Are you coming to Iceland in October? Find out what October looks like in Iceland, what the weather is like and which events are taking place in Iceland in October!
We had a couple of happy travellers visiting Iceland in October 2016, Regina Leow and her husband Eric Ooi who were travelling with their cousin Julia for 7 days. Eric is a professional photographer and got some amazing pictures from this holiday, and they were happy to share their gorgeous pictures and video with us and our readers. All photo credit goes to Ooi Eric Studio.
It was their first time in Iceland and they booked the 7 day Northern Light Self Drive Tour, as they were mostly excited about seeing the Northern Lights. They also told us that they had no particular favourites, "everywhere they went was simply great" and they "absolutely loved all the accommodation" that was booked for them. They sure did get great pictures, as the itinerary of the 7-day self-drive tour takes you to wonderful locations!
- Find out more about self drive tours here
Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and Diamond Beach in October
As this photo evidently shows, they clearly did manage to see the Northern Lights on their trip. In fact, the reason the 7 day Northern Lights self-drive tour can confidently be called a "Northern Lights tour," is because when you have a whole week driving around in Iceland it's fairly likely you'll spot the Northern Lights at least once.
Northern Lights sightings can never be guaranteed, as they depends on both solar activity and cloud cover. You might be unlucky and experience total cloud cover for days. For that to happen for a whole week rather is rather unlikely (it can happen, though!). So the longer the time you spend in Iceland, the more likely it is that you will see the auroras.
Even if you don't see the auroras, the glacier lagoon Jökulsárlón won't disappoint you in the daytime. The huge icebergs floating in the lagoon are there all year round and you'll be sure to spot some blue ice when visiting.
October is still too early in the year to visit the ice caves. The tours to the ice caves start running in November when the temperature has dropped a bit.
Right by the glacier lagoon is a black sandy beach that's also full of ice chunks in all sizes. We call this beach the Diamond Beach, although its actual name is Breiðamerkursandur (which is a bit of a mouthful!)
Even though the icebergs on the Diamond Beach are the small ones that have travelled out of the lagoon and out to sea, many of them are larger than full grown humans. Just imagine how massive the ones in the lagoon are!
- See also: Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon - see the crown jewel of Iceland's nature
- Find Jökulsárlón tours here
Driving Iceland's south coast in October
Driving Iceland's south coast is both easy and beautiful. The ring road only has two lanes and the south coast is void of fjords so you just has a long stretch of a road in front of you, mostly on lowland.
As a result, you'll get this gorgeous view of mountain cliffs jutting out to sea from Vík, next to the famous Reynisdrangar rocks. On the other side of these cliffs, you'll find the infamous Reynisfjara black sand beach, that's known both for its stunning beauty and its dangerous waves.
Weather and daylight in Iceland in October
Most likely the first snowfall of the winter in south Iceland takes place in October, or perhaps November. The roads should be clear of ice and snow, although you might come across a little bit of snow on your way.
The snowfall is mostly visible on mountaintops, but the lowlands stay green/yellow until November, providing you with great colour contrasts.
- Find south coast tours here
You can expect all sorts of weather in October in Iceland, as well as all year round. The days are getting shorter so the sun stays low on the horizon, which can be blinding when driving. Although you can experience beautiful, still, but crispy cold autumn days, you're also likely to get some rain and most definitely some wind.
However, the weather changes quickly and after being hit by rain for a while the clouds may break and then you're presented with gorgeous rainbows. Rainbows very frequently appear in Iceland.
October is on the cusp of wintertime in Iceland but can still feel like late autumn. The days are still relatively long. At the beginning of October the sunrise is just before 08:00 and sunset is at 19:00, but by the end of October the sunrise is at 09:00 and sunset is at 17:15.
Visiting the Snæfellsnes peninsula in October
The Snæfellsnes peninsula is a gorgeous location in west Iceland. Because it's located relatively close to Reykjavík, you can drive around the peninsula in a single day. However, there are plenty of attractions on the peninsula so it's also possible to extend your drive to 2 days if and spend a night there. Eric, Regina and Julia spent the night as a part of their 7-day itinerary.
On the tip of the peninsula is Snæfellsjökull National Park. Within the park, you can find its glacial volcano Snæfellsjökull, its surrounding lava field, the black pebble beach Djúpalónssandur, Vatnshellir cave and interesting rock formations such as Lóndrangar by the coastline.
Outside the national park you can also find waterfalls, charming fishing villages, the black church at Búðir, the colourful Stykkishólmur town and the yellow sand beaches of Löngufjörur.
- Find Snæfellsnes tours here
Things to do in Reykjavík in October
If you give yourself a couple of days in Reykjavík then there are plenty of sights there too. Hallgrímskirkja church, Harpa concert hall, Reykjavík City Hall (which has Guide to Iceland's travel information inside), the old harbour, the colourful houses, the street art, the museums, galleries and restaurants are all worth checking out.
Not to forget the swimming pools!
As for events, the annual Reykjavík International Film Festival normally takes place at the end of September and runs into the beginning of October, so if you're a fan of films then don't miss out on seeing some classic Icelandic or international films, perhaps even in a swimming pool!