Iceland in October

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Last Updated on June 24, 2021 by Chef Mireille

Iceland in October

What to pack, what to expect, what kind of weather. Learn about the advantages of traveling to Iceland in the off season.

Iceland photos

To see the northern lights in winter or to experience the amazing landscape in summer hiking are some of the great attractions of Iceland. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t still have an amazing trip in the off season.


Icelanders will tell you the one predictable thing in Iceland is how unpredictable the weather is.

In just 4 days, I experienced a balmy, sunny day and a day that was FREEZING, WINDY and full of TORRENTIAL RAIN the entire day. Another day started off rainy and cold, but transformed into a beautiful, sunny, warm afternoon.

Iceland LR 6

The average temperature is 40 – 50 F, but on the windy days it can feel 10 degrees colder.

So how do you dress for weather like that?


Dress in layers, so that if it starts to warm up, you can just remove a layer. However, come prepared for the worst.

I generally wore a tight fitting long sleeved t shirt to insulate heat underneath a short sleeved t shirt, a fleece sweater and my windbreaker with hood coat.

When it got warm, I would remove the fleece sweater.

There are a few things you need to make sure to bring with you.

Required Gear for Iceland in October

  • Waterproof boots
  • Thick socks
  • Windbreaker material jacket with a hood (it’s pointless to bring an umbrella. The wind will just carry it away.)
  • Hat, Scarf & Gloves (for the cold days)
  • Sunglasses


If you’ve come to Iceland to experience the beautiful nature by going on long hikes, I would say October is not the best time to go. With the weather being so unpredictable, hiking would be a hit or miss activity.

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Waterfalls, Glaciers, Volcanoes and other Iceland Natural Wonders

Yes, it might be rainy, wet and cold. However you will still be able to enjoy these amazing natural wonders of Iceland.

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On the day I went on my tour of some of these sights, I wonder what I did to invoke the anger of Odin, Loki & Thor!

However, I just made sure I was dressed warm and it did not bother me too much. I just invoked my Viking spirit and the wind was no match for my inner Freya!

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In fact, I think it made seeing the Gulfoss Waterfalls even more spectacular with the wind and rain coming down on me!

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Geo Thermal Pools

Visiting at least one of the hot springs or geo thermal pools is one of the main tourist attractions in Iceland. With the average temperature of 100 F, the cold and rain will not stop you from enjoying the warm waters.

It just might be a cold sprint from the locker room to the pool!

Iceland LR

Benefits of Iceland in October

  • It’s the off season, so things like hotels and tours will be cheaper.
  • Since it’s the off season, none of the sights are crowded with too many tourists.
  • You don’t have to worry about booking activities in advance, as they will not be sold out like in the high season.

Despite the unpredictability of the weather in October, I still think it was a fabulous time of year to visit Iceland. Just go with realistic expectations!

Iceland LR 7

What to expect to eat in Iceland? Check out my Guide to What to Eat in Reykjavic!

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Reader Interactions


  1. Thank you for this tip! I have wanted to visit Iceland for a while but the cost has put me off so far. Perhaps opting to visit during October might help to keep the trip more affordable. Your right with making sure that you pack the correct clothing to cope with the colder wetter weather. I definitely want to visit a hot spring and the beautiful waterfalls that Iceland has.

  2. Lovely to see your brown face in such a pale place! It reminds me visually and culturally of my trip to Finland a couple of years back. I enjoyed strolling down my own memory lane while taking a peek at yours!

  3. We were in Iceland in August. We had amazing weather for every day. But we were told we were lucky and that most days were unpredictable like you had. It was great that you did not let the weather deter you from seeing some of the amazing natural beauty of Iceland. We were sorry we missed the Northern Lights. So we will definitely plan a trip back. Maybe a bit later than October!

  4. There are no bad weather only bad clothes and you have just proven that with a big smile on your face! In spite of rain you manage to have fun!
    Thank you for the helpful tips and they help me to make a decision not to visit Iceland in October! We are a family of hikers and would be devastated if we couldn’t because of rain.

  5. Great packing tips! I visited Iceland in February because I wanted to see an ice cave. I want to return and was thinking October would be a good month to see the area not covered in snow with still a chance at the Northern Lights. It looks like the trees have already shed, maybe beginning of September would be better?

  6. Thanks for these tips! Ha, Iceland’s got a crazy weather… But with your tips, I believe I’d survive and enjoy it. I wish to see Iceland’s natural beauty and experience the geothermal pools too. Perhaps, I’d do it on the off season as well.

  7. I think no matter what time of the year, Iceland is always beautiful. It might be cold and grey, but there is still so much to see. I went in February and even though it was windy and snowed a little, I still enjoyed it. I love the fall colours you were able to get on your photos.

  8. This post brought back memories… of the intense cold when we visited in March. I have to agree that the weather is very unpredictable. My winter jacket was not enough as cold as it was , so good that you highlight a packing list. Iceland does beckon one to see the different seasons it goes through.

  9. I have had the pleasure of visiting this absolutely stunning country and just would love to visit it again . Your post brought back loads of memories to start with . I totally agree going in October could be beneficial as it is not the most popular season and this would mean less crowds and better pricing . The natural beauty of Iceland is truly is unparalleled and the weather very unpredictable so you need to prepare when it come to clothing and footwear. Some great tips here first timers and thanks for sharing these .

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