Iceland in October: Weather and Outdoor Adventures

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Any lingering warmth of summer months is over by the end of September, and Iceland in October is a winter paradise for all practical purposes. The weather in Iceland at this time of year is unpredictable, with the possibility of rain and snow. This is also the time when mountain trails in some parts of the country start closing off. However, despite all this, there are many exciting things to do in Iceland in October. So, if you are planning a trip to Iceland, you would still be in for an exciting time.

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Iceland Weather in October

Sole traveler taking picture at dusk at Godafoss waterfall, Iceland
October when Iceland transitions from autumn to winter, so expect temperatures that go from chilly to cold

The weather in Iceland in October is a cross between the autumn and winter seasons. However, as the month progresses, it becomes chillier. The average temperature in the country in October ranges anywhere between 2°C and 7°C. Most parts of the country receive around eleven hours of daylight in the first week of October, which progressively decreases to eight hours by the end of the month. Similarly, the country gets between four to five inches of rain during this month, most of it in drizzles.

For a more in-depth seasonal overview, check out our travel guide on the best time to visit Iceland.

Weather in Iceland in October - Rainfall and Temperatures

Sep Oct Nov
Avg Daily (°C) 9 6 5
Avg Nightly (°C) 5 2 0
Avg Daily (°F) 49 43 41
Avg Nightly (°F) 41 36 32
Avg Rainfall (mm) 40 30 30

Why Visit Iceland in October

Beautiful view of icebergs glacier lagoon with a guy paddle boarding
Make a visit to the many famous glaciers in Iceland which are relatively accessible during October
Vestrahorn in Iceland with Northernlight on top
Enjoy the breathtaking view of the Nothern lights which begin to appear with the onset of winter in Iceland

October is one of the best months to experience this enchanting destination because it combines the best of both summer and winter. Here is why you should consider visiting Iceland in October.

  • Shoulder-season rates: The peak tourist season is over before October, so expect to get some cool deals on hotels and airfare during this month.
  • Less rush: Traveling to Iceland in October allows you to explore the wonderful sights and top-rated destinations of the country, ranging from the famous Golden Circle to the south coast, without being surrounded by crowds.
  • Great outdoors: While it is true that mountain trails across Iceland start becoming inaccessible after winter sets in, there are a few that are still open in October. However, make sure that you take an experienced tour guide along with you if you plan to go hiking through mountains.
  • Well-balanced days: Iceland is known for its unusually short and long days. The sun rarely sets during peak summer months, while at the height of winter, you will be lucky to get a few hours of daylight. It is only in October that days are more or less normal, with a good eight-to-ten hours of daylight.
  • Glacier glory: Glaciers and ice-caves are at their most spectacular in Iceland in October. And luckily, they are accessible, too.
  • Northern Lights: The Northern Lights can be spotted only in winter, and you have a very high chance of seeing them from Iceland in October.
  • Birding and whale-watching opportunities: From spotting adorable puffins that are about to migrate away for winter to enjoying incredible whale-watching tours, Iceland in October is a haven for animal lovers.

Where to go and what to do

Girl in a hot spring in Iceland Landmannalaugar
The cold weather in October makes it the perfect time to take a dip in the warm water of Icelandic hot springs

Charming cityscapes and magnificent natural wonders are waiting to be discovered in Iceland in October. Hop on a Northern Lights tour from Reykjavik and hunt these sometimes-elusive auroras that dance in the night sky. Go on a delightful tour of Reykjavik and cover its highlights like the old harbor and the town center. Discover the landscapes of Videy Island and taste some excellent craft beers at a local brewery. Soothe your muscles in the warm, healing waters while on a trip to one of many hot springs. If visiting Iceland’s famous glaciers is on your bucket list, get awed by the size and splendor of Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajokull, which covers about 8 percent of Iceland’s total landmass. See eerily beautiful giant icebergs on a boat tour in the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, Iceland’s deepest lake, and enjoy the silence of the translucent sandy desert around it.

Spectacular views await you at the top of a lighthouse in the small fishing town of Akranes. You might also want to add visiting Thingvellir National Park, where Iceland’s first parliament was established by the Vikings way back in the tenth century, while in the country during this time. Also, do not miss out on a driving trip from Reykjavik to Vik if the weather is good.

Make sure to plan your trip accordingly to be able to cover all these destinations, so make sure to check our travel guide on how long to stay in Iceland.

What to bring

Nature travel photographer taking photo of arctic icebergs in Iceland
Make sure that you carry all the necessary gear and clothing that will help you tackle the weather in Iceland in October

Since you are almost certainly going to experience rain and snow, it makes a lot of sense to pack waterproof jackets and trousers along with warm jumpers and scarves if you are heading for Iceland in October. An umbrella, a raincoat, and a good pair of hiking shoes are a must if you plan to explore the country on foot.

Though October is a cold month, full-blown winter is still a few weeks away and there is plenty of daylight to cover the length and breadth of this gorgeous country. Check out our guide on how long to stay in Iceland to get an idea of how many days you should spend in the country. We recommend at least a week in the country if you want to witness all the must-see highlights in the country. However, if you have fewer days on your hands, spending at least 3 days in Iceland would give you a satisfying glimpse of those highlights. This is when days are long, winter is over and most of the country is accessible. Reach out to our travel experts who can help you design a customized trip to Iceland in October. Look no further if you are planning on booking a trip to Iceland in October.

Our related travel guide articles:

Iceland in September

Iceland in November

Published by Lucas Toft, updated on January 12, 2023

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