Visiting Iceland In April
When to go to Iceland can be a difficult decision to make and it seems to depend on what you want to experience. Iceland has an ever changing landscape and will be almost unrecognisable going from one season to the next. Visiting Iceland in April is one of the best months to experience the true nature of this island and so in this post we will discuss why visiting Iceland in April is such a great decision.
What can you see in Iceland during April
Iceland has always been one of the best places in the world to see whales and that is still the case today. During the month of April herring flock to shores of the followed by Orcas that feed on the herring. There are a few places around the island to go whale watching including Husavik but if its Orcas you wish to see there is no better place than around the Sneafellsness Peninsula. Olafsvik is the best place to go whale watching in April, check out our post on seeing Orcas in Iceland.
Springtime is a sensational season of colours and sound. One of the main features you get during spring is snow melt, this is very evident of places which have quite harsh winters. Snow melt combined with more rainy days creates huge water run off, which then flows into the rivers and streams ending with a glorious waterfall. Iceland has many waterfalls located all over the island, the amazing thing about Iceland is that you can stumble upon picturesque waterfalls a few yards off the side of the road.
Gullfoss is possibly Iceland’s most famous waterfall and certainly in many peoples opinion the most picturesque. Gullfoss is also extremely powerful and has incredible potential for use in renewable power, which makes it an extra special part of Iceland. Gullfoss is just the start of Iceland’s incredible waterfalls and one of many that you have to visit. Have a look at this post by Guide To Iceland on 10 of the best waterfalls to visit in Iceland.
The Northern Lights are probably one of the things Iceland is famous for and many travel there during the winter when the lights are at there most visible. If you haven’t managed to get to Iceland during the winter don’t fret there is still a chance of seeing the Northern Lights in April. The days are becoming longer so it can be harder to see them as you will need complete darkness, so be prepared to stay up late.
If your intentions when visiting Iceland are to see its natural beauty then you are probably likely to want to witness some of Iceland’s wildlife. Whales are of course of the main wildlife sightings that people wish to see but there are other animals to witness during April. Puffins begin to make their way back to Iceland and can be more commonly seen on cliff sides or during whale watching trips. Reindeer are predominantly based in east Iceland and are a beautiful sight, you may catch a glimpse of them in the fields as well as the elegant Icelandic horses. If your really lucky you might see an Arctic Fox which will be changing colour as the summer approaches.
Because Iceland is such a natural landscape you will often see its animals running wild and free which adds to the beauty of this country. Just keep an eye open.
Iceland is a popular island to visit, however more people come in the summer as the weather is better and that is generally the time of year people have off work. With less tourists you will feel more like the island is yours, crowds can make you feel rushed and you don’t get to experience all the natural wonders in your own time. For example when we visited Gullfoss, the most popular waterfall in Iceland and on the famous Golden Circle Route. The crowds consisted of about 10 – 20, whereas in the summertime you could expect that figure to rise significantly.
If you haven’t had that much experience driving in a foreign country then you may want to take your time on the roads. In the summer roads can be crowded, but during spring you can drive without much pressure on your tail. Parking your car also wont be a problem and if you want to stop for a cuppa along the way you will have more chance of privacy in April then during summer.
Iceland is stunning during all seasons and each one offers something different and something photo worthy. April gives you an array of colours as the harsh winter browns turn to green, lush plant life. The snow melt creates epic waterfalls and rivers that burst with fresh cold water. You start to gain access to higher areas of Iceland that you cant get to during the depths of winter. The Golden Circle Route offer amazing views up towards the glacier, with Thingvellir National Park being a must visit destination for stunning scenery.
Iceland will never fail you in its scenery, whatever the season you choose to go, but the transformation period during spring is a spectacle not to be missed.
What Is the Weather like In Iceland In April
Weather is always an important aspect of any trip away and when your planning on getting out and about its something you must take into account. As you have probably guessed it Iceland is wet in April, the spring always brings water as a natural progression from winter to summer. Iceland gets lots of rain throughout the year however April isn’t the wettest month to go but if your there for more than 3 or 4 days your most likely to experience at least some rain.
Its important to take the weather into consideration but as Iceland is so unpredictable in its climate you may find it a waste of time worrying about a bit of rain on your trip. More importantly when visiting Iceland in April, you should be concentrating on packing warm clothing. The winds are strong in April and even on mild days the wind can cause quite a chill. Higher areas on the Golden Circle route can be very cold and windy, especially around Gullfoss and Geyser.
Temperatures in April range from 1 degrees centigrade to 7 degrees centigrade so ice on the roads is still likely but you wont have to worry about it as much as during the winter. Early April has been known to have snowfall but doesn’t tend to stay on the ground for very long unless situated in higher areas. Because there is so much snow during the winter you will often find higher areas still covered in snowfall roads tend to be clear as the residual snow is often on mountain sides or within crevices. For more information on the weather in Iceland check out the Icelandic meteorological office website.
Planning Your Trip To Iceland in April
What to Pack for Iceland In April
Packing for a trip to Iceland will depend on the time of year but during April there are certain items you will need with you.
Wet Weather Clothing – Light raincoats are important as the likely hood of rain is fairly high, however some days can be warm so snow standard coats might bit a bit warm if your moving around a lot.
Gloves – You may not think so but gloves are majorly important as the wind chill can cause lots of discomfort to your finger tips. I recommend getting some waterproof gloves as fabric ones will be instantly useless if they get wet.
Warm Clothing – Fleeces and jumpers are important for staying warm however many people forget about trousers. there are some great brands that do double layer hiking trousers which can keep the cold out and to some extent the rain also.
Waterproof Rucksack – Iceland is an outdoor adventure island and you will most likely be doing some walking so a rucksack is a great tool when visiting Iceland. You don’t need anything too complicated but something that is going to carry any items you may need during your day.
Water Bottles – Making sure your hydrated is important when your out and about all day long. So you may want to think about getting a decent water bottle or flask for hot drinks.
Walking Boots – April brings more access to walking routes and the ability to explore more of the island than during winter. If your planning on hiking during your trip then a decent pair of walking boots can be important. Because April is wetter your walking boots will need to have some sort of waterproofing. Take a look at our post on keeping your feet dry whilst hiking.
Iceland is an expensive destination to travel to, prices for food and other items can create some pressure on your finances. Visiting Iceland in April can help towards the price of your entire trip as accommodation and flights are cheaper during this month. Summer months demand some of the highest rates for accommodation and flights so April can be a good month to visit.
How Long Do You Need In Iceland During April
Iceland has so much to see whether your going during winter, spring or summer you can spend weeks exploring the island. For a standard trip to Iceland in April you should be thinking about spending at least a week when exploring a section of the island such as the west. If you don’t have as much time 4 days will still give you the chance to see some of the best natural beauty Iceland has to offer.
The best way to plan the amount of time you will need is to find out the places you think you want to see the most. Iceland is a small country but when driving around it can become quite tiring as there are no high speed motorways that will get you from one side to the other quickly. Think about exploring one section at a time and find out how far each site is from one another, you can use google maps for this. By doing this you can work out how long you will need each day.
Driving In Iceland During April
When planning a trip to Iceland at anytime of year will most likely see you hiring a car. Public transport is pretty much non existent in Iceland and the reliance on driving is high. Unless you plan on staying in Reykjavik and getting tours around the island, you will have to hire a car.
Driving in Iceland is not as difficult as you may think, roads outside of Reykjavik are fairly quite and unless you are on gravel roads the condition of most of there roads are good. Choosing your car is important as it will dictate where you can go. If you plan on visiting more rural areas of Iceland you will need a 4×4 vehicle. Despite April being a month where the island becomes more accessible there will still be many roads that are closed or dangerous to access. If you want to find out what roads are closed and for a more live indication of road conditions in Iceland i recommend using road.is. This website will give you all the up to date conditions for your trip, including webcams and weather reports. It also tells about the road you are going to travel on and whether it is gravel or paved, this way you can plan before you get there giving you enough knowledge to choose the appropriate vehicle.
Here are some final points on driving in Iceland –
- They drive on the right hand side of the road and overtake on the left
- There are mainly two types of road, either gravel or paved
- Generally paved roads are 90km/hour this is around 55mph
- Generally gravel roads are 80km/hour this is around 50mph
- Iceland’s drink drive limit is strict at 0.05% in the UK and US it is 0.08%
- The inner lane of a two lane roundabout has priority over the outer
- Driving off-road is illegal and often dangerous
This is just a few of the most important aspects of driving in Iceland and it is always best to read up on the rules on driving in different country’s. My best advice is to take it easy and not be intimidated by other drivers, its better to be safe then sorry.
So there you have it, your guide to visiting Iceland in April. As we mentioned at the start, Iceland is an amazing place to visit throughout the year but April has so much to offer that the other months do not. When ever you decide to go make the most of your time there as it truly is a unique place.