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The Magic of Iceland in September

03-06-2024

Iceland in September

    September is when we start saying goodbye to summer here in Iceland. Like a good fruit, this is the month you ensure you squeeze out every drop of that delicious juice that’s left. Visiting Iceland in September is truly synonymous with the saying “Carpe Diem!”

    Not only does September allow us to relish in the summer season one last time, but it also doesn’t have many of the drawbacks. If you’ve always wanted to visit the island but could never decide when would be the best time to go or have a very tight budget, then September might just be the month for you. Read on to find out why and how to prepare for your visit.

    The Weather in Iceland in September

    It comes as no surprise that the first question we usually get asked about a trip to a country called Iceland is about what the weather is like. Here’s a detailed breakdown of what to expect:

    How Cold is it in Iceland in September?

    The temperature in Iceland in September ranges between 6 and 11 degrees Celsius, sticking to an average of about 8 degrees. When visiting our capital city, you might experience one of the biggest illusions here on the island: that Reykjavik is somehow warmer than on its outskirts.

    In reality, there is no difference in the weather of the rest of the island compared to Reykjavik’s weather in September. It’s merely the buildings of the city that create sheltering against some of the weather elements like the wind, making the city feel slightly warmer than what lies beyond its borders.

    Iceland weather in september

    How Much Does It Rain in Iceland in September?

    Rainfall would’ve started to increase by the time you visit the island in September. But you’re still looking at just about 70 mm of rainfall throughout the month.

    Does it Snow in Iceland in September?

    No. With temperatures still far above the 0-degree mark, you can rest assured that there will be no snowfall during your trip to Iceland in September, not even sleet.

    What are the Legendary Icelandic Winds Like in September?

    The Icelandic winds are still pretty mild during September. When one considers that wind speeds reach more than 35 kilometers an hour mid-winter, the 17 kilometers an hour average you need to deal with in September seems like nothing.

    How Many Daylight Hours are There in Iceland in September?

    At 13 hours a day, Iceland’s daylight hours in September start showing signs of the inevitable decrease towards the winter season, but it is still significant enough to ensure a jam-packed trip itinerary.

    Iceland daylight hours in september

    What Makes a Trip to Iceland in September So Special?

    There are many benefits to traveling to Iceland in September:

    • We might be waving goodbye to summer, but the weather is still nice and mild when visiting Iceland in September, so you can easily and comfortably take on outdoor adventures during your trip in September.
    • It’s still one of the best seasons to go on a road trip, with some of the best road conditions (no ice, snow, extreme winds, or other harsh weather conditions), and all the roads should be open since some of our roads close each year during the colder months.
    • September has the perfect combo of darkness and daylight hours. Not only does it allow you to have a jam-packed trip itinerary, but you’ll also be able to spot the Northern Lights in Iceland in September, especially when visiting Iceland in late September.
    • Summer is considered our peak season here in Iceland, which can be challenging for those who are not particularly fond of crowds, and it does make things more difficult in terms of booking transport, accommodation, tours, etc., as things tend to fill up fast. But by September, especially end of September, most of our peak season crowds would’ve left, giving you more space to breath.
    • As our peak season draws to a close, you will start seeing a drop in prices. This can range from things such as flights and accommodation on the island to summer season sales at the shops.
    • If you’re an animal lover, you’re in for a treat during your trip to Iceland in September. September is the last month of our whale season, during which you will not only be able to catch some of our regular gentle giants along the coast but also a few migratory whale species that call Iceland home during this time.

    The Most Popular Attractions and Activities for a September Trip Itinerary to Iceland

    If you’re planning a trip to Iceland in September and don’t know where to start when it comes to compiling your trip itinerary, the following are some of the most popular things to do in Iceland in September:

    Go on a Road Trip

    As we already touched on, September's road conditions are pristine, making it the perfect time to go on a road trip around the island. There are plenty of popular routes to choose from, each with its own unique sights and activities.

    You’ll need to choose the ones that work for you based on your preferences, budget, and time available on the island. You can choose from routes like the Ring Road, the Golden Circle, the Westfjords Way, the South Coast Way, and the Diamond Circle.

    Road trip in Iceland in september

    Take a Dip in a Hot Spring

    You will find plenty of hot springs around the country due to the volcanic activity heating our underground water here in Iceland. Some of these hot springs are still found in their natural form with some offering a certain amount of privacy, while others are used in our geothermal pools which have all sorts of other facilities and amenities in an almost resort-like setting.

    Some of our most popular natural hot springs include Reykjadalur River and Kvika Footbath, and some of the most popular geothermal pools in Iceland include Sky Lagoon and the Myvatn Nature Baths.

    Hot springs in Iceland in september

    Go Camping

    As summer in Iceland comes to an end, you still have time to partake in a much-loved activity here on the island among locals and visitors alike: going camping. Our campsites are the best way to really immerse yourself in Icelandic nature. Many of our campgrounds will get you as close as you possibly can to some of our most famous attractions (for example, there are places where you can open your tent flap to view some of our most famous waterfalls and glaciers).

    Of course, if you don’t consider yourself the outdoorsy type, you can simply rent a motorhome in Iceland. This way you would’ve sorted out the transport for your road trip as well as your camping accommodation. Needless to say, camping is also the most budget-friendly way of staying on the island, especially if you’ve got a Camping Card.

    Get Close to a Volcano

    It should come as no surprise that you will find volcanos in the Land of Fire and Ice. But you might be surprised to learn that you can actually get pretty close to these forces of nature. Some that have been quiet for quite some time, like Askja and Eyjafjallajökull, can be hiked, and you can even get up close to the current eruption action by going on one of the volcano tours.

    Icelandic volcano in september

    Explore Our Glaciers

    On the opposite side of the spectrum as the Land of Fire and Ice, we have our incredible glaciers, one of which, is the largest in all of Europe, called Vatnajökull. These glaciers can all be explored in a variety of ways, but all via booked guided tours due to safety concerns. You can choose between hiking a glacier, riding in a Super Jeep or snowmobiling across the icy surface.

    Book a Spot on a Whale Watching Boat Tour

    To take full advantage of the last month of our whale season, we highly recommend that you book a spot on a whale watching boat tour. These can be found all along the coast in Iceland, but most prefer the tours departing from Reykjavik (very convenient if you have limited time on the island and will mostly be keeping to the city) or Husavik (which is known as the whale capital of Iceland). On these tours, you can see whale species such as Orcas, Minke Whales, and even the biggest whale species of all, the Blue Whale!

    Explore the Island on Horseback

    This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience here on the island for a variety of reasons. Firstly, you will not only be immersing yourself in Icelandic nature, going exploring off the beaten track, but you will also be doing it while using Icelandic nature as transport. Secondly, the horses you will be riding are the island’s own, called the Icelandic Horse. They are incredible animals that can perform an additional gait, look very pony-like, and are known to be very friendly.

    Explore the Island on Horseback

    Visit Our Interesting Museums

    Iceland has all sorts of weird and wonderful museums you can visit. From interactive educational museums such as Perlan, where you can actually walk through a real ice cave (indoors!), and historical storytelling museums such as the Saga Museum, to the Icelandic Phallological Museum that literally has the penis of every animal on the island on display (yes, including human).

    Explore the Capital City

    You will find all sorts of interesting tours to explore the city, but we recommend that you either opt for one of the guided walking tours that simply requires a donation fee which is up to your own discretion (great when you’re really strapped for cash), or the Reykjavik Food Walk which is amazing if you’re hungry for knowledge and some delicious Icelandic food and craft beer. 

    Visit Our Black Sand Beaches

    Iceland’s black sand beaches are iconic. And these beaches’ aesthetics become even more impressive once you realize that the black sand is actually hardened lava from past eruptions that have been eroded over thousands and thousands of years. Don’t miss out on taking a stroll on some of our most infamous beaches, such as Diamond Beach and Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach.

    Explore Our National Parks

    Iceland boasts some incredible national parks. These parks are not just havens of some of Iceland’s most prized natural wonders, but also offers visitors a variety of hiking trails they can take on during their trip to Iceland in September. Our biggest national parks are Vatnajökull National Park, Snæfellsjokull National Park and Thingvellir National Park (the latter conveniently close to Reykjavik).

    Exploring National Parks in September

    Live Like a Viking

    In Iceland, you’ll get the opportunity to really feel what it felt like to live as a Viking here on the island. From getting dressed up and having your Viking portrait taken at Mink Studios to joining a Viking feast in a Viking Village and sailing off into the sunset on a traditional Viking ship – you can do it all on your trip to Iceland in September.

    Packing List for Iceland in September

    If you’re a bit confused regarding what clothes to pack for Iceland in September, you can use the list below as a guide:

    • Raincoat (leave the umbrellas at home)
    • Waterproof jacket
    • Waterproof pants
    • Waterproof hiking boots
    • Warm woolen socks
    • Underwear
    • Hats (beanies work well to keep the cold at bay, but feel free to bring others if you want to keep the sun out of your face)
    • Thermal leggings
    • Casual pants
    • Jersey
    • Casual Jacket
    • Warm scarf
    • Warm gloves
    • T-shirts
    • Long-sleeve shirts
    • Bathing suit (for those hot spring visits)
    • Quick-drying towel (so you don’t end up carrying around wet stuff)
    • Sunglasses
    • Flip flops (these are invaluable at the hot springs and other public restrooms)
    • Water bottle (for day outings and hikes)
    • Backpack (suitable for hikes and day outings)
    • Electrical device essentials: chargers, cables, power banks, adapter

    Where to Stay in Iceland in September

    Irrespective of your personal preferences or your budget, you will find suitable accommodation here on the island. We have plenty of hotels if you’re looking for that touch of luxury, many guesthouses, Airbnb’s, cottages, and other comfortable yet affordable options, and farm stays that will allow you to get close to nature (even sometimes feeding the animals).

    Then there are also accommodation options, such as hostels and campsites, for those who have really tight budgets or simply want to extend their trip for as long as possible. Or, which is the case with camping, get as close to the action as possible.

    Start Planning Your Trip to Iceland in September

    Visiting Iceland in September offers a unique experience with milder weather, fewer crowds, and a chance to witness the stunning fall colors of the landscape if you visit near the end of the month.

    It is an ideal time to explore the natural beauty of the country without the peak season rush or the peak season prices, and it’s a great time to go on that road trip and book that campsite for the ultimate budget-friendly Iceland adventure. Start planning your trip today, and don’t forget to rent a motorhome in Iceland if you want a more convenient road trip and comfortable camping experience.