Friday, September 1, 2017
It seems like time really flies by. It feels like September just started and all of the sudden it’s October already! Which pegs the question: What is Iceland in October like?
I’m a big fan of autumn colors, so I love Iceland in October. I think the Icelandic landscape looks so much better in the autumn colors than in the summer so I feel that October is the perfect time for photographers, whether it be amateurs like myself or professionals, to capture the beauty of our little island. I, at least, don’t go anywhere without my camera during the autumn.
Fewer tourist – more photo ops
Another good reason for photographers to visit Iceland in October is the fact that October is low season, which means fewer tourists around to block your view. So, you could walk up to the Sólheimasandur plane crash for example and not have hundreds of fellow tourists climbing up on the wreckage while you’re waiting to get the perfect shot. And if you go a bit off the beaten path, i.e. to other places than the south coast and Golden Circle, you could find yourself completely alone which is pretty lovely.
The wettest month of the year
So, I’ve started out with some good points. Now I’m going to focus a bit on the downside of Iceland in October: The weather. October is the wettest month of the year and you can expect lots and lots of rain, on average 101-127 millimeters. Of course, the amount of rain varies a bit from place to place but no matter where you go, dress for rain. Bring a waterproof jacket, a hat and gloves. If you expect to spend a lot of time outdoors, you should also bring waterproof trousers, a good, warm base layer, warm sweaters and some wool socks. Waterproof hiking boots are also a must have. The weather can change in a heartbeat, so be prepared for wind, rain and cold.
I say cold, because the average low in October in Iceland is around 3°C (37°F), with the average high being 7°C (45°F). We have around 9 hours of daylight in October, with the sun rising around 8 AM, so you don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to witness the beautiful sunrise.
Hello, northern lights!
And because we have more darkness than in the previous months, the odds of seeing the northern lights are great. Just make sure to stay updated on the aurora forecast and read our tips on where the best places to spot the northern lights are.
You could say you get the best of both worlds in Iceland in October. The days are long enough to explore in daylight and the nights are dark enough to see the northern lights. It’s a win-win situation!
If you don’t have a car, we highly recommend you take a northern lights tour. The guides will evaluate the northern lights forecast and find the best places to stop and witness this majestic natural wonder.
Take a tour in Iceland in October
We also urge you to go glacier hiking in October – or any other month for that matter. It’s a truly unique experience which we don’t want anyone to miss out on while in Iceland.
If you haven’t visited Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon yet, you definitely should! Take a look at our 2 day tour which features all the best on the south coast, the glacier lagoon and maybe even some northern lights spotting.
If you’re looking for an amazing day tour from Reykjavík, we also recommend a tour of the Snæfellsnes peninsula – that will not disappoint!
And since the Westfjords are still quite accessible, you can go seal watching at Rauðasandur! Sounds awesome, doesn’t it?
Election time and cool beats
Undoubtably the biggest thing happening in October, that will color the month for us locals but maybe less so for foreigners, are the parliamentary elections that will take place on the 28th of October. Our government collapsed after only 247 days in office so we will vote again in less than a year later this month. One thing that might be beneficial for all you tourists are the campaign offices, often offering free snacks like coffee and waffles. Must See in Iceland will of course visit all the offices and give you a detailed report on where to find the best pastries and drinks.
Talking about drinks, let’s head on over to the events taking place in October in Iceland. I’ve already mentioned Reykjavík International Film Festival, RIFF, but the festival ends on the 8th of October if you want to check out some exciting movies from over forty countries.
You can also swing by the October Fest in Laugardalur, opening in the late afternoon on the 6th and 7th of October and closing at midnight. Admission is free and you can expect some serious beer drinking and lots of fun!
If you want to listen to some grade A music, you can buy tickets to a concert with Swedish superstar Zara Larsson on October 13th. The concert takes place in Laugardalshöll stadium in Reykjavík (also in Laugardalur) and tickets are available here.
If you’re a big John Lennon fan, I urge you to take a ferry to Viðey island in Reykjavík on his birthday October 9th, when the Imagine Peace Tower is lit. The tower is a memorial from Yoko Ono to John Lennon, with “Imagine Peace” written on the base in 24 languages. The tower is lit from his birthday every year until the anniversary of his death, December 8th. It’s quite a beautiful sight.
Local music and marathons
You can also see some local musicians perform in October. Legendary pop singer Björgvin Halldórsson, or Bó for short, performs on Græni hatturinn in Akureyri on the 27th and 28th of October. You might not understand a thing in this veteran musician’s songs, but I bet you’ll meet a lot of locals. You can also enjoy music by Mugison, one of Iceland’s favorite musicians, at Garðakaffi in Akranes on the 13th of October.
I also have something for all you runners out there. The autumn marathon will take place on the 21st of October in Elliðaárdalur in Reykjavík. You can choose to run a marathon or a half marathon and I must say the running course is quite gorgeous if the weather’s nice. Entry fee is 4000 ISK for a half marathon and 6000 ISK for a marathon. You can go ahead and register here.
Free family fun
I’ll end this little guide to October in Iceland by pointing out some family friendly free events that you might light. At Kex Hostel on the 1st of October at 1 PM is a children’s yoga class that the whole family can enjoy. And when that’s done, you can go to Gamla bíó theatre and check out a clothes market until 5 PM. I also recommend you check out an exhibition at Samtökin ’78, the National Queer Organization, called Genderfuck. The exhibition shines a light on individuals under the queer umbrella who somehow break the invisible rules society has regarding gender and gender expression. I’m so excited to see it!
That’s it for Iceland in October. I hope this has been helpful and don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com if you have any questions about Iceland, tours, activities or my two adorable dogs.