Iceland in Late October: The Grand Plan


We spent two nights in Reykjavik, Iceland in late October last year on our way back from Scotland. All the time I was there, I was wishing I had been somewhere outside the city, surrounded by the out-of-this-world natural landscape that Iceland is famous for. Nothing against Reykjavik, mind you. It’s actually one of my favourite cities in the world, if not THE most favourite. I just like nature more. I tried to talk the husband into renting a car for a day but he was set on spending the whole stopover in Reykjavik. Oh well. Can’t say I didn’t try.

We have done a road trip around Iceland before in May 2013. It was the best trip ever, and the best two weeks I’ve ever spent travelling. We’d been dreaming of doing another Iceland road trip ever since we got back from that trip. Unfortunately, in the years that followed, the Canadian dollar only got considerably weaker and the Icelandic krona stronger. We’d had accepted the fact that we would have to save up for a little bit longer to be able to afford another trip around Iceland.

But then, unexpectedly, Hey Iceland, whose service we used to book most of our accommodations on our first Iceland road trip in 2013, contacted me about the many referrals they had been getting from my blog post about the trip. They subsequently offered to sponsor our next trip by covering the cost of our car rental and accommodations anytime in the winter season (October to April)! How awesome is that? I was so amazed by their generosity. After consulting with my equally amazed husband, I replied to them to thank them for their very kind offer and to let them know that we would be interested in doing another road trip in Iceland in late October this year!

Why Visit Iceland in Late October?

We decided to do another road trip around Iceland in late October for the following reasons:

  • the average temperature would still be above the freezing point (4-6°C);
  • there would still be enough hours of daylight to spend on exploring and sightseeing (about 8 hours, more or less);
  • we might get to see the beautitul autumn colour;
  • tourist attractions should be less crowded than in the summer months;
  • and last but not least, the Northern Light season has already started!

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? The only possible downside is that October is supposed to be the wettest month in Iceland. But it rained a lot when we were in Iceland in May too and it didn’t bother us much. Definitely not a dealbreaker for us. Being budget travellers, we’re used to vacationing in the low season when the weather tends to be less than perfect.

So What’s the Plan?

Hey Iceland has offered me the Around Iceland in 11 Days self-drive package, which would be perfect for us. We would have the options to either make our own itinerary and pick the accommodations we’d like to stay at out of the 170 they have in their network, or let them figure it out for us. Having done this trip before, I’m leaning towards the former because, well, I’m a planner type. I love making my own itineraries and I think it’s great that this tour package allows me to do so. If you’ve never been to Iceland before, however, I would recommend you book one of their self-drive tour packages and let them plan your itinerary or you risk missing out on many attractions like we did!

Our original plan was to visit the region of Westfjords, but we noticed there isn’t much going on in Westfjords in the winter season. If we did another trip around the Iceland ring road, we would be able to visit the many attractions that we missed on our first trip and re-visit some old favourites. Even the attractions we’ve already seen in May might look different in October due to different seasons and lights. And so it’s decided: another road trip around Iceland in late October it is!

What Are Our Expectations?

At the very least, I’m hoping that in late October, the area around Dettifoss would be less snowy. Dettifoss in Northeast Iceland is the most powerful waterfall in Europe. When we were there, we had to walk through a sheet of ice in the parking lot followed by a deep layer of snow on the trail that led to the waterfall. It wasn’t overly fun, and I think Dettifoss would look even more beautiful without all the snow and ice around it.

Dettifoss in May 2013. Pretty snowy!

I’m also hoping that in late October, the Viti crater lake would still be ice- and snow-free. That way, we would be able to enjoy the beautiful turquoise colour the lake is famous for. Viti is also located in Northeast Iceland, not far from Lake Myvatn. We couldn’t see its brilliant colour when we were there due to the ice and snow piling up on its surface.

Viti crater lake in May 2013. Ice-covered!

Need More Convincing?

Here’s a video someone made while they were doing the ring road trip around Iceland in October last year (spoiler: it looks really good and they even managed to squeeze the Westfjords in!):

I really can’t wait for October! But first, I need to get through this winter, the upcoming spring, and the much dreaded summer. And find a flight deal (booked our flights!). Oh well. We’ll get there eventually. I just have to be very, very patient. 🙂 I will keep you updated as our plan is taking shape.

Have you ever done a road trip around Iceland in late October? Or are you planning to? Let’s share tips and experiences!


    1. You must be quite excited about the prospect of driving on roads that are less winding than the ones in Scotland. 😉

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