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Iceland in April

Learn about the weather and the best things to do in Iceland in April

|February 15, 2023
Konstancija is a writer who enjoys long walks and hikes in nature, "hunts" for second-hand goods, and is a frequent guest in public libraries where she loves to read and roam around stacks of books.

April is considered to be "shoulder season". It is the time when winter is coming to an end, but summer hasn't come yet. Learn about the best things to do and how to prepare for visiting Iceland in April.

April in Iceland offers some unique opportunities. You can expect to see a quiet wintery landscape, more daylight, and warmer temperatures than the previous months. Plus, April is considered to be off-season for tourism in Iceland, so you can benefit from lower prices! Read on to learn more about what you can experience in this unique time between summer and winter.

Dyrholaey Arch in South Iceland

Famous arch in South Iceland - Dyrholaey Peninsula

What to know before visiting Iceland in April

  • Because it is considered to be off-season, accommodations can be up to 30-50% cheaper than in mid-winter or mid-summer!

  • Despite the rainy and windy weather, the driving conditions are much better compared to what it's like to drive during winter. 

  • April usually is the last month when you can see the Northern Lights. Book a tour to be sure to see them. 

  • Icelanders celebrate the first day of summer in April, and there is an explanation for this phenomenon. Back in the day, when they still followed the Old Norse calendar, there were only two seasons: winter and summer, the latter starting in April and continuing for six months straight. 

  • If you love to spend your days traveling around the country and getting busy, then April is a perfect time to do so as daylight here extends from 13.5 hours to 16.5 hours of daylight.

Weather in Iceland in April

Weather conditions are important no matter where you decide to travel, especially if you spend most of your time outdoors. Considering how erratic and unpredictable the weather in Iceland is, checking what's happening outside becomes necessary. But what are some other essential factors to remember when planning your trip to Iceland in April?

The temperature in Iceland in April

Although Icelanders celebrate the summer season in April, this does not mean that the weather is summer-like. The average high temperature in the capital of Iceland is 7° C, and the average low temperature reaches 1° C. During this month, Icelanders see all kinds of weather conditions: snow and rain, as well as cloudy skies and sun. But even this forever-changing weather isn't going to last too long as with each day, the temperature rises, bringing warm summer days.

Vestrahorn Mountain South East In Iceland

Vestrahorn mountains in South East Iceland

Daylight in Iceland in April

While the temperature might seem quite ambiguous in April, once spring has started, daylight increases significantly. The sun in Iceland then rises around 7 a.m. and sets down after 8 p.m., giving more than 13 hours of daylight. Later on, this amount of time reaches 16 hours. So, traveling in April should do the trick if you love exploring various places but don't have enough time to do this while it's still bright outside.

Horse in Icelandic Fields by Mountains

It's crucial that those who struggle to fall asleep when it's this bright at night should bring a sleeping mask with them, especially if there are no blackout curtains that would hold the brightness in your accommodation.

Driving in Iceland in April

While it's nice to enjoy the freedom of traveling on your own and allowing yourself to stop whenever you want and check all the beautiful sights at your own pace, diving can be challenging and complex. And doing so in poor weather conditions and on unknown roads can be even more painful. So, what should you know before taking the wheel?

Jeep Drives in Iceland During Winter

Unpredictable weather: Checking the weather conditions at all times is not only important when getting ready and deciding what kind of clothes to wear. It's also crucial to take into consideration the strong winds and slippery roads that might cause an accident;

Stopping in the middle of the road: One of the main perks of self-driving across Iceland is that you can stop whenever you want. Found something worth taking a picture of? Not a problem! Well, there might be a problem if you stop in the middle of the road as it's strictly forbidden to do so in Iceland. Such a decision might cause a car accident or get someone seriously hurt. This is why you should always find a pull-out where you can safely stop and spend some time outside;

Driving off-road is illegal: In order to protect Iceland's environment, it's illegal to drive on unmarked roads or trails. Going against this might get you fined or even put in prison. Before your travels, it's wise to check the roads, their condition, and any other travel-related rules. You can do that by going to SafeTravel and;

Headlights are always on: No matter what time of the year or even the day it is, the car headlights must stay on. This is done to increase a car's visibility and ensure the safety of those on the road, especially when weather conditions tend to change often;

A hands-free system is necessary: Drivers cannot use their mobile phones while driving. Knowing that many travelers use their phones as GPS to look at road maps, it's best to get a hands-free system. There shouldn't be a thing distracting you from following the route where anything (e.g., animals crossing the road) can throw you off the path;

Follow your speed limit: Icelanders don't joke about speed, so it's important not to exceed these limits: On paved roads, it's 90km/h; 80 km/h – on dirt roads; and in the city, it's 30-50 km/h;

Check your gas tank and fill it with fuel: Before starting your trip, make sure to have a full gas tank and prepare for refuels. Even though finding a gas station is not a problem in the city, if you decide to take further routes, gas stations are rare in more remote areas;

Situations when you can get a fine: not wearing a seatbelt, allowing a younger than 12-year-old kid to sit in the front passenger seat, using your phone while driving.

Can you see the Northern Lights in Iceland in April?

The Northern Lights are one of many spectacular things that people associate Iceland with. When is the best time to see them? And more importantly, do you have any luck catching them in April?

Sheer Northern Lights in Iceland

The Northern Lights season starts at the end of August and ends in the middle of April. For the Aurora Borealis to be seen, you need to wait for a really dark night, and those usually occur from September to February. But there is a chance you'll see the Northern Lights in April too as its nights are still dark compared to the May and summer months. 

What is also essential when trying to catch the lights is that you should do it farther away from the city, where the air is less polluted and the sky is clearer. To be sure that your night turns out to be a success, book one of many Northern Lights tours.

What to wear in Iceland in April

Considering how often the weather changes in Iceland and that most of your trip will be spent outside, where all four seasons might occur within a span of one day, what should you pack for your trip?

What to pack for Iceland in April

When the weather in Iceland shifts every few hours, the best thing to do here fashion-wise is to dress in layers. It's a clever trick that will help you stay warm during the strong and cold winds and ensure your comfort when it's sunny.

Two Men Hiking in Icelandic Fields

How to dress in layers?

The base layer – To be warm, wear thermal leggings and a top. The best underwear garments are made from Merino wool, which is more expensive but is more reliable because of its breathability. This material also feels nice to the body and doesn't "sting".

Middle layer – To keep that warmth, it's best to put on a wool or fleece sweater. For those who adore traditional clothing and are crazy about patterns, you should get an Icelandic wool sweater, "Lopapeysa". This fashionable piece of clothing will keep you cozy. Note that it's better not to wear cotton as it's known to dry slower. 

Outer layer – While the first two layers protect you from any cold, imagine the outer layer as armor that protects you from Icelandic wind and rain. For this reason, it's best to choose water- and wind-resistant jackets and pants. 

What are some other important clothing items? Don't forget to take wool socks and waterproof hiking boots to ensure stability and protection when traveling. Among your things, you should also have a raincoat, sunglasses, some sunscreen, and a swimsuit, in case you'll be stopping at hot springs.

Things to do in Iceland in April

Iceland is full of beautiful and extraordinary things to see, explore, or experience, so no matter the weather or other circumstances, there’s always something that will keep you busy and engaged.

What’s great about traveling to Iceland in April is that despite being a “shoulder” season, it still has to offer a variety of things to do and places to explore without having to mingle in big crowds.

Spend time exploring Icelandic culture and nature

There are numerous ways you can spend your April in Iceland. If you’re keen on learning more about Icelanders and their culture, you can visit museums and galleries in Reykjavik. Here you’ll be introduced to Iceland through art, architecture, history, stories, food, and drinks. In Reykjavik, you’ll also find the world’s first indoor ice cave and have a chance to see the Northern Lights by visiting Perlan Museum.

Tours in Iceland’s nature

Those interested in spending time exploring Iceland’s nature and wilderness and trying out new experiences will find April a great month to do so. Find yourself on the famous Ring Road, going around Iceland exploring ice caves, and looking at majestic waterfalls and volcanoes.

Puffins Sitting on Rocks in Iceland

Try out a nature tour where you’ll have an opportunity to watch puffins—black and white seabirds that are hard to miss because of their distinct bright orange bill. Also, did you know that April is when the lambing season starts? Don’t miss your chance to embrace these cute little animals on the farm.

April events in Iceland

“Sumardagurinn fyrsti”, also known as the First Day of Summer, is celebrated annually on the first Thursday after the 18th of April. On this day, people go out to the streets where the parade commemorates this celebration. This day is also known as one of the “Icelandic Flag Days”, so don’t be surprised to see this country symbol everywhere you go.

Musician Statue by Concert Hall in Reykjavik

Statue by the modern Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, Iceland

Another significant celebration in April is Easter. During Easter, Icelanders like to spend it by going to church to listen to choir singers. Another busy place at that time of the year is Harpa—a concert hall in Reykjavik. Here you’ll get an opportunity to listen to some beautifully played music. 

If you’re a true music lover, then you should also plan your visit to Iceland when the music festival “I Never Went South” (“Aldrei For eg Sudur”) takes place. Every year, during Easter weekend, various music artists gather in a town called Ísafjörður to perform. The festival was first organized in 2003 by an Icelandic musician Mugison. 

Is April a good time to visit Iceland? It sure is! Have a breath of fresh air without having to stand in big crowds, enjoy the Icelandic spring weather, try out new activities by booking day tours or immerse yourself in the county’s life by going on a multi-day trip.

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