Autumn 2017 in Iceland. What to do?
Autumn in Iceland goes from late August to late October or beginning of November, when we then start talking about winter!
Autumn is a great time to visit Iceland!
Autumn temperatures are similar to the spring, it gets colder throughout September and October but it is usually not too cold. Of course there is often quite a bit of wind and the weather in Iceland is always unpredictable in any season but the good thing about coming to Iceland in autumn is that you might be lucky enough to see the Northern Lights while still enjoying relatively long days and nice temperatures.
The endless summer days start getting shorter and the skies get darker every day, creating the right conditions for us to see the beautiful Aurora Borealis, you might even experience some snow and the autumn prices are usually lower than during the summer.
The colors in Iceland during autumn are spectacular, the blue/violet Alaskan lupine that covers most of the fields and hills in Iceland during the summer disappear and the land colors with yellow leaves. If you are lucky enough to be here after a light snowfall, you will experience an amazing symphony of colors as you drive through the Icelandic countryside through moss and lava fields.
Autumn is the time of the year when Icelandic families go berry-picking in the countryside: crow-berries and wild blueberries are delicious with skyr and cream, just make sure you stay out of private properties if you decide to go berry-picking!
The birds start leaving Iceland in September so I would not recommend puffin watching tours in this season but if you are on the Westmann Islands in September/October, you might experience what the locals experience every year: many young puffins leaving their nests get attracted by the town lights and end up wandering around the streets so the kids usually catch them and release them into the wild after taking them to the local bird center for some measurements.
As the season changes, some tours stop being offered, the roads to the highlands are for example closed when it starts snowing, many tours on the glaciers stop but there are still plenty of things to do in Iceland during the autumn months.
The popular South Shore Adventure and Golden Circle Tours are great in every season but visiting Thingvellir National Park during the autumn months is really a magical experience because the colors are amazing and the autumn light of the low sun makes everything even more spectacular.
I also really like horseback riding in the autumn, especially after a bit of snow has fallen and you are riding in a lava field where the black rocks, the white of the snow and the green of the moss create fabulous color contrasts.
Last but not least, if you are in Iceland during the autumn, you should not miss a Northern Lights Tour. Aurora can be seen from mid August and the temperatures are not as cold as in the winter, which makes it more bearable to stay out at night staring at the skies waiting for them to light up with the dancing lights.
So Iceland is a great destination in autumn: it is cheaper, it is still relatively warm and you can view great landscapes with spectacular colors and see the Northern Lights. If that is not enough to make you want to book your tickets to Iceland now, I don’t know what is!
Text: Elisa Maccagnoni – Iceland premium tours