Are you planning a trip to Iceland in April? Read here to find out everything you can see, do and explore at one of the best times of year to visit.
Iceland should absolutely be near the top of your bucket list of places to visit in your life. It has everything any traveller could ever want. Ok maybe not soaking up the rays in the scorching sun but it tops that with breathtaking scenery, incredibly diverse nature, geological wonders, mindblowing adventure activities and breathtaking scenery. Alright, I know I said breathtaking scenery twice but once you get there you’ll understand why.
Travelling to Iceland in April is one of the best times of the year to plan your visit. You have the benefits of longer days than the winter months and fewer crowds than the summer months. Depending on what you want out of your trip it might actually be the perfect time to visit Iceland.
Pros Of Travelling To Iceland In April
In the middle of winter, you’re looking at an average of just over 4 hours of complete daylight per day. 4 HOURS! In the middle of April that has risen all the way to nearly 15 hours and no complete darkness at all. This might not sound like a lot but if you are trying to lose the crowds of summer and save money during the low season then this gives you plenty of time to see the sights.
April is still in the low season in Iceland so you’ll get all of the cost-saving benefits associated with a low number of tourists. Lower airfare, accommodation and tour prices to name a few. If you have ever spoken to anyone who has been to Iceland then you’ll know that the one negative thing they always say is ‘it was bloody expensive though’! Going to Iceland in April will massively help to reduce some of these costs and give you the opportunity to get the most out of your trip.
This is one of the biggest pros of coming to Iceland in April. All of the big tours are still available. If you come any later then the ice caves are closed due to melting and tours for the Northern Lights are significantly reduced if not stopped completely.
April is the first month when temperatures actually begin to rise. You can expect average highs of around 5°C and average lows of around 0°C (32-41°f). Yes, this is not particularly warm but it’s the best you can get if you to experience the best of both worlds, summer and winter. It still rains on about half of the days in April however, it is considerably less than the winter months.
Cons Of Travelling To Iceland In April
This is not really the worst of cons as you can easily just avoid the dates, however, many stores and activities will be closed on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Monday. Places like restaurants and hotels will almost certainly still be open but I would avoid those days if you are coming for a short period of time to maximise the number of things you can do and explore. Easter changes every year but a quick internet search should provide you with the dates for the coming Easter celebrations.
Because it is still very cold the snow and ice may still be blocking some of the routes north and will probably be blocking hiking trails and some of the remote natural hot springs. In my opinion, you can still get to the very best places to visit in Iceland but it may be more expensive, for example flying to Akureyri for skiing or whale watching.
Things To Do In Iceland In April
There are literally so many things to do in Iceland in April that I couldn’t possibly break all of them down in one post. However, this is a complete list of the very best things to do and a brief explanation of how, when and the best place to do them.
The Northern Lights
Otherwise known as the Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights has to be near the top of your list when you go to Iceland. The legendary light show that illuminates the northern skies is one of the most incredible natural phenomena you can see anywhere in the whole world.
There are 3 important things that are essential for you to be able to see the Northern Lights: solar activity, clear skies and darkness. When you get to Iceland, make sure that you frequently check an Aurora forecast website to maximise your chance of success.
If driving around chasing the best spots is not for you then you could grab a Northern Lights tour and let the operator do all of the work for you. They will take you somewhere with the minimum amount of light pollution and at the best time of day. This has to be the most likely way to spot the Aurora when visiting Iceland.
If you are looking to see the Northern Lights in Iceland in April then I HIGHLY recommend that you travel in early April. Anytime past the 15th, it is incredibly difficult to see them. This is because Iceland no longer has actual complete darkness at any time of the day, which is the most likely time to see the show. There is still up to 2 hours of complete darkness in early April so make sure you plan your trip around this.
Possibly the most famous trio of activities in Iceland, the Golden Circle is a must do when visiting Iceland in April. It isn’t just because of their incredible beauty and natural wonder either, it’s also because of the relatively close proximity to Reykjavik. Any traveller flying into the capital can very easily book a tour or simply drive a hire vehicle to the Golden Circle and witness exactly what Iceland is all about with very minimal effort and cost. This is made even more tempting with the fact that entry to all 3 attractions is free.
The Geysir Geothermal Area comprises of the very first geyser ever to be discovered, hence why all other geysers around the world have this name (albeit with an e instead of an i). You can walk around this small complex and witness steam seeping out of the ground and boiling hot water flowing down small shallow streams that are eerily green in colour.
The most spectacular attraction, however, is Geysir’s smaller brother Strokkur which erupts steaming water high into the sky every 5 minutes or so. There are not many places in the whole world where you can witness this incredible natural phenomenon so do not miss this out of your Iceland in April planning.
You will almost certainly not see Geysir erupt as it very seldom shows any signs of life at all and can go decades being completely dormant. If, however, you are lucky enough to see an eruption, it can send water 120ft up into the sky. It may be almost completely unlikely to witness but here’s to hoping!
Thingvellir National Park
If you have travelled to Iceland to get away from the 9-5 or to experience some peace and tranquillity then Thingvellir is definitely the place to visit. Thingvellir has a rich history for the Icelandic people and much can be learnt from the visitor centre as well as walking around the park and reading the various information boards.
However, it’s not just for the history that people come to Thingvellir, the geology is also one of a kind. Iceland is the only country on Earth where 2 tectonic plates meet above sea level. This means that you can literally see the two sides of the plates. Thingvellir is one of the best places in Iceland to witness this as right from the carpark you can walk through a small canyon and be between the Eurasian and North American plates.
If this still hasn’t convinced you to visit Thingvellir then you can also dive or snorkel the gap between continents at the Silfra fissure. The water spends so long being filtered through the ground that when it arrives at the fissure you will get visibility of over 100m. If you are brave enough to try this out then this will be an unforgettable experience no matter what else you do in your lifetime.
Gullfoss is a huge powerful waterfall that falls off of an 11m step and a 21m step ledge into a large crevice in the ground. This is one of the most powerful waterfalls in Iceland if not the most beautiful so be assured to be awed by the sheer sound and spray it creates.
Gullfoss is usually the last visit of any tour or simply the last as it is the furthest away from Reykjavik. I recommend going, even if you don’t really like waterfalls, because of the close proximity to Geysir. It’s only 10 minutes away from Geysir so it would be a shame to miss it out.
If you are arranging an ice cave tour or a snowmobile tour close to Reykjavik then they will probably be picking you up at Gullfoss waterfall. If this is the case, this is an even better reason to give yourself a little bit of extra time to go down and see the falls.
If you are travelling to Iceland in April, or any other time for that matter, then you will definitely have heard of the many geothermally heated lagoons and hot springs dotted throughout the country. There are large well-maintained tourist lagoons as well as much smaller more secret natural hot springs to find throughout the Icelandic landscape.
You can actually plan your entire trip around trying to find these secret spots and maybe even get to bathe in the middle of the mountains surrounded by nothing but your own company and the snow-peaked summits.
I highly recommend visiting the Blue Lagoon purely because of its incredible beauty and fame. It’s so large that whenever you go you’ll be able to find a spot to relax all by yourself. If you are more into nature and trying to find that secluded spot all by yourself then I recommend trying to find Landbrotalaug spring. This gorgeous little romantic hot spring fits up to three people and is perfect to disappear from the buzz of the city for a short time.
Iceland in April is still quite cold and some of the natural hot springs are so remote that the snow may still be blocking the entrance. Make sure that you check the road conditions and whether the hot springs are accessible before you travel.
This is the main reason why travelling to Iceland in April is perfect. If you were to travel one month earlier then there would be no puffins to see! One month later and the crowds begin to appear around the nesting areas.
If you’re not that into birds or nature then you can give this a miss if you want but I highly recommend that you don’t. There are so many places you can see them that will almost certainly fit in with your already planned trip.
For example, if you are planning on exploring the south-east coast of Iceland like many people do, then you can simply stop off at Dyrhólaey. The puffins nest in the cliffs and around the huge natural arch formation and is a great place to see the puffins without having to alter your course to do so.
If you are visiting Iceland primarily to see the puffins then I highly recommend going to the Látrabjarg cliffs in west Iceland or taking a short boat ride over to the Westman islands off the south coast. Either of these locations will bring you the highest numbers and best photo opportunities you can get in Iceland.
In April there are two main places you will be able to grab a whale watching tour from, Reykjavik or Húsavík in the north. If you are looking to see the most variety of whales, like blue whales and humpbacks, then you simply must venture north to Akureyri and its neighbouring towns.
That’s not to say that Reykjavik is bad, quite the contrary. You should be able to see whales from any tour out of Reykjavik, like minke whales, but the variety and quantity may not be the same. So if you simply don’t have the time to go north to Akureyri then whale watching tour from Reykjavik is still a very good option.
There are 2 things to consider. Firstly, if you are coming to Iceland solely for the animals then understand that April is the very beginning of the season for these kinds of tours so they may not be quite as fruitful as you may hope. I recommend coming from June onwards if this is your only goal.
The snow may not have melted enough to actually reach Akureyri in the north by the start of April. Always check the road condition before you set out to reduce risk and disappointment. If this is the case, you could always fly to Akureyri from Reykjavik.
Explore The South East
If you are coming to Iceland in April then you have to add this to your itinerary. The southeast has some of the best and most beautiful sights that Iceland has to offer and all of it will be completely accessible come April. Treat this as a mini road trip from Reykjavik to Diamond Beach, stopping off at various sights along the way. Have a look at my complete road trip on Google maps below for some inspiration.
Head out of Reykjavik to your first stop at Seljalandsfoss waterfall. This is one of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland as you can walk completely behind it and get some stunning pictures through the water. After Seljalandsfoss, make your way down the coast to Skógafoss waterfall.
Skógafoss is conveniently very close to the Route 1 ring road so this stop shouldn’t take to much of your time. However, the next stop at the Solheimasandur plane wreck is considerably longer. You used to be able to drive down to the plane but now you must walk. This walk is roughly 1 hour each way and I don’t recommend it if the snow is still thick due to safety reasons.
After Solheimasandur, I recommend stopping at Dyrhólaey to see the puffins on the cliffs and incredible panoramic views you get from the top. Make your way round to Reynisfjara beach after Dyrhólaey to walk on the most famous black beach in all of Iceland. You can also get something to eat as this is a great place to find a restaurant with a view.
The penultimate location is Svartifoss waterfall which, like Solheimasandur, is a bit of a trek. Park up and take the incredibly beautiful trail up to the falls which is roughly 1.5 km each way. This is another long trek but luckily the last big walk of the day.
Lastly, make your way up to Diamond beach and finish your day with, I think, the most beautiful beach in all of Iceland. The jet black sand is literally covered in ice diamonds varying in size and shape. The contrasts between ice and black make it a truly memorable experience.
If you have got up very early then this will take you all day for sure. I recommend staying at Skyrhúsid Guest House which is only 10 minutes from Diamond Beach. If you have not been able to see everything in 1 day then simply stay here and see what you missed on the way back to Reykjavik the following morning.
April is a fantastic month to go skiing in the north of Iceland. There are many very well made floodlit resorts that allow you to really experience skiing like never before, for example with the Northern Lights glittering above your head.
Not only that but there is a fantastic ski festival called AK Extreme which is basically people doing ludicrous jumps and tricks for the enjoyment of the crowds! If you can tie in your ski trip to Iceland in April with this festival then I highly recommend that you do.
If you are going to Iceland to go skiing then fly directly to Akureyri. If you fly to Reykjavik and the snow hasn’t cleared enough to drive to Akureyri then this could ruin your trip.
I don’t usually recommend tours due to the price and the fact that you can usually do the activities on your own for considerably less money. However, the following tours can only be done with a certified tour guide and trying to do them on your own is extremely dangerous and almost certainly illegal. So I have found the best tours for the following activities for Iceland in April.
Tips For Travelling To Iceland In April
This is a big one! Iceland will still have snow on the ground and ice on the roads in April. This means that you have to be extra careful whilst driving your hire vehicle, even on the main Route 1 ring road. There will also be places that you simply cannot go as roads may be cut off or closed. Always check the conditions online before you go on any journey and if you come across an area where you do not feel safe then simply turn around.
However, I still recommend hiring a vehicle for your trip to Iceland in April as if you are careful then you should be completely fine. The freedom a vehicle gives you will allow you to see and visit many more places than if you were going to them all via tour or public transport.
Do NOT hire a 2 wheel drive to save money as they are not allowed on F-roads which hide some of the more beautiful places in Iceland. Ignore people that say a 2×2 will be fine going on some of these roads as if you are the first person that screws up your vehicle then you’ll be facing a hefty fine. We hired a vehicle in Iceland in November and I never felt in any danger at all.
Iceland has some of the best souvenirs in the whole world. Unlike other countries where you mostly just buy t-shirts and other assorted rubbish, Iceland actually has very good quality and stunning souvenirs to help remember your journey better. Check out our guide to Icelandic souvenirs for more inspiration on what you can bring back to your loved ones.
Packing List For Iceland In April
April can be a very wet month because of the melting snow, ice and rain. Bring a pair of very waterproof shoes! I recommend some good sturdy hiking boots but at the very least they have to be sealed. There is nothing worse that getting your feet wet and 0°C and this will definetely ruin your day. I would couple this with some waterproof trousers, this may seem like overkill however there is no issue with sticking some in a day bag just in case.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Iceland Have Snow In April?
Yes. It is starting to reduce however there is still enough snow and ice that the roads to the north can still be closed or hazardous.
Does It Snow In Iceland In April?
There is a good chance of snow as it rains on average 18 days of the month. However, this will mostly be rain due to the slightly rising temperatures.
Does It Get Dark In Iceland In April?
The beginning of April does still have around 2 hours of complete darkness where you can still see the Northern Lights however towards the end there is no complete darkness, just relative darkness.
Will I See The Northern Lights In April In Iceland?
At the beginning of April, there is still enough complete darkness that the Northern Lights can be seen. However, you will also need clear skies and solar activity which cannot be forecast far in advance. These last 2 factors are mostly down to luck, however, this is the same throughout the year.
Can You Ski In Iceland In April?
Yes. Skiing in Iceland in April is a great time to go but I advise flying into Akureyri as the roads may be closed from the south.
Have you been to Iceland in April and can think of something I have missed off my list? Are you going to Iceland in April and have a question? Please let us know in the comments section below!
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