We’re going to Iceland in April! This will be our second trip to Iceland. The trip-planning has been so much easier than the first time around for sure. I remember feeling quite overwhelmed when I was planning our first trip in 2013. So much to see, so little time! You can’t see everything Iceland has to offer in just two weeks, unfortunately. Though not being able to afford to rent a 4×4 vehicle did help simplify our plans a little bit.
Having been to Iceland before, we already know what to expect and what we want to see, where to go, how to get there and so on. Well, at least we kind of know what to expect. We’ve never been to Iceland in April before and googling “Iceland in April” didn’t really bring any results that could satisfy my curiosity or that basically said “go to Iceland in April, it’s the best time ever!” which is what I’d really like to hear. ;-)
I did find out that in April there’ll be daylight between 6 in the morning and 9 in the evening (13 hours of daylight at the beginning of the month and 16 by the end), the temperature will be hovering between 0 to 5° Celsius (32-41° F), and the weather could be either snowy or rainy, depending on our luck. Doesn’t sound too bad to me. I think I can handle that! (Full disclosure: I’m Canadian and used to cold, wintry weather.)
Trying to pack light, however, is going to be a big pain in the butt since I will need to pack my bulky winter coat (the wind is brutal in Iceland; it may not seem that cold, but trust me, packing a good winter coat is always a good idea), which I doubt I will ever need in Paris. But I’ll worry about it later.
Oh, did I say Paris? Well, you might have heard that if you fly with Icelandair, you are entitled to a free stopover in Iceland for up to 7 nights. Our plan is to spend a week in Paris, France first (because I would like to know what the fuss about Paris in the springtime is all about; have you been?), and then we’re going to do the one week stopover in Iceland on our way back.
Since it still gets dark at night in April in Iceland, there is a slight chance that we might see the Northern Lights! I also read that puffins start to go back to land in April to breed so there is also the slight chance that we might see those funny birds again.
Add to that the fact that April is still in the low-season, which means smaller crowds, affordable hotel room rates, and the slightly cheaper car rental cost to the equation and you too will think that visiting Iceland in April is the best idea ever. ;-)
Of course with the climate change in progress, messing up weather patterns everywhere, April could totally be a bust and we could end up being stuck in a late winter storm for days, but I’ll take my chances. I’ve never been one to let the weather hold me back from having a great time while on vacation. The way I see it, crappy weather makes for some exciting photo opportunities! Plus, my husband is an excellent driver. We drive through treacherous weather condition pretty much every winter (we live in rural Canada after all) and he’s always brought us home safe.
Since we will only have one week to spend in Iceland this time, we’re not going to do the drive around Iceland like we did the last time. We’re just going to spend a couple of days in Reykjavik and then rent a car and spend the rest of the week driving as far as Jökulsárlón (the famous glacial lagoon) in Southeast Iceland and back, stopping at some old favourites and some other places of interest we missed on our first visit along the way. I think it’s doable.
What I’m Packing
After putting a little more thought into my packing list, I think if I just wear my winter coat over what I’m planning to wear in Paris (sweaters/cardigans over long-sleeve tops) and wear fleece-lined leggings under my pants, I’ll survive Iceland just fine.
Definitely need to make sure my hiking boots are still waterproof, though I’m considering getting an insulated pair, just for the trip. My ideal pair of hiking boots would be mid-top ones that are insulated/winterproof, waterproof, and have good tractions. I like mid-tops because I need ankle-support. My ankles are not exactly the strongest parts of my body. Plus, with a mid-top, you get less chance of getting your feet wet when crossing a stream, or when walking on a beach and a sneaker wave hits you.
Of course I’ll also have to pack an insulated winter hat (we call them toques around here) and gloves, a scarf, and some merino wool socks to keep me warm. Oh, Iceland will be surprised to see how ready I am for whatever weather it’s planning to throw at me. :-)
I’m really looking forward to visiting Iceland for the second time, admittedly more than I’m looking forward to visiting Paris for the first time. But then again, I might fall in love with Paris the way I did Iceland when I get there. You’ll never know! April can’t come soon enough.
Have you been to Iceland in April? Or are you planning to?