October is one of the least busy months in Iceland. The summer rush is over, and the festivities of early winter are yet to set in. So, plan to visit Iceland in October for the mild weather and a little brisk touch of cooler weather. It’s still easier access to destinations across the island. The prices could be lower before the holiday season kicks into full gear.
Your Friend in Reykjavik is ready to show you around our favourite spots at any time of year. Come take a walking tour with us and discover Iceland with a local!
Halloween is not what you think in Iceland.
It’s amazing how Halloween is celebrated around the world. It’s no different here. Although visiting October in Iceland is typically not full of witches and pumpkins and fancy dress, we still love a good party! And a good ghost story! Our traditions are full of weird and wonderful tales. Join our folklore walking tour to find out not just about our elves and trolls but also about the Ghost of the Deacon of Dark River and more.
Of course, the origin of Halloween is connected to the Celtic Samhain festival. And there is also evidence of similar celebrations among Vikings, called Veturnætur or Winter Nights. The settlers of Iceland celebrated Winter Nights around the first day of winter, where people bid farewell to the summer and winter was welcomed. But the first day of winter is always the last Saturday of October.
The trees, flowers, and grass hibernate at the beginning of winter. People believed they could perceive the spirit world, see ghosts and elves and predict the future.
Northern Lights in Iceland in October
Nights are getting longer in October, going from around 12 hours to about 15 hours by the end of the month. So, you have more of a chance to catch those famous Northern Lights. Especially if you head out of town, away from artificial lights from homes and businesses. The relatively clear October weather helps too! Just to be sure, you can check Iceland’s Meteorological Office northern lights tracker for their regularly updated forecast.
What to do on your October visit to Iceland
In October, visiting Iceland is often the last chance to enjoy many nature outings before the cold weather hits. A popular summer outing still available is the boat tours of the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, where you can glimpse the black sands under the white snow and ice. And maybe even a seal or three!
Best things to do in Reykjavik in October
John Lennon fans will want your visit to Reykjavik to include October 9. That’s when the Imagine Peace Tower on Videy Island lights up till dawn to celebrate his birthday. A trip to the island during the day is worthwhile, too — there are lovely hiking trails and ancient ruins to explore. Or you can make your way to the Old Harbor area around sunset. Plan for sunrise, and then stick around for some whale watching! You can also get a combo tour of a Reykjavik Walking tour and Whale Watching! Your Friends in Reykjavik can show you around and give you tips on when is the best time and places to spot them. Or you can try our private walking tours of Reykjavik and make sure we cover your experience checklist.
The Imagine Peace Tower is lit from October 9 until December 8.
Our favourite foods for visiting Reykjavik in October
We love to eat in Iceland, and we love to make sure our visitors are well-fed! Freshly caught fish and seafood are available in October, like all months in Iceland, so make sure to sample some Plokkfiskur. This hearty fish stew is swimming with cod, haddock, or halibut and is rich in potatoes, onions, butter, and milk. And for a sweet start to your day (or whenever your sweet tooth calls!), try Kleinur. The Icelandic doughnuts are twisted, fried in oil, and spiced just right with cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg. You will get a chance to taste these and more on our food lover‘s walking tours of Reykjavik!
Weather in Iceland in October
The temperatures in October range from 0°C (32°F) to 10°C (50°F). That might sound relatively low, but the cold in Iceland isn’t…well, that cold! As long as there is no windchill, 10°C is quite lovely. You might even see some locals in t-shirts, but I would not recommend it unless you come from a cold climate too! There might be some rain and wind during your trip, so best to be prepared when you’re packing. The days are getting shorter as we head towards winter, but nothing too drastic until you reach the end of the month with around eight hours of daylight.
What to pack for your October visit to Iceland
Since it’s so hard to predict the weather in Iceland, you might be wondering what you should bring with you on your trip. Simply put, layers, layers, and more layers! They can keep you warm in the cold, and you can take them off during the warmer parts of the day. If you do head out into the great outdoors, make sure to have some wind- and water-proof gear. And believe it or not, don’t forget your sunscreen. And, always, your camera and charger to capture all your fantastic adventures!
Let Your Friend in Reykjavik show you Iceland in October!
Take advantage of the mild, cool weather and the less-crowded locations. Visit Iceland in October and join a walking tour with Your Friend in Reykjavik. Whether this is your first trip to Iceland or whether you’re an old hand, we will show you sights and share tips and tricks you’ll love. Contact us today for more information!
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