Iceland In October: Everything You Need To Know!

Iceland In October: Everything You Need To Know!

Angie Diamantopoulou Author

Text by: Angie Diamantopoulou

Spending October in Iceland? Excellent choice! October is one of the best months to see this beautiful country and enjoy everything it has to offer!

In my opinion, October is one of the best months to visit Iceland. ​The balmy days are perfect for some exploring, and the nice weather will be on your side while you enjoy the Icelandic nature. At night, the darkness will be your best friend when you hunt for northern lights!

From hikes to hot springs, from walking on glaciers to whale watching, Iceland in October has it all!

So, keep reading to find out about all of my suggestions and the best things to do and see in Iceland in October!​


Before we dive deep into the best things to see and do in October in Iceland, let's take a quick look at what you will find in this blog:

  • is October a good time to visit Iceland?
  • weather in Iceland in October
  • what to pack for your trip to Iceland in October
  • can you see the northern lights in Iceland in October?
  • what are the best tours in Iceland in October?
  • are there any events in Iceland in October?
  • some tips from a local

don't miss out!

Our tours are very popular and are often booked weeks or even months in advance! Make sure to book ahead, so that you don't miss your spot!


is october a good time to visit Iceland?

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, and there will definitely be no storms!

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

Iceland in October weather

​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 temperatures in October range 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
  • T-shirts
  • 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?

iceland in october northern lights

Absolutely! October is, in fact, one of the best months to see the northern lights in Iceland!

In order to see the northern lights, two conditions need to be met; there needs to be darkness and clear skies.​

​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!

You can keep an eye on the northern lights forecast here. This tool is provided by the Icelandic Meteorological Office and it shows you the northern lights activity and visibility. I strongly suggest that you consult it before you go northern lights hunting!

Don't be confused! The green areas are the cloudy areas, not the areas with visible northern lights! Look for the white areas instead!​

Northern lights forecast map

The northern lights forecast from the Icelandic Meteorological Office

My ultimate suggestion for seeing the northern lights? Book our tour!​

Our northern lights tour is the best way to see the northern lights in Iceland! The tour is for small groups only, which means that not only will you be more comfortable throughout your trip, but you will also save precious time by not waiting for a throng of other passengers. ​Time is of the essence when you hunt for the northern lights, as they can appear and disappear very fast!

Another perk is that our tour will take you off the beaten path, to all the best places to catch the northern lights. You can expect to find way less people there than in any other place where other tourist companies go! And less people means less light pollution, which means better northern lights views!​ Our experienced guide will also give you a crash course on how to best photograph the northern lights!

Last but not least, you will get to enjoy hot chocolate and treats! It might not sound like a big perk, but trust me, when you are out in the cold, you will need some warmth and energy to keep you going!​

Our northern lights tour is one of our most popular tours and for good reason! And, as it is for small groups only, spots are booked weeks or even months in advance. So, trust your fellow travelers and make sure you reserve your spot here!​


best tours in iceland in october

So, since you are coming to Iceland, you might want some tips on the best tours to enjoy the Icelandic nature! Keep reading to find out about all my suggestions for the best tours in Iceland in October!

WALKING TOURS IN REYKJAVIK

October is a good months to see Reykjavik on foot. While not as bright and warm as the summer months, October still has nice weather, and you can comfortably explore the city on foot. ​

1. Reykjavik Food Tour

A restaurant for Reykjavik food walk best things to do in Reykjavik in 2019

Reykjavik is not a metropolis, but it is still a big city. When you explore it on foot, you need to recharge your metaphorical batteries every now and then!​

What better way to do that than enjoy some local Icelandic food in our Reykjavik Food Tour? Our experienced local guide will take you to all the best restaurants that you must try on your visit to Reykjavik. ​At the same time, you'll get a bit of a history lesson on Iceland, and you will visit some of Reykjavik's must-see highlights!

Check out what our most recent customers had to say about the tour!

Our Reykjavik Food Walk is top-rated on TripAdvisor, and for good reason! It's not only a great and creative way to see the city and eat local dishes, but our guides are the funnest, friendliest and all around most awesome guides you can get!​

What you get:​

  • see all the highlights of Reykjavik
  • visit five to six local restaurants that offer the best authentic Icelandic cuisine
  • enjoy over ten mouth-watering Icelandic dishes
  • learn about Icelandic history and culture, and forge friendships with some real vikings!

As it's one of our most popular tours, I recommend booking ahead! You can book a spot on our Reykjavik Food Walk here!​

Are you an adventurous eater? Do you want to find out more about the best restaurants to enjoy some Icelandic dishes? Check out this guide with all the best places in Reykjavik to eat puffin, whale and foal!

​2. Reykjavik bar crawl

Iceland in October nightlife

​If you're looking for the best places to party in Reykjavik, look no further! Reykjavik has a bustling nightlife, and Icelandic people venture downtown every weekend for a bit of fun.

I highly recommend the Bar Crawl for anyone who wants to experience the authentic Icelandic nightlife. B5 and Austur are in the past. Our hand-picked cocktail lounges and bars are now the best places to party! Our customers seem to agree, as the Bar Crawl is our most popular tour!

What you get:​

  • three unique Icelandic cocktails
  • seasonal beer
  • Brennivín (also known as Black Death!)
  • fermented shark, dried cod and the famous Icelandic hot dog

​Due to the popularity of the tour, spots sell out fast! Book your spot for our Reykjavik Bar Crawl here!

3. Reykjavik Beer tour

​For those of you who prefer to chill in a pub with friends, we have our Reykjavik Beer Tour! Our seasoned guide will take you to the best places to enjoy some local beer in Reykjavik, and also show you around the city.

Other perks of the tour? Make some friends and drink with a viking! Maybe even see if you can out-drink them!​

What you get:

  • visit three to four of our favorite beer places in Reykjavik
  • taste ten of the most delicious beers, hand-picked by us
  • try Brennivín

Make sure to book a spot for our Reykjavik Beer Tour ahead here!

​EXPERIENCE THE ICELANDIC NATURE

October is a great time to explore the Icelandic nature. The landscape changes dramatically from the summer brightness and green fields to the autumn gloom and golden grass. The views become even more dramatic, and as the weather is still good in October, you can be outside comfortably!

1. Northern Lights Tour

Iceland in October northern lights

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!

2. golden circle tour

Iceland in October golden circle Strokkur

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 Golden Circle Tour.​

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 get:​

  • 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!

Book your spot on our Golden Circle Tour here!

3. golden circle and hot spring tour

Secret Lagoon in Iceland

Image by: Arnór Trausti | @arnortrausti

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!

Book a spot for the most relaxing tour in Iceland here!

4. south shore tour​

The Skogafoss waterfall in South Shore in May in Iceland

Another must-see highlight in Iceland is the South Shore. Our South Shore Tour will take you all around the South Coast of Iceland, and you will see some of the most magnificent waterfalls, a black sand beach, and even a glacier!

The south shore is one of my favorite places to explore in Iceland, because of how many different things there are to see and discover. In October, the entire shore is painted in grays and browns, making for some stunning views!​

What you get:​

  • 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 -sometimes even a double one!
  • 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!

Learn more about our South Shore Tour and book a spot here!

5. Snæfellsnes peninsula ​tour

Iceland in October Snaefellsnes

Another great option for discovering the Icelandic nature if you only have one day to do so is to join our Snæfellsnes Peninsula tour.

​Snæfellsnes is only a couple of hours away from Reykjavik. However, locals say that it's the one place in Iceland where you can find every natural phenomenon that Iceland has to offer!

From glaciers and volcanoes to golden beaches and lava fields, our ten-hour Snæfellsnes Peninsula tour has it all!

What you get:​

  • Snæfellsnesjökull glacier. Jules Verne described it as the starting point of the journey in his book "A Journey to The Center of The Earth"!
  • Kirkjufell mountain, with its characteristic shape, and its waterfalls
  • Arnarstapi village
  • Hellnar village
  • Djúpalónssandur golden beach, one of the few white sand beaches in Iceland!

Book a spot on our tour here!

DISCOVER THE ICELANDIC WILDLIFE

The Icelandic nature is famous all over the world. Tourists flock to Iceland every year just to see and explore the nature, and it's no wonder; even in October, the Icelandic nature is breathtaking.

One of the highlights of the Icelandic nature is the wildlife. Iceland is home to many amazing animals, and you can get closer than ever to them with our tours!

1. go whale watching

whalewatching in reykjavik best activities to do 2019

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!​

2. horseback riding tour

An Icelandic horse resting

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!

Our 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. ​

Learn more about our horseback riding tour here!​

EXPERIENCE THE ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME

October in Iceland is a great month for an adventure! Those of you who are more of a daredevil will definitely appreciate the different activities that you can do on Iceland's extreme, raw nature.

1. glacier hike and waterfalls tour

Glacier hike in October in Iceland

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!

Find out more about the glacier hiking tour and book a spot here!

2. snowmobile glacier tour

Snowmobile tour

Another way to see a glacier is by snowmobiling! Snowmobile tours on glaciers are very popular in Iceland, both with locals and with tourists. That is because it is not only a unique experience, but it's also a lot of fun!

We have partnered up with some of the best, friendliest and most awesome guides Iceland has to offer! Our glacier snowmobile tour will take you to Europe's second-biggest glacier for some adrenaline, as well as for some of the best views of your life!

What you get:

  • visit Langjökull, the second largest glacier in Europe
  • explore the glacier on a snowmobile
  • ride in a super Jeep truck
  • safety gear
  • be guided by experienced guides

​Learn more about the glacier snowmobile tour here!

3. go snorkeling in ​silfra

Snorkeling in Silfra Iceland in October

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

Book a spot in the tour here!

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

Reykjavik International Film Festival in October

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

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 Kirkjufell Iceland 2019

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!​

Spending October in Iceland? Excellent choice! October is one of the best months to see this beautiful country and enjoy everything it has to offer!

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