By the end of this week, we will be entering the month of September and will officially welcome the beginning of autumn. This season is one of the best times to visit Iceland and is a special time here. The fall foliage will quickly cover the country in a sea of orange, red, and yellow-hued leaves. While it may not be the most hospitable climate, there is no doubting that the colors that autumn creates are vivid and stunning. For the uninitiated to Iceland’s fall weather, let’s do a quick rundown of what to expect this autumn (besides pumpkin spice lattes of course). Just kidding! There’s no Starbucks in Iceland.
General Overview of Icelandic Weather
Before we take a look at the weather in Iceland during September, October and November when temperatures drop, let’s discuss they country’s weather as a whole. Summers are long and filled with sunshine, spring is warm(ish) and dry(er), and the winters are unforgiving. Fall…well, it’s wet. Iceland contains millions of breathtaking natural wonders. However, our otherworldly landscapes come at a cost: the weather is sometimes, how should I say it…not optimal.
Looking at a map, Iceland is situated off the coast of Europe, right above the United Kingdom, and between Greenland and mainland Scandinavia. That means we are smack dab right in-between the northern region of the Atlantic Ocean and the Norwegian Sea. As such, we incur many storms, and the fall is no exception. While autumn produces crisp weather, warm color in our foliage, and an excuse to consume as many kleinur and hot chocolates as possible, it is also the wettest season in Iceland.
Iceland’s Weather in the Fall – Rain, Rain, Go Away
Autumn in Iceland is rainy and overcast. However, there is a fascinating scientific reason behind this. As we inch closer toward fall, the Gulf stream starts to bring warm air in from over the Atlantic ocean. These Gulf wind currents eventually make their way towards Iceland. When they arrive over our Nordic island, they immediately come in contact with cold Arctic wind currents. These two forces of mother nature clash and this results in overcast skies, sudden storms, heavy winds, and rapidly changing climate conditions. It is truly a strange, yet beautiful time to be in Iceland. One minute it can feel like summer, and, in the blink of an eye, you can seem like the middle of winter. Going from sunshine to hail, sleet or a snowstorm so quickly can be a bit disconcerting, but as many Icelanders say, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes and it will change”.
It Can Get Pretty Chilly
Autumn is, in many ways, very similar to spring. Both seasons proceed our most drastic seasons, and they are both windy, and sometimes chilly. The temperature in Iceland can drop to below 0° C (32° F) at night, and get as high as 10°C (50° F) during the day. However, the most significant difference is the wind. Icelandic autumn winds are blustery and will cut through your outerwear. If you plan on visiting us during this particular season, it is paramount that you come prepared with a top-notch rain jacket, some warm layers, and weatherproofed boots and pants. Otherwise, you will be a soggy log on your fall Icelandic vacation. Remember, it is extremely important that you check the weather of the region you are headed to. I can say for a fact that it rains more in the south. However, it would be folly to try to predict the weather from a month out. I had to guess, I would say always prepare for rain.
The Weather Brings Stunning Fall Colors & Berry Picking to Iceland
Fall may be a wet and windy season in Iceland. However, it is one of the country’s most beautiful times of the year. The rains are substantial, the winds can be cutting, but the autumn foliage is bright and brilliant. This is especially true in parts of Iceland were freshly fallen snow covers a sea of contrasting red, orange, and yellow leaves and moss. Photo opportunities in Iceland during autumn are exciting and abundant.
Even though there is a mass exodus of both migrating birds and visiting tourists, fall in Iceland means plenty of time to go foraging for wild berries and mushrooms in the Icelandic countryside. Berries bloom in the autumn season here, and seas of bilberries (a type of blueberry found in northern Europe) are ripe for the picking. Grab your rain jacket, a basket, and get ready to find some juicy wild berries.
Iceland’s Climate and Weather in the Fall
The unpredictable weather of autumn is a signal that tourism will slow, and life will quiet down. Despite the rainy conditions, Iceland during the fall evolves in a beautiful rust-colored, orange-tinged, berry-filled, wet wonderland. Many tours and excursions will close for the season. However, there is plenty of hiking and backpacking for the more adventurous among us. Just make sure that you come prepared with the appropriate weather-proofed clothing, an appetite for fresh fruit, and a hankering to chow down on endless hot chocolates and kleniur to keep you cozy and comfortable in our beautiful Nordic country.
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