Iceland in September. Preparing for the winter season
September is a transition month in Iceland. You can still do some summer activities in the first half of the month if the weather permits, and you can also do some winter activities during the second half of the month if it is cold enough. It is also the month when people start preparing for the dark and cold period of the winter. They are going to pick wild blueberries and make jam and juice, also they gather the sheep from the mountains to bring them to the farms they belong to.
There are also many festivals and events you can participate in if you are in Iceland, so keep reading to find out about them.
From a night sky dominated by the midnight sun, in September we are welcoming back the Northern Lights. The day is almost equal to the night so there is enough darkness to be able to see the northern lights.
The average temperature in Iceland in September is about 47.3 F (8.5 C), with an average high of 50 F (11 C), and an average low is 42 F (6 C). If you were wondering if you can see snow in September in Iceland then that is not possible with these temperatures but never say never, in Iceland the weather is always surprising.
If you are planning to come to Iceland this month you have to pack some layers of clothes. For the first layer, you will need some clothes that will keep you warm, then you need to think about the outside layer that needs to be wind and waterproof because September is mostly rainy here in Iceland and the wind is becoming stronger than in summer. Waterproof sturdy boots, a hat that will keep you warm, a swimsuit and your adventurous spirit should not be missing from your suitcase.
There is enough daylight for sightseeing in September and the weather is not extreme so you can enjoy the beauty of Iceland during your trip. There are also many exciting activities to try and many festivals and events to join. See below all about this.
Ljósanótt – Light Night in Reykjanes
3rd of September
“Ljósanótt, Reykjanesbær’s cultural and family festival, was held for the first time on September 2nd in 2000 and was Reykjanesbær’s contribution to Reykjavík, the city of culture in 2000. The festival was dedicated to lighting the sea hammers of the “Bergsin” and derives its name from that event, which the lighting work was created after the idea of Steinþór Jónsson, then town councilor and first chairman of the Night Lights Committee.
Light Night is held on the first weekend in September every year, and the focus is on extensive events from Thursday to Sunday, although the festival sometimes extends beyond that framework. It always reaches its peak on Saturday evening with a big concert on the outdoor stage, the illumination of the Berg and a spectacular fireworks display. The festival takes place on the weekend of the first Saturday in September.” (Ljósanótt)
For more info about the program and the tickets, please check the official website of the festival Ljósanótt.
RIFF – Reykjavík International Film Festival
29th of September – 9th of October
“RIFF – Reykjavík International Film Festival – is one of the biggest and most diverse cultural events in Iceland. RIFF is an independent non-profit organization. Our staff works all year round to organize the festival but we could not do that without the help of volunteers from all over the world that come to Reykjavík every year to help out.
For eleven days every fall since 2004, Icelandic locals and tourists alike are able to go to the cinema and enjoy the best and freshest of international filmmaking. Our guests can also meet and chat with directors about their works, attend panels and workshops, concerts and exhibitions, and even watch interesting films under even more interesting conditions, for instance in a swimming pool or in the filmmaker’s home.” (RIFF)
For more detail about the program and tickets for the festival check the official website RIFF.
Bears on Ice
1st-4th of September
“In 2005 we threw a little party in Reykjavik which was the beginning of something we had no idea that would become 15 years of BEARS ON ICE, a bear event in the World’s Northernmost capital, Reykjavik, Iceland.
These 15 years have been an amazing ride, full of fun and joy where we had the opportunity to meet friendly chaps from all over the world and introduce Iceland to them. We’ve also been privileged to have a long list of amazing international talents come to perform at our event through the years, DJs and musicians, and cooperated with other bear event planners. And we have also always included local DJs, performers and musicians mostly volunteering their talents not to mention the guides etc.” (Bearsonice)
See more info about this event on their official website Bearsonice.
There are around 800 000 sheep in Iceland which is almost three times more than Iceland’s population. Growing sheep and horses are the most popular form of agriculture in Iceland that is dating back to the settlement times when the settlers brought with them to Iceland sheep to sustain their life here.
Sheep are a source of food and wool and farmers around Iceland are proud of their products that are a source of income. Back in time, sheep were the most important thing to have to be able to go through the hard times in Icelandic winter, from food (meat and milk), wool and even bones, everything was part of the “winter survival kit”.
Farmers in Iceland have two major events during the year and they are the Lambing season which starts usually in May and Réttir season which starts in September.
In May, farmers are busy helping the ewes with the little lambs. Having such a harsh climate and relief in Iceland, farmers can not afford to lose any newborn lambs because they will be later on a source of food and wool that helps the locals to make their living. The farmers are keeping the ewes and the newborn lambs on their farms to keep them away from predators and harsh weather. This is helping them to adapt and grow enough until June when the grass turns green and farmers are taking the sheep to roam into the mountains for the summer season.
And if you went already in Iceland or have seen photos from Iceland for sure you have seen or met sheep roaming near the roads or in the quietest and most isolated areas.
When the summer season is over, the Réttir season starts. This was an important event back in time when people were preparing for winter. Nowadays is more a celebratory event and lately a touristy event where everyone is having fun while preparing for the winter season.
Because the temperatures are getting lower first in Northern Iceland, the Réttir season starts at the beginning of September first in the North and then during the month it happens all the way to the South of Iceland. And because there are many sheep that are roaming the Icelandic mountains, this event lasts for the entire month of September.
Farmers are gathering the sheep from the mountains on horses or on foot, with the important assistance of some farm dogs. They are using also ATVs but riding on horses is the traditional way to do this. Also, food supplies for sheep and other farm animals for the upcoming winter season are taken to the farms with tractors and trucks.
The name Réttir comes from the pens where sheep are being gathered and then every farmer is taking his sheep to their farm. They are selecting the sheep according to the marks and tags on their ears. The pens or rétt used to be made of stone or turf, but nowadays they are made of metal rails. The rétt looks like a giant wheel with spokes radiating out and the farmers are gathering their sheep there and then take them to the farm they belong to.
After a day of hard work, everyone is celebrating with drinks, cake, coffee, kleinur doughnuts and songs. A well-deserved reward after all the hard work.
If you are coming to Iceland in September check out where you can take part in this local event to feel Iceland in a different way and meet the locals.
As I mentioned there are some summer activities that you can still do in the first half of the month and some winter activities you can do for the second half of the month. Have a look and choose what is suitable for your needs.
Snorkelling at Silfra
Snorkelling at Silfra should be on your bucketlist. Described as one of the top dive sites globally by National Geographic, Silfra is located in the historically rich Thingvellir National Park – part of the famous Golden Circle route. Snorkelling in Silfra is a once-in-a-lifetime transcontinental experience.
The guides will show you what National Geographic has described as one of the top dive sites in the world. As you glide between tectonic plates floating on pure, filtered glacial meltwater, you’ll find out for yourself and tick off your bucket list for the ultimate tour on breathtaking underwater views only available in Iceland in the world’s most transparent waters.
Snorkeling between Continents in Silfra
Free Underwater Photos
Hot Spring Snorkeling Tour
Snorkeling at a geothermal area at Kleifarvatn
Diving & Snorkelling
Unique adventures to try
You can still sail among the icebergs in the glacier lagoons. The most famous glacier lagoon of Vatnajökull is Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, full of icebergs broken from Breiðamerkurjökull tongue. All the icebergs from this lagoon are taken by the ocean currents and brought back to land at Diamond Beach, right next to the lagoon.
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is one of the most visited places in Iceland, and for an excellent reason. Also called the Crown Jewel of Iceland, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon will impress you with its beauty and unicity. The landscape is fantastic.
The glacier lagoon is not frozen, so there are almost everyday boat trips on the lagoon. There are two options for boat tours on the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.
One Hour Small Islands Trip - 2021
Explore the small Islands around Vestmannaeyjar
Fjallsárlón - Iceberg boat tour
Tour among icebergs - sailing
to the edge of the glacier
Two Hour Round Trip - 2021
Sail in Vestmannaeyjar on a RIB speedboat
Photography Private Boat Tours
Photography Private Boat Tour
Vestmannaeyjar Boat Tour
Explore Vestmannaeyjar from a
Amphibian Boat Tour
Explore Jökulsárlón lagoon on a boat
Explore Jökulsárlón lagoon
on a boat tour
Amphibian boat tour. This trip takes about 30-40. During the excursion, you sail among the huge icebergs in the picturesque scenery of Jökulsárlón. You get to taste the 1000-year-old ice on the boat, and if you are lucky, you might even see some seals. There is also a guide to the ship who will explain to you the geology of the glacier lagoon. More details and prices for this tour you will find here.
Zodiac Tour. During this trip, you sail among the huge icebergs in the picturesque scenery of Jökulsárlón. You have to check in 30 minutes before departure for this boat tour, and the whole tour duration is 1 hour.
On the Zodiac tour, we can cover large lagoon areas and get closer to the icebergs than on the amphibian. The Zodiac goes almost up to the glacier (as close as safe).
As this tour approach more of the icebergs, all passengers are provided with flotation suits and a life jacket. If this tour has aroused your curiosity already, check our zodiac tour for more details.
Not far away from Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon is Fjallsárlón lagoon. And there can also be done two types of boat tours.
Fjallsárlón is an isolated glacial lagoon in the realm of Vatnajökull. Iceland’s tallest volcano, the Öræfajökull glacier, looms above the lagoon and reaches the water where icebergs break off into the lake and drift serenely around before melting.
Photography Private Boat Tours. Even if you are a pro or an amateur photographer, you can choose a photography private boat tour on the Fjallsárlón lagoon. Take all your camera gear since you have a lot of space in the boat; you will be able to take the best shots here.
There are two options for this tour: the classic tour or the luxury tour.
The classic tour takes about one hour and thirty minutes, and you will be taken to the edge of the glacier. At the same time, your guide explains the formation of the glacier, the surrounding landscape, and the community of people around it.
The luxury tour takes about two hours, and a picnic follows it in Fjallsey. The island is right by the glacier’s edge, perfect for a picnic. So after you take your best shots, you can relax and enjoy some champagne and the food you will find in the picnic basket. Have you decided which one you choose? Take a look here for more details.
Fjallsárlón – Iceberg boat tour. This tour takes one hour and thirty minutes, and you will be sailing to the edge of the glacier. During this tour, you will find out more information about how the local farmers were struggling with the forces of nature back in the day and how they created a communion with nature. Take a look at our boat tours and join us in this adventure.
You probably have seen photos of the “Elephant Rock” and pictures of an island with only a building. Those are some of the most famous images from Iceland that you will see online, but where were they taken? Westman Islands!
Located in the South of Iceland, Vestmannaeyjar is an archipelago that has 15 islands and 30 rock stacks around them. It is one of the most exciting places in Iceland as it has a rich and not-so-happy history but rich geology. Also, Westman Islands have rich wildlife that includes many species of birds and the largest population of puffins, the first beluga whale sanctuary in the world, and many other species of whales on the ocean waters near the islands.
You can experience all those natural wonders from a boat tour around the Westman Islands. We recommend three boat tours on Westman Islands operated by our friends from RIB Safari.
The South Coast of Iceland is a geological masterpiece of past volcanic activity. South Coast has some of the most beautiful black sand beaches and an impressive volcanic and glacial relief. Exploring the South Coast is such an exciting experience, and it can become unforgettable if you choose to explore it on an ATV tour.
Our friends from Arcanum are organising some ATV tours on the South Coast of Iceland and you have to try one.
ATV - Super View
2 Mountain Adventure ATV/Quad Tour
in the countryside of Reykjavik
ATV and Northern Lights
a full hour of ATV action on Mount Hafrafell
before beginning the hunt for the Northern Lights.
ATV - Black Beach Safari and the Plane Wreck
Ride an ATV on black lava beaches,
visit the DC3 plane wreck and cross glacier rivers!
ATV - Express
Explore the black volcano
sand beaches of the South Coast
Northern Lights Tour on ATV/Quad
Experience the Northern Lights ATV/Quad Tour
close to Reykjavik
ATV - Midnight Sun tour
Midnight Sun ATV/Quad tour in the
coutryside of Reykjavik
Discover Hallormsstaður forest
1 hour ATV Tour in the forest of Hallormsstaður
Panorama ATV Tour & Blue Lagoon
1-Hour Guided ATV Tour
ATV and Glacier Lagoon Kayak
ATV and Glacier Lagoon Kayak
ATV and Glacier Walk
ATV and Glacier Walk
The whale season is at its highest peak during summer, but there are still areas where you can see whales.
The best part of travelling to Iceland is that you can do some excellent activities there.
Before going on a tour, you must understand that bad weather conditions can reschedule or cancel the tour. Also, as you watch marine life, you have to realise that everything happens in the whales’ natural environment, and it is not guaranteed that you will see many whales. Sometimes happens not to see any whales, but those cases are rare.
Whale-watching from Reykjavik
The best whale watching tour from Reykjavik
Whale-watching from Akureyri
Relax in the Northfjords on a whale watching
Whale-watching from Hauganes
The best whale watching tours from Hauganes
Whale-watching from Dalvik
Memorable experiences on a boat
Whale-watching from Hjalteyri
Memorable experiences in the North on a boat
Whale-watching from Húsavík
Adventures in the whale watching capital
Whale Watching Grundarfjörður
Adventures in the Snaefellsnes peninsula
Whale Watching Hólmavík
The best tours in Hólmavík
Whale Watching Ólafsvík
The best tours in Snæfellsnes peninsula
Geothermal baths and hot springs
There is no right time for a geothermal bath. And it is a must-do in Iceland. Check our blog to see the best places to relax like a true Viking and where you can find natural hot springs in Westfjords.
Also, if you plan to come to Iceland in August, book your ticket now.
The Blue Lagoon is a popular
Relax like a Viking
A secret place to relax
Spa / Geothermal Baths
Laugravatn Fontana, MyVatn,
Vök Baths, Geosea, Bjórböðin
Ice cave exploration*
Depending on the temperatures outside, there might be changes in the operation of the Katla Ice Cave tour.
There are some ice caves that are available for exploration all year.
One ice cave is the Katla ice cave in South Iceland. It is located in the Kötlujökull glacier, part of the Mýrdalsjökull glacier.
And the other one is the ice cave at Langjökull glacier. The ice cave at Langjökull is artificial, so there has been an entire process to carve into the glacier and form the tunnel. Local authorities opened the ice cave to the public in 2015, and the tunnel inside the glacier is 550m long and goes 30 meters into the glacier.
If you want to explore some ice caves, these are some excellent options.
P.S. Starting October the Blue Ice Cave tours will be available to book.
Ice Cave by Katla Volcano
Visit this truly unique Ice Cave
underneath Katla volcano.
Into The Glacier - From Klaki Base Camp
Your Into The Glacier Adventure
is truly a unique experience.
Katla Ice Cave | Super Jeep from Vik
Unique Ice Cave underneath Katla volcano
Into the Glacier - From Reykjavík
Explore the inside of Langjökull
glacier on this day trip from Reykjavík
Hunting the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)
The season of hunting the northern lights just started and the weather is still warmer than in winter. There is a high possibility to have more days with clear skies in September than in the winter months so if you are in Iceland do not sleep, go outside and look at the sky, you might have a surprise. You can go also on a guided tour for hunting the northern lights.
Pssst, the Northern Lights has witnessed many engagements and at the same time has offered the best views for such a special moment.
September is a good month to visit Iceland, the weather is still pleasant, the prices are not so high as during the summer season and you can enjoy many exciting activities.
If you are coming to Iceland in September share with us your adventures.
Why you should visit Iceland in December?
Travelling during winter in nordic countries can be both amazing and a little bit concerning if you’re not a fan of cold grey weather...
What to wear in Iceland during winter?
When you hear the name Iceland you probably think about cold weather, snowstorms, minus degrees Celsius and so on...
Guide for driving in Iceland during winter
Iceland never ceases to amaze with its beautiful scenic roads
The ultimate guide to Aurora Hunting
Your guide to aurora hunting in Iceland.