October in Iceland marks the transition from autumn to winter, often bringing the first chilly nights of the year, and the official start of winter falls on October 27th. October evokes images of crispy fallen leaves crunching underfoot, pleasant thoughts of a good book and a warm blanket, and fantastic trips.
October is also an excellent month to travel across Iceland during the shoulder season when popular tourist sites are less crowded, and the landscape is dominated by red, yellow, and orange autumn hues.
Check these two itineraries - Suitable for October!
Weather and Daylight Hours in October:
October signals the end of summer and the onset of winter conditions in Iceland. Light snowfall may occur towards the end of the month, especially in high-altitude mountainous areas that are already inaccessible to travelers. The average temperature in October is 4 degrees Celsius, with a maximum of 7 degrees. However, it can feel colder with rain and wind. October averages about 77 mm of precipitation, so it’s advisable to bring warm clothing and a raincoat. Icelanders start preparing for winter by lighting candles in homes and workplaces. There’s nothing cozier than curling up with a good book in a warm house while the rain taps on the windows.
In October, there are approximately 9 hours of daylight on average, with the sun rising around 9:00 in the morning and setting around 18:00 in the evening. Towards the end of the month, the days become shorter, with the last day of the month having only eight hours of daylight. Due to the transitional nature of October, visitors have a wide range of activities to choose from. The days are long enough to combine daytime excursions with optional nighttime activities like observing the Northern Lights.
Northern Lights in October
A trip to Iceland in October offers an excellent combination of daytime exploration and an outstanding opportunity to witness the Northern Lights during the long nights. The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, are visible in the dark skies with clear, cloudless conditions. The long nights in October provide ample opportunities to view the Northern Lights.
They can be observed from any area with suitable conditions, preferably in an environment with minimal light pollution and during nights without clouds. In October, it’s possible to simultaneously enjoy daytime activities such as whale watching, snowmobiling, and geothermal baths, reserving the dark hours for Northern Lights sightings.
Traveling in October
October is a less busy month compared to other times of the year in Iceland. It’s one of the least crowded months, offering more comfortable prices after the majority of summer activities have concluded. These factors make a trip to Iceland in October highly rewarding for those seeking a well-rounded experience.