The arrival of spring has special meaning when you live in a place as far north as Iceland. In the winter months, daylight in the capital of Reykjavik lasts as little as four hours. But by the time the spring equinox hits, those hours start to rapidly increase, on their way to a nearly endless summer state.
In other words, springtime in Iceland is a very welcome awakening after one of the longest, darkest winters anywhere in the inhabited world.
And despite the increasingly longer days, there are fewer tourists than you’ll see in the busy summer months, making March – June an ideal time to visit. Here are 5 ways you can enjoy springtime in Iceland:
Go Northern Lights Glamping
Throughout the early part of spring, you can still spot the Northern Lights in Iceland. And we do mean early spring: by mid-April, there’s usually already too much light in the sky for this phenomenon to appear.
View this bucket list sight in style by making it a glamping experience. One option is to sleep in a clear lodging capsule at the Bubble Hotel. Located about an hour’s drive from Reykjavik, this incredibly unique site even has a “tree bubble” option – a hanging hotel room in the middle of Iceland’s gorgeous natural surroundings. Bubble promises an absolute escape from the usual stresses of modern life.
Another possibility is a stay at Reykjavik Domes. These yurt-like structures allow you to experience nature while still enjoying creature comforts such as private bathrooms, fireplaces, and hot tubs. Bonus: they are only a ten-minute drive from the capital and other top sights including the Blue Lagoon.
Soak it Up in the Hot Springs
Hot springs enthusiasts will find bountiful options for a good soak in geothermically active Iceland. The aforementioned Blue Lagoon is instantly recognizable by its crystal blue color and is a good choice if you’re looking for a full-service hot springs day. In addition to the pools, there is a spa, Icelandic dining, and other services right on site. Its location near the Keflavik airport makes it a popular stop for travelers with longer layovers on their way to continental Europe.
For a more intimate experience, check out Gamla Laugin, which bills itself as the “Secret Lagoon.” This simple, historic site (known as the oldest pool in Iceland, dating to 1881) is near the popular Gullfoss waterfall, making for an easy multi-activity day. Be sure to reserve your tickets in advance, or risk not getting a spot at this in-demand hot spring.
Drive the Ring Road
As the winter snow melts, the roads in Iceland (while very well maintained in all types of weather) become more passable in the spring. Use the improving driving conditions to schedule an epic road trip along the “Ring Road” route, which, as the name suggests, encircles the entire country of Iceland.
Iceland’s Route 1 national highway provides 821 miles of natural beauty and adventure and conveniently takes you to some of the country’s top sites. You’ll hit the Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls, the far north fishing town of Akureyri, and Vatnajökull National Park, among others. Maybe you’ll even spot one of the sets of elf houses that dot the Icelandic countryside.
Take a Foodie Adventure
If food and drink is your vacation raison d’être, Reykjavik offers plenty of high-end and adventurous options. Fish and seafood are staple foods of any island country, and Iceland is no different. Try Fiskmarkaðurinn (Fish Market) for Icelandic Asian fusion fish and seafood dishes, like a traditional cod entrée with matcha butter and soba noodles.
Icelandic lamb is considered to be among the best in the world. Try it, along with other local specialties arctic charr and skyr, at Matarkjallarinn (Food Cellar). They also have a great cocktail list, including a set of drinks featuring Icelandic gin.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, look for more unusual local dishes, such as puffin, boiled sheep head, and fermented (some would argue, rotten) shark. If none of that sounds tempting, you won’t have trouble finding more mainstream eats at one of Reykjavik’s plentiful cafés or bistros. For breakfast, try a slice of Icelandic rye bread (Rúgbrauð) with local butter.
On the drink side of the menu, head north to the town of Akureyri, just south of the Arctic Circle. Here, you can visit the “brewer’s lounge” of the Einstök brewery. Famously, they brew their beers with pure Icelandic glacier water. You should also keep your eye out for a chance to sample Reyka vodka (small batch, lava filtered), and plan a visit to the Flóki whiskey distillery.
See Icelandic Wildlife in Action
Springtime is a hotbed of wildlife activity in Iceland. Start your tour with a whale-watching excursion – a number of tour operators open their seasons in April. You’re most likely to see minke whales, while humpback, sperm and fin whales can also be spotted, as can several species of dolphin. As long as you’re on the coast, add on a tour of a puffin breeding ground for your chance to spot this adorable bird after they’ve made their way here, usually in the late spring.
Take the cuteness quotient up another level with a visit to an Icelandic farm, where you can see the season’s newly arrived lambs. Round out your wildlife tour with a horseback riding adventure on an Icelandic horse – a breed bred in Iceland, recognizable by their unique-looking manes and short statures.
How to Get There
Icelandair operates a handful of direct flights between its main airport and U.S. cities, including Boston, Chicago, and Orlando. Currently, travelers must provide proof of a negative COVID test, regardless of vaccination status.
But you don’t have to worry about any of the details when you book your springtime in Iceland excursion through Lugos Travel. We’ll plan everything from entry requirements to 4-star and up lodging, and provide concierge service throughout your trip, so you can travel stress-free. Send us a message to start planning your dream trip today.