September in Iceland

Quick facts about the weather and daylight in September

Average temperature: 8,02°C /  46.44°F
Average hours of sunlight: 118.14
Average of lowest and highest recorded temperature in September: Low 0.09°C / 32.16°F –  High 14.58°C / 58.24°F
Length of day on September 1st: 14 hours and 32 minutes

I’m not going to lie to you – I’m a big fan of September. I know I should be all sad about the summer being over but there’s just something so cozy about when the darkness returns and you can snuggle up under a blanket and light a candle at night with good conscience. Lighting a candle in June is just silly!

If you ask Icelanders about the weather in September they will probably tell you that it’s always raining. Although it does rain more in September than during the summer months it’s not even close to being the wettest month of the year (on average). In fact, it’s typically the driest out of all the fall and winter months although that can vary between years. Statistics and pivot tables for the win!

What I like about September is the fall colors, the golden light that seems to last forever and the mostly calm weather. There’s nothing quite as pretty as Þingvellir national park in its autumn colors.  We also often see the first good northern lights show of the winter in September but it tends to be one of the most active northern lights month out of the year, especially towards the end of it.

Although September is not quite as busy tourist-wise as the summer there’s still plenty of people around. The big difference for those who plan on venturing out of Reykjavík by car is that all the Icelanders have returned back to work which should make the roads a little less busy.

September is the perfect month to visit Iceland if you want a bit smaller crowds while still enjoying relatively mild and good weather. Mind you, your definition of good weather might be quite different from the Icelandic definition.

Annual events and festivals in September worth checking out

Bears on Ice: One of Iceland three biggest LGBT events and Iceland’s only men-only event.

Októberfest SHÍ (University of Iceland): Although intended mostly for the students of the University of Iceland, how can you say no to lots and lots of beer and some of the freshest local musical acts?

RIFF: Iceland’s biggest film festival.

Réttir: The annual sheep roundup usually takes place in September. Although it’s not a festival or a single event it’s still worth looking up if you want to experience something authentically Icelandic.

Tours you might want to consider in September

Northern lights: September is often a great month for the northern lights, especially around the autumn equinox (somewhere around September 20th) and therefore a northern lights tour would be ideal. You could consider a tour like the Northern Lights and the Secret Lagoon or the Northern Lights super jeep tour.

Landmannalaugar: Landmannalaugar is often crowded in the summer which is why a September tour might be ideal. The road into Landmannalaugar is usually open throughout September and if you don’t want to rent a jeep to get there you can take advantage of one of the many great tours on offer. We recommend the Landmannalaugar hiking tour with a transfer from Reykjavík for the budget minded adventure seekers or the Landmannalaugar Super Jeep tour for those who want to travel in a bit more comfort and safely explore off the beaten path.

This post is part of a series about the best time to visit Iceland where we go through things to consider before visiting Iceland for each month of the year. All the weather-related statistics come from the Icelandic Met Office but the rest is based on our feelings and experience.

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13 thoughts on “September in Iceland”

  1. Danielle says:

    Totally agree with the above – perfect time in my opinion – off season prices for the most part, still decent daylight, still ok for driving if you are snow/ice phobic (i.e. me), northern lights possible, great weather still possible, some summer activities that stop in winter still going. I have been twice in September now and would recommend to anyone – I may have just been lucky on those two visits, but I too am a big September fan 😀

  2. Jen G. says:

    We just booked our trip for the end of this month and I can’t express how excited I am. It’ll be our second time (last time was October), but def not our last. Thanks for the info!

  3. Monica Demler says:

    Our first trip will be the end of this month and into first week of October. So EXCITED! We had originally tried to book a group tour for the summer but they were full…then this one was added on and I think we will be very happy for the delay. Coming from Southern California, we are always looking for cooler vacations and per the above comments, we will be very pleased. Hoping for little rain so that I can get the fall colors in my photos. Thanks.

    1. mm Ásta - I Heart Reykjavík says:

      Hi Monica,

      great to hear. So far the aumtumn has been amazingly beautiful, crisp clear air and lovely calm days. I hope this will be the case still in October – happy travel planning!

  4. Bev Stewart says:

    This will be our first trip to Iceland. We have scheduled the Blue Lagoon and Whale watching. Any other must see suggestions. Will be there from Sept 28-Oct 5.

    1. mm Ásta - I Heart Reykjavík says:

      Hi Bev,

      since you have quite a few days to play with, I can have lots of suggestions! Send us an email hello at iheartreykjavik.net and let us know what you would be interested in doing and where you will be staying, and we will get back to you with suggestions.

  5. zach berninger says:

    Thanks for the post and great advise. We are headed out tomorrow. Maybe we will see some of you other commentors.

    1. Kat says:

      He was the weather there Zach? Is it super cold and rainy? Is the drive crazy? We are super excited leaving this Sat night 🙂

  6. Kat says:

    Hi I’m going to be there with my little tot this Sunday-Thursday. Seems like it’s going to rain the whole time. Is it that bad? Can you suggest what to do during rainy days? Tours or renting a car? Thank you so much!!!

    1. mm Ásta - I Heart Reykjavík says:

      Hi Kat,

      since this calls for a bit of a longer answer, I have sent you an email. But generally warm and waterproof clothing ans a smile will help to enjoy Iceland in September! And even if the forecast says rain all day, that might just mean showers here and there throughout the day, and beautiful in between.

  7. Ali Miller says:

    Hi!
    Just got a one way ticket to come out the end of Sept to who knows when. Want to do it all and have no idea where to start. Are spikes necessary during this time? Would doing a road trip with a vehicle you can sleep in be ideal for this time of year?!? I’m so excited as well. Let me know your thoughts!! Thanks so much!!

    1. mm Ásta - I Heart Reykjavík says:

      Hi Ali,

      you shouldn’t need spikes for wheels at this time, not until November or later, depending on where you are going to be. I would think that it might get quite cold at this time of year, and it can be quite windy. Maybe a rental car and accommodation inside might be a better idea – but it all depends on what the weather is like, and we never really know what to expect when it comes to the weather!

  8. Kat E says:

    For the record: spouse and I were there in early Sept of this year. I think we had one afternoon of spitting rain. The temps were even, we saw the aurora borealis on its first appearance (in the city! despite the lights!). And it wasn’t especially crowded, so… September in and around Reykjavik, enthusiastically endorsed.

    Also: Asta was a fantastic guide. This blog was totally right about car rentals, and your maps and recs were spot on. So thank you.

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