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Fall in Love with Fall in Iceland: Your Ultimate Guide to Autumn Adventures


Fall in Iceland

Are you ready to fall in love with fall in Iceland? At Iceland Cars, we know the ins and outs of this stunning country, and we're excited to share the magic of autumn with you! Iceland transforms into a breathtaking palette of fiery reds and golden yellows, making it a unique destination unlike any other during the fall season. 

In this blog, we'll guide you through everything from the crisp weather to the best activities that make Iceland truly special in the fall. So buckle up, and let's dive into an autumn adventure that you'll never forget!

Why Visit Iceland in the Fall?

Visiting Iceland in autumn offers a unique blend of advantages that can enhance your travel experience significantly. The country's landscape undergoes a spectacular transformation, making Iceland's autumn a season worth experiencing firsthand.


  • Lesser Crowds: Autumn marks a decrease in tourist numbers, providing a more serene and intimate experience of Iceland's natural wonders.

  • Lower Prices: With peak season in Iceland over, prices for accommodation, car rentals, and even some activities tend to drop, making it a more budget-friendly time to visit.

  • Stunning Autumnal Landscapes: Iceland's autumn scenery is breathtaking, with vibrant hues of orange, red, and yellow adorning the landscapes, offering spectacular photo opportunities and immersive nature experiences.

Fall in Iceland


  • Unpredictable Weather: Iceland's weather can be quite variable, with chances of rain and early snow, which might affect travel plans.

  • Shorter Days: The days get shorter as winter approaches, giving you less daylight to explore, especially later in the season.

  • Limited Accessibility: Some remote areas may be less accessible due to weather conditions, limiting your ability to visit certain attractions.

Weather in Iceland in the Fall: What to Expect

When you're planning to travel to Iceland in the fall, getting a grip on what the weather will throw at you is crucial. Expect everything from sunny, crisp days to sudden showers and even early snowfalls. But don't worry, with the right preparation, you can enjoy all the magic that autumn in Iceland has to offer.

Iceland in August

During August, you can enjoy some of the mildest temperatures in Iceland in the fall, usually ranges between 10°C to 15°C (50°F to 59°F). It's a transitional month where you can still catch the tail end of the midnight sun early in the month. 

Rainfall averages around 60-70 mm (2-3 inches), so while there are plenty of clear, beautiful days, it's wise to be prepared for occasional showers. This is a great time to visit Iceland for those who want to enjoy the outdoors without the colder temperatures that come later in the season.

weather in iceland in the fall

Iceland in September

As September rolls in, the heart of Iceland's autumn takes the stage. Temperatures typically drop between 6°C and 10°C (42°F to 50°F). The weather during this month can be quite unpredictable, with an average precipitation level of 71 mm (3 inches), similar to August, but with a higher likelihood of windy conditions. This is when the landscape really starts to change, with vibrant colors emerging across the countryside. 

Iceland in October

In October, Iceland saw a further drop in temperatures in the fall, now hovering between 2°C to 7°C (36°F to 45°F). This month can be quite wet, with precipitation levels typically reaching 77-127 mm (3-5 inches), and it often brings the first significant snowfall, particularly in the northern and interior regions. 

The weather can swing from sunny, crisp days to sudden snow showers. A reliable winter jacket, thermal clothing, and waterproof layers are indispensable. Also, prepare for shorter days, which means less daylight for activities but increased chances of catching the Northern Lights.

temperatures in iceland in the fall

Iceland in November

November in Iceland marks the onset of early winter, with temperatures in Iceland in the fall frequently around -1°C to 4°C (30°F to 39°F). This month tends to have higher precipitation, ranging from 70-90 mm (3-4 inches), with snow becoming increasingly common, especially in higher altitudes and northern areas. Daylight diminishes significantly, with the sun setting early in the afternoon, which requires careful planning to make the most of the daylight hours.

What to Pack for Iceland in the Fall

Packing for fall in Iceland means being prepared for all kinds of weather. The key is layering – this cannot be overstressed. Here's a breakdown of essentials to ensure you enjoy those autumn months without a hitch:

  • Thermal Layers: Start with a solid base layer. Moisture-wicking fabrics are your friend, keeping you dry and warm from the inside out.

  • Insulated Jacket: A waterproof and windproof jacket is crucial, as it helps you tackle the unpredictable fall weather in Iceland head-on.

  • Waterproof Pants: For those wet days and if you plan on exploring waterfalls or rainy terrains.

  • Sturdy Footwear: Waterproof hiking boots are a must-have. They provide the necessary grip and keep your feet dry during muddy or snowy treks.

  • Warm Accessories: Don't forget a hat, gloves, and a scarf. They can be game-changers in the chilly Icelandic air.

  • Daypack: For your daily essentials, snacks, water, and any extra layers you might shed during the day.

  • Swimming Attire: Don't forget your swimsuit and a towel for those hot springs, pools, and saunas that Iceland is famous for.

what to pack in Iceland in fall

Top Things to Do in Iceland This Fall 

Iceland offers an array of autumn adventures that promise to make your trip unforgettable. From the natural wonders of its landscapes to the rich cultural experiences in its cities, here's a rundown of the top things to do this fall in Iceland.

Witness the Northern Lights in Remote Icelandic Locations

One of the most awe-inspiring reasons to visit Iceland in the fall is to see the Northern Lights. This natural spectacle starts to grace the night sky in September and extends through March, offering prime viewing opportunities. 

Areas away from city lights, like the Reykjanes Peninsula or the secluded Westfjords, become ideal stages for this cosmic ballet. Not sure where to start? No problem! There are numerous tours designed to enhance your chances of witnessing this phenomenon, led by experts who know the best spots and times for viewing. 

Setting out on a guided tour can significantly increase your chances of seeing the Northern Lights, turning an already memorable trip into the experience of a lifetime.

northern Lights Icelnd

Hike Amongst the Vibrant Colors of Þingvellir National Park

Þingvellir National Park truly comes to life during the fall in Iceland, showcasing a breathtaking palette of autumn colors.

The park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is not just a natural wonder but also a pivotal location in Iceland's history, being the site of the world's first parliament. In autumn, its vast landscape transforms into a canvas of rich yellows, reds, and oranges, making it a perfect spot for hikers who want to immerse themselves in the beauty of fall in Iceland. 

Trails vary in difficulty, offering something for everyone, from casual walkers to seasoned hikers looking to explore the park's geological wonders and historical significance amidst the fall foliage.

fall in Iceland

Explore the Ring Road for Breathtaking Autumn Scenery

Taking a drive around Iceland during the fall is an epic adventure highlighting rugged landscapes and iconic landmarks dramatically framed by autumn hues. The Ring Road encompasses approximately 1,332 kilometers (828 miles) of scenic beauty wrapping around Iceland, offering travelers a comprehensive glimpse into the country's diverse attractions. Notable stops include:

  • Seljalandsfoss Waterfall: This stunning waterfall features a path that goes behind the falls, providing a unique perspective and photo opportunity.

  • Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon: This glacier lagoon is an otherworldly sight, with floating icebergs that break off from the nearby Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, creating a stunning contrast against the surrounding black sand beach.

  • Black Sand Beaches of Vik: Reaching Vik, you'll be greeted by a magnificent sight of black sand beaches surrounded by dramatic cliffs and rock formations.

Ring Road, Iceland

Soak in the Warmth of Geothermal Hot Springs

Soaking in geothermal hot springs is definitely one top-notch thing to do in Iceland, especially in the fall. Not only do these pools in Iceland warm you up, but the surrounding landscapes are just extra stunning with those autumn colors. Here, allow us to break it down for you:

  • Blue Lagoon: It's iconic for a reason. Picture yourself chilling in its milky-blue waters amidst the cool fall air; it's surreal.

  • Secret Lagoon: Smaller, less touristy, and equally relaxing, with the beautiful fall foliage providing a natural backdrop.

  • Myvatn Nature Baths: Imagine a less crowded alternative to Blue Lagoon, offering serene views, especially with the vibrant fall colors reflected on the water's surface.

  • Sky Lagoon: A newer addition, offering a luxurious experience with epic sunsets over the ocean during fall evenings.

  • Laugarvatn Fontana: Here, you can not only enjoy a relaxing soak but also dig into a geothermal bakery experience. The rye bread baked in hot earth is a must-try!

Iceland's hot spring

Photograph the Stunning Waterfalls in Their Autumn Glory

Fall in Iceland transforms the already stunning waterfalls into even more magical marvels, each surrounded by dazzling autumn colors. Here's a sneak peek into a few you shouldn't miss:

  • Gullfoss: Imagine the golden hues of fall framing the powerful cascades of Gullfoss, one of Iceland's most iconic waterfalls. Its grandeur and the surrounding landscape are breathtaking during the autumn months.

  • Skógafoss: Standing at the foot of Skógafoss, you're greeted by a curtain of water plunging down with the vibrant fall colors serving as a perfect backdrop. It's a photographer's paradise, making it a must-visit for anyone looking to capture the essence of fall in Iceland.

  • Dettifoss: Known for its raw power, Dettifoss is enveloped by the stark beauty of autumn, making the contrast between the water's force and the serene fall colors around it truly spectacular.

Waterfalls in Iceland

Enjoy a Quiet Walk Along Black Sand Beaches

Visiting Iceland in the fall, you can't miss the serene walks along the country's unique black sand beaches. The cooler, crisp weather, fewer crowds, and dramatic landscape make it a quintessential fall experience. Here are some top picks:

  • Reynisfjara Beach: Near Vik, it's famous for its hauntingly beautiful black sands, towering basalt columns, and the legendary Reynisdrangar sea stacks rising from the ocean. Visiting in the fall offers a subdued light that accentuates the beach's dramatic contrast and the wild, powerful waves, making it an unforgettable sight.

  • Diamond Beach: Adjacent to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon in the southeast, this beach is a marvel where icebergs from the glacier wash ashore, looking like diamonds on black velvet. In the fall, the ice contrasts with the dark sand and golden sunrise or sunset, providing spectacular views and photo opportunities.

  • Dyrhólaey Beach: This beach's towering cliffs and unique rock formations are even more striking with the vibrant fall colors surrounding it. A peaceful walk along the shore, taking in the views of rugged sea stacks and stunning arches, is a must-do for anyone exploring Iceland in autumn.

Reynisfjara beach

Ride Icelandic Horses Through Rustic Countryside Trails

Exploring the rustic countryside of Iceland on horseback is an enchanting way to experience the island's spellbinding fall colors. Icelandic horses, unique for their sturdy build and friendly demeanor, are as much a part of Iceland's landscape as the lava fields and mountains. 

Known for their extra gait, the tölt, these horses offer a smooth ride, allowing you to comfortably soak in the serene beauty of fall in Iceland. Whether you're an experienced equestrian or a first-time rider, a trip to Iceland wouldn't be complete without this quintessential activity. 

From the golden plains near Reykjavik to the rugged trails of the North, there are numerous spots that offer horseback riding tours, each providing a different perspective of Iceland's diverse terrain, making every ride a unique adventure.

Icelandic horses

Discover the Charm of Reykjavik's Cozy Cafes and Shops

After a day spent soaking in natural hot springs or photographing majestic waterfalls, there's nothing quite like winding down in one of Reykjavik's cozy cafes or browsing its unique shops. Fall is the perfect time to experience the warmth and charm these places exude, offering a delightful contrast to the crisp outdoor air. Here are a couple of spots you won't want to miss:

  • Café Babalú: This quirky, colorful cafe not only serves up delicious coffee and cake, but it's also a feast for the eyes and the soul. With its eccentric decor and welcoming atmosphere, it's the perfect spot to pen down your Icelandic adventures or simply enjoy a warm drink.

  • Kaffibrennslan: Located in the heart of Reykjavik, this cozy cafe is known for its delicious chai latte and friendly staff. It's the perfect place to relax and people-watch while sipping on a warm drink.

  • Kolaportið Flea Market: Imagine finding everything from vintage Icelandic wool sweaters to rare vinyl records in one bustling indoor market. Visiting Kolaportið is an adventure in itself, offering a treasure trove of finds and a slice of local life during the autumn months. It's the perfect place to hunt for unique souvenirs or gifts.

Icelandic food

Attend Autumn Festivals and Cultural Events

Autumn in Iceland is not just about experiencing its mesmerizing natural beauty; it's also a time when the Icelandic culture comes to the forefront through various festivals. Here's a quick guide to not miss out:

  • Reykjavik Culture Night (Menningarnott): Held in August, marking the transition from summer to fall, this festival embodies the spirit of Icelandic culture with art exhibitions, concerts, dance performances, and local cuisine. Streets and public spaces of Reykjavik fill with life, concluding with a breathtaking fireworks show. It's a free celebration that draws not only locals but visitors captivated by the vibrant cultural scene.

  • Reykjavik Gay Pride: A colorful August celebration promoting love, equality, and LGBTQ+ rights. This event is filled with parades, concerts, workshops, and exhibitions, attracting thousands from around the globe to support and participate in the festivities.

  • Festival of Lights (Ljosanott): In Keflavik, the first weekend of September shines bright with a street concert and a spectacular firework display that illuminates the sky, marking the onset of fall.

  • Reykjavik International Film Festival (RIFF): Starting in late September, this 11-day event is a cinephile's dream, showcasing independent films from over 40 countries, emphasizing creative storytelling and innovation.

  • Iceland Airwaves: Come November, Reykjavik turns into a vibrant music hub. This esteemed festival features a mix of emerging and well-known artists from various genres, offering performances in unique venues across the city.

Reykjavik pride

Experience the Thrill of Whale Watching in Icy Waters

Venturing out into the icy waters of Iceland to watch whales is an exhilarating way to experience the country's rich marine life, especially during prime times when you can see these magnificent creatures. Here are three top spots where you can get up close and personal with the ocean's gentle giants:

  • Húsavík: Often hailed as the whale-watching capital of Iceland, Húsavík offers an unmatched chance to see whales in their natural habitat. The Skjálfandi Bay is rich in marine life, making sightings almost guaranteed.

  • Reykjavík: Convenient for those staying in the capital, Reykjavík's nearby Faxaflói Bay is a bustling hub for minke and humpback whales alongside playful dolphins and porpoises.

  • Akureyri: Nestled in the North, Akureyri gives a unique vantage point in Eyjafjörður, Iceland's longest fjord. The waters here are teeming with humpback whales, offering a serene backdrop for a memorable encounter.

Icelandic whales

Travel Tips for Visiting Iceland Fall Safely

Now that you know all the exciting things to do and see in Iceland during autumn, here's everything you need to know to plan your trip:

Best Practices for Driving in Iceland and Car Rental Tips

Driving in Iceland presents unique challenges, especially when venturing into rural or highland areas. Rural roads can surprise travelers with their intricacies, and conditions worsen with bad weather, while highland roads could be impassable. 

For the latest on road conditions, the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration's website is indispensable. Don't skip checking the weather forecast before you head out. The SafeTravel website emerges as a quintessential guide for driving tips and trip planning. 

It's wise to submit a travel plan if your adventure takes you off the beaten path—this aids Icelandic Rescue Services in case of emergencies. For real-time safety notifications and tips, signing up for updates and downloading the SafeTravel app is highly recommended.

Be Aware of Wind Warnings

Iceland's late autumn is a fantastic time to explore, but it also brings with it the challenge of unpredictable weather, notably the wind. The Icelandic wind warning system is an essential tool for travelers during this season. It provides real-time updates on wind speeds and conditions, helping you plan your adventure safely. Alerts are color-coded to simplify understanding:

  • Yellow: Be alert and minimize travel.

  • Orange: Weather can be hazardous; it's advisable to avoid travel.

  • Red: Indicates severe weather conditions; it's best to stay indoors and not travel.

Keeping an eye on these alerts can significantly affect your travel plans, advising when it's safe to venture out or when to cozy up and enjoy Iceland's indoor offerings. Time to explore wisely by staying informed and adhering to the guidance provided by the wind warning system.

Autumn in Iceland

Capturing Autumn in Iceland: Photography Tips

Autumn in Iceland brings with it a palette of vibrant colors and the breathtaking phenomenon of the Northern Lights. Capturing these moments requires not just skill but also being in the right place at the right time.

  • Best Locations: For fall photography, Þingvellir National Park is unmatched with its autumnal hues. Meanwhile, the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon offers a stark contrast between icebergs and the aurora. 

  • Capturing the Northern Lights in Iceland: A tripod is a must for stability during long exposures needed to photograph the Northern Lights. Use a wide-angle lens to capture the vastness of the landscapes and the sweeping lights.

  • Autumn Landscapes: For the rich colors of fall, late afternoon light provides a golden hue that enhances the scenery. Don't forget to adjust your white balance to keep the colors as true to what you see as possible.

Fall landscape in Iceland

Why Fall in Iceland is Unforgettable

Fall in Iceland is a season of unparalleled beauty, offering a unique blend of cultural festivals and 

natural wonders. From the awe-inspiring Northern Lights to the vibrant colors of the Icelandic countryside, autumn is the perfect time to experience the charm of Iceland. 

Whether you're exploring the whale-rich waters, capturing the staggering beauty of the landscapes, or participating in the local festivities, fall in Iceland is an unforgettable experience. For those looking to traverse this magnificent terrain at their own pace, renting a car in Iceland is essential. 

It allows you to make the most of your visit by giving you the freedom to explore at your leisure. So, what are you waiting for? Book your trip now and get ready for an autumn adventure in Iceland like no other!