April 28, 2019

April in Iceland | The Best Way To Do Iceland In April

by Ragnheidur Harpa
Driving in iceland
Natural attractions
Road trip
Things to do
Travel tips
Ragnheidur studied anthropology with a minor in media so it might not come as much of a surprise that she is curious about the nature. She loves educating others about her findings or her home country, Iceland. Ragnheidur is into country living, traveling, Icelandic horses, the Icelandic naming system, plants and all things having to do with food and beer. Her favorite places in Iceland are the Westfjords and the South Coast but she has lived in downtown Reykjavik for the last few years.
April in Iceland | The Best Way To Do Iceland In April

April is an amazing month to visit Iceland. Not only is it the time when animal younglings are born (overloading the countryside with cuteness), but it’s also the time when we start to see rapid changes in the weather! This means the first signs of spring, the first blossoms, and eventually, at the end of the month, the celebration of Iceland’s National First Day of Summer.

There are a lot of festivals held in Iceland in April, and  you will have endless options for fun activities. Moreover,  road conditions get a lot better out in the countryside, so driving becomes a lot easier.   If  you enjoy the freedom of the open roads, we definitely recommend a road trip in April!

Hallgrimskirkja Church

April is the perfect “in-between” month that gives you benefits of both winter and summer.   You’ll experience the smaller crowds and lower prices of winter but the increased daylight hours and activity options of the summer.   Case in point:  there will still be Northern lights but you can also enjoy  excellent whale watching tours, bicyling, and other summer-like activities.  Visiting Iceland in April is a trip you will never forget!

Whale safari

Weather in April in Iceland

The average temperature in April in Iceland is somewhere around 1°C to 7°C (about 34°-45° Fahrenheit),  which makes April the first month of the year above the freezing mark. The weather in Iceland is ever-changing.  That’s true for any month really, but especially for April.  We can easily experience sun, rain, snow and complete calm all in the same hour!

Vestrahorn East Iceland

During early April we might have an occasional snowfall, but the warmer temperature means it doesn’t  stay very long.

Daylight in April in Iceland

The month of April brings about 13-16 hours of daylight with a noticeable change between each day. This is the month Icelanders say goodbye to the dark winters and hello to the bright summer months ahead.

Daylight in Reykjavik

Northern lights in April in Iceland

One of the great perks of traveling to Iceland in April is that the Northern Lights are STILL active. The main difference lies in the fact that now the daylight is taking over,  so you will need to go out at a later time to see the show. The reason?  We need a dark background sky to make them really shine and sparkle!

Still, you must keep in mind that the Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon, and they are not always present. Rain and clouds can also be in the way and make the sky less open for you to see them.  Nonetheless, if they are out and the sky is clear enough they are worth the wait!

If you book a Northern lights Tour you are taken to the best spot to see them, carefully picked by Northern Lights experts.  If the weather is bad you will most often be offered to reschedule or to get a refund.   Some tours also combine northern lights with another activity like hot spring bathing or glacier hiking, so even if you don’t see the lights you’ll still have a fun experience.

Northern lights

What to pack for April in Iceland

We really can’t stress this point enough. Dressing right for Iceland means dressing in layers. The layer closest to you should be wool or thermals. Next, you should put on fleece, a sweater or  PrimaLoft®,   and the third layer is for wind and rain proofing. If the weather surprises you with some sun you can always just take off layers.  It has been proven easier to take off layers you do have than to put on  layers you don’t!

Your Iceland in April Packing List should look a little something like this:

  • Base Layer: Wool Underwear/Thermals
  • Thick Socks (more pairs than for your usual trip)
  • Mid Layer: Sweater, Fleece or  Thermal Insulation Garment 
  • Pants
  • Hiking Boots
  • Scarf/Buff
  • Hat
  • Gloves
  • Water/Windproof Jacket
  • Sunglasses
  • Bathing Suit
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip Balm (you will know why when you land)

Kerid Volcano Crater

What to do in April in Iceland

Rent a Bike in Reykjavik

Enjoy the daylight April brings and roam around on a bike (when weather allows). This will give you an opportunity to cover much more ground and see Iceland’s colorful capital from a whole new angle. Some of our most loved spots include Grotta Lighthouse, Oskjuhlid, Grandi, Solfarid and Perlan.

Bike Around Reykjavik

Visit a Hot Spring

Late April might just be warm enough to visit some of the more remote ones.   If you aren’t up for some possible cold bathing action the Blue Lagoon, the Secret Lagoon,  Krauma, the GeoSea baths, Myvatn Nature baths and other official baths might be more your thing.  

Secret Lagoon Iceland

Do the Ring Road

The roads have usually been cleared by April and taking a road trip is just the right way to celebrate Iceland’s ever-changing landscapes.

The Ring Road around Iceland is the most country’s most famous road trip.   It will give you views and memories for a lifetime. The landscapes will surprise you at every turn.  The beauty in Icelandic nature truly leaves no one untouched. If you don’t have time to do the full Ring Road,  Iceland Travel also offers multiple options for shorter road trips, both with a guided tour group and also on our itinerary based self-drive tours.

Diamond beach in Iceland

Events and Festivals in April in Iceland

Eve FanFest on 12th to 14th April brings together thousands of fans from all over the world who come to celebrate their love for the EVE online games.  Participants meet fellow gamers, learn about new innovations and enjoy fun activities around Reykjavik.

Reykjavík Children’s Culture Festival begins at the 17th of April and is ongoing until the 22nd. Art&crafts, workshops, and performances all linked together through the common theme of youth are hosted around the city of Reykjavík.  It’s great fun, especially for families with young children. Check out the nearest library or Facebook for more intel.

First Day of Summer  (always the last Thursday in April) might seem to be an event celebrated a bit too early,  but Icelanders will simply not change it. Street parades are held all around the country with Scouts and other organizations marching together under the Icelandic flag. You will see Icelanders sporting summer dresses and light colored outfits in praise of the day. Children get special summer-day gifts from their parents, usually things to enjoy outside.   Bubbles and music will be often be  floating around in the air.  This year the First Day of Summer is on the 25th of April.  

Summer in Iceland | Wilderness Center

Aldrei Fór Ég Suður is a music festival held in Isafjordur in the Westfjords over the Easter weekend. Almost every big music act in Iceland has played at the festival,  and it just keeps getting more and more popular.   This festival is a real local event to connect with Icelanders!

AK Extreme is a four-day snowboarding and music festival held in Akureyri in North Iceland. It brings together some of the best snowboarders in Iceland and the top acts in the music scene. Loads of fun!

Skiing in Akureyri | Akureyri Skiing

Driving around Iceland in April

We mentioned earlier in this article that road trips are fabulous ways to explore Iceland in April.  The most commonly driven roads, like the ones you find in cities, towns or the Ring Road 1 will be open for driving and cleared of any snow,  but, if you are looking to get further into the highlands those F-Roads (or  interior mountain roads)  might still be closed.   Make sure to check the road conditions before heading out.

Since April has ever-changing weather,  a 4-wheel drive car will come in handy if you are driving far out from the city.

Driving in Iceland | Vik i Myrdal

Ideal tours to do in April in Iceland

Whale Watching Tours

Horse Riding Tours

Snowmobiling Tours

Golden Circle Tours

Hot Spring Tours

Glacier Hiking Tours

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