Visiting Iceland in April might be the best decision you’ve ever made for a variety of reasons. Not only are you catching Iceland in the springtime, but you’ll find plenty of things to do and see during this time on the island. Luckily, with more than enough daylight hours to do and see them!
So, if you’re pondering a trip to Iceland in April, this article might just be the deciding factor for you. We'll discuss the weather, reveal all the pros and cons, guide you on what to pack, and give you the low-down on all the things you can do during the month of April.
The Pros and Cons of Being in Iceland in April
As with most things, visiting Iceland in April also comes with its own pros and cons. We created this helpful list, so you can have an overview at a glance:
- Since you’ll be visiting Iceland in the spring, you won’t get bogged down by the peak season crowds. That means that you don’t necessarily need to pre-book everything almost a year in advance to avoid disappointment.
- Without peak season crowds, you also won’t find peak season prices. That's a major relief on your getaway budget and might even allow you to extend your stay.
- Even though spring in Iceland may not be what you are used to back home, the Iceland weather in April is still pretty decent. If you want to do a road trip or take part in outdoor activities, this is a good month!
- Daylight hours have drastically increased from just 4 hours experienced during the winter months. You can now look forward to more than 13 hours of daylight each day!
- Despite daylight hours having increased so much, the darkness hasn’t completely faded away yet. You’ll still be able to catch the Northern Lights phenomenon on the island.
- If you are planning on doing a road trip when visiting Iceland in April, you’ll be in luck. Many roads and regions close during the colder months on the island. And although roads such as the F-roads in the Icelandic Highlands only open mid-June, some of the other places are slowly starting to open up again. That means that the places you are able to travel to are not so limited and restricted anymore.
- The Iceland road conditions themselves are not nearly as challenging as they are during the winter months. But do keep in mind that it’s spring, so even though you won’t have to face sheets of ice, there might still be icy patches that are busy thawing. Even though they may be few and far between.
- The migratory whales have started to arrive all along the Iceland coast. You can catch sight of ocean giants such as Sperm Whales, Minke Whales, Blue Whales, and many, MANY more.
- Because it’s not peak season, attractions and activities may not be operating at peak season hours. So, you’ll need to double-check beforehand to prevent ending up at a closed door.
- Even though daylight hours have increased dramatically, it’s not nearly enough to experience a Midnight Sun yet.
- If you’re a nature lover and were looking forward to spotting some Iceland Puffins, you’ll need to postpone your trip. The Puffins only come to breed on the island between May and August.
Weather in Iceland in April: What You Can Expect Visiting Iceland in April
Spring in Iceland might not mean spring dresses or beach shorts, but Iceland’s weather has definitely taken a turn for the better. Fortunately, you don’t need to be concerned about blizzards and snow. And whilst the legendary Icelandic winds will always be around, they are not nearly as extreme as during the colder months.
The temperature in Iceland in April range between -1 to 7 degrees Celsius, with an average of about 3 degrees Celsius. You may be tempted to think that temperatures in cities such as Reykjavík are somehow higher than the rest of the island. Well, this is merely an illusion created by the buildings forming a sort of shelter against the elements.
Despite this general info on the Iceland weather in April, the local saying on the island goes “you can experience all four seasons in one day in Iceland”. So, you’ll always need to be prepared. As mentioned before, the increased daylight hours of 13 hours+ each day doesn’t just mean a jam-packed trip itinerary. Thankfully, it also means that you are almost guaranteed to see the Northern Lights in Iceland in April.
Packing List When Traveling to Iceland in April
If you are still confused about what to pack for the spring season in a country called Iceland, here’s a handy packing list that you can use as a guide:
- Warm, waterproof jacket
- Fleece/woolen sweater (you can pack one or two, so you can buy a few authentic Icelandic woolen sweaters whilst on the island)
- Waterproof pants
- Waterproof hiking boots (this is whether you’re planning on hiking or not)
- Thermal vests
- Thermal leggings
- Warm, woolen socks
- T-shirts & long-sleeved shirts
- Casual pants (for when you’re out and about in the city)
- Warm hat (beanies come highly recommended)
- Warm gloves
- Warm scarf
- Bathing suit (for when you want to soak in one of the hot springs)
- Quick-drying towel
- Flip-flops (to use at the hot springs or when using public changing rooms)
- Toiletries & medications. (just double-check flight restrictions, so you don’t need to leave expensive shampoo or allergy medication at the airport)
- Water bottle (the water quality in Iceland is extremely high, so you only need to top up as you go)
- Backpack (suitable for day outings as well as hikes)
- Electronic devices: cables, chargers, an adaptor, a power bank, etc.
Camping in Iceland in April
It’s finally time to go camping on the island again! Not only does camping on the island allow you to truly enmesh yourself in the majestic landscape of Iceland, but it also saves you a ton of money on accommodation costs. If you want to save money, but don’t consider yourself to be the next Bear Grylls, you can rent a campervan.
This will take care of both transport and accommodation on the island and you can go “camping” in comfort. If you would like to save even more money, you can buy a Camping Card. This nifty card costs just €159 and gives a family of 2 adults and up to 4 children access to various campsites across the country for 28 nights!
To put these savings into perspective, you only need to compare prices. The cost you would pay for those 28 nights vs if you had paid the normal campsite prices of $10 -$20 per person per night. If you want to go the camping route, the following are some of the campsites that come highly recommended:
Driving in Iceland in April
As we already touched on earlier, April is a great month to road trip around the island. Those extremely challenging road conditions that require all sorts of extra vehicle accessories are a thing of the past. You just need to be careful in certain parts where the ice might’ve taken a bit longer to thaw.
Even though the F-roads won’t be opening anytime soon, there are still plenty of roads and routes that locals will advise you to tackle with a 4x4 vehicle in Iceland. That’s why it’s so important for you to have a conversation with your rental agency and discuss your itinerary plans so they can advise you accordingly. Some of the most popular road trip routes in Iceland are:
Other Things to Do in Iceland in April
We have only touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the exciting things to do and see on the island. These are some of the things you can consider adding to your Iceland trip itinerary:
- Take a hike. There are a variety of day or multi-day hiking trails suitable for various skill and experience levels.
- Take a walk on one of Iceland’s black sand beaches such as Reynisfjara.
- Stuff your face with local cuisine and explore the capital city with the Reykjavik Food Walk.
- Visit one of the 10 000 Iceland waterfalls.
- Ride a Super Jeep or a snowmobile across a glacier.
- Explore Iceland’s ice caves (since the caves are heavily influenced by the seasons, there are certain ice caves that are only open to the public during the colder months. Please remember to double-check before just pitching up).
- Take a dip in one of Iceland’s hot springs.
- Snorkel or dive the divide between two continents at the Silfra Fissure.
- Explore Thingvellir National Park.
- Attend events, festivals, or celebrations such as the Reykjavik Blues Festival.
- Dive into the island’s rich Viking history by booking a spot on one of the Viking tours in Iceland.
- Go on a horse riding tour on one of the local Icelandic horses.
Helpful Tips When You’re in Iceland in April
If it’s your first time visiting Iceland in April, the following helpful tips will keep you safe and ensure a relaxing and memorable trip:
Always Dress in Layers
During April in Iceland there's also “four seasons in one day”, there’s no way you can be dressed for the occasion unless you dress in layers. This way you can always take something off and put something on depending on how hot or cold you feel.
Keep a Close Eye on the Weather & the Road Conditions
The most challenging road conditions are behind us. Still, the changing weather and all sorts of other events can lead to activities being canceled. And the sudden closure of roads and attractions can happen too. It is the Land of Fire and Ice, after all.
Keep Waterproof Items Close By
Yes, you might get some rainfall during your visit to the island in April. However, that’s not the only reason you need to keep waterproof hiking boots and other waterproof items close by.
The official saying might state that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”, but in Iceland, the trail to the hot spring is muddy. And many gravely underestimate the amount of mist and spray that the powerful waterfalls on the island create. In their most Instagrammable moments, they end up looking like drenched cats.
Northern lights in Iceland in April
Although you can see the Northern Lights in Iceland in April, this phenomenon needs very specific conditions to appear. The local guides know exactly when and where the Aurora Borealis will make its appearance.
So, instead of desperately trying to DIY your own Northern Lights search, why not leave it to the experts? Just book yourself a stress-free spot on one of the Northern Light tours.
Adhere to Hot Spring Etiquette
You are going to get quite a few strange looks if you simply undress and hop in the hot spring without taking a shower first. Or if you hop into the hot spring wearing your “birthday suit” instead of a bathing suit. Find out exactly what all the hot spring etiquette is before you end up in the metaphorical doghouse.
Iceland in April: Worth the Trip!
As you can see, there are many perks to visiting Iceland in April. And since road trips don’t feel like navigating a tricky video game anymore, you have the best opportunity to properly explore the island and everything there is to do and see.
Just rent a car in Reykjavík, discuss your itinerary with your rental agent, and hit the road. Adventure and lifelong memories are just a horizon away here on the island.