Weather in Iceland in September: travel guide

Planning to visit Iceland in September? Read on to find out everything you need to know about the weather in Iceland in September and other essential travel tips. From average temperatures and driving conditions, to what to do and what to pack, this guide should stand you in good stead to make the most of your time in Iceland. 

What is the weather like in September?

The weather in September can vary significantly depending on the location you're interested in. In general, September marks the transition from summer to autumn. It tends to be milder than the peak summer months, with less heat and humidity. This makes September a great time for travel, as you can enjoy comfortable temperatures and often fewer crowds

Before travelling to the land of glaciers and geysers, arm yourself with an understanding of the weather in Iceland in September.

Average temperatures in September in Iceland

Autumn in Iceland sees a gentle dip in temperatures from the summer highs. The average daytime temperature in September hovers around the comfortable 50°F (10°C) mark. 

Come nightfall, the temperatures drop to an average low of 42°F (6°C). 

September winds and rain

September marks the onset of autumn in Iceland, bringing persistent winds and frequent showers. It's one of the rainiest months in Iceland, with an average of 20 days of precipitation, amounting to around 76mm.

The rainfall ranges from drizzle to downpours, depending on your location, with places like Dalatangi receiving up to 160mm and Akureyri seeing an average of 39mm.

In addition, Iceland is known for its potent winds, which can make the weather feel much colder than the mercury level suggests. 

Not sure about visiting in September? Read our guide to the best time to visit Iceland.

Boat parking at the jetty of the town in Siglufjorour. Northern Iceland © Jordan Lye/Shutterstock

Siglufjorour, Northern Iceland © Jordan Lye/Shutterstock

Understanding Iceland's climate in September

September sees Iceland transition from summer to autumn. So, when planning a trip, it's worth being aware of the month's specific weather characteristics.

Long daylight hours

Early September still offers plenty of sunlight, with daylight lasting 14.5 hours. The sun rises around 6am, and sets around 9pm, so September is a great time to make the most of your days!

As the month wears on, daylight hours shrink to 11.5 hours, with sunrise shifting to 7.30am.

That said, this decline in daylight isn't all doom and gloom. September is the first month when the skies are dark enough to see the majestic Northern Lights. 

Northern lights in Iceland

The weather in Iceland in September is suitable for seeing the Northern Lights © Shutterstock

Autumn colours of Iceland

Autumn introduces a grand splash of colour to Iceland's rugged landscapes. Despite having few trees, areas like the Icelandic Highlands and Thingvellir National Park in the Golden Circle are painted with shades of gold, red, yellow, and brown. 

Other top places to see Iceland's autumn colours are the Hraunfossar Waterfalls and Heiðmörk. 

Not sure where to head in early autumn? Discover more destinations to visit in September.

Reykjadalur Steam Valley © Shutterstock

Reykjadalur steam valley © Shutterstock

Tips for your September visit to Iceland 

Read on for travel tips that'll serve you well as you plan your trip to Iceland in September. You might also want to read our tips for visiting Iceland at any time of year.

Best activities to do in Iceland in September

Now you know what to expect of the weather in Iceland in September, here's a run-down of some of the best activities you can enjoy during your visit.

  • Drive to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula: often referred to as Iceland in miniature, the Snæfellsnes Peninsula offers everything from soaring mountains and quaint villages, to stunning coastlines.
  • Visit Hraunfossar Waterfall: with magnificent autumn colours as its backdrop, the Hraunfossar waterfall looks at its best in September — the flowing water contrasts spectacularly against the moss-covered lava rock.
  • Go hiking on Langjökull Glacier: experience an adventure on the second-largest ice cap in Iceland. Just remember to wear your warmest clothes and good hiking boots, and join a guided tour if you're not a seasoned hiker.
  • Watch the Northern Lights: with longer nights settling in, September is one of the best times to chase the mesmerising Northern Lights. To boost your chance of sightings, check the forecast and head away from city lights.

For more ideas, read our run-down of the best things to do in Iceland.

Hofn, Iceland © Shutterstock

Hofn, Iceland © Shutterstock

What to pack for September in Iceland

With the weather in Iceland in September being unpredictable, you'll want to come prepared for a range of conditions. Here are some essential items to add to your suitcase.

  • Waterproof clothing: a waterproof jacket and trousers are a must for walkers and hikers.
  • Layered clothing: choose clothes that can be layered, like thermal leggings, t-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, and sweaters. You'll also want to bring a warm hat, scarf and gloves.
  • Appropriate footwear: given the terrain and weather, waterproof hiking boots are essential. Pack warm wool socks to keep your feet cozy, and throw in flip-flops for visits to hot springs.
  • Accessories and essential sundries: sunglasses, a quick-dry towel, a water bottle, and a backpack suitable for hiking will come in very handy. Also remember to pack electrical items like adapters, chargers, cables, and power banks.

Driving conditions in Iceland in September

Given that there's usually no snow or ice on the roads at this time of year, driving in Iceland in September is usually safe. Nonetheless, there are a few factors to consider before venturing onto the roads.

  • Weather changes: the weather in Iceland in September can be unpredictable, and sudden changes can affect road conditions. Always check the weather forecast before setting off, and  check for weather advisories.
  • Car selection: if you're planning to drive to the North, Westfjords, or East Iceland, consider renting an All-Wheel Drive (AWD) or a 4x4. These regions usually experience fall and winter earlier, and such vehicles are safer in more wintry conditions.
  • Vision comfort: the angle of the autumn sun in Iceland can be low and potentially blinding, so have your sunglasses handy.
Vatnajokull, Iceland © Shutterstock

Vatnajokull, Iceland © Shutterstock

Can you see the Northern Lights in September?

Absolutely, yes! Iceland's Northern Lights season begins around September and runs until April, with the lights displaying their most potent charm at the start and end of this period. As a result, September is a prime time to witness this mesmerising spectacle.

However, you might still need to keep your fingers crossed — the visibility of the Northern Lights depends on several variables. Namely, lack of light pollution, clear dark skies, and strong solar winds.

As a result, to maximise your chance of seeing the lights, you'll want to head away from the city, or book a guided Northern Lights tour from Reykjavik

For more on this subject, read our guide to the best places and times to see the Northern Lights.

Northern lights in Iceland

Aurora Borealis Iceland © Shutterstock

Customisable Iceland itineraries

To enjoy your trip to Iceland in September without the hassle of planning, consider using our tailor-made trip service.

All our itineraries are created by local Iceland travel experts and can be tailored to your needs. Here are a few sample itineraries.

  • Iceland: West and North combined (10 days): hit lesser-travelled roads as you explore Iceland's northern and western fjords in your rental car. Glaciers, lava fields, beaches, waterfalls, and much more awaits.
  • East to West with the Westmand Islands (8 days): drive around Lake Lagarfljot, and visit Hengifoss waterfall and Hallormsstadur forest. Continue to the South Coast, then spend a day on the stunning Westman Islands before winding up your journey with a visit to the Golden Circle.
  • Iceland: A Game of Thrones Road Trip (8 days): this themed road trip will take you through many extraordinary Game of Thrones locations.


Read on for the answers to common questions that might crop up as you plan your trip to Iceland in September.

What to wear in Iceland in September

Wondering what to wear in Iceland in September? This handy list will help you out.

  • Thermal underwear: opt for thermal underwear as a warm base layer.
  • Layers: complement your thermal base layer with sweaters, fleeces, long-sleeved shirts and warm trousers. 
  • Waterproof items: as September is a rainy month, don't forget to wear waterproof outer layers and rain-proof hiking shoes or boots.
  • Warm accessories: warm hats, gloves, and scarves will provide much-needed warmth against the chilly Icelandic winds. Thermal socks are essential, too.
  • Swimwear: Iceland is home to a number of geothermal pools and hot springs, and swimming is possible year-round.
  • Sunglasses: despite the cooler temperatures, the autumn sun can be strong.  
Pool with boiling geothermal water at Hveravellir is actually in the heart of Iceland © Philip Fuxa/Shutterstock

Geothermal pool at Hveravellir, Iceland © Philip Fuxa/Shutterstock

Is Iceland sunny in September?

Although the duration of sunlight and clearness of the skies can vary, Iceland experiences a good deal of sunshine in September.

At the beginning of the month, you'll see up to 14.5 hours of daylight a day. By the end of the month, this falls to 11.5 hours.

Is Iceland crowded in September?

September is shoulder season in Iceland. As a result, the crowds are a lot smaller than in July and August. This is particularly true for popular attractions like the Blue Lagoon and the Golden Circle. While they'll still be busy, they won't be nearly as crowded as they are in summer.

You're also likely to enjoy lower accommodation prices — many hotels and guesthouses offer off-peak rates from September.

Tip from Rough Guides: also learn about the best ways to get to Iceland.

Olga Sitnitsa

written by
Olga Sitnitsa

updated 13.06.2024

Online editor at Rough Guides, specialising in travel content. Passionate about creating compelling stories and inspiring others to explore the world.

Ready to travel and discover

Get support from our local experts for
stress-free planning & worry-free travels

Plan my trip ⤍