Iceland in Spring


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Spring in Iceland is like spring in much of Europe and North America – rough and cold in the beginning, pleasant and mild by the end. Teasing warm days alternate with cold and wet ones as the winds change and cold fronts come and go. Over the weeks, the temperatures rise, precipitation wanes, and the days become longer and more enjoyable. In March, temps are averaging around 35°F (about 3°C) with lots of rain and snow and about 12 hours of daylight, but by May, it can be as warm as 9°F  (nearly 50°F) and it’s light from 4am to 10pm, with very few rainy days.

>> more on weather in Iceland

>> what to wear in Iceland in spring

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Visitors who come to Iceland in spring get the best of both worlds – there are lower prices and fewer crowds but the weather is still pleasant. In early March, visitors may still be able to see the Northern Lights, while those who come in May will enjoy longer hours of daylight (though not quite the “Midnight Sun”). There is plenty to see and do in spring in Iceland. You can base yourself out of Reykjavik and schedule several day trips and tours or drive yourself around the mostly-clear roads of southwest Iceland. You can tour the Golden Circle, warm up in the  Blue Lagoon go horseback riding, skiing, glacier walking, caving, hiking and even snorkeling.

There are also lots of fun festivals and events in Iceland in spring. On March 1st the country celebrates the repeal of the 75-year ban on beer by – you guessed it – drinking lots of beer. In April, Icelanders celebrate the First Day of Summer (sumardagurinn fyrsti) on the first Thursday after April 18. In the Old Norse calendar summer begins in April, and Icelanders celebrate with parades, sporting events, free/discounted museum admission and parties around Iceland. And in May, the Reykjavik Arts Festival offers exhibitions, concerts, dance, theater and opera performances from national and international artists and performers.

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Spring is off season in Iceland, and during this time hotel rates can drop by 30-40%. Airfare to Iceland is much cheaper too with prices as low as $400-$500 from the US.

Photo by Sigríður B Vilhjálmsdóttir