March officially kick-starts the spring here on the island, but as the “intro” month to the season, you still get to experience some of the fun “remnants” of the winter season such as skiing and ice cave exploring, but with much better weather compared to mid-winter. Going to Iceland in March also offers many other perks that we’ll reveal in this article.
So, if you are traveling to Iceland in March already, or you’re still on the fence about whether spending March in Iceland is for you – read on. We give you the lowdown on everything from the weather, and what to do in Iceland in March, to what to pack for Iceland in March.
Is March a Good Time to Go to Iceland?
As a shoulder month heading towards the summer season here on the island, we think visiting Iceland in March is an excellent idea. But that’s not to say that Iceland in March will fit your preferences and requirements.
Take a look at some of the pros and cons of spending March in Iceland to see whether you should book that flight or not:
One of the biggest benefits of a shoulder month is that you don’t need to deal with all the peak season crowds (whether summer or festive). This means that the pressure is a bit less when it comes to booking things in advance, there’s not as much traffic on the roads, and you don’t have to feel like you’re squeezing your way through to just get a peek at some of our local attractions.
No peak season also means no peak season prices, and you can experience the island without having to break the bank.
Spring in Iceland definitely doesn’t look like spring in Miami, for example, but the island’s weather is much better than you’ll find during our wintertime.
March is the first month that you can actually start having a pretty jam-packed trip itinerary again, since daylight hours are no longer the mere 4 hours it is mid-winter.
Whilst you can start enjoying the perks of the increased daylight hours, there is still enough darkness to allow you to see the Northern Lights in Iceland in March.
March is also the month where many of the roads or routes that are annually kept closed throughout the colder months here on the island, slowly start opening up again, making planning road trips a lot easier.
Daylight hours may have increased a lot from mid-winter, but it’s still nowhere near enough to experience one of the other impressive natural phenomena here on the island; a Midnight Sun.
If catching some of our seasonal wildlife on the island such as the Iceland Puffins and the migratory whales are on your bucket list, March won’t be the month for you. The Puffins only make the island their home during their breeding season (May to August), and the migratory whales only come to visit from April in Iceland and stay until September each year.
We’ve barely just waved goodbye to winter in March, so you can expect icy and snowy patches that haven’t melted yet, whether walking around the island or driving on our roads.
The Weather in Iceland in March
As we already mentioned, the Iceland weather in March can’t be compared to a Caribbean springtime, but it’s definitely much kinder and more suitable for outdoor activities than what you get to experience here on the island during the winter season.
The following is what you can expect when it comes to the weather in Iceland in March:
How Cold is Iceland in March?
The Iceland temperature in March is definitely still on the chilly side, ranging between -2 and 3 degrees Celsius. The average temperature in Iceland in March tends to hover around the 0-degree mark.
Daylight Hours in Iceland in March
Daylight hours have increased to about 11 hours a day (a far cry from the mid-winter 4 hours), and by the end of March, daylight hours will already be an impressive 13 hours of daylight each day.
Does it Snow in Iceland in March?
You may still experience random flurries of snow during a March trip to the island, but it’s definitely not the type of blizzards the winter season can bring with it. Snow will also only occur under the right temperature conditions.
Rainfall in Iceland During March
You will most definitely experience some rainfall on your trip to Iceland in March. The average precipitation throughout the month is roughly 82 mm (totaling about 14 days), making it one of our wetter months.
How Windy is it in Iceland in March?
Iceland in March no longer has those legendary Iceland winds of 35+ kilometers an hour that is known for actually ripping car doors off their hinges. In March, the average wind speed is roughly 23 kilometers an hour.
Best Things to Do in Iceland in March
As a month that’s in-between seasons, and essentially allows you to get the best of both worlds, you will find plenty of things to do in Iceland in March. Here are a few that you can consider adding to your trip itinerary:
The weather is turning, and it’s time to get back into the swing of things when it comes to the great outdoors and one of the most-loved activities here on the island; camping. Camping in Iceland is the best way to immerse yourself in the beautiful landscape of the island whilst saving a ton on accommodation costs.
If you get a Camping Card for just €179, it will also give a family of 2 adults and up to 4 children access to a variety of campsites across the country for up to 28 nights!
Take a Walk on a Black Sand Beach in Iceland
One of the most impressive results of all the volcanic activity here on the island is our black sand beaches. And whilst walking on any of our black sand beaches promises to be quite the experience, we have a few that are considered must-visit places, such as Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach and Diamond Beach.
Reynisfjara offers kilometers of outstretched beach for you to walk on with dramatic basalt cliffs lining the coast. And at Diamond Beach, thousands of pieces of ice wash ashore and glisten like diamonds in the sun (hence the name).
Go Horseback Riding
One of the most unique ways of exploring the island is via horseback. And not just any horse – our own island’s breed, called the Icelandic Horse. These horses are incredibly friendly, look more like ponies than full-grown horses, and can perform an extra gait called the tölt. If you go horseback riding in Iceland in March, they’ll probably still have some of their thick, fluffy winter coats.
Visit Our 10,000 Waterfalls
Okay, not really. That would be impossible. But 10,000 waterfalls are pretty impressive, right? Well, visit some of our most popular waterfalls and you’ll get a new definition of impressive. For example, Seljalandsfoss Waterfall allows you to go behind its veil of water.
At Svartifoss Waterfall it looks like the water is dropping down from a strange, black church organ because of its black, hexagonal basalt rock backdrop. And at Dettifoss Waterfall (which is the 2nd most powerful waterfall in Europe) you’ll need to constantly pick up your jaw from the floor when staring at this incredible beast.
Have a Relaxing Soak in Our Hot Springs
Iceland’s hot springs are yet another result of all the volcanic activity here on the island. The island’s “fiery side” actually heats up the underground water supply. And whilst some hot springs can still be enjoyed in their natural and original form, others have been incorporated into geothermal pools. Some of our most popular hot springs include the Blue Lagoon, Kvika Footbath, and the Myvatn Nature Baths.
Dive or Snorkel Between Two Continents
Yes, that’s right, this is actually a reality here on the island. The Silfra Fissure is a tear in the earth where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are continuously pushing apart from one another.
Today, this tear is filled with glacial water which allows one to go and dive or snorkel the Silfra, and literally lie suspended in between two continents. Just keep in mind that for diving, you’ll need a valid diving license and adequate experience. Snorkeling the Silfra is open to all.
Explore the Capital City
Whether you decide to visit Reykjavik in March, or any other time of the year – you simply cannot visit Iceland and not explore its capital city. And one of the best ways to do so in our books is to join the Reykjavik Food Walk. During this tour, your knowledgeable guide will dispense with his flood of information regarding the city, whilst you get to enjoy delicious local dishes along with craft beers at various hot spots around Reykjavik.
Grab Your Last Chance to Discover the Ice Caves
Visiting the ice caves in Iceland is a seasonal activity. Most of the ice caves here on the island are kept closed throughout the warmer months of the year due to safety concerns (you don’t want to be in a melting ice cave).
This means that March may be your last chance to get to visit the caves before their annual closure. Walking through an ice cave with its bright-blue glossy walls with streaks of black ash of eruptions from the past is an experience that’s not to be missed.
Take a Hike
Hiking in Iceland is yet another loved activity here on the island that can finally start up again as spring arrives. With incredible landscapes, such as ours, it’s no surprise that people love exploring, traversing, and embedding themselves into the magnificent scenery.
You will find various hiking trails, all varying in length and difficulty levels, which means that irrespective of your age or experience, you’ll be able to enjoy this activity during your trip to the island.
Ride a Snowmobile across a Glacier
Glaciers are another big part of the Land of Fire and Ice. In fact, the island’s “icy side” boasts the largest glacier in all of Europe; Vatnajökull. Imagine riding across this icy giant on a snowmobile! Well, this is a reality here on the island. You will only be able to do this via a guided tour due to safety concerns, so be sure to book your spot.
Visit Our Interesting Museums
If there’s one thing no one can accuse Iceland of, it’s boring museums. What’s more, is that we have so many of them scattered all across the island that you’ll really need to dedicate at least a couple of days to visit some of the favorites here in Iceland (don’t just leave them for the “rainy days”).
Go on a Boat Tour of Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
The Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon is a magical place to visit. With its gigantic, floating icebergs, seals floating on sheets of ice, and the glacier in the distance – it’s pretty postcard perfect. The best way to explore the lagoon is by taking one of the boat tours.
These tours can get you so close to the action that you can literally reach out and touch the glacier and the icebergs (don’t though).
The fact that another island attraction that’s on our list (Diamond Beach) is Jokulsarlon’s “next door neighbour” makes this an absolute must-visit spot.
Driving in Iceland in March
Driving in Iceland in March is not nearly as nerve-wracking as driving in mid-winter, but it can still be a bit tricky, and you’ll need to keep your wits about you. This is because not all the snow and ice have melted yet. March also marks the beginning of certain roads and routes opening after the colder months, but that does not mean that all will be open when you arrive for your trip (especially not early March).
So, you might need to be a bit creative with your road trip plans. Winter might be in our rearview mirror, and the F-roads in Iceland still closed (these are only open during the summer), but we would still recommend that you opt for a 4x4 vehicle given the winter season’s “leftovers”.
Also, have a chat with your rental agent to discuss the various car rental insurance options so you can drive around with the peace of mind that you are sufficiently covered for any possible mishaps.
Icelandic Festival and Events in March
In Iceland, we don’t need an excuse to celebrate, and irrespective of when you come to visit the island, you’ll always find plenty of festivities. March in Iceland is no different, and the following festivals and events are well worth stopping by:
National Beer Day
Many may not know, but Iceland actually had a pretty extreme prohibition era that only ended fairly recently (in the 1980s). As you can imagine, the day the ban was officially lifted was a day of great celebration, and now we celebrate this day on an annual basis and with our favorite beverage. National Beer Day is the 1st of March and instead of just one big event, you’ll find all sorts of events occurring all across the island at various venues.
Reykjavik Food and Fun Festival
As the name suggests, the Reykjavik Food and Fun Festival is held in the capital city each year. This is a fun family-friendly event that runs over a few days when you can join in on various festivities, listen to some music, and enjoy tasting the culinary delights of some of the best chefs and venues here on the island.
Battle of the Bands (aka Musiktilraunir)
The infamous Battle of the Bands, or Musiktilraunir, has been an institution on the island since 1982. This event is held in Reykjavik each year and is definitely not your usual high school talent competition. Many competition winners credit the event as the start of their professional careers.
What to Pack and Wear when Visiting Iceland in March
It can be difficult to decide what to wear in Iceland in March since it’s no longer winter, but it’s still cold, it’s also springtime, but it’s Iceland, etc. We get it. That’s why we’ve eliminated the confusion regarding clothes for Iceland in March, and created this handy Iceland packing list that you can use as a guide. Just remember to also pack the following:
Sunglasses and sunscreen - it may not feel that hot, and it may even be overcast, but, trust us, the glare of the sun on the ice and water can be extreme and you will walk away with a sunburn if you’re not wearing any sunscreen.
Waterproof clothing and gear – this is not just to manage the rainy weather. Waterproof hiking boots can be a lifesaver on the wet, muddy trails around the hot springs, and waterproof clothes can ensure that you stay nice and dry whilst others get completely drenched by the mist and spray from the waterfalls.
Is it expensive to travel to Iceland in March?
Iceland is a relatively expensive country to visit, but it is not as expensive as it might seem. There are many ways to save money on your trip, such as camping, cooking your own meals, and avoiding the tourist traps.
Is it safe to travel to Iceland in March?
Iceland is a very safe country to travel to, even in March. The crime rate is low and the people are friendly and welcoming. However, it is important to be aware of the dangers of the weather, as it can change quickly in Iceland. It is also a good idea to have travel insurance in case of any unforeseen events.
What are the transportation options in Iceland in March?
There are a few different transportation options available in Iceland in March. The most popular option is to rent a car. This gives you the freedom to explore the country at your own pace. There are also buses that run between major cities and towns. And if you're looking for a more unique experience, you can take a helicopter or a boat tour
Iceland in March; a Shoulder Month with Lots of Benefits
Now that you know what Iceland is like in March, we’re sure you’ll agree that it offers a legion of benefits to visitors. From affordability, and avoiding the pesky peak season crowds, to getting to experience the best of both seasons and being able to indulge in a wide variety of things to do – Iceland in March has it all.
So, plan your trip, book your flights, rent a car in Iceland, and start ticking off some of the exciting things to do and places to see we mentioned in our list.