along with some careful driving on the icy roads.
You can save yourself the headache by simply booking an awesome small group northern lights tour. The tour is operated by local experts that will take the group to the best spot each particular night with the highest chances of seeing the amazing aurora borealis (northern lights).
Click here for more details and tickets on the Northern Lights tour.
BEST THINGS TO DO IN ICELAND IN OCTOBER
Since you are coming all the way to Iceland, you might want some tips on the best tours and activities to ensure a truly memorable trip!
Keep reading to find out about all my suggestions for the best tours in Iceland in October!
1. THE REYKJAVIK FOOD WALK TOUR
The best way to get to know a new city, country and culture is through it's amazing food ... and with a fun local by your side!
On Reykjavik Food Walk, you'll visit the best restaurants and local hangouts to enjoy a a variety of delicious Icelandic food.
1) This tour is packed with food. So we recommend showing up hungry and skipping breakfast / lunch if you're joining the lunch tours. Or skipping dinner if you're joining the food tour during the evening.
2) 99% of guests book the Reykjavik Food Walk for their first or second day in Reykjavik - for good reason. It's always a great to get your bearings early, learn about Reykjavik and it's best restaurants at the start of your trip.
Check out what our most recent customers had to say about the tour!
Our Reykjavik Food Walk is top-rated on food & drink activity to in Iceland on TripAdvisor with more then 7,000+ 5-star reviews.
Included in the tour:
- See all the highlights of Reykjavik
- Visit five to six local restaurants that offer the best authentic Icelandic cuisine
- Enjoy over 7 mouth-watering Icelandic cuisines
- Learn about Icelandic history and culture, and forge friendships with some real vikings!
As it's a popular small group activity - we recommend booking and securing your tickets in advance.
2. EXPLORE THE SOUTH COAST OF ICELAND
Another must-see highlight in Iceland is the South Coast.
Incredible waterfalls, black sand beaches, glaciers and Vík!
So many amazing sights. So much fun!
In October, the entire shore is painted in grays and browns, making for some stunning views!
What you'll experience:
- Visit Seljalandsfoss waterfall, one of the most magical waterfalls in the world! You can walk behind it for a truly unique experience!
- Visit Skógafoss waterfall. Skógafoss is one of Iceland's biggest waterfalls, measuring at 60m (200ft). As a result, it sprays a lot of water and you can often see a rainbow!
- Visit Reynisfjara or Black Sand beach. Enjoy the crashing waves on one side and the basalt column formations on the other. There are even some rocks thought to be trolls!
- Visit the coastal town of Vík, which is quintessentially Icelandic!
- Visit Solheimajokull glacier (other tours won't take you there!) and maybe even discover an ice cave if you are lucky!
P.S. It's possible to combine the South Coast with an incredible glacier hike.
3. NORTHERN LIGHTS TOUR
As I mentioned earlier, October is arguably one of the best times to see the northern lights in Iceland. If you travel to Iceland in October, I believe it is a must to take our northern lights tour. You wouldn't want to miss such a great chance to see them!
Due to the high quality of our tour, spots are booked in advance. You can book your spot here and make sure you don't miss the best chance to see the northern lights on your trip!
4. GOLDEN CIRCLE TOUR
The Golden Circle is arguably one of Iceland's highlights. If you only have a few hours to spare and want to see the Icelandic nature up close, I definitely recommend our exploring the Golden Circle of Iceland.
From magnificent waterfalls to...well, the exact opposite of waterfalls (Geysir), the Golden Circle has it all!
In my opinion, no one should leave Iceland without seeing the Golden Circle, as it is not only one (or rather three) of the most beautiful places in the world, it is also quintessentially Icelandic. It truly is one of the best examples of Icelandic nature!
What you do:
- Visit Thingvellir National Park, where you can walk between the Eurasian and the North American tectonic plates (and also see one of my favorite waterfalls called Öxaráfoss).
- Visit Gullfoss, one of the most powerful waterfalls in Iceland. Its enormous power and otherworldly beauty are sure to enchant you!
- Visit the geothermal area of Geysir. While many people think that the geyser you will see there is Geysir, it's actually its little brother Strokkur. Geysir stopped erupting years ago, but Strokkur, ever the crowd pleaser, erupts around every eight minutes.
- Visit the Faxi waterfall. Our tour is the only tour that takes you there!
- See some Icelandic horses. If conditions allow, the driver will stop and you can get close to them!
- Enjoy the Icelandic nature during the drive. The Golden Circle has amazing views, even if you are in a car!
5. GOLDEN CIRCLE AND HOT SPRING TOUR
October is a great month to visit some hot springs. And what better place to do that than Iceland, with its hundreds of hot springs?
As the weather is nice, but not too hot, you will be comfortable in the water, but also your hair won't freeze!
The Secret Lagoon is my favorite hot spring, personally, and I think that it really is worth a visit, maybe even more than the Blue Lagoon.
The water is the perfect temperature, the surroundings are gorgeous, and the lagoon isn't too crowded. In the Golden Circle and Hot Spring tour, you get everything that the Golden Circle tour offers, and then at the end, we'll take you to the Secret Lagoon for a relaxing dip!
6. GO WHALE WATCHING
Whales are truly magnificent creatures. Luckily for us, they have a permanent home in Iceland! Our Whale Watching tour will take you closer to them than any other tour, as well.
October is a great time to see the whales in Iceland, as the weather is still nice and the sea is calm. There is no strong winds to rock the boat!
Furthermore, our tour leaves from downtown Reykjavik, so it's very convenient for you to catch it! Learn more about the tour and book your spot here!
7. HORSEBACK RIDING TOUR
You have probably heard of the Icelandic horse. This breed has five natural gaits, which is two more than most horse breeds!
While you have probably seen them, either on a picture or driving by an Icelandic farm (you may have even gotten to pet some!), you probably haven't ridden one. So, why not try horseback riding? October is a great month to go horseback riding on an Icelandic horse, as it won't be too cold during your ride!
This horseback riding tour is only minutes away from Reykjavik, and you can explore some Icelandic nature with your new furry friends! If you have never ridden a horse before, don't worry! We'll show you the ropes.
8. GLACIER HIKE AND WATERFALLS TOUR
Do you love hiking? Then this glacier hiking tour is for you! Hiking up a glacier is an unforgettable experience, and I would recommend it to everyone. There is nothing quite like conquering an Icelandic glacier!
Going glacier hiking in Iceland in October means that your hike will be a little easier, as the weather will most likely be nice. Furthermore, the conditions on the glacier are much more favorable in autumn.
What you get:
- Visit Seljalandsfoss waterfall.
- Visit Skógafoss waterfall.
- Hike up Sólheimajökull glacier
- Climb up parts of the glacier (optional)
- Hiking and climbing gear
- Experienced guides who will give you all the information and help you need!
9. GO SNORKELING IN SILFRA
Silfra is one of the most unique places to go snorkeling. I highly recommend trying it, as it is a truly unforgettable experience!
While the water is Silfra is always cold, you will be wearing a diving suit. The weather in October is great for snorkeling, as there will be plenty of light and it won't be too cold.
Silfra is a fissure that opened between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates, so you will be snorkeling between them! Furthermore, the visibility in Silfra reaches up to 100m, making it one of the best diving spots in the world!
What you get:
- Visit Thingvellir National Park
- Snorkel in Silfra
- Swim between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates
- Diving gear
- Certified divemaster
LOOKING FOR MORE TOURS?
These tours are my personal suggestions, from me to you. Don't forget to check out our other tours, though! And remember to book ahead, as spots are limited and usually booked way in advance!
EVENTS IN OCTOBER IN ICELAND
October in Iceland is not a very busy month when it comes to events. Maybe after the plethora of events during the summer, Icelandic people just want a bit of a break!
However, I do have a couple of suggestions for you about events that you can catch if you visit Iceland in October.
REYKJAVIK INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
This festival takes place at the end of September to the beginning of October, so you might just catch some of it. It's the perfect festival for film enthusiasts, as it includes groundbreaking films from over 40 countries!
Apart from screenings (which can take place in the most unlikely of places, such as a swimming pool or a filmmaker's house!), you can also attend workshops, concerts and exhibitions. The eleven-day festival is held and organized by people who are enthusiastic about film and filmmaking, and its aim is to support up-and-coming creatives.
The price for the entire festival is 14900kr (about 150 USD), but you can also purchase a pass for fewer screenings. You can find more details on their official website!
LIGHTING OF THE IMAGINE PEACE TOWER
Created by Yoko Ono in memory of John Lenon, the Imagine Peace Tower is a colossal work of art that represents a beacon of peace.
The tower emits a huge beam of lights, which looks different depending on the weather and how cloudy the sky is. It never looks the same!
Yoko Ono decided to erect the tower in Iceland partly because it uses renewable energy and partly because Iceland is one of the most peaceful countries in the world.
You can catch the lighting of this spectacular beam on October 9!
RECOMMENDATIONS FROM A LOCAL
Northern lights over Kirkjufell mountain in Iceland
I truly believe that visiting Iceland in October is an excellent choice. I have some tips for you that will make your trip to Iceland in October even better!
1. BRING A DSLR AND A TRIPOD
If you visit Iceland in October, you will want to take some pictures of the northern lights, of course! While sometimes you can capture them on your phone, your best bet is a DSLR camera and a tripod, so that you can do a long exposure.
Having a lens with a wide aperture will also help a lot! You want to get those lights as bright as possible!
2. KEEP WARM CLOTHES WITH YOU
The weather in Iceland can be very unpredictable. If you visit Iceland in October, it's hard to judge what the weather is going to be like every day or even how it will change throughout the day.
I recommend that you have some lighter clothes with you, but that you also bring some good layers and that you always have warm clothes with you, especially when you go outside of Reykjavik. The weather in Iceland in October can change rapidly, and it's better to be safe!
SOME FINAL WORDS
Iceland in October is absolutely breathtaking. There is nothing quite like the Icelandic landscapes in autumn! So, if you visit Iceland in October, make sure that you take a lot of pictures!
Did you enjoy my tips and recommendations? Do you think there's something I've missed? Let me know in the comments! And don't forget to share with fellow travelers!
I hope this blog was helpful, and I hope you have a lot of fun on your trip!