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Tips For Traveling Iceland In The Spring


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Rosanna Arevalo



With its stunning landscapes, natural wonders, and unique cultural charm, Iceland is a destination that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. Known as the “Land of Fire and Ice,” this Nordic island nation offers a diverse range of experiences and adventures for visitors to enjoy. While Iceland has become a popular tourist destination throughout the year, spring is an especially captivating time to visit.


During spring in Iceland, the country undergoes a remarkable transformation. The long, dark winter nights gradually give way to longer days filled with sunlight, and the frozen landscapes begin to thaw, revealing vibrant greenery and an explosion of colorful blossoms. It is a time when nature comes alive, and the opportunities for exploration and discovery are endless.


Not only is spring in Iceland visually stunning, but it also offers several advantages to travelers. The tourist crowds are smaller compared to the peak summer season, allowing you to enjoy the attractions and sights with more peace and tranquility. Additionally, many activities and tours are more accessible and less expensive during this time of year.


Whether you are a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or a fan of cultural experiences, Iceland in the spring has something for everyone. From exploring the famous Golden Circle to discovering breathtaking waterfalls, from hiking glaciers to relaxing in natural hot springs, there are countless opportunities to create unforgettable memories.


In this guide, we will explore the best time to visit Iceland in the spring, delve into the weather during this season, and provide you with essential packing tips. We will also take you on a journey through some of Iceland’s most mesmerizing attractions, including the Golden Circle, the South Coast, and the vibrant capital city of Reykjavik. You will also learn about the abundant wildlife and birdwatching opportunities in Iceland and discover the rejuvenating experience of soaking in the country’s famous hot springs.


So get ready to embark on an adventure of a lifetime in Iceland, where the magic of spring awaits to enchant and mesmerize you.


Best Time to Visit

When planning a trip to Iceland in the spring, timing is key. The best time to visit Iceland depends on what you hope to experience and your personal preferences. The spring season in Iceland typically lasts from March to May, and each month offers its own unique charm.


If you are looking to witness the dramatic change from winter to spring, March is a great month to visit. During this time, you can still catch a glimpse of the winter landscapes, with snow-covered mountains and frozen waterfalls gradually giving way to the first signs of new life.


April is considered a shoulder season in Iceland, with milder temperatures and longer days. It is a perfect time for outdoor activities such as hiking and exploring nature reserves. The weather is generally more stable compared to the winter months, making it easier to get around the country.


May marks the transition into the summer season, with more daylight hours and milder temperatures. It is an ideal time for birdwatching, as numerous migratory bird species begin to arrive in Iceland during this month. The countryside is adorned with colorful wildflowers, creating picturesque landscapes.


While the weather in Iceland can be unpredictable year-round, it is important to note that spring weather can be particularly challenging. It is recommended to pack layers and be prepared for all types of weather conditions, including rain, wind, and even snow in some areas.


Another factor to consider when planning your visit is the amount of daylight. In the spring, Iceland experiences longer daylight hours, with the midnight sun phenomenon occurring closer to the summer solstice. This provides ample opportunities for exploring and taking advantage of the extended daylight.


Overall, the best time to visit Iceland in the spring is subjective and depends on your personal preferences. Whether you prefer the remnants of winter, the blossoming of spring, or the transition into summer, each month offers its own unique experiences and highlights.


With this in mind, consider your interests and desired activities when choosing the best time to visit Iceland in the spring. No matter when you decide to go, you are sure to be mesmerized by the natural beauty and charm that Iceland has to offer.


Weather in Spring

In Iceland, the weather in spring can be a mix of sunshine, rain, wind, and even snow. The transition from winter to spring brings about unpredictable weather patterns, and it’s essential to be prepared for changing conditions.


March is still considered a winter month in Iceland, and you can expect cooler temperatures with average highs ranging from 0 to 5 degrees Celsius (32 to 41 degrees Fahrenheit). Snowfall is still common, especially in the northern regions, and it’s not uncommon to experience strong winds.


As April arrives, the weather begins to moderate, with average highs ranging between 5 to 10 degrees Celsius (41 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit). However, it’s important to note that temperatures can still drop below freezing, especially at higher elevations. Rain showers become more frequent during this month, so it’s advisable to pack a waterproof jacket and other rain gear.


In May, temperatures continue to rise, with average highs ranging from 10 to 15 degrees Celsius (50 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit). It’s a milder month, but be prepared for sudden changes in weather, as it can vary from sunny and calm to windy and rainy within a short timeframe.


It’s worth mentioning that the weather in Iceland can be highly localized, and conditions can vary significantly from one region to another. The south coast tends to be slightly warmer and milder compared to the northern and eastern regions. Additionally, the highlands of Iceland experience colder temperatures and are often inaccessible during the spring months due to melting snow and impassable roads.


When it comes to packing for spring in Iceland, it’s essential to pack layers. This will allow you to adjust your clothing according to the changing weather conditions. Start with a warm base layer, such as thermal underwear or woolen clothing, and layer on top with a fleece or sweater and a waterproof and windproof outer shell. Don’t forget to pack hats, gloves, and scarves to keep you warm in case of chilly temperatures.


Overall, spring in Iceland can bring a mix of weather conditions, so it’s crucial to be prepared for anything. Embrace the unpredictability of the weather and enjoy the unique atmosphere that the changing seasons bring to this remarkable country.


Packing Essentials

When preparing for your trip to Iceland in the spring, packing the right essentials is crucial to ensure your comfort and enjoyment during your visit. The unpredictable weather and varying landscapes call for versatile clothing and essential gear. Here are some packing essentials to consider:

1. Layered Clothing: As the weather can change rapidly, it is essential to pack layered clothing. Opt for moisture-wicking base layers, warm mid-layers such as fleeces or sweaters, and a waterproof and windproof outer shell to protect against rain and wind. 2. Waterproof Gear: Be sure to pack a waterproof jacket and pants to stay dry during rain showers or when exploring near waterfalls and glaciers. Waterproof hiking boots are also highly recommended for exploring Iceland’s diverse terrain. 3. Comfortable Shoes: Along with waterproof boots, pack a comfortable pair of walking shoes or sneakers for everyday explorations in cities and towns. 4. Hat, Gloves, and Scarf: Protect yourself from the chillier temperatures by packing warm accessories like a hat, gloves, and scarf. These items will also come in handy during windy moments. 5. Swimwear: Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit or trunks. Iceland is known for its geothermal hot springs and natural pools, offering unique bathing experiences amidst stunning landscapes. Be prepared to take a dip and soak in the rejuvenating waters. 6. Reusable Water Bottle: Staying hydrated is essential while traveling. Carry a reusable water bottle to fill up with Iceland’s fresh and clean tap water, saving money and reducing plastic waste. 7. Daypack: A sturdy and comfortable daypack is essential for carrying your essentials during day trips, hikes, and sightseeing excursions. 8. Adapter: Icelandic electrical outlets use the Europlug, so be sure to pack an adapter to charge your electronic devices. 9. Sunscreen and Sunglasses: Even in spring, the sun’s rays can be intense in Iceland. Pack sunscreen with a high SPF and polarized sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes. 10. Camera and Binoculars: Iceland’s breathtaking landscapes and unique wildlife offer incredible photo opportunities. Don’t forget to pack your camera and binoculars to capture memorable moments and spot wildlife. Remember to pack according to your planned activities and personal preferences. Layered clothing and versatile gear will ensure that you are prepared for any weather conditions and can make the most of your Icelandic adventure in the spring.


Exploring the Golden Circle

The Golden Circle is one of Iceland’s most popular tourist routes, offering a journey through incredible natural wonders and historical sites. It is a must-visit destination for any traveler exploring Iceland in the spring. The route covers approximately 300 kilometers and includes three main attractions: Thingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area, and Gullfoss waterfall.


Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a geological and historical gem. This stunning national park is rich in natural and cultural significance. Here, you can walk between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates, witness the stunning Thingvallavatn Lake, and explore the Althing, one of the world’s oldest functioning parliament sites.


The Geysir geothermal area is home to the famous Strokkur geyser, which erupts every few minutes, sending a spout of hot water high into the air. The area is fascinating to explore, with bubbling mud pits and other geothermal features that showcase Iceland’s unique volcanic activity.


Another highlight of the Golden Circle is Gullfoss waterfall. This spectacular two-tiered waterfall plunges into a rugged canyon, creating a mesmerizing display of cascading water. The power and beauty of Gullfoss are truly awe-inspiring, and it is one of Iceland’s most iconic natural landmarks.


While exploring the Golden Circle, don’t miss the opportunity to visit additional attractions along the route. These may include Faxi waterfall, Kerið volcanic crater, and the charming town of Skálholt, with its historic cathedral.


Spring is an excellent time to visit the Golden Circle as the landscapes come alive with blooming flowers and vibrant greenery. The longer daylight hours allow for more time to explore and appreciate the beauty of each site. However, keep in mind that weather conditions can vary, and it’s advisable to check road and weather conditions before embarking on your journey.


Whether you choose to join a guided tour or explore the Golden Circle independently, this iconic route will provide you with a memorable and enchanting experience. The combination of natural wonders, geological marvels, and historical significance makes the Golden Circle an essential part of any itinerary in Iceland.


Chasing Waterfalls

When exploring Iceland in the spring, one activity that should be at the top of your list is chasing waterfalls. Iceland is renowned for its countless cascading waterfalls, each with its own unique beauty and charm. With the snow melting and the rivers flowing, spring is the perfect time to witness these majestic natural wonders in their full glory.


One of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland is Seljalandsfoss, located on the south coast. What sets Seljalandsfoss apart is the opportunity to walk behind the waterfall and experience the cascading water from a unique perspective. Be prepared to get wet, but the stunning views and the sense of being immersed in the natural beauty are well worth it.


Another iconic waterfall on the south coast is Skógafoss. With a drop of 60 meters (200 feet) and a width of 25 meters (82 feet), Skógafoss is a true sight to behold. Hike up the stairs beside the waterfall for a breathtaking view from above, or admire its sheer power and beauty from ground level.


If you venture further east, you will find the impressive Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall. Located in Vatnajökull National Park, this massive waterfall carries an incredible volume of water over a wide 100-meter (330-foot) span. The sheer force and magnitude of Dettifoss are truly awe-inspiring.


For those looking for a picturesque and photogenic spot, visit the picturesque Kirkjufellsfoss. Located near the iconic Kirkjufell mountain on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, this waterfall offers a breathtaking backdrop for photography enthusiasts.


While these are just a few examples, Iceland is dotted with countless other waterfalls waiting to be discovered. Whether they are hidden gems along secluded hiking trails or easily accessible by the roadside, each waterfall has its own unique allure.


When chasing waterfalls in Iceland, it is important to prioritize safety. Be cautious of slippery paths and stay within designated viewing areas. It is also advisable to check local weather conditions, as certain waterfalls may be closed or harder to reach during spring due to melting snow and increased water flow.


Embrace the enchantment of Iceland’s waterfalls in the spring and let their beauty mesmerize you. From the thundering power of Dettifoss to the ethereal charm of Seljalandsfoss, these natural wonders are sure to leave an indelible mark on your Icelandic adventure.


Exploring the South Coast

One of the most captivating regions to explore in Iceland is the South Coast. Stretching from the outskirts of Reykjavik to the impressive Vatnajökull Glacier, the South Coast is renowned for its stunning natural landscapes and diverse attractions.


An essential stop on any South Coast itinerary is the charming town of Vik. With its black sand beaches, dramatic sea stacks, and picturesque Reynisdrangar basalt columns, Vik offers breathtaking views and opportunities for memorable walks along the coast.


As you continue your journey eastward, you will encounter the mighty Vatnajökull Glacier, Europe’s largest glacier. This massive ice cap covers around 8% of Iceland’s land area and holds a myriad of glaciers, ice caves, and stunning glacial lagoons. The Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is a highlight, with its floating icebergs and the nearby Diamond Beach, where ice chunks wash ashore, resembling diamonds scattered on the black sand.


Another must-see attraction along the South Coast is the Skaftafell Nature Reserve. This oasis of greenery nestled between glaciers offers numerous hiking trails, including one leading to the magnificent Svartifoss waterfall. Known for its unique basalt column formations, Svartifoss is a true natural wonder.


Adventure enthusiasts should not miss the opportunity to try glacier hiking or ice climbing in the area. Experienced guides can lead you on thrilling excursions, allowing you to explore icy landscapes and appreciate the sheer grandeur of the glaciers.


For an enthralling experience, visit the volcanic black sand desert of Mýrdalssandur, known for its hauntingly beautiful lunar-like landscapes. The area is dotted with remnants of volcanic activity, including the Eldhraun lava field and the mystical Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon.


As you make your way back towards Reykjavik, make sure to stop by the magnificent waterfalls along the South Coast. Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss, mentioned earlier, are just two of the remarkable waterfalls that grace this region. Each waterfall has its own distinctive charm and allure, offering opportunities for incredible photos and unforgettable moments.


Visiting the South Coast in the spring provides a unique experience, as the landscapes awaken with greenery and vibrant colors. It is a time when migrating birds return, and wildflowers bloom, adding an extra touch of magic to the already enchanting scenery.


The South Coast of Iceland is a true treasure trove of natural wonders, dramatic landscapes, and awe-inspiring sights. From the majestic glaciers to the roaring waterfalls, exploring this region is an adventure that will leave you in awe of Iceland’s raw and breathtaking beauty.


Visiting Reykjavik

No trip to Iceland is complete without a visit to its vibrant capital city, Reykjavik. Though it may be small compared to other capital cities, Reykjavik offers a unique blend of captivating culture, captivating art scene, friendly locals, and a lively atmosphere.


Start your exploration in the city center, where you will find the charming Old Town with its colorful buildings, quaint cafes, and boutique shops. Take a leisurely stroll along Laugavegur, the main shopping street, and immerse yourself in the city’s lively energy.


Reykjavik is known for its thriving arts and cultural scene. Visit the iconic Harpa Concert Hall, which showcases stunning modern architecture and hosts various music events and performances. The surrounding area by the harbor is also home to many art galleries and museums, including the Reykjavik Art Museum and the National Gallery of Iceland.


If you’re interested in learning about Icelandic history and heritage, a visit to the National Museum of Iceland is a must. The museum houses a vast collection of artifacts, exhibits, and interactive displays that trace the island’s history from settlement to modern times.


For panoramic views of Reykjavik, head to the top of Hallgrímskirkja, the city’s iconic church. Take an elevator ride up to the observation deck for stunning views of the colorful rooftops, surrounding mountains, and the glistening sea in the distance.


Food lovers will be delighted by Reykjavik’s culinary offerings. The city is home to a growing food scene, with an abundance of cozy cafes, trendy restaurants, and food markets. Be sure to sample Icelandic delicacies such as fresh seafood, Icelandic lamb, and the famous Icelandic hot dog.


Reykjavik also offers opportunities for outdoor activities. You can take a boat tour to explore the nearby islands, go whale watching, or even try your hand at sea angling. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also go horseback riding or take a bike tour to explore the city and its surroundings.


As the sun sets over Reykjavik, indulge in the city’s vibrant nightlife. Experience the Icelandic tradition of going out for a night on the town, hopping from lively bars to cozy pubs, and enjoying the energetic atmosphere. Reykjavik boasts a thriving music scene, with live performances ranging from local bands to internationally renowned artists.


Whether you’re interested in art, history, culture, cuisine, or simply soaking in the city’s unique vibes, Reykjavik offers a wealth of experiences. Immerse yourself in the captivating charm of Iceland’s capital city and discover why it continues to captivate visitors from around the world.


Wildlife and Birdwatching

Iceland is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers, offering the opportunity to observe unique and diverse species in their natural habitats. The island’s pristine landscapes and protected areas provide ideal conditions for a variety of wildlife encounters.


One of the most iconic and sought-after wildlife sightings in Iceland is the majestic Icelandic horse. These sturdy and beautiful horses roam freely in the countryside, and there are several horse farms and riding tours available for visitors to experience the thrill of riding these gentle creatures.


Another highlight of wildlife in Iceland is the chance to spot marine mammals. The coastal areas are home to various species, including seals and sea lions. Take a boat tour or join a guided wildlife excursion to increase your chances of witnessing these fascinating creatures in their natural environment.


For birdwatchers, Iceland is truly a paradise. With its diverse ecosystems and abundance of bird species, the island offers incredible opportunities for birdwatching. During the spring, numerous migratory bird species make their way to Iceland, creating a vibrant and lively birding scene.


One of the best places for birdwatching in Iceland is the Westfjords region. This remote and rugged area is home to nesting colonies of seabirds such as puffins, guillemots, and razorbills. The towering cliffs and coastal areas provide perfect breeding grounds and nesting sites for these fascinating birds.


The Vatnajökull National Park is another hotspot for birdwatchers, with its wetlands and diverse bird species. Keep an eye out for the elusive and iconic pink-footed goose, whooper swans, and various species of ducks that call the park home.


For those interested in seabirds, a visit to the dramatic cliffs of Látrabjarg in the Westfjords is a must. This region hosts one of the largest seabird colonies in Europe, with millions of birds nesting along the vertical cliffs. It’s an incredible sight to witness the soaring birds and hear their calls as they glide through the air.


Whether you are an experienced birder or a casual wildlife observer, Iceland’s diverse landscapes and incredible wildlife make it a top destination for nature enthusiasts. Remember to bring binoculars, a bird identification book, and a sense of curiosity when embarking on your wildlife and birdwatching adventures in Iceland. Respect the wildlife and observe from a safe distance to minimize disturbances and protect their natural habitats.


Immerse yourself in the wonders of Iceland’s wildlife, and witness the beauty and diversity of its creatures in their natural environment. Take the time to appreciate the delicate balance of nature and the unique habitats that make Iceland a remarkable destination for wildlife and birdwatching.


Enjoying the Hot Springs

Iceland is renowned for its geothermal activity, and one of the best ways to experience it is by indulging in the country’s natural hot springs. These geothermal pools and baths offer a unique and rejuvenating experience, providing a perfect opportunity to relax and unwind amidst Iceland’s stunning landscapes.


One of the most famous hot springs in Iceland is the Blue Lagoon, located in the Reykjanes Peninsula. This geothermal spa is known for its milky blue waters and mineral-rich mud that is believed to have therapeutic properties. Soak in the warm waters, indulge in a silica mud mask, and revel in the surreal experience of being surrounded by a volcanic landscape.


For a more secluded and off-the-beaten-path hot spring experience, venture to the less crowded natural hot springs scattered throughout the country. The Secret Lagoon in Fludir and the Myvatn Nature Baths in the north are popular options that offer a more intimate setting, allowing you to soak in the warm waters while enjoying the serenity of nature.


If you prefer a truly natural and wild hot spring experience, consider hiking to some of Iceland’s remote hot springs. The Landmannalaugar area in the Icelandic Highlands is famous for its colorful mountains and natural hot springs. After a challenging but rewarding hike, reward yourself with a dip in the soothing hot waters surrounded by breathtaking views.


It’s important to note that when visiting hot springs, it is crucial to respect the environment and follow guidelines to preserve the natural surroundings. Be mindful of any rules or regulations in place and avoid using soaps or lotions that can harm the delicate ecosystem of the hot springs.


Whether you choose to visit popular hot spring destinations or discover hidden gems, taking in a hot spring experience in Iceland is a must. The combination of warm, mineral-rich waters, stunning landscapes, and the otherworldly feeling of being surrounded by geothermal activity creates an unforgettable and truly rejuvenating experience.


So pack your swimsuit, towel, and a sense of relaxation, and let the soothing embrace of Iceland’s hot springs envelop you. It’s a chance to unwind, connect with nature, and immerse yourself in the geothermal wonders that make this country truly unique.


Sample Itinerary

To make the most of your trip to Iceland in the spring, here is a sample itinerary that combines some of the best highlights and experiences the country has to offer:

Day 1: Reykjavik – Arrive in Reykjavik and spend the day exploring the city. Visit the iconic Hallgrímskirkja church for panoramic views, wander through the colorful Old Town, and immerse yourself in the vibrant arts and cultural scene.

Day 2: Golden Circle – Embark on a day trip to the Golden Circle. Visit Thingvellir National Park to witness the meeting of tectonic plates, marvel at the Strokkur geyser in the Geysir geothermal area, and be awe-inspired by the power of Gullfoss waterfall.

Day 3: South Coast Adventure – Head south along the picturesque South Coast. Explore the charming town of Vik, witness the mighty waterfalls of Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss, and marvel at the black sand beaches and otherworldly landscapes.

Day 4: Glacier Experience – Venture eastward to Vatnajökull National Park. Explore the Skaftafell Nature Reserve, enjoy a glacier hike or ice climbing adventure, and witness the stunning glacier lagoon of Jökulsárlón.

Day 5: Hot Springs and Wildlife – Indulge in a day of relaxation and rejuvenation at one of Iceland’s famous hot springs. Visit the Blue Lagoon or opt for a more secluded experience at a natural hot spring. In the evening, go birdwatching near wetlands and spot local wildlife.

Day 6: Snæfellsnes Peninsula – Take a day trip to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, known as “Iceland in miniature” due to its diverse landscapes. Explore the picturesque Kirkjufell mountain, visit the charming villages, and soak in the beauty of the stunning coastline.

Day 7: Reykjanes Peninsula – On your final day, explore the Reykjanes Peninsula. Visit the Reykjanes Geopark, walk along the Bridge Between Continents, and take in the unique geological formations and geothermal activity in the area. End the day by relaxing in a local thermal pool.


This sample itinerary provides a glimpse of the diverse experiences that await in Iceland during the spring season. Of course, feel free to adjust the itinerary based on personal preferences and the length of your trip. Take the time to savor the natural wonders, immerse yourself in the unique culture, and create lifelong memories in this enchanting Nordic island nation.