Iceland in April: Things to Do, Weather, and Northern Lights

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Find out all you need to know about Iceland in April. What is the weather like in April? Will there still be snow? What activities can you do in April? Is it possible to see the northern lights? Is April a good time to visit Iceland?

Visiting Iceland in April is definitely worth it. You’ll watch the country emerge from the idle hibernation of the winter into the light of spring. This opens up a lot of fun opportunities, such as going on a road-tripping around Iceland or hopping on a boat ride on the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. To make the most of the rising sunshine, you can book a cottage in the countryside of Iceland or rent a car at Keflavik airport to have it from the start of your unforgettable journey through the land of ice and fire.

 

In April, the birds begin to chirp, the ice thaws, and the landscape gets greener. The days grow longer, temperatures start to rise, and rainfall lessens. However, April weather in Iceland can be incredibly erratic, and although the flowers have begun to bloom, snow is always around the corner.

Hallgrimskirkja Church in the spring

Because of that, you should prepare for anything—a good rule when visiting Iceland, regardless of the month. A few winter activities become unavailable in April, but traveling to sites like the Golden Circle, the south coast, and the Snaefellsnes peninsula should be relatively easy.



Each winter, Icelanders wait eagerly for the snow to disappear and for the sun to stay longer. Springtime is a season of hope and anticipation.

April traditionally brings forth an array of festivals and activities that celebrate the coming spring and bid farewell to the long dark winter.

Things To Do in Iceland in April

The view from behind the cascading water of Seljalandsfoss waterfall

What to do in Iceland in April? Spring is arriving in Iceland, and visitors can find almost all the summer activities available to them, such as horseback riding, caving, and snorkeling, as well as the last chance to engage in some winter adventures like chasing the northern lights.



Northern Lights in April in Iceland

In April, you can still catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights

Can You See the Northern Lights in Iceland in April?

In April, Iceland experiences between 13 to 16 hours of daylight, a significant change from the 20 hours of darkness during the winter months. However, the nights are not as bright compared to Iceland in May and the summer months, so there’s still a chance to see the dancing northern lights.

The best way to see the northern lights in April is to get out of the city’s light pollution on a clear night and head out into the darkened countryside. If your goal is to see the aurora, try visiting during the first half of April before it gets too bright. We highly recommend a northern lights tour if you want to view this celestial display in comfort and style.

There are many ways to see Iceland’s aurora in April. You can sail out from the old Reykjavik harbor and go on a northern lights boat tour as you breathe in the fresh air of the North Atlantic Ocean while taking in the view. 

You can also join a Super Jeep northern lights tour to go off the beaten path to some lesser-known viewing spots.

Or you can take a more affordable northern lights bus tour which departs from Reykjavik and goes to the best places outside the city to see these elusive lights with the help of a knowledgeable guide.

Visiting the Glaciers of Iceland in April

Glacier in Iceland as seen from above

Iceland is a place where you can combine incredible natural landscapes with the thrill of adventure, and the perfect way to do this is by visiting a glacier. Since over 11% of the country is covered with ice caps, you have many options.

One of the most famous glaciers is the Solheimajokull glacier. This glacial mass is rugged and filled with impressive blue crevasses, ideal for glacier hiking and ice climbing. It’s en route to the beautiful black sand beach of Reynisfjara.

Skaftafell has some beautiful glaciers.

Further along the south coast is Skaftafell Nature Reserve, which lies in the realm of Vatnajokull, the largest glacier in Europe.

The area is known for its many hiking trails and tracks. It’s a popular spot for glacier hiking because of the exceptional views of the Vatnajokull glacier and its icy wilderness.

Ice caves are renowned for their unreal beauty and rarity. However, most ice caves are closed in the spring because they melt with the returning sunlight.

There’s a cave in Myrdalsjokull glacier near the village of Vik that’s still accessible in April. The Myrdalsjokull glacier sits atop one of the largest volcanoes in Iceland, Katla, and is one of the top attractions in South Iceland.

You can join a Super Jeep tour to the Katla ice cave and glacier from Vik and witness the stark contrast of black lava and ash frozen in the blue and white glacier.

Exploring an ice cave during April in IcelandPhoto from Katla Ice Cave & Glacier Hike

The second biggest glacier in Iceland is Langjokull. This mighty glacier feeds the river Hvita which rushes southward and plunges into a dramatic gorge, creating the stunning Gullfoss waterfall

Adventure seekers can take a snowmobile ride, where they race across glaciers to take in the views of the snowy white landscapes that stretch on for miles and miles.

If you want to make a day of it, you can combine a snowmobiling tour with a sightseeing tour of some of Iceland's best-known natural wonders on this 10-hour Golden Circle and Snowmobiling tour, which starts from the city of Reykjavik.

Ice tunnel inside Langjokull glacier in Iceland

Photo from Exhilirating 10-Hour Into the Glacier Ice Caving Tour in Langjokull from Reykjavik

An incredible and intricate tunnel has been carved into the Langjokull glacier, where visitors can enter and learn everything about glaciers while walking along carved-out halls of ice, making the experience quite surreal and otherwordly.

Unlike the ice caves, the tunnel in Langjokull glacier is open year-round and accessible in all but the most turbulent weather.



Whale Watching in April in Iceland

You can find around 20 species of whales and dolphins in the ocean around Iceland

Photo from Up Close 2 Hour Whale & Puffin Watching Boat Tour with Transfer from Reykjavik

In April, the roads have cleared, making it easy to reach North Iceland, although you should always check road conditions and the weather forecast before embarking on a journey.

You could drive up to Akureyri and check out a whale-watching tour. With over 20 species of whales and dolphins around Iceland, you will have the opportunity to spot a few of these giants of the sea during the excursion.

In the North, the most commonly spotted whales are humpback whales, minke whales, and harbor porpoises in this season. Orcas, or killer whales, have also been seen in these waters in April, as have the enormous blue whales.

Of course, if you would rather stay in the capital, many boats sail out from Reykjavik’s old harbor each day in search of these great mammals. You can take tours where the excursion is paired with other exciting activities, such as this scenic 8-hour horseback riding and whale-watching tour.

Spot a Puffin in April in Iceland

Iceland in April: Things to Do, Weather, and Northern Lights

The adorable Atlantic puffin nests on Iceland’s coast in early April, and there are several ways you can catch a glimpse of one.

Latrabjarg in the Westfjords is the westernmost point of Iceland, and it boasts a large puffin population. At this epic cliffside, you can spot puffins taking off to look for food or sitting in the grass, waiting for you to take the perfect photo of them.

The road to Latrabjarg is bumpy and takes you across steep mountains. However, the milder April conditions make the route passable. While on the cliffside, be careful not to venture too close to the edge as puffins burrow in the cliffs, making the ground quite unstable.



Like whale watching, many tour operators across the country offer boat trips to reach known puffin hotspots. For example, this puffin tour which departs from Reykjavik visits the islands Lundey and Akurey, taking you as close to the nesting site as possible without disturbing them.

You can also book a puffin-watching tour from the Snaefellsnes peninsula or a five-day self-drive tour with a trip to the Westman Islands.

Hiking in Iceland in April

Enjoy peace in the Highlands during April in Iceland

Many of Iceland’s most popular hiking trails open in April, and the weather is mild enough to venture out. While places like the Landmannalaugar area in the Central Highlands are still not accessible, you can easily take day hikes around Reykjavik.

Keilir mountain on the Reykjanes peninsula is an excellent option, while the trail can be steep, it's a simple climb up this cone-shaped mountain. Mount Esjan, close to Reykjavik, is another nearby choice.

Festivals in April in Iceland

You'll be sure to find a festival in April that suits your interests.Photo from Best Cocktails in Reykjavik

Each month in Iceland, you’ll find an abundance of fun and exciting festivals around the country, but April has some of the most diverse ones. From snowboarding to music, those visiting Iceland in April should have no trouble finding a festival to their liking.



April Fools’ Day

April Fools' Day is a celebration of European origin that has taken root in Iceland. Icelanders have fully embraced the spirit of pranks, and you’ll find plenty of jokes by the locals, media, and even the hotels and tour operators. Watch out for fake stories in their newspapers, and we might even participate on our social media...so watch out!

Aldrei For Eg Sudur Music Festival

Like Christmas, Easter is a time of celebration in Iceland. But unlike Christmas, there aren’t as many quirky Icelandic traditions as during Christmas.

During the Easter weekend, families get together for a meal, everybody eats way too much chocolate, and many Icelanders leave town for a short trip to the countryside.

“I Never Went South,” or Aldrei For Eg Sudur is a festival held in Isafjordur during Easter Weekend.

Founded by the Westfjords musician Mugison, this festival has quickly become one of Iceland’s most significant musical celebrations.

Mugison is a famous Icelandic artist.

Photo by Hreinn Gudlaugsson, from Wiki Creative Commons. No edits made.

In 2003, Mugison and his father, PapaMug, decided to host a music festival in their hometown, Isafjordur. During Easter weekend, snow usually covers the roads to the Westfjords, so they knew that the only people who would venture out to the festival were true music lovers. And in Iceland, true music lovers are aplenty. Between 2000 and 3000 people show up to the Westfjords for the festival, almost double the population of Isafjordur and its nearby towns.

Everybody should be able to find something they like at “I Never Went South.” Performers range from brass bands and accordion players to heavy metal bands and rappers.

You’ll find an array of local artists performing, backed up by the biggest names in the Icelandic music scene, such as Paul Oscar, HAM, Retro Stefson, Glowie, Emiliana Torrini, and Solstafir.

Retro Steffson is a famous band in Iceland.

Photo from Piotr Drabik, from Wiki Creative Commons. No edits made.

This is a festival for those who love music, so the festival organizers decided to give everybody a chance to come, regardless of their financial status.

“I Never Went South” is free and open to the public, and all performing artists do so without compensation.

The festival has thus been nicknamed “The People’s Rockfest.”



AK Extreme

The mountain Hlidarfjall, located next to Akureyri, is arguably Iceland’s premier ski resort.

It holds many skiing and snowboarding events throughout the year, the most extravagant of which is perhaps AK Extreme.

This four-day snowboarding and music festival attracts over 7,000 spectators to the northern town each year.

Snowboarders from all over the world come to the festival to participate in friendly competitions. 

Events are held both at Hlidarfjall mountain and in the town of Akureyri.

You’ll find numerous concerts at local venues in town and a specially built snowpark in the center where Burn Jib sessions are held.

“Jibbing” is when snowboarders use handrails, stairs, benches, and other human-made objects as obstacles while riding.

The skiing season in Iceland ends in April.

Photo by ‘sergjff,’ from Wiki Creative Commons. No edits made.

At the slopes of Hlidarfjall mountain, snowboarders compete in the AK-Downhill competition, a standard race down the hill with a little twist.

Scattered along the way are poles that racers are encouraged to grab to enter a random lottery draw.

Each contestant must also hold an open can of energy drink, and the amount of spillage is measured for added time.

The main event is the Eimskip Big Jump. Fifteen shipping containers are used to build a five-story-high snow ramp in downtown Akureyri, and riders race down this enormous ramp with a colossal firework display in the background.



Children’s Culture Festival

At the end of April, various events dedicated to children and young people are held throughout Reykjavik.

The Children’s Culture Festival introduces youth to various arts through workshops and performances. 

The emphasis is on the child as an artist, so various activities are available in schools, museums, libraries, theaters, and other cultural institutions across the city.

Children and young people can attend workshops to learn everything from rapping and DJ-ing to hula-hooping and kite-flying. 

The children host art shows and family-friendly exhibitions in places like the National Museum of Iceland and Reykjavik City Hall.

The festival naturally concludes in a giant children’s dance rave where local artists drum up a beat fit for dancing.

Adults get free admission at every event if accompanied by a child.



The First Day of Summer

Flowers in bloom in Iceland's summer.

After a long hard winter, where darkness encompasses the island and ice covers the ground, it’s no wonder Icelanders are filled with anticipation for spring.

April brings forth a few traditions, some of which are international, like April Fools’ Day, and others, like the First Day of Summer, are uniquely Icelandic.



Iceland in Spring

Many birds start to nest in Iceland in April.

Technically, spring in the Northern Hemisphere starts March 20 and ends June 21. But Icelanders have their own way of deciding when spring and summer begin.

Spring doesn’t start in Iceland until the first Golden Plover, or 'Lóa', is spotted. Known by all Icelanders for its golden coat and distinct melodic bird call.

This migratory bird spends its summer here, and when the first is spotted in the country, spring has arrived.

The Icelandic media always covers the first plover sighting, usually in late March.

First Day of Summer

However, spring doesn’t last very long because Icelanders celebrate the First Day of Summer on the first Thursday after April 18.

Looking out the window on this day, it might not look summerlike outside.

Traditionally, the day has brought wind, rain, and even snow, but Icelanders still celebrate this day with local fairs and parades led by scouts bearing the Icelandic flag.

Summer begins in the Eastfjords of Iceland.

The First Day of Summer or 'Sumardagurinn fyrsti' is the first day of the lunar month Harpa in the Old Icelandic calendar, which divided the year into two seasons, winter and summer.

According to tradition, it is considered a good omen if summer and winter "freeze together," meaning if there's night frost before the day, the summer will be sunny and warm.

In A.D. 1000, Iceland’s Christianization saw the end of the Old Icelandic calendar, as the Julian calendar was implemented at the behest of the Vatican.

Some pagan traditions related to the old calendar, such as the First Day of Summer, have survived to modern times.

Nature begins to reclaim a building as summer begins in Iceland.

Until 1744, Icelanders would celebrate this day with mass. At that time, Iceland was a territory ruled by Denmark and was under their laws.

Inspectors representing the Danish church came to Iceland in April one year and heard about these festivities.

Because it was a unique Icelandic tradition, the Danish church banned all masses on this day.

However, the ban had little effect on the holiday. Masses may have stopped for a few years, but families continued to gather. Eventually, the festival would make its way back to the church.

Youth clubs took over these celebrations at the beginning of the last century, and now it’s a country-wide festival and a public holiday.



Summer Presents

Reykjavik is a place of gift giving in summer.

Winters in Iceland can be harsh. Before decent roads and modern transportation, the Icelandic winter seemed more prolonged and difficult as farmers were isolated with little to no means of communication.

The coming summer meant freedom, which is perhaps why this holiday survived all these years. 

The First Day of Summer was significant in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

People in the city took the day off to celebrate it, and farmers tried to limit their work to the bare minimum. Families would gather, have a massive feast, and exchange presents. 

This holiday might sound like a rip-off of Christmas, but it’s not. In Iceland, summer presents are much older than Christmas presents, with the earliest record of these gifts dating back to 1545.

However, records of Christmas gifts in Iceland only date back to the 19th century.

Everybody would receive a present back then, and a popular gift was bread because grain was not easy to get.

Today, primarily children receive presents, and they’re usually related to summer activities, like bicycles, balls, outdoor sports equipment, and other toys. 

So if you are traveling around Iceland in mid-April, zip up your coat, put on a hat, and join a parade. Give your loved ones a gift celebrating this age-old tradition.

Weather in Iceland in April

Iceland in April gets between 13 and 16 hours of sunlight

What’s the weather like in Iceland in April?

In April, the long nights of the Icelandic winter are over. The month starts with about 13 hours of sunlight each day. You can see the sunrise at 6:46 AM and the sunset at around 8:18 PM.

At the end of the month, Iceland will gain three more hours of daylight, with the sun shining from 5:04 AM to 9:47 PM.

But because there’s darkness in April, you still have a chance to catch the enigmatic northern lights.

When the weather forecast is good and the sky is clear of clouds, remember to watch for the aurora borealis during your April holiday.

There is still enough darkness in April to see the Northern Lights

Iceland’s Temperature in April

The temperature in Iceland in April can be described as mild. The average high temperature is 44 F (6.8 C), and the low temperature is 39 F (3 C). It should remain above freezing overall, but there’s still a chance it might drop below.

In April, the weather in Reykjavik continues to be slightly warmer, so expect the countryside to be a few degrees colder.

Statistically, about half the month of April will have some precipitation. However, the rain chances go down significantly between March and April and continue to dwindle throughout the month.

The precipitation will most likely come as rainfall, but snow is always possible.

We recommend all travelers use Safe Travel to report their itinerary before venturing out. There’s also a handy app and an emergency number, should you need it.



Is Iceland Green in April?

The weather in April is very unpredictable.

Every year, there comes a day when Icelanders look out the window and see green grass and the sun shining, and they think, “Finally! The summer has arrived,” only to have their hopes crushed moments later when a snowstorm hits.

So when traveling in Iceland in April, be prepared for anything.

Pack warm layers and good waterproof shoes, so you’ll be ready for that glorious summer’s day and the storm that will eventually follow.

Visiting Iceland in April

No trip to Iceland is complete without seeing geysers erupt

When traveling to Iceland in April, there are a few experiences one shouldn’t miss, like seeing the Golden Circle, visiting the healing waters of the Blue Lagoon, and checking out what the city of Reykjavik has to offer.

Doing these activities in April has some significant advantages because it’s off-season.

Crowds in April

Iceland will be less crowded in April.

Is April a good time to visit Iceland?

April in Iceland is considered the off-season, and flights and accommodation prices are much cheaper than in the summer months.

If that’s not enough, off-season means that the country’s most popular attractions, such as the Golden Circle and Lake Myvatn, will be less crowded. Reykjavik in April is also quieter, giving you a chance to mingle with the locals.

This low-traffic time allows you to fully appreciate the wilderness of Iceland.

Driving in Iceland in April

Driving the Icelandic roads in April should be easy, but a 4X4 is recommended.

Many roads are still closed after the winter, but the Ring Road, Iceland’s main route, is usually kept clear in April.

This access means you can drive to popular puffin sites, such as the Dyrholaey peninsula on the south coast, to try and catch a glimpse of these adorable creatures. To explore this region further, we recommend this Amazing 5-Day Self-Drive Tour of the South Coast

The highways leading to the south coast, Snaefellsnes peninsula, and the Golden Circle are relatively easy to traverse. In April, you should also be able to travel up north to places such as Akureyri, Husavik, or Myvatn.

However, since there’s always a chance of snow in April, we recommend a four-wheel drive vehicle when driving on Icelandic roads.

The best way to rent cars to travel around the country is on Iceland's largest rental car marketplace, where you can find any type of vehicle you need at the best price.

 

Recommended April Itineraries

The mountain Kirkjufell and the waterfall Kirkjufellsfoss on the Snæfellsnes peninsula

In April, the perks of being in Iceland are seeing the northern lights, visiting glaciers, and catching a glimpse of wildlife.

If you wish to explore the country and do so on your terms, you can take a self-drive tour around the country, creating your own adventures. That way, you don't have to worry about booking accommodations and tours, it will all be pre-booked for you, and all you need to do is drive between places and take in the beautiful scenery.

You can chase the tail end of winter with this epic 7-day North Iceland self-drive tour. It’ll take you to the otherworldly area of Lake Myvatn, the spectacular waterfalls Godafoss and Dettifoss, and the town Akureyri, which lies just 62 miles (100 kilometers) away from the Arctic Circle.

If you want more, you can add on extra tours where you race across the ice cap of Langjokull glacier or snorkel in the crystal clear waters of Silfra fissure.



In April, you can take a self-drive tour where you visit Goðafoss Waterfall

Alternatively, you can explore the West on a 5-day self-drive tour. The Snaefellsnes peninsula has one of the most diverse landscapes in the country—you can see large lava fields, stretches of black pebble beaches, tiny villages, and vast mountains.

Towering over the peninsula is the mighty glacier, Snaefellsjokull. Adventure seekers can add on a tour where they venture into the ice tunnels of Langjokull glacier or descend into an Icelandic volcano’s empty magma chamber

If you are only visiting for a short while but want the full Icelandic experience without worrying about driving, you should check out this 4-day summer vacation package.

This tour will take you to the Blue Lagoon, the Golden Circle, the many south coast attractions, and the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. You can also add extra activities to explore a glacier with a hike or ride around the countryside on a horse.

Are you planning to travel to Iceland in April? Which tours sound the best to you? Let us know in the comments below what you find helpful and if there’s anything else you’d like to know about what Iceland is like in April.