Monday, 23 April 2018

Best of Iceland in April

Spring has sprung (sort of!) and it’s time to start thinking about where you will head next. It may not have originally been on your radar, but going to Iceland on vacation could be an exciting option. This may be a small country, but many say you actually need to make two trips to Iceland in order to truly experience everything. That means the more Iceland holidays, the better! One trip should be during the darker season (mid-September to mid-April) in order to see the Aurora Borealis and explore the ice caves. The other recommended time to go is during the summer in order to see Iceland's diverse array of flora and fauna and bask in the glow of the midnight sun. It's difficult to choose the right time to visit Iceland because each month and season have their own pros and cons but here we will talk about the benefits of going in April.

Turquoise Bruarfoss waterfall during Iceland's summer

There are only two seasons in Iceland: winter and summer. The month of April officially marks the beginning of summer with the first Thursday after April 18th being the official first day of summer in Iceland. To mark this occasion, parades and events are organized in the towns and villages of the small Nordic country. Children receive a gift to celebrate this day and it’s usually some sort of game that can be played outside.

However, before you pack your swimsuit you should know that the concept of “summer” in April is mainly a relative idea. The Iceland winter is still ending so the climate will feel more like spring than anything else. In practice, temperatures in April are still around 3 °C (37 °F) and many parts of the country are still very much covered in snow. The amount of daylight, on the other hand, is much more present than during previous months. During the month of April in Iceland, there are more than 14 hours of daylight.

Springtime midnight sun in Akureyri, Iceland

Winter sports are still on full display, with the popular AK Extreme Festival bringing together adventurers and lovers of skiing and snowboarding in Akureyri, northern Iceland. In the Western Fjords, you can also participate in the Fossavatn ski marathon. April is also the last month to visit the ice caves, as they are no longer accessible starting in mid-April. As slowly rising temperatures melt the ice across the country, the ice caves are deemed too dangerous and unstable, so they close until later in the year when conditions are a bit colder. At the beginning of April you are still able to see the Aurora Borealis but by the middle of the month, it becomes much more difficult because the nights are no longer very dark.

On the other hand, you can start to see whales and puffins, as these animals begin to return to Iceland during this season. The chances of seeing them are not as great as during peak season in July, but you can still join an excursion and find out where the puffins are in Iceland.

Icelandic horned puffin in Latrabjarg during Iceland's summer

In April you can and should also go take a dip in a geothermal pool. It is a wonderful way to experience the joys of bathing and get acquainted with the Icelandic way of life. Can you imagine a better experience than lounging in a bath at 40 °C (104 °F), and taking in the views of the Icelandic landscape? If you prefer a more luxurious experience you can visit the Blue Lagoon or the Mývatn baths.

April is considered the mid-season in Iceland, and you can see that the month is split between winter activities and summer activities. Although the roads to Iceland’s highlands are still closed, most of the main and secondary roads are accessible. The western fjord roads reopen but access should be checked on a day-to-day basis as much of the access is dependent on the weather! Waterfalls, glaciers, volcanoes and some of the most beautiful scenery in Iceland are all within your reach during this spectacular season.

Landscape of Laugavegur trail with Alftavatn Lake in Icelandic Highlands

If you like music, you should definitely head to Isafjörður in the Western Fjords. When you combine regional pride and musical genius, you'll get Aldrei For Eg Suður, the Isafjörður festival that takes place every year on Easter weekend. For children, the Reykjavik Children's Festival offers activities and events for several days in April. It’s also during this time that there is a writer’s retreat in Iceland as well as the Eve-Online video game festival. This unusual festival goes for three crazy days in Reykjavik and attracts players and developers from around the world.

We're sure you'll agree, April makes one of the best times of year to visit Iceland! Let us know what you think.

Iceland24
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