Autumn a surprisingly good time to visit Iceland

autumn-3Autumn is the season whose rainbow of different shades heralds nature at her most colourful. It is also the perfect time to get out-and-about a bit in Iceland without getting caught up in crowds of summer tourists or getting too cold either.

Although tourism in Iceland is now popular all year round, there are still a lot more visitors in the summer, which means, which means that it generally costs less to witness nature’s slow descent into peaceful hibernation.

Furthermore, Septembers in Iceland actually have a fairly good track record for good weather – and also for good sheep. Rain and wind are never out of the question of course; but the word on the street is that September is often stiller and sunnier than August, despite the resurgent chill in the air – a clear portent of winter’s stirring desire to rule again.

Out of consideration for winter’s threat, Icelandic farmers trek out into the mountains at this time of year to round up their sheep and horses. The event is a huge undertaking which turns into a big community celebration throughout the countryside – and tourists are more than welcome to come and lend a hand too!

Traditionally the calendar was made up of just two seasons when Iceland was first inhabited by Norse settlers: the warm, light one and the cold, dark one. Consequently, Iceland’s first official day of winter is on Saturday 24th October this year, despite the fact that not every leaf will yet have fallen and that the snow will (probably) not yet have made an appearance. Conversely, Icelanders gleefully celebrate the first day of summer in April; at around the time spring is making its first feeble, faltering attempts to breathe life back into the world.

Right before the ceremonious first day of the new winter, summer takes a final gasp in the form of the crazy Iceland Airwaves music festival steps in to give summer the raucous send off it so richly deserves from 14-18 October.

Its huge mix of big international and local talent and the ‘next big things’ makes Iceland Airwaves the international music press’s favourite festival and a great place to find something new and rock out with next year’s chart topping acts before they loom headlong into the world’s conscience.

Holiday in Iceland this year and it could just be the autumn jewel you have been searching for. More details are available at www.visiticeland.com

Photo: Flickr.com/olafur

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