Summer got to its end and autumn is now approaching. Most people only link it with the end of those warm, long days, the end of holidays, and the return to school. It is basically related to some kind of sadness and nostalgia for a goodbye. This is not the case if you are planning your trip to Iceland in autumn. The Icelandic autumn translates to "low season” which means lower prices, less crowded places, and a lot of great activities. Those will definitely make up for the slightly lower temperatures. The trees are turning into autumn colors, leaves sparkle with gold and orange hues. This is also the time when the season for the Northern Lights starts. All of this is gradually making Autumn a very popular season among the tourists.
Many of you are wondering which season is the best for traveling to Iceland. The answer is simple, all of them. Each season brings new possibilities, different landscapes, and activities that you can enjoy. Autumn is my favorite season for many reasons. Let’s then dig in a little bit deeper and find out what is so special about it and what it can offer you.
When is fall in Iceland?
The Icelandic fall begins at the turn of August and September and only lasts till the end of October. As you can see there is not much time to enjoy it. The weather in Iceland is pretty unpredictable and it is changing every year. One year, autumn can last until November when last year’s fall-winter took its place in September already!
Rettir will also mark the official start of the Fall! It always takes place at the beginning of September and this is the sign that the winter is slowly approaching Iceland. Most of the Icelandic farmers release their sheep during the summer so they can freely wander in the meadows. When the autumn comes, farmers gather with their families and friends and travel to the interior looking for their herds. This is a great occasion for the celebration.
Tourists can also join this great autumn activity! If you would like to see how this Rettir activity looks like and you feel like joining the farmers, this is your chance! You will also be able to participate in the evening feasting with the locals, which is usually quite a big party. This will undoubtedly be a very interesting folklore experience!
Autumn in Iceland: Will it rain often?
While organizing your autumn visit to Iceland you will probably think that it will rain often. Well, this is not exactly the truth. This is definitely not the United Kingdom.
Fall in Iceland also means rain, not as much as in other countries though but the wind will take the lead role. The weather is so changeable that you might experience every season in a single day. to compensate, Iceland will offer locals and visitors a fantastic show: The first performance of mesmerizing Northern lights.
It is also not that cold as you may think. The average temperature in Iceland in autumn is 10 Celcius degrees (50 °F) during the day and it drops to 7 degrees in the night (44 °F). The solution to this, if you are sensitive to cold, is simply wearing suitable clothes for both the weather and the activities you will enroll for.
What to pack to Iceland in the fall?
Now let’s check the nub of the issue. As I mentioned above, the key is wearing the right clothes. You will be able to enjoy each season and any kind of weather in Iceland if you prepare yourself properly. There are some must-haves that you cannot go without, even more, if you will be traveling to Iceland in Fall. Let’s make a list so you can make sure you have it all packed.
1. Waterproof and windproof jacket.
This is the most important thing you will need. This is something that you should not be saving on. In the windy and rainy autumn days, it will literally be your lifesaver. There is nothing worse than being wet and cold. I guarantee you that in a good quality waterproof jacket you will be able to enjoy Iceland even if it is pouring in rain.
2. Trekking shoes
The second most important thing on this list. We have seen all of those fancy tourists trying to go trekking in high heeled winter boots or even some sneakers. This is just not acceptable. You definitely need shoes that are comfortable, waterproof, with a thick shock-absorbing sole for rocky trails and that can also stabilize the ankle. If you do not want to have sore feet with blisters due to the wet socks, bring a pair of proper trekking boots.
3. Thermic underwear
You will obviously need to put something under your clothes and here the thermic underwear is a must. If you are planning to hike on the glacier or enjoy the Jokulsarlon tour, you should wear one of those. This is the first and most important layer. This layer is responsible for keeping the warmth inside and preventing your body from getting too cold. When getting one of those, check also if the fabric allows the moisture to escape through the threads. Transpirability is a very important function.
4. Sweaters, gloves and hats
I believe there is no need to explain how necessary it is to have those accessories with you. Wool is the best material when it comes to keeping the warmth and you should bring some of those with you. You can always get a lopapeysa sweater as a souvenir too.
5. Swimming suit
There is nothing better than having a warm bath in a geothermal hot spring while it is cold outside. Do not miss this chance and bring your swimming suit with you as well.
Be prepared for the rain in Iceland but also keep in mind how strong the wind is. Wind gusts can be so strong that it can even blow cars off the road. Now imagine what it will do to your fancy umbrella. Forget about bringing one, they are simply useless in Iceland.
Iceland landscape in autumn
You know that feeling when you are traveling to a foreign country, and you are amused with the architecture even though it is not the main attraction? This is what happens when you come to Iceland in the fall. Every landscape will turn into a natural wonder to the eyes of the beholder. The powerful waterfalls, black lava rocks contrasting with the warm autumn colors, turn Iceland into a peculiar and unique place.
Areas like Myvatn reflect a different kind of charm. This is all thanks to the colorful leaves. If you like breathtaking nature, plan your trip to Iceland for autumn. Besides the main attractions, you will be able to see the glaciers, volcanoes, and even the striking beauty of places like the Eastfjords. And all of that, in a magical hue of fall colors.
Autumn activities in Iceland
There are some amazing autumn activities in Iceland waiting for you like a road trip around Iceland, watching the Northern Lights, picking berries, or simply relaxing in the hot springs. The travel agencies’ offer change right when the autumn comes. Some activities become unavailable until next season but then, other options pop up, which can only be enjoyed in the autumn/winter season.
Tours like the Northern Lights hunting are not available during the summer. The best time to see this nature’s show is by the end of September until April as this is when the days are shorter and the nights are darker. There is no other activity as desired and demanded among the tourists.
A great activity during the Autumn time is visiting the glacier regions. The Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon is within the most popular places. Spend some time on a boat surrounded by the enormous icebergs, and if you are lucky enough, try to spot some seals.
Also, autumn in Iceland is the time when the roads conditions change and get slightly more challenging. The tours to the Highlands stop operating as well as the interior F-roads are closed around mid-end September, depending on the conditions. However, this is when the Super Jeep tours take their place. Imagine visiting the Landmannalaugar when everything is covered in snow. The contrast of the colorful mountains with the white snow is pretty fascinating, believe me.
You can also join some local festivals as Rettir or go berries picking. This is the best way to get even closer to the Icelandic culture, meet some locals, and get to know Iceland from a completely different perspective.
Iceland is an amazing country, completely different from other places you might have already seen. You can enjoy our beautiful country all year long, no matter what season it is. Autumn does not mean the end of the infinite possibilities, and so it becomes one of the best time to visit Iceland. With the right preparation, we are sure that you will truly enjoy all the great autumn activities that Iceland has to offer!