What to Do in Iceland in November

Giant Music Festival, Language Day, and the Northern Lights

Sofie

|September 3, 2019

Sofie is a nomadic journalist who loves to write about people, places, and food. In her free time, she can be found twirling around in her dancing shoes.


November in Iceland means shorter days. But there's no shortage of events and sights to see. When the sun goes down, head out into the wilderness to hunt for the Northern Lights. Don’t miss out on Iceland’s biggest music festival and the Icelandic language holiday!


Things to Do in Iceland in November

Into the Blue!

Crawl Through Ice Caves 

Throw on your balaclava and trek across the glaciers to visit Iceland’s spectacular ice caves

Glaciers and ice caves are fleeting natural phenomenons. Temperature changes and geothermal activity cause new caves to form every year, so catch them while you can!

Visits to the ice caves allow you to take in the diverse landscapes of Iceland. After your ice cave tour, speed across the glaciers on a snowmobile or lace up your boots for a glacier hike!

 

Ancient ice and everything nice

Hike Volcanoes And Explore Lava Caves 

Glittering blue ice caves aren’t the only natural wonders in Iceland. One of the most active volcanoes in the country, Mt. Katla, sits beneath the expansive Kötlujökull Glacier. You can hike across the volcano and explore the blue-and-black striped lava cave beneath the glacier as part of our Northern Lights Tour from Reykjavik.

Marvel at the ash-covered caves inside the glacier, a complete contrast to the translucent ice caves. Take a ride across the land of fire and ice and explore this natural masterpiece!

Things to See in Iceland in November

November is perfect for the Northern Lights!

The Northern Lights 

At the top of any Iceland bucket list is the spectacular celestial phenomenon of the aurora borealis. Grab your camera and ride out into the frozen wilderness on a snowmobile to see one of Mother Nature's unmatched wonders. 

Winter is the best time to hunt for these emerald auroras, making November in Iceland one of the best times to chase the Northern Lights! Join a Northern Lights tour with an expert aurora guide to find the best viewing spots.

If you are visiting Iceland in November, try one of our shorter multi-day tour options. A ride along the South Coast is a great chance to explore Iceland’s best-known sights during the day. 

Quick Tips: The Northern Lights In Iceland

  • Check the aurora forecast (the stronger the aurora, the brighter the colors)
  • Wait for clear skies 
  • Leave the city to avoid light pollution 
  • Ditch the roads for darker skies 
  • Join a Northern Lights tour with an experienced aurora guide

Events & Festivals in Iceland in November

Ready for some music?

Iceland Airwaves Festival: November 6-9 / Reykjavik —  For four days in Reykjavik in November, this iconic alternative music festival takes center stage. The country's longest-running and festival of its kind, Iceland Airwaves attracts people from across the country and abroad. During the music fest, Icelandic and international headliners play venues around the city, from cozy record shops to large concert halls. 

Icelandic Airwaves Pro: November 7-8 / Reykjavik — This cultural event is the newest addition to the Icelandic Airwaves Festival. During the two-day program, music lovers can attend panels, seminars,  keynotes, and networking sessions.

Fun fact: 1 in 10 Icelanders have published a book

Dagur íslenskrar tungu (Icelandic Language Day): November 16 / Iceland This annual holiday spotlights the history of the Icelandic language. A true linguistic celebration, the day is shared with the birthday of beloved Icelandic poet Jónas Hallgrímsson. Icelandic is the closest living relative to Old Norse, the language of the Vikings. To preserve the tongue, an effort has been made to repurpose outdated terms. Want to participate in the festivities? Try pronouncing “Vaðlaheiðarvegavinnuverkfærageymsluskúraútidyralyklakippuhringur” the longest Icelandic word. 

 

Things to Know before visiting Iceland in November

Geared up and someplace to be

Iceland’s Weather in November 

In November the temperature in Iceland starts to really cool down. The month transitions from fall to winter, so the weather in Iceland can be unpredictable. Don’t be surprised if you experience snow, rain, fog, and sun all within the same day.

The average temperature of Iceland in November is about 38-40°F (3-4°C). That’s a pretty mild November compared to Canada! Before you travel, be sure to check out the weather forecast for your trip. 

What to Pack for Iceland in November 

If you’re traveling to Iceland in November, you’ll want to bundle up. Here are some packing recommendations to keep you warm and dry! 

  • Waterproof gloves, a hat, and a scarf 
  • Warm layers 
  • Waterproof and windproof jacket 
  • Swimsuit (hot springs are warm year-round)
  • Polarized sunglasses
  • Winter boots 

Iceland’s temperature in November is pretty mild. Still, layers are essential to keep yourself toasty as the Icelandic winter creeps in.

Best Tours in Iceland for November

Northern Lights Tour From Reykjavik 

Daylight hours begin to decrease by 90 minutes every two weeks in November. The bright side to these shorter days? A better chance of seeing the Northern Lights!  

Head out of Reykjavik and into the countryside in a Super Jeep to catch a photo of the elusive lights. Stray off the beaten path and hunt for the bright green auroras. Far from the city lights, the wilderness is the perfect setting to catch this unmissable experience. 

Katla Ice Cave Tour: Under The Volcano 

Visit Mt. Katla, connected to Eyjafjallajökull Volcano, one of the most famous active volcanoes in the world. Forget the traditional tourist routes and hop on a Super Jeep to reach the lava caves that slumber beneath Myrdalsjokull Glacier. 

Hike the glacier and breathe in the stunning view from above. Of course, the most fascinating portion of the tour is the lava cave. A descent into the cavernous cave offers a look into the formation of this force of nature.

Three-Day South Coast Tour – Golden Circle, Jökulsárlón, And Ice Cave 

Road trip across the South Coast of Iceland and experience Iceland's famous nature spots. This three-day journey takes you on the popular Golden Circle Route, with stops at  Þingvellir National Park, the Geysir geothermal area and the Gullfoss Waterfall. 

Strap on your crampons for a hike on a massive ice floe and peer into the striking ice caves hidden beneath. Perfect for anyone who wants to get a deeper look at the countryside, this expedition gives you the chance to explore diverse landscapes!

Whether you’re looking for the Northern lights, crystal ice caves or exciting music festivals, November in Iceland has something for you!

Ready to see the Northern Lights? There's no shortage of seasonal fun to enjoy, so book a winter tour today!