Spring in Iceland is the perfect hybrid season for those looking to experience a mix of the Icelandic summer and winter seasons. While you may have a snow storm in April you never know when the snow will melt to reveal a field full of wildflowers in bloom. For those hoping to catch the Northern Lights make a visit in early April. Or come in late springtime and take in the midnight sun. No matter what the weather is, it is undeniable, the springtime brings a new energy to Iceland after the long winter months.
An added incentive for a spring trip to Iceland, it is still low season so you will get to experience the long bright days and lush landscape, without the big crowds! Now that you are sold on a visit to Iceland in the spring time let’s talk about all the fun you can have during this lovely season.
We’ve rounded up 10 activities that are a mix of adventure and unique experiences that are perfect to get up to in the spring months. Time to get to planning your Iceland springtime adventure!
1. Go Whale Watching
Iceland has become one of the top destinations for whale watching in Europe and for good reason; over 23 different types of whale species can be seen here! The minke whale is the most common whale to be seen in Iceland, but blue whales, the largest mammals on earth, also can be spotted in the Icelandic waters. Whatever whale species you spot swimming around you can be certain your time spent whale watching in Iceland will be an unforgettable experience.
Humpback whale near Húsavík
Whale watching tours operate year round in various locations around Iceland, but the springtime is the start of the peak time for whale watching making it a great activity to do on a spring visit. To get you started on planning your own whale watching tour here are a few different options around Iceland to check out:
Húsavík, North Iceland
Referred to as the capital of whale watching in Iceland, Húsavík is the place to go for whale watching in Iceland. Check out this tour option that will take you out for your whale watching adventure on a traditional oak fishing boat.
For those visitors that will be staying in the capital city there are multiple options for a whale watching adventure of your own. Operated year-round out of the old harbor near the downtown area, this tour is a great way to spend a few hours while in the city.
Humpback Whale breaching near Reykjavik
Head out in a remote fjord in west Iceland to get your chance to view the magnificent humpback whales as they make their long journey from the Gulf of Mexico up to Iceland where they spend the summer. Only available during the summer months, this tour will be a memorable experience from your time in Iceland.
2. Snorkel at Silfra
If you are an adventure seeker looking for that one of a kind experience to have in Iceland look no further than snorkeling at Silfra. What makes this snorkeling trip so special? Silfra is a rift between the North American and European continents. This means that snorkeling at Silfra will have you snorkeling between two continents, the only place in the world where you can do so!
Snorkeling Adventure in Silfra Fissure
Not only is Silfra the only place where you can snorkel between two continents, it also has some of the clearest water in the world with visibility as far as 100 meters in certain areas. Tours for snorkeling at Silfra are operated year-round, but we think the springtime is an exceptionally great time to join a tour snorkeling at Silfra. With mild weather conditions and fewer people out on tours you won’t have to worry about bad weather or large crowds obstructing your view or disrupting your time in the crystal clear water.
3. Go Chasing Waterfalls
The Icelandic waterfalls are gorgeous creations of nature that draw visitors to Iceland year-round. But we are going to let you in on a little insider tip. During the spring months the waterfalls are at their most powerful as the snow melts rush the waterfalls full of water increasing the speed and volume. All that extra water flow makes for an impressive sight to be seen.
There is no shortage of waterfalls to visit in Iceland, the problem is choosing which ones to see. To give you some ideas here are a few of our favorite waterfalls around the country that we think would be extra special to visit during the spring months.
- Skógafoss - one of Iceland’s most famous waterfalls located on the south coast, make your visit in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the larger crowds.
- Dettifoss - located in the north of Iceland, Dettifoss is the second most powerful waterfall in Europe so you can imagine how impressive this waterfall is with the added boost of the newly melted snow rushing into the waterfall.
- Glymur - the second highest waterfall in Iceland, the added water from the snowmelt makes the 198 meter drop a spectacular sight to be seen.
4. See the Baby Lambs
The Icelandic countryside gets a whole lot cuter during the spring months with the arrival of the baby lambs! Starting around the end of April the Icelandic farmers are on the clock 24/7 for lambing season as they welcome their newest farm members to the world. Have your own experience with the Icelandic lambs with a visit to an Icelandic farm during lambing season. Hugging a baby lamb in Iceland is one memory all in your group is going to love.
5. Take in the Vibrant Sunrise and Sunset
Depending on when in the springtime you come to Iceland you will experience daylight hours anywhere from 11 hours in March, to 21 hours in early June. And as the days grow longer the sunrises and sunsets, they grow more and more magical. Vibrant colors fill the sky with sunrises and sunsets that seem to last for hours creating a visual feast of rich colors across the sky. Check the daylight hours before your trip and be sure to plan a few late nights, or early mornings, taking in the sunset and sunrises.
Sunset at Grotta lighthouse
6. Go Horseback Riding
Get to enjoy all the newly bloomed spring nature out on a horseback tour as you explore further into the countryside. This activity is great for all interests and ages as there is a wide range of horseback riding tours available. Anything from a short hour jaunt around the lava fields, to a half day spent exploring back in the mountains or on beaches. Check out all the horseback riding tour options offered with our partners to find the perfect one for your group!
7. See Puffins
Starting in late spring Iceland’s favorite lovable birds begin making their way to several puffin breeding grounds around the country. These playful birds head to Iceland in the millions with Iceland being home to 8-10 million Atlantic puffins. That is 60% of the world’s entire Atlantic puffin population!
If you would like to have your chance to try and see these adorable birds here are a few locations are Iceland that are home to the larger puffin breeding grounds:
The charming Westman Islands are home to the largest puffin colony in Europe with almost 50% of all the puffins in Iceland located here. While on the island head to Stórhöfði puffin lookout to get the best view over the large puffin breeding grounds.
Akurey and Lundey
For those staying in Reykjavik get your puffin fix in with an adventure to Akurey and Lundey, two small uninhabited islands just a short boat ride from the city. A boat tour is needed to reach the islands which just adds to the fun as you may even see some dolphins or whales out swimming along the way.
The location of the largest sea-bird cliff in Europe, this is one of the best locations to go for seeing puffins in Iceland. Látrabjarg is located in the Westfjords and does require a drive back along an unpaved road which may be difficult to reach in the early spring when heavy snow covers the area so be sure to check the weather before venturing this way.
Want to learn more about where to see puffins in Iceland? Check out our guide that will tell you everything you need to know for your own puffin sighting.
8. Go Golfing
An activity popular amongst locals, golfing in Iceland is a fun experience for both the avid and novice golfer. Golf courses can be found all over the country with each course having its own remarkable landscape to make the experience extra special. Have a golf experience like never before as you golf surrounded by views such as a lava field, the Atlantic ocean, or the rugged Icelandic mountains. If you will be in Iceland late in the spring you can even experience golfing under the midnight sun.
9. Check out a Festival
Interested in getting to experience a bit more of the local arts culture? Checking out a festival during your visit is a great way to experience the Icelandic culture, and have a great time while doing so. Iceland may be a small country but they have a vibrant culture and arts scene that puts on festivals throughout the year, and the springtime is packed full of some fun festivals to check out. If you are interested in checking out a festival while in Iceland here are a few unique ones to check out.
For those visiting Reykjavik in mid to late March you will likely notice the many different art exhibitions all over the city. These exhibitions are thanks to the creative festival, DesignMarch, that is a four day festival held in Reykjavik during the early spring. DesignMarch turns Reykjavik into one big showcase for local and international artists to show off their creations and designs with over 100 different exhibitions ranging from fashion designers to product designers.
Aldrei fór ég suður - “ I never go south”
Aldrei fór ég suður in Icelandic (I never go south in English) is a music festival held over the Easter holiday in the scenic Westfjords in the town of Ísafjörður. At this music festival you will find a mix of local bands and some of the biggest names in the Icelandic music scene. The stunning landscape makes this music festival extra special as you get to listen to awesome Icelandic music all while taking in the gorgeous fjords and mountain views.
Reykjavik Arts Festival
Held in May in Reykjavik, this festival invites hundreds of artists from all over the world to perform during the two week festival period. Performances and exhibitions of both contemporary and classical works are performed in locations all over the city. A unique twist to the Reykjavik Arts Festival, performers use unconventional places around the city to perform, such as bicycling paths and the sides of buildings.
10. Take a Road Trip
A road trip exploring the Icelandic countryside is always a good idea, but the springtime brings its own special attributes to an Icelandic road trip. During the springtime, you can get a mix of seasons in Iceland with snow still on the ground in many locations, yet milder weather and longer days perfect for exploring. The milder weather also makes for good driving conditions and roads that were closed in the wintertime being opened back up ready to explore.
The springtime is a great time of year to have a road trip in the more popular areas of Iceland such as the South Coast or Golden Circle as it is low season for tourism so you can enjoy the sights without the big crowds the summer will bring. If you will be visiting in the late spring you may be in luck to catch the first views of the wildflowers in bloom and the landscape turning lush and green. A beautiful sight to see!
There really is no bad time of year to visit Iceland, there is beauty in every season! But if you are looking to get to experience the best of summer in Iceland with the long bright days and lush landscape, without the big crowds, late spring is a great time for your visit. Or looking to have a taste of winter in Iceland but in a more mild way, the early spring is a great time for you to visit. In short, visit Iceland in the spring, you won’t be disappointed!