Autumn colours make perfect Iceland vacation backdrop

autumn-2If you are someone usually put off by autumn’s message of looming winter to follow, an autumnal visit to Iceland will change your mind and leave you captivated by autumn’s sheer beauty. So what about winter approaching anyway? It has its charm too, after all!

Choose your clothing carefully and autumn can be a great time of year to get outdoors in Iceland without getting too cold or crowded out by summer tourists. And autumn is the time when nature is at her most colourful. In autumn the red and gold leaves are interspersed with mushrooms and an abundance of tasty berries used by locals to sweeten up daily life for centuries.

Tourism in Iceland has evolved into a successful year-round enterprise; but it remains true that there are fewer tourists outside the summer high season, which means it will generally cost less to witness nature’s slow descent into peaceful hibernation.

Icelandic Septembers have a surprisingly good image, weather wise – and sheep-wise too. 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.

Winter preparations cause Iceland’s farmers to head for the hills at this time of year to collect 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!

The ancient Viking calendar once used in Iceland has just two seasons: the cold, dark one and the warm, light 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.

Immediately preceding winter’s formal beginning, the immense Iceland Airwaves music festival steps in to give summer the raucous send off it so richly deserves from 14-18 October.

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

If you’re looking for a trip that’s just a little off the beaten track this autumn, a holiday in Iceland could be just the surprise you’ve been looking for. More details are available at www.visiticeland.com

Photo: Flickr.com/olafur

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