What should one expect when they visit Iceland in September? September comes with an end to the summer season and an approach towards the winter season. Therefore in September you can experience both the long days of summer and the dark nights of winter, which simply means you can enjoy both summer and winter activities. The average daytime temperatures range between 10-12 degrees Celsius, which is relatively warm as far as Iceland temperatures are concerned. But despite these warm conditions, one should pack warm and dry garments due to the unpredictable Iceland weather; there can be unexpected rainfall anytime of the day. The chances of rainfall and snowing increase as the days proceed, although snowing is very unlikely to occur. Waterproof garments should really be considered. The nights keep getting longer in the course of the night, and the Northern Lights can be sighted even just ten days into the month. The days are still warm and still, making most daytime activities very rewarding. The country is exceptionally beautiful as the green summer colors give way to autumn colors. Most daytime activities including hikes and tours are therefore still very possible.
Most tours are possible since the roads remain open until late September, unless snowing begins earlier than this, which is quite uncommon. Even the Golden Circle tour is possible, though those opting to tour individually are advised to use four-wheel drive vehicles. This tour allows one to visit the most significant destination of Iceland in a single road trip, and within very few days. Covering about 300 kilometers, the tour commences in the capital Reykjavic, into the southern uplands and back. The tour makes stops at many popular tourist destinations, the first being at the famous national park, Thingvellir. The world’s oldest parliament is located here and the Mid- Atlantic ridge can be seen above the ground.
Other sites along the Golden circle tour include the Gullfoss waterfalls, the Geysir geothermal area of Southern Iceland and one of Iceland’s biggest greenhouse cultivation centres. The Geysir geothermal area is located near Laugarvatin Lake and is one of the world’s most famous geothermal springs. Though been largely dormant recently, it’s most sought for attraction is the active Strokkur which shoots water up to a height of about 30 metres (98 feet). Gullfoss is a three-step waterfall along river Hvita, falling into a 62-metre deep canyon. It is one of the most famous waterfalls in a country that boasts a very big number of waterfalls. The route also passes at Fridheimar cultivation centre, one of Iceland’s biggest greenhouses. Here, pesticide-free tomatoes are grown with the aid of geothermal heat which is in plenty in Iceland. The clean Icelandic waters are used here for irrigation purposes. Another stop is made at Lake Kerlo, a crater lake which is about 72 metres deep and 270 metres wide. This whole tour can take as little time as a day.
These tours make stops at night in the countryside, creating more and better chances of sighting the Northern Lights, since it’s away from the light pollution of the city. The Aurora Borealis are visible on dark clear night, and the unspoilt nature of the countryside provides lots of these.
September has its load of festivals and cultural activities. The Reykjavic International Film Festival begins in late September extending into October. Held every year, the festival features almost a hundred films from around forty countries, focusing mainly on upcoming film-makers. The festival showcases a wide range of dramas and non-fictional movies and has a category called ‘A Better Tomorrow’ which features films that help make better citizen of us. Other categories are ‘The Icelandic Panorama’ and ‘Focus on’. The former showcases Iceland’s most talented filmmakers while the latter focuses on a single cinematic history of the country. The Oktoberfest, a two-week event that is associated with beer is also held around this time. Around 20000 bottles of beer are consumed during this festival, which is mostly attended by students.
Another festival held around this time is the ‘Festival of Lights’, locally known as Ljosanott, celebrating the darkness that comes with September autumn. The festival offers a deep insight into the Icelandic culture with various artists performing at various venues around the city. The height of the event is on Saturday evening. The locals turn on the lights that illuminate the cliffs overlooking the town, and the night is filled with a lot of fireworks.
Cultural events in September mainly include Berjamo and Rettir, the country’s oldest traditions. Berjamo involves picking berries, where locals head out of the city to pick wild berries that grow all over the country. These berries include blueberries, bilberries and crowberries. After picking they are used to make wines, jams and cakes. Rettir is the annual round-up of sheep. Icelandic sheep are allowed to roam around and graze on their own during summer, and in September they are rounded up by their owners.
Most of the popular activities including snorkeling, glacier hiking can be enjoyed in September. Do not forget to ride the friendly Icelandic horses.