Visiting Iceland in September will give you a unique glimpse into this country’s incredibly beautiful landscape and rich cultural heritage. From music and cultural festivals to stunning natural wonders, there’s so much to do in Iceland in September that you’ll be spoiled for choice!
If you’ve chosen the start of fall as your time to experience Iceland, you’re already off to a good start, as September is the perfect time to soak in all the sights and sounds of Iceland. Prepare for your trip by checking out our top travel tips to plan your itinerary and make sure you don’t miss out!
Weather in Iceland in September
First things first, you might be wondering what the weather in Iceland during September is like. You’ll be happy to hear that weather conditions in Iceland in September are mild, with the summer sun likely still shining for some days. It’s best to be prepared for every season, though, due to Iceland’s famously unpredictable weather.
There will likely be some rainy days, and wind in Iceland is quite common, too, so we recommend that you check the weather each day (and throughout the day) to plan your activities accordingly.
Iceland Temperature in September
September sees mild temperatures in Iceland, as summer gives way to fall. You’re unlikely to see any snow during your trip to Iceland in September, although it could happen! Average Iceland temperatures for September are around 8 °C (46 °F), with a range of between 6 °C (43 °F) and 11 °C (52 °F). Lucky travelers will experience some beautiful sunny days of up to 15 °C (59 °F).
What to Pack for Iceland in September
Wondering what to bring in your suitcase for your September Iceland trip? Fall can be a tricky time to pack for, as weather conditions can vary. But don’t worry – our top packing tips are here to help you! Take a look at our checklist below to ensure you have all you need to enjoy your Iceland adventure.
- Windproof and waterproof coat – A staple for every Iceland trip at any time of year, a windproof and waterproof coat is a must. You’ll be so glad you packed this jacket to protect you from the elements when out and about in Iceland’s incredible natural spaces.
- Warm or thermal layers, including woolen socks – You’ll need some warmer layers during September, especially for long trips out exploring the amazing geological features of Iceland. It’s a good idea to bring woolen socks along, particularly for any glacier trips you’re planning.
- Hat, gloves, and scarf – We recommend bringing a hat, some gloves, and a scarf to keep you toasty and warm when in Iceland’s more remote locations, such as the Icelandic Highlands.
- Sunglasses – Essential for sunny days, and any day when visiting Iceland’s ice lagoons, sunglasses will serve you well on your September Iceland trip.
- T-shirts for warmer days – Layering is key to dressing well in Iceland. As weather conditions can quickly change, wearing layers will allow you to adjust accordingly. T-shirts are perfect base layers for September. You can remove jumpers and jackets when hiking and replace them when needed.
- Camera – Whenever you visit Iceland, you’ll definitely need your camera to capture the incredible views and stunning scenery.
Things to Do in Iceland in September
Now you’re all clued-up on what to pack for Iceland in September, let’s explore some top ideas for things to do in Iceland in September, including the best places to visit and festivals not to miss out on!
Take a trip to Thingvellir
Thingvellir National Park is a stunning natural wonder which will give you an incredible view of the beautiful autumnal leaves. Contrasted against the black, grey and white rocky canyons, the lovely vegetation and trees at Thingvellir look amazing dressed in their autumnal colors.
Lying along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Thingvellir displays incredible geological processes right before your eyes. You can stop off at Thingvellir as you drive Iceland’s Golden Circle route, which takes you to more awe-inspiring places, including geothermal oases, lava fields and cascading waterfalls.
Watch or take part in Réttir
September is an amazing time to visit Iceland, as this is the time that one of the country’s oldest traditions takes place. Rettir is the annual sheep round-up that happens once a year after the summer season is over. Farmers invite family, friends and even visitors to help them herd the Icelandic sheep, which freely roam the country’s pastures during summer.
You’ll most likely see shepherds with horses and sheepdogs gathering the sheep to guide them back to the sorting fold. Icelandic sheep are earmarked during spring, so each farmer can identify their sheep. The sheep graze on lower ground during winter, where they can feed more easily and avoid the snow.
When driving through Iceland, you’ll probably spot the circular pens that the sheep are guided back to, dotted all around the fields. People of all ages get involved in Rettir, enjoying food and music after the hard work of gathering all the sheep. We recommend checking the local paper to find out how to join in with Rettir.
Go berry picking
Another Icelandic tradition during the months of August and September is to go berry picking, or ‘berjamor’. You’ll find wild blueberries, bog bilberries and crow berries as you travel through the country. These berries were traditionally used by Icelanders to supplement their diet of meat and fish, providing essential vitamins.
You’re allowed to pick any berries that are growing on public land. If you aren’t lucky enough to find some berries for yourself, check out the village or roadside shops for some homemade jam made from the berries!
Enjoy the festivals
Night of Lights: Ljosanott
Taking place on the first weekend of September, the Night of Lights sees a dazzling fireworks display, beautiful lights illuminating the surrounding hills and amazing live music. You can also enjoy the special art exhibitions around the town of Reykjanesbær, where the festival takes place.
Reykjavík cultural festivals
There are a number of interesting cultural festivals that take place during September in Iceland’s capital. Whether you’re a fan of music, literature or films, you’ll find something for you!
The start of September sees Reykjavík Jazz Festival heading to town. This second-longest-running music festival in Iceland has been held in Iceland for more than thirty years and sees a wide array of talented jazz musicians perform.
One for all the book lovers out there, Reykjavík International Literary Festival is celebrated every two years in the capital. Learn more about Iceland’s major contributions to literature, how the written word teaches us about Icelandic history and culture, and explore the work of Icelandic and international writers at this fantastic festival through special events in September.
At the end of September, Reykjavík International Film Festival hits the capital with eleven days of film screenings and movie premieres, showing over 100 films in total! Take a break after a long day of glacier hiking by putting your feet up at one of the fascinating film showings.
Seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland in September
You’re probably wondering whether you can see the Northern Lights in Iceland during September. You’ll be happy to know that September is actually a brilliant time of year to spot the Aurora Borealis because solar activity is heightened during the equinoxes. The autumnal equinox happens around two-thirds of the way through September, making this the ideal time to go Aurora hunting!
To spot the Northern Lights, you’ll need a dark, clear night without too much light pollution. This means that travelling into the countryside, or at least a little way away from the city or any populated area, will give you a better chance of experiencing the Aurora for yourself. You can also take a guided Aurora tour if you prefer.
Get Set For Your Iceland September Adventure
Enjoy a month with fewer tourist, but with plenty of things to see and do. You already have the inspiration, now, are you ready to hit the road? Get set for your Iceland September trip by hiring your car in Iceland, reading our guide to driving in Iceland and planning your itinerary – the adventure awaits!