Autumn in Iceland

Autumn in Iceland

As summer fades away, Iceland transforms into an autumn wonderland. The crisp air and changing leaves create a magical atmosphere that draws in visitors from around the world. Of course it helps that mother nature pulled out all the stops when she crafted this Nordic nation, with everything from dancing Northern Lights to steaming hot springs, making autumn in Iceland a truly unique experience. Read on to discover what there is to love about this oh so cosy season as we take a closer look at the best things to see and do during autumn in Iceland, and why this country should be on your travel bucket list during the months of September, October and November…


Why Visit in the Autumn?

Autumn in Iceland offers a multitude of seasonal activities and experiences. This is the perfect time of year for seeing the spectacular Northern Lights, since the nights are longer and darker, and the weather is milder than in the icy winter months. Trekking through the forests and traversing any of the many lava fields is always a popular pastime in Iceland, but at this time of year these landscapes are particularly staggering, bathed in a final golden glow before the country is plunged into winter. Wildlife watching is also a popular activity during autumn in Iceland, as various species of birds and whales use this time of year to migrate.


Iceland in September

September in Iceland is mild and relatively dry, making it a perfect month to explore the country’s natural wonders before the harsh winter weather conditions set in. With the autumn foliage at its peak during this month, the landscape is painted with vibrant colours that make for stunning photographs. The many bird species that are still present in Iceland in September are also likely to make an appearance, as are the migrating whales and seals along the coast. September is also a lot less crowded than the busy summer months, so you’ll likely be able to enjoy many of Iceland’s popular attractions without the hustle and bustle.


Iceland in October

October is a unique time to visit Iceland, as the country begins to prepare for the oncoming winter season. The weather can be more unpredictable than in September, with occasional rain showers and strong winds, but you can still expect sunny and clear days with far-reaching views of the country’s landscapes. The autumn foliage is still present, creating a beautiful contrast with the country’s dark volcanic soil, and this time of year is also a great time to spot the Northern Lights as the nights are getting longer and darker. You can also take part in various seasonal activities, like visiting local farms for sheep roundups and watching the annual Reykjavik International Film Festival. Although some attractions may start to close for the season, October offers a quieter and more intimate experience of Iceland.


Iceland in November

November is the month when autumn in Iceland begins to make its chilly progression into winter. While the weather can begin to get cold and windy, November offers a unique experience that many visitors find enchanting. With short days and longer nights, November is the perfect time of year to enjoy the last of the autumnal foliage by day and experience the Northern Lights by night. The snow-capped mountains and frozen waterfalls create a beautiful winter wonderland landscape and wintery activities begin to become more popular. November is also the time when Icelanders begin to celebrate the holiday season, with Christmas markets and festive decorations popping up across the country in preparation for winter.


Top Experiences in Autumn

One of the most popular experiences in Iceland is witnessing the Northern Lights dance across the sky and the long and dark autumn nights offer the perfect opportunity for this natural phenomenon. Another must-do activity is hiking, as the last of the mild weather and colourful landscapes make for a breath-taking outdoor experience. And after a hike, nothing beats soothing sore muscles in a steaming hot spring surrounded by golden foliage. For those seeking more adventure, horseback riding and whale watching are great options. Or, if it’s culture you’re after, take a tour of some of Iceland’s charming small towns and villages for a glimpse into local life and the chance to taste traditional dishes like locally-grown root vegetables and hearty lamb stews.


Top Events and Festivals in Autumn

There are some great events and festivals to mark in your calendar if you’re spending autumn in Iceland. Rettir is an annual tradition in Iceland and involves rounding up sheep from the mountains and bringing them back down to the farms for the winter months. This crucial part of Iceland’s agricultural heritage is an event that is celebrated throughout the country and is a time for farmers and their families to come together to work, socialise and enjoy traditional food and drink. For the film lovers, there’s Reykjavik International Film Festival (RIFF) which takes place in September and features a diverse range of films screenings alongside workshops, seminars and Q&A sessions with directors and actors. And if music is more your thing? The Icelandic Airwaves Music Festival takes place in Reykjavik in early November. Over the years, the festival has gained a reputation for discovering new and exciting musical talent, and has played a significant role in forging Iceland’s artistic landscape.