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What Makes Iceland Special in September? Here's What You Need to Know


Iceland in September

If you're planning a trip to Iceland in September, you're in for a treat! September is one of the best times to visit Iceland, offering a perfect blend of mild weather and fewer crowds.

During this month, you can witness the magical Northern Lights, explore stunning natural attractions like waterfalls and glaciers, and enjoy unique experiences such as whale watching and autumn festivals.

With ample daylight hours and the summer rush gone, September in Iceland provides an ideal setting for adventure and tranquility alike. Get ready to immerse yourself in Iceland's breathtaking landscapes and vibrant culture!

Weather in Iceland in September

Although Iceland's weather might seem daunting, September in Iceland offers some of the most pleasant temperatures and conditions for travelers. The weather is usually calm and dry, making it perfect for exploring the breathtaking landscapes.

The average precipitation is about 67mm (3in), so you might still catch some rain, but it is nothing too severe. The average temperature in Iceland in September is around 7°C (45°F), but it can occasionally reach between 10-15°C (50-59°F).

Reykjavik's weather in September typically sees temperatures ranging from 6°C to 11°C (43°F to 52°F). Overall, you'll find a pleasant and manageable climate that is ideal for sightseeing and outdoor adventures.

Iceland Daylight Hours in September

Iceland's daylight hours in September offer a unique blend of long days and the return of dark nights, creating the perfect conditions for witnessing the Northern Lights. Early in the month, you'll experience bright and beautiful sunrises at around 6:11 AM and spectacular sunsets with gorgeous hues of pink and purple at around 8:41 PM, providing roughly 14 hours of daylight.

As the month progresses, daylight gradually decreases. In late September, Iceland's sunrise occurs past 7:30 AM and sunset near 7 PM, reducing the daylight to approximately 12 hours. This transition from light to dark sets the stage for incredible night-time sky displays and vibrant daytime explorations.

Things to Do in Iceland in September

From exploring magnificent glaciers to soaking in natural hot springs, Iceland in September offers an array of exciting activities for every traveler. Here's a closer look at them.

Witness the Northern Lights

Seeing the northern lights in Iceland in September is like watching a living painting in the sky. September kicks off the aurora season, which runs through April, offering ample opportunities to witness this stunning phenomenon. To catch this breathtaking display, head to Thingvellir National Park, the Reykjanes Peninsula, or Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon.

These spots, away from city lights, provide the clearest views. For the best experience, use apps like My Aurora Forecast or Aurora Alerts to track Aurora activity and find the optimal viewing nights. This magical experience is a highlight of visiting Iceland in September.

Northern Lights in September

Explore Waterfalls

When you're planning a trip to Iceland in September, waterfalls are an absolute must-see. The country's landscape is dotted with spectacular falls that are even more mesmerizing against the autumn backdrop. Here are a few of the top waterfalls in Iceland to visit in September:

  • Gullfoss: Known as the 'Golden Falls,' Gullfoss is a part of the Golden Circle and offers stunning views of cascading water plunging into a deep canyon.

  • Seljalandsfoss: This waterfall allows you to walk behind it for a unique perspective, making it a perfect photo opportunity.

  • Skogafoss: One of Iceland's largest and most beautiful waterfalls, Skogafoss is easily accessible and boasts an impressive 60-meter (197 ft) drop.

icelandic waterfall in september

Visit the South Coast

Traveling to Iceland in September provides the perfect opportunity to explore the stunning South Coast. This region is famous for its black sand beaches, dramatic cliffs, and charming villages. Locations like Vik, with its iconic Reynisfjara beach and the Dyrhólaey Arch, offer breathtaking views and photo opportunities.

Don't miss the majestic Skógafoss waterfall, which is particularly enchanting this time of year. As you journey along the coast, you'll encounter glaciers, lava fields, and stunning coastal scenery that showcase Iceland's unique and diverse landscape.

Relax in the Blue Lagoon

Relaxing in the Blue Lagoon is one of the top things to do in Iceland in September. This renowned geothermal spa provides a serene and luxurious experience amidst stunning lava fields. The milky-blue waters, rich in silica and minerals, are known for their rejuvenating and healing properties.

September's mild temperatures make soaking in the warm lagoon especially enjoyable. Don't forget to indulge in a silica mud mask or a relaxing in-water massage for the ultimate pampering. The Blue Lagoon is a quintessential Icelandic experience that offers relaxation and adventure in equal measure.

Drive the Ring Road

Driving the Ring Road is a fantastic way to experience the diverse beauty of Iceland in September. This scenic route circles the entire country, offering an array of stunning landscapes and must-see destinations along the way. Here are a few top places to visit on your road trip:

  • Snæfellsnes Peninsula: Often referred to as 'Iceland in Miniature,' it has a bit of everything—from volcanoes and glaciers to lava fields and picturesque fishing villages.

  • Mývatn: Known for its geothermal activity and stunning lake, it's a paradise for bird watchers and nature lovers.

  • Egilsstaðir: This charming town in East Iceland is the perfect base for exploring the beautiful Seyðisfjörður fjord and the Hallormsstaður forest.

  • Vatnajökull National Park: Home to Europe's largest glacier, it's ideal for hiking, ice cave tours, and glacier walks.

Go Whale Watching

Whale watching in Iceland is one of the most exhilarating activities you can indulge in while traveling to Iceland in September. As autumn begins, various whale species, including humpback whales, orcas, and minke whales, can be observed in the surrounding waters. Here's a quick list of fantastic places to embark on a whale-watching adventure:


  • Húsavík: Often dubbed the whale-watching capital of Iceland, this charming town offers numerous tours to catch these magnificent creatures.

  • Eyjafjörður: The longest fjord in Iceland, providing a scenic backdrop for whale watching.

  • Akureyri: Known for its excellent whale sightings, this location offers a great mix of wildlife and natural beauty.

Hike in Landmannalaugar

Hiking in Landmannalaugar is a must for any adventure enthusiast visiting Iceland in September. Known for its stunning rhyolite mountains, vibrant geothermal activity, and lush green valleys, this area offers some of the best hiking experiences in the country.

The most popular trek is the Laugavegur Trail, leading you through diverse landscapes from hot springs and lava fields to verdant pastures and glacial rivers. Located within the Fjallabak Nature Reserve, Landmannalaugar's unique and colorful terrain makes it one of the most photographed and beloved hiking destinations in Iceland.

Landmannalaugar hike in september

Explore Ice Caves

Exploring ice caves in Iceland is an awe-inspiring adventure that offers a glimpse into the frozen heart of glaciers. September is an ideal time to visit these natural wonders, as the cooler temperatures help preserve their stunning formations.

Guided tours ensure safety and provide fascinating insights into the geological processes that create these incredible ice structures. Here are a few prominent ice caves you might want to explore:

  • Crystal Cave: Known for its stunningly clear blue ice, it's a popular spot for photographers.

  • Katla Ice Cave: Located near the active Katla volcano, offering a thrilling and unique experience.

  • Langjökull Ice Cave: Accessible via a man-made tunnel, it provides an exciting way to explore Iceland's second-largest glacier.

Traverse Lava Fields

Traversing lava fields in Iceland is a unique experience that lets you walk through ancient landscapes shaped by volcanic activity. These fields, often dotted with moss and unusual rock formations, offer a raw and otherworldly beauty that's perfect for exploration. September's mild weather makes it an ideal time to visit these fields, enhancing the experience. Here are a few notable lava fields you should consider exploring:

  • Eldhraun: One of the largest lava fields in the world, covered in thick, soft moss.

  • Dimmuborgir: Known for its dramatic and spooky lava pillars and formations.

  • Berserkjahraun: With fascinating folklore and rugged terrain, it's a captivating sight to see.

Embark on a Horseback Riding Tour

Icelandic horses are not only adorable but also sturdy and well-suited for the diverse terrain. Embarking on a horseback riding tour in September offers a unique way to see Iceland's stunning landscapes. These charming creatures are gentle and easy to handle, making the experience enjoyable for both beginners and experienced riders.

Tours often take you through scenic trails, including lava fields, lush meadows, and rivers. Not to mention, September's comfortable weather enhances the ride, providing breathtaking views of the autumnal countryside. Horseback riding in Iceland is an adventure you won't soon forget!

Horseback Riding Tour

Visit Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Visiting the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is an unforgettable experience when exploring Iceland in September. This spectacular glacier lagoon is dotted with blue and white icebergs that have broken off from the nearby Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, creating a mesmerizing scene.

September is an ideal time to visit as the cooler temperatures maintain the ice formations while the summer crowds have begun to thin out, offering a more tranquil experience. Don't forget to take a boat tour to get up close and appreciate the surreal beauty of this natural wonder.

Attend Local Festivals in Iceland in September

Iceland offers a rich tapestry of cultural experiences, and September is no exception. Attending local festivals will give you a taste of Icelandic traditions, music, and cuisine, all against the backdrop of the striking autumn landscape. Here are a few festivals you might want to check out:

Reykjavík International Film Festival (RIFF)

Running annually in Reykjavík, the Reykjavík International Film Festival is a celebration of cinema that attracts filmmakers and movie buffs from around the globe. Held in late September, the festival showcases a diverse range of films, from thought-provoking documentaries to innovative indie films. It's a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in the local cultural scene and perhaps catch a glimpse of some international film stars.

Annual Sheep Round-Up (Réttir)

If you want to experience a unique slice of rural Icelandic life, the annual sheep round-up, known as Réttir, is a must-see. Throughout September, farmers and their families herd sheep from the highlands to the lowlands, sorting and marking them before winter. Visitors are often welcome to join in, providing an authentic glimpse into this age-old tradition and the opportunity to engage with the local farming community.

Midgard Convention

The Midgard Convention is a fantastic event for fans of pop culture, comics, and gaming. Held in September, this convention brings together enthusiasts from all over Iceland and beyond. Whether you're a die-hard fan of comic books, an avid gamer, or just looking to soak up the lively atmosphere, the Midgard Convention has something for everyone.

Where to Stay in Iceland in September

Choosing where to stay in Iceland in September can greatly enhance your Icelandic adventure. Here are some options to consider:

  • Hotels: From luxury to budget, hotels offer comfort and convenience. Reykjavik has a variety of top-rated hotels like Hotel Borg and Center Hotel Midgardur.

  • Guesthouses: For a cozy, home-like experience, guesthouses are perfect. Reykjavik and towns like Akureyri offer charming options like Kex Hostel and Hafnarstraeti Hostel.

  • Airbnb: Renting an Airbnb provides a taste of local life and can be more budget-friendly. Options range from private rooms to entire homes, giving you the freedom to choose what suits your needs best.

  • Camping: For those looking for a more adventurous experience, camping is allowed in various areas throughout Iceland. Just make sure to follow safety guidelines and leave no trace when you leave.

Packing List for Iceland in September

When planning your trip, it's essential to pack wisely. Proper clothes for Iceland in September will ensure you stay comfortable in the ever-changing weather. Here's a handy packing list:


  • Waterproof Jacket: Crucial for staying dry amidst unpredictable rain showers.

  • Layered Clothing: Think thermal underwear, fleece tops, and long-sleeve shirts to adjust to varying temperatures.

  • Sturdy Hiking Boots: Ideal for traversing rugged terrain and lava fields.

  • Warm Hat and Gloves: Keep your extremities warm during cooler evenings.

  • Comfortable Pants and Leggings: Perfect for layering and outdoor activities.

  • Swimwear: Don't miss out on the chance to dip in Iceland's geothermal pools.

7-Day Itinerary When Travelling to Iceland in September

Here's a suggested 7-day itinerary to make the most of your visit to Iceland in September.

Day 1: Arrival in Reykjavík

  • Morning: Arrive in Reykjavík and check into your hotel or guesthouse.

  • Afternoon: Explore Reykjavík city, including Hallgrímskirkja Church and Harpa Concert Hall.

  • Evening: Enjoy a delicious dinner at a local restaurant and take a stroll along the waterfront.

Day 2: Golden Circle

  • Morning: Drive the Golden Circle route starting with Þingvellir National Park.

  • Afternoon: Visit the Geysir geothermal area and marvel at the erupting Strokkur.

  • Evening: End the day with a visit to Gullfoss waterfall before returning to Reykjavík.

Day 3: South Coast

  • Morning: Head towards the South Coast, stopping at Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls.

  • Afternoon: Explore the black sand beach at Reynisfjara and see the Reynisdrangar sea stacks.

  • Evening: Stay overnight in the charming town of Vík.

Day 4: Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach

  • Morning: Drive to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and take an optional boat tour.

  • Afternoon: Visit the nearby Diamond Beach with its sparkling icebergs on the black sand.

  • Evening: Stay overnight in the area, perhaps enjoying a local meal with glacier views.

Day 5: East Fjords

  • Morning: Journey into the East Fjords, stopping to hike and enjoy the scenery.

  • Afternoon: Visit small fishing villages like Seyðisfjörður and enjoy their unique charm.

  • Evening: Stay overnight in a guesthouse in the East Fjords.

Day 6: Dettifoss and Mývatn

  • Morning: Head towards North Iceland, stopping at the powerful Dettifoss waterfall.

  • Afternoon: Explore the Mývatn area, including geothermal areas, lava fields, and Höfði nature park.

  • Evening: Relax in the Mývatn Nature Baths and stay overnight in the area.

Day 7: Return to Reykjavík

  • Morning: Drive back to Reykjavík, with optional stops at Akureyri or Borgarnes.

  • Afternoon: Spend your last afternoon shopping for souvenirs or visiting any missed sights.

  • Evening: Enjoy a farewell dinner at a Reykjavík restaurant and prepare for your departure.

Why Iceland in September is the Perfect Adventure

Iceland in September offers a mix of vibrant traditions, cultural events, and stunning natural beauty, making it a prime time for a visit. With fewer crowds, mild weather, and the chance to witness the magical Northern Lights, September truly enhances the Icelandic experience.

Start planning and booking your adventure now to secure the best accommodations and activities. For ultimate flexibility in exploring this breathtaking country, don't forget to rent a car in Iceland.

Whether you're drawn to the festivities, the landscapes, or the welcoming local culture, September in Iceland promises an unforgettable journey.