April is an exciting time to travel to Iceland. It holds the promise of northern lights, puffins, reindeer, longer days, and outdoor exploration. It can also be a very tricky and unpredictable time to be in Iceland, because it’s the end of the Icelandic winter. Traveling in April has its advantages: it’s significantly cheaper and there are less people. But, there will be things that are closed, and not offered. When we started planning our 16-day road trip, it was overwhelming. We didn’t know what we could and could not do in April. Could we go to the Westman Islands? Could we drive in the Westfjords?
We’ve created an Iceland Travel Guide and a 15 Day Iceland Itinerary with helpful information for anyone traveling to Iceland in early spring, or any other time of the year. For the purpose of this post, we’ve assembled all the questions we had when we were planning our April in Iceland trip. Our answers are formulated based on our personal experience and on email correspondences with tour companies.
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April in Iceland Travel FAQ
Weather in April
What’s the weather like in April in Iceland?
We experienced snowstorms, rain, sun and lots of wind. The weather changed dramatically each day.
How cold is it in Iceland in April?
It’s cold. During our trip, the day temperature ranged from -3ºC (26.6ºF) to 8ºC (46.4ºF). The temperature feels even colder due to the brutal wind.
Did the weather impact our trip?
Yes. We couldn’t reach our accommodation in Ísafjörður in the Westfjords, because the road was closed (that particular day) due to weather conditions. We recommend using road.is to find out what the road conditions are every morning before you begin your drive.
Wildlife in April
Can you see reindeer in Iceland in April?
We did. We saw herds of reindeer several times while traveling in the South-Eastern region and East Fjords, between Jökulsárlón and Djúpivogur.
Can you see puffins in April in Iceland?
Atlantic Puffins are seabirds that spend most of their lives at sea, but return to land to breed during spring and summer. It’s possible to see them between early April and early September. If you really want to see them, it’s a safer bet to come between May and August. We didn’t see them in mid-April (because it was a long winter).
Where To Go in Iceland in April
Where Can you Go?
You can go everywhere on this map (best viewed on Desktop): Golden Circle, Southern Iceland, East Fjords, Northern Iceland (Lake Myvatn), Westfjords (weather permitting and not all areas), Snæfellsnes Peninsula and Reykjanes Peninsula.
Where Not to Go in Iceland in April
Where Can’t you Go?
- The Interior (the Highlands).
- You can’t drive into the interior with your rental car. The roads open up around mid-June. However, it’s still possible to reach the interior by going on a Super Jeep tour. These tours cost $390 and upwards, per person, for a 10-hr tour from Reykjavik.
- Certain areas of the Westfjords aren’t accessible. You can’t drive to Dynjandi waterfall or between Ísafjörður and Patreksfjörður in winter. And, you can’t hike Hornstrandir Nature Reserve.
- Westman Islands. It may be possible to get here in April, but it’s likely that the Landeyjahöfn ferry isn’t operating (usually starts in May).
Read Next: 15 Day Iceland Itinerary
Iceland Activities in April
Can you drive Iceland’s Ring Road in April?
Yes. We drove the whole ring road in April and also made additional detours (all noted in the map above). The ring road is well maintained and in good condition. However, weather can always slow you down, or impact your plans.
Can you tour Fjallsárlón or Jökulsárlón (Glacier Lagoons) on a boat in April?
No. That activity is only available during the summer months (mid-May to mid-September). However, you can still visit Fjallsárlón and Jökulsárlón in April and walk along the shores of both lagoons. We spent hours at both the lagoons and had an amazing time. A huge bonus of being here in April is not having to share the landscapes with too many people.
Are there Icebergs on Diamond Beach in April?
Yes. As icebergs melt and break off in the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, the broken pieces float out to sea with the tide. At Diamond Beach, you’ll see the ice float and land at the black sand beach. Keep in mind that the warmer it gets, the more ice breaks off and floats to sea. So, if it’s still really cold, you won’t see too much ice floating in Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, and therefore you’ll see less ice on diamond beach. Most likely, the later in Spring you visit, the more ice you’ll see at Diamond Beach.
Can you visit hot pots in April?
Yes. The best way to warm up when the temperature is flirting with zero degrees is by jumping into a hot pot. Hot pots are warm natural baths. Some thermal baths are maintained regularly and charge a fee. These tend to be better, as they are both cleaner and hotter. Keep in mind that there may, or may not be a changing area. To locate a hot pot on your trip, use this website. We did notice that it’s a bit out-of-date, so fact-check the information before starting your drive.
Can you go glacier hiking in April?
Is it possible to hike in Skaftafell in early April?
Yes, unless there’s a lot of snowfall. We hiked to Svartifoss waterfall.
Can you go horseback riding in April?
It’s possible. However, many riding companies don’t begin operating until May. Once you experience Icelandic wind, you’ll soon realize that getting on a horse in cold wet conditions is probably not a good idea. If you absolutely want to experience riding an Icelandic horse, we recommend researching what riding companies offer rides in April in advance.
Can you go wale-watching in Húsavík in April?
Yes, but..The wale-watching season in Húsavík begins on April 1st (through mid-November). When we reached out to GG1 Whale Watching tours, they said: “In the last years, April has been quite successful regarding whale sightings. Humpback whales and minke whales have been most common. It is though, good to keep in mind that this is wild nature and indeed unpredictable. As the Icelandic weather is unpredictable as well, especially in early spring, I would recommend that you plan at least two days in the Húsavík area, in case we would have to cancel tours due to weather.” We went to Húsavík and inquired about whether there were any wale sightings. There weren’t and because it was uncomfortably cold and windy, we opted out.
Don’t Miss: Iceland Travel Guide
Do you need a 4WD?
Yes! We drove on ice, through snowstorms, and on roads with so many potholes we felt like we were riding on a hyper-slow theme park ride. This is a necessity. Read our Driving Tips section on our Iceland Travel Guide fore more info.
What to pack for an April Iceland Trip?
- What should you pack for a trip to Iceland in April?
- Winter Coat. Your coat should be thick, warm and long (cover your knees).
- Rain Jacket. Rain is part of the Icelandic experience. Kati used her North Face Venture Rain Jacket in Iceland and it worked out perfectly.
- Waterproof Hiking Boots. We highly recommend the Vasque Women’s Talus Waterproof Hiking Shoes, which is a sturdy and durable boot with great grip and overall support. If you’re looking for a lightweight and comfortable hiking boot, Ahnu Women’s Sugarpine Hiking Boot is perfect. If you want to invest in a serious hiking boot that will serve you well in rocky, high alpine terrain, look into buying a pair of Hanwag Tatra Light Lady GTX. These shoes have an extraordinary profile and aren’t rigid like traditional alpine boots.
- Optional – Crampons (aka shoe spikes). We used our crampons twice, because we were really determined to go outside and explore, despite the icy conditions.
- Travel Towel. You’ll need your own towel for independent hot pot (hot spring) exploring. You can rent towels at the lagoons. Opt for a thin, microfiber towel that dries quickly.
- Bathing Suit
- Warm Pants. Thick leggings are suitable, especially if you have a long winter coast that covers most of your legs.
- Athletic/Hiking Pants – Our favorite hiking pants are the Macpac Women’s Hike Pants. They’re very flexible, fit perfectly (not too tight), shed water and have an elastic waste (no need for a belt). We both own two pairs.
- Down Vest. We like having an extra layer that keeps us warm, but not hot: Eddie Bauer StormDown Vest.
- Flip Flops
- Long-sleeve Shirts
- Winter Hat: Beanie, or a Trapper Hat (Ushanka)
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