What is the best time to go to Iceland? This is a really hard question to answer as I think Iceland has something to offer what every time of year you visit! We decided on visiting Iceland in March as we felt it was the best compromise on everything we want to see and do as it offers some of the best things about visiting Iceland in both summer and winter!
Why Visit Iceland in March? What to know about visiting Iceland in March
Wondering why visit Iceland in March? Well for us March has a lot of benefits such as
- Less Crowds – summer in Iceland can get very busy but by visiting Iceland in March we found many of the main sites – particularly those we visited in the morning to be relatively crowd free
- Cheaper – Peak season in Iceland is in Summer when crowds, longer days and better weather mean the prices of accommodation sky rocket. If you want to save money in Iceland going in a month like March will definitely help your budget. Be sure to compare flight prices before booking as you can often find great deals on flights to Iceland in March as well as save money on accommodation. You’ll even find car rental prices cheaper in March.
- Chance to See the Northern Lights – we were unlucky that we didn’t get to see the northern lights on our visit to Iceland in March however you do have a chance to see them if you are visiting in March. We recommend looking at staying in a Northern Lights Hotel to maximise your chances.
But are there any cons to visiting Iceland in March? Here’s what you need to know about visiting Iceland In March.
- Shorter days – Days in Icelandic Winters are short and dark. But this is one of the good things as it means you can see the Lights. The days are longer in March than in Mid-wInter however you won’t have the full long days of summer.
- Icy Roads – if you are not a confident driver in snow or ice you might want to consider whether you are happy travelling in the Winter or shoulder seasons. If you decide that you do not want to drive in these conditions it doesn’t mean you can’t visit Iceland but you will have to consider staying Reykjavik and doing excursions to the Golden Circle etc.
- Some Roads May be Shut – The main ring road will be open during your visit (likely in its entirety) however some of the smaller roads may be shut because of bad weather still.
- Hiking in Iceland in March – can be more challenging due to the snow and ice and some trails may be shut because of bad weather. Be sure you pack plenty of ice hiking equipment if you are planning to do lots of Hiking in Iceland in March.
Iceland Weather March – what to know about visiting Iceland
The weather in iceland in march is a tricky one. March is almost a shoulder season in Iceland and therefore you have some of the best weather conditions from both Winter and Summer! There are still some chances that you will see snow in Iceland especially in the highlands but at the same time it won’t be too heavy which is especially good for those nervous about driving in Iceland in the snow! The days are also getting longer in March which means you will have more daylight hours to see the main sites and easier driving conditions! Of course there is a chance of high winds and rain but you can dress and prepare for this appropriately!
How cold is Iceland in march?
The average temperature in Iceland Weather temperature in March is around 28 F and 38 F. We were lucky as when were there it was at the higher end of these temperatures but one of the things I learnt while in Iceland is how quickly the weather can change there. Even if it starts out as a nice sunny and dry day don’t be tempted to leave the waterproofs and layers at home as you might need them later in the day.
Is there snow in Iceland in March?
This really depends on the year on how much snow there will be. When we visited at the end of March there was only snow on the high hills and mountains and it did not snow during our stay. Other years snow can be heavier.
What to Wear in Iceland in March
Wondering what to wear in Iceland in March? Well the key to what to wear in Iceland anytime of year has having plenty of laters and keeping warm! A good jacket that is waterproof is an essential as there are plenty of places you will get wet even when it’s not raining! Also having good waterproof hiking boots with a good sole is another essential for Iceland at any time of year! When you are visiting Waterfalls – and there are lots of really beautiful waterfalls in Iceland – you will find the ground you traverse to get to them will be wet.
If travelling with a baby or toddler to Iceland then the most difficult thing will be getting the layers on and off as you get in and out of the car however we were lucky and the weather wasn’t too bad!
For a full Iceland In March Packing List Click here!
Considering visiting other European countries in winter? Then check out this post!
Driving in Iceland in March
Considering Driving in Iceland in March? This is what we did and we were really pleased we decided to go with a self drive in Iceland over an organised tour. Driving in Iceland in March has a blend of winter and summer conditions. The days aren’t as short as in winter (though not the long summer days yet) but it does mean you have adequate daylight for driving to the main sites. However you may still experience snow and ice on the roads so this is something you may want to consider if you are not a confident driver.
When driving in Iceland in March you will find that the Icelandic Ring Road also known as Route 1 or Hringbraut which goes round the entire country should be completely open at this time of year. However please note if there is some heavy snow then some of the less densely populated areas in the North East may be closed. However if you only have four days in Iceland and want to concentrate on the sections of the Ring Road near the Golden Circle and Vik for the Icelandic black sand beaches then you shouldn’t encounter any road closures.
Another added bonus to driving in Iceland in March is that car rental prices are cheaper than in Summer.
Note: I had read online that the beautiful Seljalandsfoss might not be open to walk behind. When we were visiting in late March we were able to do the behind the waterfall walk however I understand that this might not be possible for every visitor to Iceland in March.
Top Tip about driving in Iceland in March: Always be careful to look out for ice though and be prepared for windy and icy conditions and also look out for rough roads where there are lots of loose stones! Be sure to get full insurance cover when you rent a car in Iceland be always keep your car lights on!
Looking for European itineraries that feature Iceland – check out this post!
Where to Stay in Iceland in March
There are lots of great options for where to stay in Iceland in March. March isn’t peak season so you have more choice of accommodation and better prices. For a full guide on where to stay in Iceland check out this post!
When we stayed in Iceland we opted to stay in Hella at a hotel with a Northern Lights Alarm – the Stracta Hotel. This meant we maximised our chances of seeing the lights as they would wake us if they made an appearance. The hotel also had options for self catering with small kitchenettes as well as having a restaurant on site. There are also saunas and more importantly hot tubs which would be perfect for viewing the lights from.
Note: Iceland is such a hot destination now that accommodations aren’t quite up with demand and therefore need to be booked well in advance especially in the busiest months!
Northern Lights in Iceland in March
The great thing about March is you have plenty of sunlight hours for driving and seeing the sites but also dark nights which still mean you have a chance (though slightly reduced compared to winter) of seeing the Northern lights! We recommend staying in a hotel with a northern lights alarm as this means you don’t have to be standing in a cold field every night and not see them! There are three things needed to see the aurora darkness, clear sky, and at least some aurora activity.March gives you a chance at having all three of these conditions! Unfortunately when we were there we had cloudy skies so didn’t see but will definitely return to Iceland in March to try again!
If you don’t stay at a hotel with an aurora alarm at least the weather is at its mildest for aurora time of year so you can stand outside slightly more comfortably than say in December or January!
Best Things to do in Iceland in March
There are so many things to see and do in Iceland in March whether you are travelling just the golden circle, further afield, as a solo traveller or with kids! You shouldn’t have trouble getting to the main sites though some of the more remote may be unaccessible still. Here are our best things to do in Iceland in March based on our personal experience.
Drive the Golden Circle Iceland in March
Driving the Golden Circle Iceland in March is a must for your Iceland itinerary. During our time in Iceland we found the whole Golden Circle route to be well maintained and din’t have any issues with driving. While the drive itself is very beautiful you must make lots of stops including:
Watch Strokkur erupt
We love finding geysers on our travels and one of our highlights on a trip to Yellowstone was seeing Old Faithful Geyser Erupt and we knew we had to see the famous Strokkur geyser in Iceland erupt too. Strokkur is the most visited geyser in Iceland and thanks to a very regular eruption you are guaranteed to see the geyser go off. The geyser erupts around every five to minutes and the geyser spurts water an impressive 20 metres into the air! The regularity means that even with kids with a limited attention span you will be able to see an eruption. When we were there we left Strokkur until near the end of the day when the site was getting busy. We were actually worried we wouldn’t get parking but due to the regular eruptions we found that there was a good turnover of parking spaces so didn’t have to wait to long to get parked.
Tips for Geyser: There is no entry fee but some patience may be required to find parking spaces. Be sure to keep hold of children as geothermal areas are very dangerous.
Iceland is home to some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world. The most notable and easiest to visit being
Gulfoss is only 1.5 hours drive from Reykjavik and is one of the country’s most impressive waterfalls. One of the unique things about this waterfall is you look down on the waterfall. One of the things to note about visiting GUlfoss is that it has some of the best amenities on the Golden Circle. On site is a restroom, gift shop and canteen.
After Gulfoss the next most famous waterfall in Iceland is Seljalandsfoss. It is famed as it is one of the waterfalls in Iceland that you can actual walk behind. I have heard sometimes the walk behind is closed in March if there is bad weather but it was open on our visit in March.
However my favourite waterfall in Iceland is Skogafoss namely because of the beautiful rainbow which forms in front of the waterfall creating amazing photo opps.
For more information on Iceland’s most beautiful waterfalls click here!
What to do in Reykjavik in March
Reykjavik is Europe’s northern most capital city and if you are opting for excursions rather than a self drive itinerary this is where you will be basing yourself. Either way Reykjavik is worth visiting. One of the best things to do in Iceland is to walk the seafront. This is also one of the best free things to do in Iceland. Along the walk you will see the impressive Sun Voyager Sculpture, the Hofdi House and the Harpa Concert Hall.
Also be sure to check out the beautiful Hallgrímskirkja church. This church has some of the most amazing modern church architecture int he world. It was built by Guðjón Samúelsson in 1937 and is particularly beautiful when lit up at night.
Top Tip: be sure to check out the statue of Leifur Eiriksson in front of the church – he is reputed to be the first European to discover America.
Take a Dip in the Blue Lagoon
Perhaps Iceland’s most famous tourist attraction. The Blue Lagoon is a short drive from both the Airport and Reykjavik town centre.
As Iceland’s most visited tourist attraction it is essential that you book your tickets to the Lagoon well in advance.
In March the Blue Lagoon is open 8:00 – 22:00 daily. If you can book for first thing in the morning you are more likely to have a quieter experience. However I can’t imagine anything more romantic than viewing the Northern Lights from the Blue Lagoon.
Please note: if you are travelling with children they will need to be at least 2 years old to enter. If you don’t fancy a dip then you could also book a table at the Blue Lagoon restaurant.
If for some reason you can’t get into Blue Lagoon then a great alternative is the secret lagoon (which is becoming less secret) but offers a great geothermal experience with a lower price tag than the blue lagoon.
What to see in Iceland in march – the Northern Lights
If you are looking for what to see in Iceland in March the answer has to be the Northern Lights. March is the last month you have a chance to spot Northern Lights in Iceland before the summer months arrive. There are plenty of ways you can try and spot the Northern Lights in Iceland either as part of an organised tour from Reykjavik or by staying as we did in a hotel with a Northern Lights alarm to maximise your chances of seeing them during your trip.
We didn’t manage to see any on our trip but it just gives us an excuse to return.
If you decide not to stay at a hotel with an alarm or take an excursion but want to find yourself be sure to check out the lights predictor!
Spend Time with the Famous Iceland Horses
One of the most famous creatures associated with Iceland are the famous Icelandic Horses. This breed of horses is unique to Iceland. There are plenty of ways you can spend time with these beautiful animals including
See the plane wreck at Solheimasandur
One of the dark tourism things to do in Iceland is to see the plane wreck at Solheimasandur. This wreckage belongs to a US DC Plane that ran out of fuel over Iceland and crashed in 1973. Miraculously no one died in the crash and the site has become one of Iceland’s most popular stops. Photographers particalarly love this eerie place with the juxtaposition of the black sand against the white plane shell.
Information: You can no longer drive up to the plane wreckage. Instead you will have to walk from the road to the crash site which takes about an hour. Be sure to wrap up warm for your walk. However if there are strong winds or a lot of snow it is not advisable to visit the site.
Vist Vik’s Famous Black Sand Beach
This was my toddler’s favourite place on our trip to Iceland. The beautiful black sand beach surrounded by granite pillars is an iconic Iceland landscape. Again it is not advisable to do this in high winds or bad conditions.
Safety Tip: The waves here are big and strong and can really surprise you. Be sure to stand way back from the sea line.
See the Turf Houses
Turf Houses are traditional in Iceland. When we stayed in Iceland we were based out of Hella. Nearby was the Keldur Turf House – one of the few preserved turf houses in South Iceland. If you want to see some traditional Icelandic architecture this is a great place to do it.
Tour a Museum – what to do in Iceland in march that’s indoors
Although Iceland is renowned for its outdoor pursuits there are also plenty of indoor activities in Iceland and great museums. So if you are wondering what to do in Iceland in March that is indoors why not visit one of the country’s great museums. Some of the best museums in the country are:
- Perlan Museum – a great place to learn about the geography and geology of the country
- Reykjavik MAritime Museum
- The Punk Museum
- The National Museum of Iceland.
Note: the below items are things we didn’t do but come highly recommended and are on our Iceland Bucket List for the next time we visit in March
Tour an Ice Cave
March is a great time to do an ice cave tour. There are several caves you can tour including:
- Vatnajokull Glacier
Go Whale Watching
You can see whales at any time of year in Iceland. In March great whales start to come back into Icelandic waters and on top of that you can also see dolphins and porpoise.
Though whale watching is a year round activity in Iceland, in March there are limited spots in which you can go whale watching and you can only go out on larger vessels. Places to see whales in Iceland in March include Akureyri and on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. A great way to go whale watching is actually to take an excursions that collects from Reykjavik. For more information on whale watching excursions click here!
For more ideas on what to do in Iceland check out this in depth post
Snorkelling in the Silfra Fissure
I have been obsessed with this since watching an ITV documentary with Alexander Armstrong and seeing the amazing underwater landscape at the Silfra Fissure. It is essential you are in good health to do this and as we were traveling to Iceland with a toddler we couldn’t do this but it is something else on our bucket list.
Go on a Glacier Hike
There are lots of glacier hikes throughout Iceland of varying difficulties and plenty of excursions that leave from Reykjavik.
Festivals in Iceland in March
If you are staying in Reykjavik there are a few festivals that happen in the city in this month including:
Overall option on Traveling to Iceland in March – is march a good time to go to iceland
Travelling to Iceland in March is great in our opinion as you have less tourists, the best of both summer and winter weather and still have a chance to see the aurora and the weather is more clement for those who opt to do a northern lights tour! Really if you are budget conscious but want a chance to see everything Iceland has to offer then the should let seasons like March and October are the best times to visit!
So if you are wondering is March a good time to go to Iceland our answer is a firm YES!
FAQS About Travelling to Iceland in March
How Much daylight in Iceland March? How many hours of daylight in Iceland in March
It tends to be between 10-12 daylight hours in March in Iceland.