If you are planning an October trip to Iceland, then get excited my friends, because I have the most comprehensive guide for planning your October trip to Iceland.
Hello, Team Iceland! Welcome back to my channel. My name is Jeannie and I am your Iceland virtual tour guide. That means my job is literally to teach you anything that you would want to know about planning your trip to Iceland. Which means if you’re new here, make sure to subscribe. I put out new videos every Wednesday about planning your trip to Iceland, and I just don’t want you to miss anything.
Before we get into this video, it’s time for a little Instagram gratitude. This one goes out to Training Beyond Oneself, and they write, “Hi Jeannie. I would like to say thank you so much for the self-drive guide to Iceland and your videos. Your material got me ready for what to expect in Iceland. I couldn’t have done it without you.” Do I even have to remind you guys how much messages like this make my day!?
I just love opening up my Instagram and seeing these types of DMs from you guys. And when you’re tagging me in your stories and you’re messaging me and you’re showing me your photos, it just makes me so happy to know that the work that we’re doing here and the videos are reaching you, and that you’re able to use them on your trip. Really no better feeling for me. That being said, if you would like a shout out on one of my future videos, then all you have to do is tag me in one of your Instagram stories during your trip and I might put you on here. So without further ado, it is time for daylight hours, weather, driving conditions, and all of the October things. So, let’s get into it.
October IS autumn!
October in Iceland. I can literally feel it coming in my bones. October is definitely hardcore autumn in Iceland, and it’s kind of marking the transition from summer into winter, really. So us locals are really starting to get into hibernation mode, meaning we’re hanging out at home a lot more, cozying up on the couch with some candles and wool blankets. We all know that it could snow any day and winter is definitely coming.
So just like I say every monthly video, the most important thing when planning your trip in any month is the number of daylight hours. The beginning of October starts with up to 12 hours of daylight, and towards the end of the month we’re down to eight hours. Obviously, this is a huge difference and one of the biggest things that will impact your itinerary because now you’re going to start to get limited hours on your exploring time. However, with the return of the darkness means that the Northern Lights are literally in full force. And if you don’t already know how much I passionately love the Northern Lights, now you do.
In fact, September and October are peak season to see the Northern Lights because you have the perfect balance between the darkness, and the Aurora flares, and everything like that. So get excited if you’re traveling during this month! And if you would like to know how you could find the Northern Lights, then make sure to check out that video.
Weather + winds
Okay, weather conditions for October. This is a fun month. Temperatures in October will range between 0-10 degrees Celsius or 32-50 degrees Fahrenheit. Obviously, it’s getting colder as we continue towards the end of the month. October is also definitely one of the months where when we say you can experience all four seasons in one day, that’s this month, yeah. Lots of rain, lots of wind, some sun sometimes, and possibly snow. I’ve seen it, I’ve seen it at the end of October before.
Doesn’t mean that it’s going to stick. Doesn’t mean that there’s going to be crazy driving conditions. Just means that snow is legitimately possible. And honestly, this is also the time of year when the wind feels like you’re in the middle of a hurricane. It can be so windy, it will feel like the building is going to blow over. If you crack the windows at night, it sounds so loud when the wind comes in. And also, I have felt this hurricane force wind violently shaking my car. It’s just part of October. It’s really such a fun experience.
A lot of people ask about autumn colors. This is really one of the hardest things to time in Iceland because the autumn colors, it just depends on really the temperatures and the freezing. They could start in the middle of September, they could start at the end of September. They could be in the beginning of October, so you don’t exactly know. It’s just really hard and it’s also such a short window because the high winds that we were talking about, once the leaves turn, the wind just takes those leaves right off.
And with that, October is classically the rainiest month of the whole year, which brings me to my pro tip. You need waterproof gear from head to toe, non-negotiable for October. Of any of the months of the year, you guys have to bring so much good quality waterproof gear. Because it’s the rainiest month, it’s almost guaranteed that you are going to be getting wet throughout the day. So unless you want to keep changing your clothes over and over again, having really good quality gear is so essential during this time. So you know that it’s going to be rainy and you’re not going to let a little rain ruin your adventure. If you would like to see a roundup of all of the things that I recommend for your October packing list, then make sure to watch my autumn packing video.
Sightseeing in Iceland
Okay, moving onto sightseeing in October. Almost all areas of Iceland are going to be accessible during October. This includes obviously Reykjavik, Golden Circle, Ring Road, but also it’s still very possible to head into the Westfjords. For the Highlands during October, I’m not going to give you a hard no. Because again, it always depends on the weather conditions that happen from year to year, but in general the Highlands of Iceland gets snow first. So those are the roads that close off first, so I wouldn’t build the Highlands into your itinerary for October. It’s just not worth having that risk.
The good thing is, October is shoulder season. So this means that there will be less people at the major attractions, possibly cheaper prices on accommodation rentals, things like that. And lastly, in general, there’s going to be a lot less animal activity going on throughout the country. So the migratory animals are leaving because it’s getting cold. But then also remember in September, the farmers round up the sheep, so you don’t have the sheep grazing along the countryside. So, starting to feel a little different.
Driving in October in Iceland. Okay, I’m going to say that it’s relatively easy, meaning that if you’re sticking on the main routes and not going anywhere crazy, you’ll be okay. But it also starts to become more difficult. For example, the high winds, it’s really hard to drive in those high winds. You might have to go slower, you might have a mountain road that’s closed, and so you have to go somewhere else. There’s all kinds of situations that are possible during October.
Also, the north of Iceland and the west sphere are also colder, so they’re going to get snow first. So it’s possible that in those areas, you’re going to run into snow. So for this reason, it is so important that you are checking Road.is every single day before you’re heading out. Lastly, like I already mentioned before, is that in October, it’s pretty typical that the Highland roads are closing down, meaning that you won’t be able to access those areas of Iceland.
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Events + festivals
Lastly are the fun events and festivals that happen during the month of October. In our September video, I mentioned the Reykjavik International Film Festival, which takes place from the end of September through the first week of October. So obviously in October, that is still going on with showings happening all around Reykjavik. A lot of my American friends will think October equals Halloween. It’s not as big in Iceland, however, it is gaining in popularity. If you’re coming over Halloween, then it is possible that there will be some events going on around Reykjavik.
And finally, and one of my favorite things is the Imagine Peace Tower. This is a memorial to John Lennon from his widow, Yoko Ono, located on Videy Island near Reykjavik. This tower is lit starting on October 9th, which is John Lennon’s birthday and goes through December 8th, which is the day John Lennon was shot. So you can actually go and be a part of the lighting ceremony, or you will just be able to see this light illuminated into the air from all parts of Reykjavik. Remember my friends, if you love this video and found it helpful for your planning to Iceland, then you can find this information and so much more inside of my Ring Road eBook.
It is packed to the brim with so much helpful information about your travels to Iceland, including my very own Google Maps that I’ve put together for you to use on your smartphone when you’re traveling around. I literally put together all of Jeannie’s Gems into one convenient little package. Thank you guys so much for supporting my channel!
All right friends, that is all for your October in Iceland roundup. I hope you found this information helpful. I will see you next week for another Iceland planning video.