Traveling to and wondering what to wear in Iceland in October? Well, look no further as our handy guide will tell you EXACTLY what to pack for Iceland in October in terms of clothes, for Iceland Fall weather and other essentials for make for an enjoyable and budget friendly trip.
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Iceland Weather in October
There are a few things you have know about Iceland weather in October and that is that you can experience four seasons a day.
Probably the trickiest thing about packing for Iceland in October is that October is a shoulder season and a month of changeable weather. October usually signifies the start of Winter in Iceland so the later in the month you go the colder it will likely be.
We will break down the weather in terms of average temperature, rainfall and snow to help you prepare your Iceland packing list.
It is also worth noting that the weather in iceland changes dramatically between months especially at this time of year. If your visit spans two months be sure to check out our other seasonal guides:
And for more specific guidance on local places in Iceland be sure to check out our more specific guides:
- What to wear in Reykjavik
- What to wear whale watching
- What to wear on the Golden Circle
How cold is Iceland in October?
October isn’t the coldest month in Iceland but it is certainly chilly. The average temperatures in October in Iceland tend to hover around 4,4°C (39,9°F) so you will definitely need some layers with you.
It is also worth noting that Iceland can have quite strong winds which definitely adds to the chill factor.
How rainy is Iceland in October?
Firstly in answer to is Iceland rainy in October I can say yes it definitely is. October is actually the wettest month in Iceland.
Although the rain in Iceland is more of a drizzle rather than a heavy downpour you can still get soaked through in Iceland in october. This should definitely affect how you pack.
Is it snowy in Iceland in October?
Although October is the start of Winter in Iceland it is still a good month to go as the snow and ice have not really set in yet.
Iceland Packing Advice for October
Now you have an overview of the weather in Iceland in October and before we get onto specific packing list items we thought it would be a good idea to point out some of our packing advice and considerations for packing for Iceland in Fall.
Mode of Travel
Iceland is a country that is best explored by car on your own in my opinion. However the road conditions in Iceland in October are starting to get difficult, and some of the roads will be shut. For this reason we recommend sticking to the main road and having a good quality car.
We recommend getting a 4×4 for road trip at this time of year, but you may also want to consider packing a capsule wardrobe to save on space in the car.
For more information on how to pack a capsule wardrobe for Iceland check out our guide to using the 54321 packing method.
As the famous Iceland saying goes – if you don’t like the weather wait five minutes. This should give you a clue on how tricky it can be to pack for Iceland. However if you planning on visiting in October the main thing to know is that you will always need layers, and may even need a thermal base layers too!
I have never been anywhere in Iceland where I felt under dressed. Therefore don’t worry about packing formal wear. Casual and at most 1 smart casual outfit will be good enough for Iceland.
For more information on what to wear to dinner in Iceland check out this post.
Waterproofs are needed for every month in Iceland but are especially important in October. Even on dry days, you can get drenched on certain hikes.
And don’t be tempted to think water resistant is good enough for Iceland. It really isn’t. A waterproof and windproof jacket or coat are key especially in October.
What to wear in Iceland October
It is worth noting that normally when I create these what to wear guides that I break it into women and men’s packing lists. However this really isn’t needed for Iceland as the items you need are universal.
Waterproof Jacket / Coat
As I mentioned above October is the wettest month for travel to Iceland. Although it won’t be great downpours the drizzle will slowly soak you through. A waterproof top layer in the form of a waterproof jacket is an absolute must for visiting Iceland in October.
North Face and Columbia are my personal go to brands for waterproof coats and jackets.
I have seen a lot of debate online about whether you need waterproof trousers in iceland but in my opinion you really do but this is especially true if you are visiting Iceland in October.
With all the rain in October waterproof trousers will save you from getting cold and soaked. And the great thing is that as a top layer they can easily be pulled on and off during your stay so you won’t have to wear them at sites when there isn’t rain.
Wool Warm Hat
As the temperatures tend to hover around the 3 degree Celsius mark in October in ICeland it can feel chilly. Especially when you are hiking on glaciers or on one of the wind swept black sand beaches.
To protect your extremities be sure to pack a nice woolen hat or beanie to take with you. This is especially necessary for those who are planning to go out in evenings to hunt for the Aurora Borealis.
As I mentioned above, it is important to protect your extremities when traveling to ICeland in OCtober. Therefore you really shouldn’t forget your gloves when traveling to ICeland in October.
Our preference for gloves for Iceland are the type that allow you to be able to use your electronics while wearing gloves like the ones below.
You will want to be taking a lot of photographs when you are in Iceland and it would be a real pain to have to keep taking your gloves on and off whenever you want to use your phone.
For when it gets extra cold a scarf is brilliant to protect you from the wind or can be used as an extra layer in an emergency.
Ear Muffs or a head band
If you are visiting later in October then you may want to add some ear muffs or a headband on top of your beanie hat. The wind in Iceland can be very chilly especially at certain points at the start of the ring road for instance and therefore it is worth having an extra head layer with you.
It is best to have a warm clothes including coat with you when traveling to Iceland. I recommend a down waterproof coat as this will protect you from wind, rain and snow all of which you might experience on a single day in Iceland In October.
Jumpers are a staple of the Icelandic October wardrobe. YOu will need a few of these with you (I recommend one for every day you are in Iceland).
If you want to look like a local then you could get one of these traditional Icelandic jumpers. These are usually made of merino wool and are very stylish and a great souvenir.
However, do bring enough from home as Icelandic jumpers can be expensive.
Hoodies and sweaters are also useful for dry days but for cooler and wetter days I recommend a microfibre fleece. This is because they are easier to condense into carry on or a backpack and have better water and wind resistance.
Iceland is a place best explored on foot and through outdoor adventures therefore you need the right trousers with you.
Make sure whatever walking trousers you bring with you are waterproof.
Jeans are usually on my what not to wear in Iceland list however I still recommend bringing a pair with you.
You don’t want to be wearing jeans for your outdoor excursions as jeans are uncomfortable in the cold and wet weather however these are the perfect answer to what to wear for dinner in Iceland.
Leggings are one of the top things to pack for Iceland whatever time of year you are visiting Iceland. In October leggings are perfect because on warmer days you can wear them as trousers in their own right or if it is a cold day.
While in October thermal leggings aren’t an essential if you feel the cold and you are going out in the evening to hunt for the Northern Lights it might be a good idea to have them with you especially if you are traveling towards the end of October.
Thick Thermal Socks
The fact that you will need hiking boots means that you will also need thick socks. Be sure to have several good pairs of thick walking socks with you.
There would be nothing worse than having sore feet in boots and thick socks will go a long way to help prevent this.
We also recommend having thermal socks as in the Icelandic weather your feet can get cold quickly.
While early October in Iceland isn’t too cold, if you go later in October then the weather will be getting colder especially if you are going to look for the Aurora Borealis. There tends to be too much light pollution early in the month to see them, however later in the month you may stand a chance. In which case you need to pack for cold winter weather.
If you are going to Iceland in late October and plan to go out to see the Northern Lights I would pack some thermals with you just in case you get a very chilly evening. For more information check out our guide on what to wear to see the Northern Lights in Iceland.
As I feel the cold, I would always add some thermal underwear to my Iceland Winter packing list.
As I mentioned above Iceland is quite a casual place and I have never felt underdressed in Iceland. For this reason I think t shirts are an essential of any Iceland packing list.
We recommend packing a mix of long and short sleeve t shirts so you can amend your outfit for the weather.
While it may seem counterintuitive to be packing swimwear for a cold weather destination in October, you will definitely be wanting swimwear for Iceland in October.
In my opinion one of the best things to do in Iceland are visiting some of the geothermal pools and natural hot springs, the most famous of these being the Blue Lagoon. If you want to visit the Blue Lagoon in Iceland or another hot spring then you will be needing swimwear.
The blue lagoon and many other the hot spring dress codes do not have a rule over what type of swimwear you have to wear so just pack the swimwear you feel most comfortable in i.e. one piece or a bikini.
For a full Blue Lagoon packing list check out our what to wear to the Blue Lagoon post.
If you are visiting Iceland and the Blue Lagoon or even plan on using your hotel hot tubs in October the floor can be very cold when you are getting in and out of the water and walking to the changing rooms. To make your visit to the Blue Lagoon in October more pleasurable we recommend taking a pair of slippers with you for walking around the site.
Alternatively you could wear anti slip water socks which would do the same job.
The sun in Iceland can be dazzling whatever time of year you go, even in October. Therefore we recommend you take sunglasses with you when visiting Iceland in October.
The weather in Iceland is starting to cool down in October. Although hotel rooms are heated well I would take a pair of more winterish pyjamas with you when visiting Iceland in October especially if you feel the cold.
What to wear in Iceland for Men in October
There is nothing different to add to the Men’s Iceland packing list to the women’s. You will need all the same layers and accessories to be comfortable as a man in Iceland in October.
Best Shoes for Iceland in October
Normally I hedge my bet when answering the question what is the best shoe for X. However there is no need for Iceland. There is a clear winner in terms of shoes and you can if you want to get away with packing just one pair of shoes.
That is because the best shoe for Iceland is definitely:
Waterproof Hiking Boots
Iceland is a country where the outdoor activities are unrivaled. You will be doing a lot of walking and many of the locations you will be walking may be icy, snowy or slippery.
Therefore you will definitely be needing shoes with a good sole. In our opinion the best types of hiking boots for October in Iceland are absolutely hiking boots.
For more information on the best hiking boots for Iceland check out this guide which considers grip, waterproofing, comfort and more.
Pair of Shoes for evenings
If you plan on eating out at night and like to change of dinner you may want a change of shoes with you. At this time of year a pair of flat ankle boots would be perfect.
Useful for at hot springs, the Blue Lagoon and at hotels with sauna or hot tub amenities.
What to pack for Iceland in October (Non Clothing)
Back Pack with Rain Cover / Waterproof Outer Shell
To keep everything you will need for a day out in Iceland you will need a backpack with you. I also recommend bringing a rain cover for your back pack in Iceland to help protect your electronics, towel and clothes you have.
Waterproof phone case
If you plan to visit places like the Blue Lagoon and other geothermal there is no doubt that you will be wanting to lots of photos. To take photographs at the Blue Lagoon you will want a waterproof case like the above for your phone.
This is also useful if you plan on walking near some waterfalls such as Gullfoss waterfall pr plan on going on a trip to see humpback whales it may come in handy then too!
Quick Dry Towel
This is another one for the Blue Lagoon or geothermal springs in Iceland. While you can rent towels at these locations and the Blue Lagoon provides towels in its ticket prices – you can find out more about the Blue Lagoon packages and what is included here), not all hot springs will provide towels. Bring a quick dry towel with you to save you money (and let’s face it Iceland is an expensive country to visit).
If you have plenty of space you could add a dry robe to your Iceland packing list.
Food and drink in Iceland is expensive, a reusable water bottle is a great way to cut costs and is better for the environment.
Iceland is an expensive country and one of the biggest lines on your Iceland budget will be food. Iceland allows you to bring certain foods into the country with you – no raw eggs, raw meat, or milk, up to 3kg in weight.
To save money, if you are bringing a checked luggage we recommend using your 3kg of food allowance to pack snacks and food to help reduce your costs.
Days in Iceland require early starts to get to most of the sights and beat the crowds. To help me get up and at them I always take a thermos which I can fill with my morning coffee before heading out for the day. Click here to shop travel thermos.
If you are traveling to Iceland you will need a electrical travel plug adaptor. Iceland uses European C and E sockets. Click here to shop travel adaptors.
You will be using your phone a lot in Iceland for sat navs, cameras and more and just me this drains your battery quick. Therefore if is worth having a battery pack charger with you as well as a USB cable for charging in your car. Click here to shop battery packs.
Iceland is a stunning place bring the best quality camera you have with you.
Iceland has amazing wildlife from humpback whales to birds. If you plan on doing some nature excursions be sure to pack some binoculars with you.
While usually we advocate buying budget versions of things for vacation, binoculars are something I would buy the best version you can afford as you will notice a difference in quality. Click here to shop binoculars.
Normally I leave toiletries off my packing lists. That is because you either have to restrict volume for carry on or need to pack them carefully for hold bags.
Note: be sure to check liquid volume restrictions if you are traveling with carry on only. preferring to buy them on arrival. However Iceland is an expensive place for food and toiletries.
However I always bring toiletries to Iceland from home. Iceland is an expensive place for food aswell as toiletries. Therefore you will save yourself both time and money by brining them with you.
Normally my toiletry bag for Iceland will include:
- Moisturiser – the wind and rain in Iceland along with the salinity in the hot springs take the toll on your skin. A good moisturiser is therefore a must.
- Conditioner – again the salinity in the hot springs and blue lagoon can damage your hair therefore we recommend packing a good quality conditioner with you for visiting Iceland.
- Toothbrush and tooth paste
- Hairbrush and Hairbands – Iceland gets windy even in Summer so tying your hair up can be essential, especially for photographs.
- Make Up – I am normally quite minimalist with my makeup in Iceland due to the activities I will be doing. The key however for all makeup you bring to Iceland is that it is waterproof.
- Medicines – as required.
- Lip Balm – And as well as protecting your skin also protect your lips with a lip balm that has sun protection. Our favorite brand at the moment is Sun Bum.
FAQS about What to wear in Iceland in October
Should I pack a dress for Iceland in October?
Dresses are not appropriate for most Iceland activities and tourist attractions which will usually require some physical activity.
Therefore we recommend switching out dresses for hiking gear like walking trousers or saving dresses for dinners rather than day time activities. Just remember to pack tights for with your dress otherwise you are likely to be cold.
What to wear to Reykjavik in October?
Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and people will usually make at least a quick stop in the city whether to stock up on supplies, or to stay relatively close to the airport or Blue Lagoon in Keflavik. So what should you wear in Reykjavik in October?
Well the truth is Reykjavik is actually a pretty casual city and most people will feel perfectly comfortable in jeans and a sweater (my favorite is an Icelandic wool jumper).
I have never felt under dressed in Iceland and I have seen people dressed very casually in the city. So you really don’t have to pack anything different for the city compared to the Golden Circle or the Ring Road.
Do I need thermals in Iceland in October?
Yes I would absolutely say you do need thermals for Iceland in October especially if you are traveling in late October.
Can you wear shorts in Iceland in October?
There is nothing stopping you wearing shorts dress code wise however many will find it way to cold to wear shorts in Iceland in October.
Have you been to Iceland in October? What did you wear? Leave us a comment and tell us about your favorite Iceland in October outfit.