Wondering when is the best time of year to go to Iceland for a first time visit to see all the sights in the land of fire and ice? If you’re planning a first time visit to Iceland, the best time to visit Iceland
Why Visit Iceland in September?
There are many reasons why planning a trip to Iceland in September is a great option for first timers, from weather conditions, saving money in Iceland, things to do and the important factor of safety.
Iceland quickly became one of my favourite ever destinations when I visited for the first time in September last year and, in this post I am going to run through all the reasons why September is a good month to visit Iceland for first timers.
1 – September is Iceland’s only autumnal month
Iceland is as the name suggests an ‘ice-land’, most commonly thought of as a winter destination. But, did you know, September is Iceland’s only autumnal month?
By visiting Iceland in September, you get the unique opportunity to see the changing of the seasons and see Iceland’s autumn landscape carpeted in autumn colours.
Seeing Iceland in autumn really gives you unique pictures of Iceland. The Kerid
I certainly wouldn’t risk dangling my feet over the edge of the Kerid Crater in the icy weather, that’s for sure!
If you’re lucky, like we were, you’ll have beautiful sunny days in Iceland (with a couple of showers to see the Icelandic waterfalls, of course) with temperatures of 6-11C (40-52F).
2 – It’s not too cold to explore Iceland in September
When you are staying in the cosiest boutique aparthotel in Reykjavík like we were, finding the motivation to explore Iceland in the cold weather can be somewhat difficult! Luckily, September is a great month to explore Iceland as it’s not too cold!
Imagine you’ve paid for a trip to Iceland, but when you get there you don’t want to explore because the weather in Iceland is too cold! What a waste of a trip! Believe me, visiting Iceland is not cheap and you really want to make the most of your time in Iceland by seeing all the best things to do in Iceland while you are there.
3 – Minimal packing for Iceland in September
When it comes to what to wear in Iceland in September, you do have the option to pack light.
I only took hand luggage for my September Iceland trip, packing clothing for 4 days in Iceland.
Visiting in September gives the option of travelling light in Iceland, without having to pack tons into hand luggage!
4 – September is the perfect month for hiking in Iceland
Whilst the best time of year to go to Iceland to hike is no doubt the summer months, for those extra daylight hours. September is also a great time to make the most of hiking in Iceland as the land is dry and, as I mentioned earlier in the post, the landscape is in full autumn glory!
September is the perfect month to explore the Sólheimasandur plane crash site with less tourists and more daylight hours. Just make sure you set off before lunch and pack your hiking shoes for Iceland!
5 – The daylight hours are normal in September so you can enjoy Iceland at night
September has normal daylight hours in Iceland, meaning you can see all the incredible sunrises and sunsets without having to get up too early or stay up too late.
The summer months are great for exploring Iceland, with approximately 20 hours of daylight. But, as the sun only sets at around 11pm in June/July you don’t really get the opportunity to explore Iceland at night. I would imagine the extra daylight hours play havoc with your body clock if you’re on a short break to Iceland too!
Winter in Iceland is a complete contrast with between 4-6 hours of daylight, depending on the month you visit.
The good thing about visiting Iceland in September is that the daylight hours are normal with 12-13 hours per day and it does get dark at night. This gives you ample opportunities to explore Iceland by day and enjoy the darker evenings too, which leads me onto my next point.
6 – If you visit Iceland in September you can see the Northern Lights
When it comes to the best time of year to go to Iceland, it all depends on you and what you want to see in Iceland. Seeing The Northern Lights in Iceland was a must for my 4-day Iceland itinerary and September marks the start of Northern Lights Season in Iceland.
As with any natural phenomenon, you are not guaranteed to see The Northern Lights whenever you visit and, photographing the Northern Lights is no easy task. To see the Northern Lights, you need three things: darkness, a clear sky and aurora activity. September is a good month to see auroras in Iceland, with its milder weather and 10 hours of darkness.
Another benefit of seeing the Northern Lights in September in Iceland is that it’s not as chilly as other months. As I discovered, to put the heating on in the car means you have to turn the car engine on and, as the lights come on automatically in Iceland, it can result in many complaints from those around you waiting in darkness for the aurora! Be smart and dress up extra warm for aurora hunting in Iceland!
7 – September is not peak season in Iceland and has less crowds
September is not peak season for tourists visiting Iceland. Many see Iceland as a winter destination and others want to see as much of Iceland as they can during the extended Summer daylight hours.
The real benefit here is that visiting Iceland in September you won’t have 98658965345 people in the background of your Blue Lagoon shots and you will get to experience the natural wonders of Iceland without hordes of tourists arriving in coaches!
As September is not peak season in Iceland, it also means you are likely to save money and reduce your Iceland trip costs.
8 – September has cheaper flights to Iceland
The school holidays have ended and it’s not peak season, which only means cheap flights to Iceland.
We booked our flights from London to Iceland around June/July to fly in September and paid £135.62 return for two. Our dates were pretty specific as I wanted to be floating in the Blue Lagoon on my birthday, but I normally use the Skyscanner whole month view to carefully select the best days to fly to save money.
9 – Wider choice of accommodation by visiting Iceland in September
Again, another benefit of not booking in peak season is that you have more accommodation to choose from for your trip to Iceland.
For a first time trip to Iceland, I recommend staying in Reykjavík as many of the Golden Circle attractions are within easy distance.
As I mentioned in my Saving Money in Iceland post, staying in an apartment with a kitchenette helped reduce our costs in Iceland loads! I can’t recommend The Swanhouse Aparthotel Reykjavík enough, it’s such a cute, conveniently located hotel.
10 – Driving conditions are safer in Iceland in September
To really experience the beauty of Iceland to your own schedule, you will need to hire a car.
Driving in Iceland is not as scary as you’d think and if you haven’t driven on the other side of the road before (Icelanders drive on the right). I’d actually say Southern Iceland is the best place to drive on the other side of the road for the first time, as long as you are not visiting in the winter months.
The roads are wide, well paved and clearly signposted. Driving in Iceland in September you will also find the roads fairly quiet.
I highly recommend hiring a car in Iceland with Átak, this is the hire car company Adam and I chose for our Icelandic road trip as they are very reasonably priced with portable Wi-fi/GPS/additional driver included as standard.
11- Iceland’s highland roads are accessible in September
For those of you looking to get off the beaten track and explore Iceland’s F roads, it is possible to do this in September (particularly, the first half of the month.)
It should be noted, the weather conditions in Iceland are interchangeable whenever you visit Iceland, though you do have a better chance of using the F roads (unpaved Highland roads) in September.
During our September Iceland trip, a weather warning was issued for the highlands, therefore it’s best to stay updated with weather and road conditions.
12 – Save money on extortionate tours by visiting Iceland in September
The best thing about driving in Iceland outside the winter months, other than exploring to your own schedule, is that you save money on tours in Iceland. Driving in snow in Iceland can be dangerous and, by visiting Iceland in the winter months you’re more likely to book expensive tours rather than risk driving.
If you want to go whale watching in Iceland, see the Northern Lights in Iceland and explore the famous Iceland Golden Circle, these will all like
By visiting Iceland in September and hiring a car to do a self-drive Iceland tour, you will be able to see Iceland on a budget. Iceland is an expensive country to visit and you will need your pennies, believe me!
13 – Visiting Iceland in September you can be sure you have seen as much of Iceland’s wonders on a first time visit!
There’s nothing like looking back on a 4 day Iceland trip and marvelling at all things you managed to see and do during that time!
I really couldn’t believe many attractions we saw in Iceland in 4 days! We saw almost all the sights we wanted to see during our 4 nights in Reykjavík, without spending lots of money on Iceland tours.
September is a happy medium between the endless Icelandic summer nights and the start of Aurora season. Not to mention, the glorious autumn hues, which really encourage you to take a moment to appreciate the beautiful Icelandic landscape.
Visiting Iceland in September enables you to see the best of Iceland without getting too cold! I’ve always been more sun seeker anyway!
There is no time like the present to book a trip to Iceland. If you have a few days annual leave in September, visit Iceland! Many of the low cost airlines are currently having sales for next year, so now you know the best time to visit Iceland, there’s no better time to book your flights to Iceland in September!
I hope you find this post about visiting Iceland in September helpful. If you did, please use the sharing icons, including Pinterest to save for a later date and help others plan their trip!
Check out my Iceland travel blog archives to read more blog posts about Iceland.