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Iceland in April

Everything you need to know about April in Iceland

|February 26, 2024
Loves writing, food, runes, Reykjavík life, traveling in Iceland and being out in nature. Born in England but fell in love with Iceland in 2010 and moved here, been here since.

April is known as one of the “convenient” months to visit Iceland because the trip here is cheaper, there are fewer crowds, and the weather is getting warmer. If you need more convincing, then continue reading this ultimate guide on what to do in Iceland in April.


April in Iceland offers fantastic opportunities. For the most part, the weather is still quite wintery. Nevertheless, by increasing daylight hours and giving us a few warmer days, nature is springing to life.

Fabulous contrasts can often be experienced. The bud leaves of springtime, snowy mountains, and the Northern Lights can still paint their visions of color above the scenery dusted in beautiful frost and snow.

Little harbor at Dalvik fishing village in Iceland

Is April a good time to visit Iceland?

April is considered to be the last month of the low season, so this time of the year comes with some travel advantages. Cheaper flights and accommodation mean that you get to save up, and fewer crowds allow you to enjoy famous attractions better. Iceland is famous for its repeatedly changing weather forecast, but in April, you can already enjoy longer and sunnier days.

April in Iceland – Fast Facts

  • Accommodation is cheaper than in summer or winter: you can save as much as 30-50%.

  • In Reykjavík, you get more than 13.5 hours of daylight on April 1st and more than 16.5 hours on the 30th of April. This is fabulous for seeing the sights and traveling around the country. In North Iceland, you get even more hours of daylight.

  • Evening sightseeing and photography can be really special.

  • On average, there is less ice and snow than in winter, so driving conditions are often better.

  • Frost-glistening winter scenes can usually still be seen.

  • The major attractions are all open, with the exception of some remote museums.

  • With the feeling and smell of spring in the air, swimming outdoors is particularly fabulous.

WEATHER IN ICELAND IN APRIL

April often brings quite a variety of weather, from minus temperatures to days that are quite warm, with sunshine, rain, or snow. With temperatures usually rising and falling quite a lot, snow does not normally lay on the ground for very long, although there are exceptions.

Dressing in layers is the best way to go in Iceland, never more so than in April. We’d also recommend you check out the weather in Iceland before your trip.

The temperature in Iceland in April

Good news for warmth-seeking travelers, April weather is much “friendlier” compared to earlier months. The average low temperature during this time is -1.1° C (30 ° F), and the average high is around 6.8° C (44° F). If you’re not that much into intense heat, this weather should be great for traveling.

Midnight Sun at Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

Sunrise at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Iceland

Daylight in Iceland in April

In April in Iceland, you'll get considerably more daylight than in winter, even if it's considered to be an off-season. The sunrise on April 1st is usually around 7:00 AM, and sunrise at around 8:00 PM. That's about 13 hours of daylight! From mid-April, it can increase to more than 16 hours of daylight.

WHAT TO DO IN ICELAND IN APRIL

Now, onto the main question: what fun activities can you do while in Iceland during this month, and what attractions are waiting for you here?

Travel around Iceland

Not sure where to start? One of the greatest ways to get to know Iceland better is by going to its most prominent attractions. Iceland is well known for its Golden Circle, which includes the country's main attractions. And those who are here for longer and wish to see nearly everything that Iceland has to offer, travel its most famous route – Ring Road.

Glacier hike

You might have heard that the first day of summer in Iceland is at the end of April, but that does not, in fact, mean that the temperature will change dramatically. So if you’re dreaming of some winter activities, then it’s a perfect time to try one of the glacier hike tours. Here you’ll be able to see the icy side of the country and enjoy its scenic landscapes.

Whale watching

If you’re an avid nature lover, especially having a soft spot for marine life, then you’ll be happy to hear that April marks the start of whale watching season. A good place for whale watching tours is the city of Dalvik. Many come here specifically for a spectacle of different whales, such as minke or humpback whales.

Northern Lights

April is also a convenient season to be traveling in Iceland because, during this time, it’s still possible to see the Aurora Borealis. The Northern Lights season usually starts from September to April, as during this time, the nights are still dark enough (even though much shorter) to see this natural phenomenon. You’ve probably heard that chasing Northern Lights is only possible during certain conditions, so in this case, it’s best to book a Northern Lights tour.

What to do in Reykjavik in April

View with a Rainbow from Reykjavik Church

Panoramic view from Hallgrímskirkja church in Reykjavik

If you’re worried that there won’t be a lot of fun things to do during April in the capital, then put your worries aside, as the city offers a lot of different activities at this time of year. If you're wondering what to do in Reykjavik in April, here are some ideas:

  • Walking the coastal pathways around Reykjavík will show you the Icelandic nature springing into life. Seltjarnarnes, a fabulous peninsula and suburb on the edge of Reykjavik, should not be missed.

  • Look and listen out for the golden plover, known in Iceland as the lóa.” When you spot your first lóa, you know spring has come.

  • Visit Grasagardur, the Botanical Gardens. Whether you can see nature starting to flower, or the ground is still covered in snow, this place always feels so magical in April.

  • On sunny days find a café or bar with a sheltered outdoor seating area. You will be surprised how lovely and warm it feels when you are out of the wind. Enjoy a local artisan beer, a great coffee or a slow meal outdoors. There are many great places, like Messinn, a fabulous fish restaurant offering outdoor or indoor dining.

  • Wander between the parades and events on the First Day of Summer, Sumardagurinn fyrsti.

  • Hire a bike and explore the many kilometers of designated cycle paths that lead around and out of Reykjavík.

  • Enjoy the art at Kjarvalsstadir and get yourself a coffee or lunch. On sunny days the sheltered area outside the café is very pleasant.

  • Make the most of the longer daylight to explore in cityscapes and Reykjavík harbor and waterfront in the evening.

  • Photograph the magnificent sunsets. Those giant canvases of color will really enhance your shots.

Can you see the Northern Lights in Iceland in April?

Northern Lights tour in Iceland

The Northern Lights are seen at night-time. And, as you’ve probably heard, daylight lasts longer in summer in Iceland. So, the best chance to see the Northern Lights in April is early in the month

In fact, while some winter months have the benefit of darkness for Northern Lights tours, they’re also colder, snowier and wetter than the spring/summer months. And inclement or overcast weather can put a dampener on a Northern Lights tour (no pun intended).

If you’re curious to know why you can't spot the Northern Lights during summer months, it’s because it needs complete darkness to be seen, and during summer, Icelandic nights are quite short.

Hallgrimskirkja Church at Night in Reykjavik

Hallgrímskirkja - Lutheran parish church in Reykjavík, Iceland

WILDLIFE IN ICELAND IN APRIL

Iceland is already recognized for its breathtaking nature and its variety of landscapes. But what about its wildlife? It’s as special as it gets, and once you’re here, you get a perfect opportunity to spot some of the cutest and mightiest creatures of Iceland.

Man Petting Icelandic Horse

Man petting Icelandic horse

Puffins

There’s a good reason why Iceland is called the capital of puffins. They can be spotted here from early April up until September. So opening the summer season with puffin watching can be an unforgettable experience because of how cute these little birds are. Before going puffin-watch, find everything there is to know about them in this guide on puffins.

Puffin on a Cliff in Iceland

Icelandic Puffin on a cliff

Whales

Besides puffin watching, another great animal to be on the lookout for during this time is whales. And the best way to spot them is by going on whale watching tours. During your trip to explore Icelandic marine life you get to see humpback and minke whales, porpoises, and dolphins.

Lambs

In Iceland, the lambing season begins in April and continues into May. The best way to enjoy the lambs, and to collect some cute moments to cherish, is to stay on a sheep farm out in the countryside.

Woman Taking Care of Baby Lamb

Farmer taking care of a newborn lamb

Birds

April is the time when many birds, such as whooper swans, geese, and white wagtails, return to Iceland. One of the places where you can spot them is near Lake Myvatn as this area is considered a protection sight for the birds.

WHAT TO WEAR IN ICELAND IN APRIL

Young Man Hiking in Iceland

Hiking in Iceland

When preparing for any kind of trip, one of the main questions posed is what to take with you and what to wear. Having in mind how unpredictable Iceland’s temperature is, the April packing list should first include the essentials such as thermal layers, water and windproof outerwear and waterproof hiking boots

Visiting Iceland can become a challenge if you’re not prepared right. The average temperature here is around 3°C (37,4°F) during April, so the best tip to keep in mind is to dress in layers. This way, you’ll keep yourself warm and comfortable and be able to easily remove or add more clothes according to the weather conditions and varying temperatures. 

For a more extensive guide on what to grab with you on your trip to the country, check out what to wear in Iceland.

DRIVING IN ICELAND IN APRIL

Car Driving by the Sunset in Iceland

Gravel road at sunset with a view of Vestrahorn mountain, Iceland

Even though a lot of roads might be still closed in Iceland in April, the main road, Ring Road, is usually kept open. The road to famous sights, such as the Snaefellsnes peninsula, South Coast, or Golden Circle is quite easy to navigate during this season.

However, we advise you to use a four-wheeler for driving in Iceland. Also, don’t forget to check the official website for weather reports (vedur.is) and road conditions (road.is). It’s important to assess your driving experience, weather, situation on the road, and other factors before getting into the driver’s position. In April, during the bad weather, the roads can become slippery, storms can cause limited visibility or even lead to closing highways.

So, if you want to be extra safe, try out guided day tours or multi-day tours where all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the scenery!

EVENTS AND HOLIDAYS IN ICELAND IN APRIL

Interested in immersing yourself in Icelandic culture right away? Then one of the best ways to do so is by attending its holiday celebrations and unique events. What are some of them that take place during April?

Excited Couple Holding Icelandic Flag

Excited couple travelling in Iceland

Sumardagurinn Fyrsti, or First Day of Summer

While April might seem more of a spring month, this is when the first day of summer is actually celebrated by Icelanders. When is it? Its exact date differs as the tradition states that the first summer day in Iceland is on the first Thursday after the 18th of April. Why so early? According to Icelandic history, the year was divided into two seasons: summer and winter. So, the second half of April marks the start of the summer. Now it’s recognised as an annual public holiday.

Easter

Easter celebrations for Icelanders mean an egg hunt, enjoying chocolate eggs, and having a delicious Sunday roast dinner, during which a lamb is served. If you’re looking for something fun to do during this family-focused celebration, you can follow Icelanders’ example and go skiing.

Children’s Culture Festival

If you’re traveling to Iceland with kids this time of the year, then you shouldn’t miss the Children's Culture Festival that takes place in the second half of April. This free festival is held in various places throughout the capital. Numerous events and exhibitions are created with or for kids. The main goal of this festival is to introduce them to culture.

Harpa Concert Hall by Harbor in Reykjavik

Harpa concert hall and conference centre in Reykjavík, Iceland

Aldrei fór ég suður, or I Never Went South

Easter time marks another important event that has taken place in Iceland since 2004, this year celebrating 20 years of success. It’s a music festival, “Aldrei fór ég suður,” which translates to “I never went South.” The festival that was created by a musician and his son takes place in the West Fjords and invites various musicians to participate.

AK Extreme

If you love sports and music, then there’s no way you’re missing the AK Extreme festival, which combines snowboarding and music. This multiple-day event takes place in Akureyri, providing you with the possibility to explore the capital of North Iceland and have a weekend full of action.

ICELAND IN APRIL FAQ

Is there snow in Iceland in April?

While by this time, Icelandic winter is already retreating, the weather during this time is quite unpredictable, so you can see snow in April.

Is April a good time to go to Iceland?

This month is convenient for traveling as the weather is getting better, there are fewer crowds, so the accommodation and transportation tend to be cheaper.

Will I see the Northern Lights in Iceland in April?

If you decide to visit Iceland somewhere around mid April, there’s still a chance you’ll see the Northern Lights. But don’t wait too long as the days are getting longer and sunnier, a setting that is impossible for Northern Lights to appear in.

Can you see ice caves in Iceland in April?

It’s advised to explore ice caves during the cold season – from November to March or the beginning of April. Note that this activity can only be done with a guide who will ensure your safety. For more information, check out the best time to see ice caves in Iceland.

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