Iceland in April. It is summer already?
The month of April comes to Iceland with many awaited events. Some significant events are the Easter celebration and the First Day of Summer. Then the growing daylight and all the cultural events. Once we gain more light here in Iceland, we want to spend more time in nature with the family.
April is bringing the summer to Iceland, and even if the temperatures are not so friendly, it is warmer, and the weather is calmer.
It is the start of the shoulder season. Even though some activities like ice cave exploration and northern lights hunting have become unavailable, many other exciting activities are available in April. And it is the best time for travelling because it is less touristy and you find more availability in hotels.
This year there are some beautiful cultural events during April that you can attend if you want to join the Icelanders in their celebrations.
The Reykjavik Children’s culture festival
At the beginning of April, between the 18th and 23rd of April, Icelanders celebrate The Reykjavik Children’s culture festival.
The community launched this festival in 2010, and it is a festival dedicated to children and youths up to 16 years old. According to the festival’s official website, “The festival strives to introduce youth to a wide range of arts disciplines through the medium of workshops and performances. The unique aspect of this festival, which sets it apart, is that it emphasises participation, focusing particularly on the child as an artist.”
During the festival, there are many activities children can participate in, just to name a few: theatre workshops, circus, visual arts, storytelling, music, film, puppetry and dance activities, with many nursery schools, primary schools, music and art schools, libraries, museums, theatres.
In 2023 Easter in Iceland is celebrated between the 7th and 10th of April.
In contrast to the way people celebrate Easter in many countries in Europe and the whole world, Easter is all about spending time with family and eating delicious food in Iceland.
In many countries, Easter has a significant religious meaning, but in Iceland, this holiday lost its spiritual essence in time. The majority of the population in Iceland is Lutheran.
Maundy Thursday – Skírdagur
Icelanders are celebrating Easter starting on Maundy Thursday. This day has been celebrated since the earliest days of the Christian Church. Nowadays, Maundy Thursday represents a day for confirmation ceremonies, where teenagers 13 or 14 years old are confirmed as entering adulthood. Stores and some restaurants are closed until Easter Monday. Bars and Clubs close at midnight and reopen when Good Friday is over.
Good Friday- Föstudagurin Langi
In Iceland, a law declares Good Friday as a day for solemn contemplation. Many activities that include dancing, gambling, drinking, or going to the cinema are prohibited. That is because people have to commemorate the sacrifice of Jesus.
Throughout the time, Icelandic atheists wanted to defy the law by hosting Good Friday Bingo games in the square Austurvöllur in Downtown Reykjavík.
The stores and some restaurants remain closed. The clubs and bars reopen at midnight so you can experience the nightlife in Reykjavik.
On this day people spend time with family, some of them travel North for skiing or to other places to relax.
Easter Sunday- Páskadagur
Easter Sunday is probably the most important day, especially for kids. In the early morning, they go around the house searching for chocolate eggs. The egg hunt is taken seriously in Iceland, and local chocolate factories are known for their Easter chocolate eggs. Easter eggs resemble Chinese fortune cookies, meaning that they have inside an old Icelandic saying or proverb.
On this day, Icelanders spend time with their families and eat delicious Easter dinner. At a traditional Icelandic Easter dinner, you will eat roasted leg of lamb, sugar-glazed potatoes and gravy. My mouth is watering when I am thinking about this. During Easter, search for a traditional Icelandic dinner if you are in Iceland during Easter.
Easter Monday- Annar í páskum
Easter Monday is the last day of the Easter celebration, and people are enjoying their time with family and eating the leftovers from the Easter dinner.
In Iceland, Easter means time spent with family and travelling. Do not hesitate to travel to Iceland during Easter. It is less touristy, and the prices are lower than in the high season. And the weather is slightly better than in the past months.
Aldrei fór ég suður music festival, Ísafjörður, Westfjords
During Easter, between the 7th and 8th of April, this year will also be an “I never went South” festival in Ísafjörður, Westfjords.
The festival is an excellent opportunity for people to visit the town of Ísafjörður for many other activities than just attending the festival.
The idea of the festival was to promote ordinary talented people and ignore well-known artists.
Being a remote area in the Westfjords, Mugison and Papamug, who initiated the festival, wanted to show people in Iceland how life is in the smallest inhabited area of the country and how beautiful and talented people are there.
The festival is mainly a rock music festival, but the initiators promote the area with different cultural and entertaining activities.
The festival is entirely free to join. So if you are in Ísafjörður during Easter, check out the festival.
You can find more information about the festival on their official website Aldrei.is.
The first day of Summer- Sumardagurinn fyrsti
The first summer day in Iceland is a public holiday when people have a day off to celebrate the beginning of the Summer. Sumardagurinn fyrsti is celebrated every year on the first Thursday after the 18th of April, that’s why it hasn’t a fixed date.
The celebration of this day links to the old Icelandic calendar, where a year has six months of short days and six months of long nightless days. The first summer day marks the beginning of the month Harpa in the old Icelandic calendar.
On this day, Icelanders fly the country’s flag in their backyards, marking the celebration of the summer and the long days that are coming. Also, parades and entertaining events are organised all over Iceland.
Now let’s talk about what activities are available starting in April and what you can see in Iceland during this period.
April is the last month when Aurora borealis is visible in the sky because of the growing daylight and the coming midnight sun that will take over the night sky. Depending on the sun’s activity and cloud coverage, there is a chance to see the Northern Lights until the middle of April.
But remember that seeing the Northern Lights in April is a rarity and all depends on the solar activity. Do not make the Northern Lights your main reason for visiting Iceland during April.
The temperatures are rising, and the ice caves at Vatnajökull glacier have become dangerous to explore. However, some ice caves are available for exploration all year.
One ice cave is the Katla ice cave in South Iceland. It is located in the Kötlujökull glacier, part of the Mýrdalsjökull glacier.
And the other one is the ice cave at Langjökull glacier. The ice cave at Langjökull is artificial, so there has been an entire process to carve into the glacier and form the tunnel. Local authorities opened the ice cave to the public in 2015, and the tunnel inside the glacier is 550m long and goes 30 meters into the glacier.
If you want to explore some ice caves, these are some excellent options.
Ice Cave by Katla Volcano
Visit this truly unique Ice Cave
underneath Katla volcano.
Into The Glacier - From Klaki Base Camp
Your Into The Glacier Adventure
is truly a unique experience.
Katla Ice Cave | Super Jeep from Vik
Unique Ice Cave underneath Katla volcano
Into the Glacier - From Reykjavík
Explore the inside of Langjökull
glacier on this day trip from Reykjavík
Whale watching is an all-year activity, but it is available only in certain places in Iceland during winter. During summer, there are many places where you can go whale watching, including Reykjavik.
Once the summer season is coming, the marine life in the Atlantic ocean comes back around Iceland for breeding. The summer season for whale watching started this year on the 1st of April. Check this blog to find the best places to see whales in Iceland.
Puffin watching is a popular summer activity. Puffins are coming to Iceland once the temperatures are warmer. In some parts of Iceland, puffins are coming earlier. This year, people spotted some puffins in Borgarfjörður Eystri at the beginning of April. Until the end of the month, more puffins will come to different places in Iceland for the breeding season.
Check this blog to find the best places to see puffins in Iceland.
The Blue Lagoon is a popular
Relax like a Viking
A secret place to relax
Spa / Geothermal Baths
Laugravatn Fontana, MyVatn,
Vök Baths, Geosea, Bjórböðin
There are many activities you can enjoy doing in Iceland during April. Some of them are Atv tours, glacier hiking, museum visiting, snowmobile tour, dog-sledging, helicopter tours, lava cave exploring, zipline and many more. Find all those activities on our website.
April is the best time for sightseeing, and places are less touristy so you can enjoy them by yourself.
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