The last wave of the winter, April is the month in which Iceland starts to see the first signs of spring. The weather has taken the turn from frosty cold to pleasant and slightly warmer and the breeding season is upon Iceland. April is the ideal combination of both summer and winter and will give you a fair taste of all the beauty that Iceland is. The country is filled with gorgeous spring blossoms and the small animal offspring, roads are easier to access and open in April so taking drive in the countryside is highly recommended whilst you enjoy the fabulous festivals. April attracts a comparatively larger crowd than other months of winter but it is still scarce when compared to the summer tourists. So, there is a fair chance for you to enjoy the mixed elements of summer and winter without having to encounter a long line of visitors ahead.
Iceland Weather in April
While the weather in Iceland can surprise you at any time, you will, in all likeliness, experience sunlight, bright sky, heavy rainfall, drizzle, snowfall, and even blizzard in a single tour in April. Here are some highlights of the weather in Iceland in April.
The average temperature in April stays between 1°C to 7°C (34°F – 45°F). April is the first month of the year that sees the average temperature above the freezing point. April can be a good time to visit Iceland for people who do not do well with extremely cold weather but want to catch a glimpse of the northern lights. It is still chilly though so stacking up on warm layers is a smart choice.
April gets a good 13 -16 hours of daylight. Each day sees a substantial difference in daylight hours ranging from the 1st day to the last day. This is the month that marks the end of the long night hours and introduces the country to the glory of the long daylight hours. Sunrises at 6:44 am and set at 8:20 pm on 1st April. 31st April sees sunrise on April 5:02 am and sunset at 9:50 pm.
Rainfall can be expected at any time in the year in Iceland. April gets approximately 58mm (2.3 in) of rainfall on an average which is higher than the previous months of the winter season. Since the temperature is more on the colder side, precipitation can range from the drizzle, heavy rain, or snowfall. The possibility of rain can also mean that weather gets colder than average so make sure that you are loaded with required gear.
Best Self Drive Activities in Iceland in April
Tourist Crowd in April
Since April is the off-season in Iceland for tourists, most of the tourist spots are free of the crowd. If you are not a fan of crowded places and events, visiting Iceland in April should check all the boxes on your list. The place is filled with tranquility and the wild is wide open to explore.
Pros and Cons of Visiting Iceland in April
The lesser crowd in April wounds up as one of the biggest pros of visiting Iceland in April. Most of the destinations are open to tourists. You can probably see everything from northern lights to spring special attractions like puffins and whales. There are no such cons of visiting Iceland in April as you will experience most of the winter special sights, enjoy the first day of the summer festival and get the best of the spring season. The only shortcoming will be the lack of temperature below the freezing points.
Take Notes: Things to Not Miss in April in Iceland
April is one of those months in Iceland that comes with an array of events and festivals along with the fabulous sites and landscapes. Here is a complete list of festivals and main attraction that you should hit as you set foot in the country:
Hunt for The Northern Lights
One of the reasons April is one of the best months to visit Iceland is because you get to experience the starting of summer and the top picks from the winter season as well. While the days are longer now in April, Northern Lights are still visible at night time. But to catch them, you will have to leave for the tour in the later hours of the night since even though Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis are a natural phenomenon, they are not visible all the time. The clouds can be in the way or the long hours of the day can present you with a bit of a problem for early sleepers. But the beauty of the dancing colorful lights makes it worth losing a bit of sleep for one night. You have an option to rent a vehicle like jeeps and drive to the countryside to enjoy the view. Although if you prefer to be a bit more comfortable, there are several northern light tours which are led by light experts and are carefully planned as per aurora forecast so that you can enjoy the lights properly. If you want to enjoy some company, you can take a bus tour to the best Northern Light sites.
Ice and Lava cave Tours
Iceland, the land of ice and fire, a phrase that comes to life when you lay your eyes upon the magnificent ice caves and the blazing colorful lava caves. The crystalline ice caves feature beautiful ice sculptures made by the dripping water which freezes at times due to extremely cold temperatures. Although April brings in the melting time most of the ice caves there are few places where you can still catch a glimpse of this special attraction, for example, Katla Ice Cave. After you have a bountiful of snow-white ice caves, make your way towards the red and brown lava caves. Most caves have beautiful openings that bring in the natural light in the caves making the spectrum even beautiful. Raufarhólshellir, Vatnshellir cave, or Víðgelmir cave are some of the best options you can weigh in to choose the ideal tour.
Since whales are visible in Iceland, April brings the accessibility to get the colder part of Iceland and a chance to see the rarely visible mammals in the country. The best way to enjoy the whale watching season is to book a guided boat tour. Options for the vessels to travel include traditional oak boats of Iceland or RIB speed boats. You can choose the tour you want to take depending upon the vessel of choice and the time duration which can range anywhere between a few hours and a few days. There are more than 20 species of whales and dolphins present in Iceland at this time around so you are sure to spot a few at least. The most commonly seen whales in the north are mink whales, humpback whales, and harbor porpoises.
It’s Puffin Season
April is the month in which puffins come to nest near Iceland’s coasts. Just like all other dearly sights of the country, this one also holds special importance when you tour around the country. These cute little beautiful birds have colorful beaks and matching red-orange feet to entice you completely. The best place to go puffin viewing in Iceland is Látrabjarg in the Westfjords. This cliffside is the westernmost point of Iceland and it gets a huge number of puffins to visit every year. They can be simply spotted relaxing in the area, sitting in the grass, looking for food, or just prancing around. Although, make it a point to not get too close to the edge of the cliff as the soil is loosened because of dug up burrows of puffins. The ideal way to enjoy Puffin watching time is by booking a boat tour. There are combined tours for puffins and whale watching available as well so you can pick the one that suits your interests the best.
Take a Tour of the Golden Circle
April brings the start of the driving season in Iceland when most roads are free of snow and daylight hours last longer than night time. It would be a shame to miss out on the 300 km long tourist route in southwestern Iceland known as the Golden Circle. It contains 3 primary stops which are coincidently some of the most beautiful sights to visit in the country. Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall, and Geysir geothermal area in Haukadalur will be the three places you will be making a stop at in your drive around the golden circle. If you are a certified driver then you can hire a four-wheeler vehicle and drive off with your companions yourself or you can book a golden circle tour. Although, if you choose to enjoy the route solely with your companions then make sure that you are equipped with all route-related and site-related information.
Do Not Miss Out on Glaciers
Glacier hiking is one of the biggest attractions in Iceland. It combines the thrill of conquering some very difficult geographical formations with the calming sensation of laying eyes upon one of the most gorgeous landscapes on the planet. Glacier hiking is open in Iceland all year round. While in the spring season in Iceland, still almost 10% of the country is covered with ice so glacier hiking tours are open for booking. Sóheimajökull glacier, Vatnajokull glacier, along with Skaftafell Nature Reserve on the south coast of the country has an ample amount of options for you to choose for the hiking.
Go for A Drive
The melted ice off the roads of Iceland invites you for some long-stretched drives. The ring road is open and easily accessible in April meaning that you can drive yourself up to most of the sights and tourist spots. Be it Puffin watching, the golden circle tour, or reaching to the whale watching spots, drives are available for most of the locations that fall along the main ring road of the country. Since there is still a chance that it can snow, it is advised to hire a four-wheeler for the road.
Best Day Tours to Take in Iceland in April
Iceland Festivals in April
Aldrei Fór Ég Suður
This is one of the biggest music festivals of Iceland and was founded by the musician Mugison in the year 2003 when Mugison and his father suddenly decided to host a killer fest for the music lovers in their hometown Ísafjörður. It is held in Westfjords and almost two to three thousand people show up for the festival every year. Aldrei Fór Ég Suður or ‘I Never Went South’ is open and free for everyone who loves music regardless of their financial status. All the performers play free of cost at the festival. The Aldrei Fór Ég Suður brings together all the local musicians of Iceland along with brass bands, rappers, rock metal bands, and accordion players. The fact that performers present their music free of cost and everyone is invited to join, gave this festival the name ‘The People’s Rockfest’.
AK Extreme is the most extravagant snowboarding and music festival. Athletes from all over the world come to Iceland and take part in friendly competitions. One of the most noted events among the ones held in the festival is the Burn Jib sessions using handrails, benches, stairs, and other artificial obstacles while riding. Most events are held at Hlíðarfjall mountain in Akureyri. You can find several of them happening in local venues of the town while the bigger attractions like Burn Jib take place at the specially built snow park. AK Extreme is one of the most popular festivals in Iceland. You should not miss the chance to attend it if you visit north Iceland in April.
Eve Online Fanfest
Eve Online Fest brings players and game developers to come together in the city of Reykjavík in the celebration of EVE Online, a sci-fi multiplayer online role-playing game set way ahead in the future. The game was developed by an Icelandic company CCP Games. The celebrations are held in Harpa Concert Hall. The fanfest is mind-blowing. It ends with an epic party at the Top of the World. The CCP in-house band plays in the party joined by some famous music artists like DJ Kristian Nairn (popularly known as Hodor from Game of Thrones), and Skálmöld.
Children’s Cultural Festival
Organized to introduce different new kinds of arts, the Children’s Cultural Festival emphasizes the focus on kids being an artist. Most of the events are held in institutions like schools, libraries, and museums – the places it is the easiest for the kids to access the workshops and the exhibitions. Children get a chance to learn many fun things like hula-hooping and kite flying. The festival is concluded with a children’s dance and a little bit of banter. You are sure to get free admission to the festival if you are accompanied by a child.
First Day of Summer
The tradition of celebrating the first day of spring is one of the oldest traditions of Iceland. It dates back to the era of Vikings as the celebratory dates can be seen preserved in the manuscripts of the Vikings. The first day of summer is celebrated on the first Thursday after the 18th of April. People of the city take off and farming activities are also limited to the minimum. People come out on the streets, have a feast, and exchange gifts. It is a fun-filled happy festival for the people of Iceland and an absolute joy to attend.
Pack for the Journey: All the Essentials that you will need
Iceland is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. It can sure be tricky to prepare yourself for everything that it is probable to throw at you. The weather can be unpredictable and take turns for the worst at times so make sure you pack all the needed essentials before you set out for the journey. Here is a list for you to check:
- Warm waterproof jackets for hiking
- Waterproof and windproof pants
- Insulated jackets
- Woolen hats/protective headgear
- Scarves to protect the neck from crisp winds
- Heavy Gloves for hiking
Extra Inner Layers
- Thermal innerwear
- Fleece or woolen sweaters for casual day/night outs
- Cotton t-shirts/shirts
- Leggings/casual pants/jeans for events and parties
- Swimsuit – to take a dip in hot springs
- Hiking Boots
- Casual Shoes/Sandals/Flip Flops for casual wear and comfort
- Warm Socks
Additional Important Picks
- Soap, bath towels, shampoo, face washes, and other toiletries
- Gadgets like phones, tablets, chargers, and travel adapters
- Reusable bottles and thermos
- Cameras and camera gear for photography
- Essentials like flashlights and batteries
- Rain covers (for bags)
- Prescribed medicines and over the counter drugs
- Water bottle
We hope this article about Iceland in April will help you figure out if it’s the best month for you to visit Iceland or not.
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