Updated: Jan 23
March in Iceland is officially springtime (well, late March) and this shoulder month has countless perks up its vacay sleeve. This article will help you decide whether it really is the right time for all that you want to do and see on the island. If you’ve been pondering visiting Iceland in March, keep on reading!
From the weather, local attractions, and activities. – we discuss everything that March in Iceland has to offer visitors. We hope that you find this shoulder month just as enticing as we do.
The Pros and Cons of Spending March in Iceland
Before we get ahead of ourselves, we have to be realistic and remember that everything in life has its pros and cons. There are certain things that might be dealbreakers (or makers) for some. That’s why we’ve created this easy-to-scan overview to quickly see if March in Iceland will be the right fit for you:
As a shoulder month, you won’t find any peak season crowds, so you won’t need to compete for tickets to attractions and activities or accommodation. Nor for car rentals like you’re competing in the Icelandic version of The Hunger Games.
With no peak season crowds to charge peak season prices, you’ll find that things are a lot more affordable on the island.
Spring in Iceland might not mean weather suitable for floral mini dresses or sleeveless vests, but it’s a far cry from the harsh and cold winter weather.
The island’s daylight hours have properly bounced back from the mere 4 hours it had mid-winter, so you can plan jam-packed days on your trip.
Even though daylight hours have drastically increased, there is still enough darkness in Iceland in March. That means you'll be able to see the Northern Lights.
Roads and routes that are closed during the colder months are slowly starting to reopen and come back to life with the thawing snow.
If you’ve got the Iceland Puffins or whale watching on your Iceland bucket list, you’ll need to plan your trip for another time. The Puffins only make the island their home during the breeding season (May to August). In the case of the migratory whales, they only visit from April to September.
The daylight hours may have increased, but it’s still not enough to experience another one of Iceland’s famous phenomena; the Midnight Sun.
Driving can be a bit challenging since the snow and ice are still melting. Although, Iceland in late March is already considerably better for those who are not too confident in their winter driving skills.
What You Can Expect From the Weather When Visiting Iceland in March
Spring in Iceland might not be what you’re used to back home, but here on the island, it feels like the Iceland weather has finally taken a little breather. You might still experience some rain and light snow, but you certainly won’t find yourself in blizzards. Also, the Icelandic winds that threaten to blow you away have quietened down.
The temperature in March in Iceland ranges between -2 and 3 degrees Celsius. If you’re in a city such as Reykjavík, you might think that it’s slightly warmer. This is due to the buildings providing shelter against the elements.
Just keep in mind that the local saying says that “you can experience all four seasons in a day in Iceland”, so be prepared (and dressed) for the unexpected. Daylight hours have increased to 11 hours a day and will continue to increase throughout. Daylight hours in Iceland at the end of March will already be more than 13 hours a day.
Packing List When Traveling to Iceland in March
When planning a trip to Iceland in March, the fact that it’s a shoulder month can make what to pack a bit confusing. So, to keep packing anxiety to a minimum, we’ve created this handy packing list for you to use as a guide:
Long, waterproof winter coat (if you’re planning on visiting early to mid-March)
Fleece/woolen sweater (just pack one or two, so you can buy authentic Icelandic woolen sweaters when on the island)
Waterproof hiking boots (whether you’re planning on hiking or not)
Warm woolen socks
T-shirts & long-sleeved shirts
Casual pants (for the days spent in the city)
Warm hat (beanies work very well)
Bathing suit (for taking a dip in one of the hot springs)
Quick drying towel
Flip-flops (for at the hot springs or when using public changing rooms)
Toiletries & medications (just remember to check flight restrictions beforehand)
Water bottle (water quality on the island is extremely high, so you only need to refill)
Backpack (suitable for day outings and hikes)
Electronics: chargers, cables, a power bank, an adaptor, etc.
Camping in Iceland in March
With winter in the rearview mirror, you can actually start contemplating camping in a tent in Iceland again. Especially when visiting Iceland at the end of March. Alternatively, if you’re not ready to brave the lower spring temperatures, you can rent a campervan in Iceland and go camping in comfort.
This way, you’ll have both your accommodation and your transport sorted. But camping in Iceland is not just to immerse yourself in the beautiful landscape, it’s also an easy way to cut down on accommodation costs.
If you want to save even more, you can purchase the Camping Card for €159. It gives 2 adults and up to 4 children access to various campsites across the island. If you take into account that the general price at campsites ranges between $10-$20 per person per night, this means a LOT of savings. Some of the campsites that come highly recommended include the following:
Driving in Iceland in March
The worst of the winter road conditions have gone, but you still need to be on the lookout. The snow and ice are still busy melting, and you might still encounter icy patches on the road. But with better road conditions, better weather conditions, and routes/roads reopening, you can once again explore the island in the best way possible; by making a road trip out of it.
Just discuss the roads and routes you’re planning on driving in Iceland during March with your rental agency. There are certain roads and routes that are only accessible with a 4x4 vehicle. That being said, you don’t need to worry about needing a 4x4 for the F-roads in the Highlands, since they are only open during the summer months. Some of the road trip routes you can consider taking are:
Other Things to Do on Your March Trip to Iceland
Camping and road-tripping are certainly not the only things you can look forward to. There are plenty of things to do and places to visit in Iceland in March. These are some of the things you can add to your itinerary:
Going hiking in Iceland in March by choosing from a variety of day or multi-day hikes
Eat and explore the capital city with the Reykjavik Food Walk
Take a stroll on one of Iceland’s black sand beaches such as Reynisfjara
Ride a snowmobile across a glacier
Explore an Iceland ice cave (this is a seasonal activity, so some caves might start closing later in March)
Visit Iceland’s waterfalls (there are 10 000 on the island. During March in Iceland, a few of them might still be a magical mixture of running water and glistening icicles)
Have a relaxing soak in one of Iceland’s hot springs
Go diving or snorkeling between two continents at the Silfra Fissure
Take a ride on one of the legendary Icelandic horses
Attend events, festivals, or celebrations such as Iceland’s National Beer Day (1 March)
Helpful Tips When Spending March in Iceland
If this is your first time visiting the island or spending March in Iceland, these helpful tips will ensure a safe and memorable stay:
Keep a Close Eye on the Weather & Road Conditions
Remember those “four seasons in a day”? Well, that’s why you need to keep an eye on the Iceland weather forecast as well as the Iceland road conditions. This way, you don’t get stuck or have to turn back due to bad weather.
Due to the quick-changing weather and the difference in temperature between the indoors and outdoors, it’s best to dress in layers. This way you can always put something on when you’re getting cold or take something off when it’s hot.
Always Remember your Waterproof Clothing
This is not just to be prepared for unexpected rainfall, but can be a lifesaver when it comes to visiting the waterfalls around the island. Visitors underestimate the mist and the spray created by these powerful water displays. Many end up looking like drenched cats in their photos!
March in Iceland; the Perfect Shoulder Month?
March holds many, many benefits. From affordable prices, better weather, increased daylight hours, to the Northern Lights and much more! After reading this article, you should have a good idea of whether spending March in Iceland is the route to go. But if you’re game, you can look forward to renting a campervan in Reykjavik, marveling at the majestic landscape, and making ever-lasting memories.