Who doesn’t love spring? In Iceland, springtime is when people awake from their winter slumber. It’s a short season, however, because summer already starts in April. The First Day of Summer is celebrated on the first day of Harpa – this year on April 25. This is based on the old Icelandic calendar, which divides the year in only summer and winter. It might be short, spring is here for us to enjoy! In this article, we name five signs spring is in the air in Iceland.
Flowers start blooming
In March, snowdrop flowers will show themselves, and at the beginning of April, the first crocuses start to bloom. Daffodils and tulips will follow a month later. Even though nature awakes out of its winter slumber a bit later than in mainland Europe, it’s always great to see all the flowers and trees bloom again.
Daylight is back
In winter, the nights are endless, and in summer, the midnight sun does not rest. In spring, however, the length of days is comparable to mainland Europe. This means you can make use of the daylight, but also enjoy the nights. The last northern lights tours of the season run till mid-April, because in late April, there is already too much daylight. Days will be getting longer quickly, and you can benefit from this by going on longer day tours and travelling farther from the city. Springtime could be a good time to head northwest and explore the magical Snæfellsnes peninsula.
The golden plover arrives
A very cute migratory bird is the bearer of good news in Iceland, the golden plover (lóa in Icelandic). When this bird is first sighted each year, spring has officially started. In 2018, the first golden plover was spotted on the south coast of Iceland on March 28. This was right on time, as the birds usually arrive at the end of March. The golden plover breeds in Iceland, Scandinavia, and Russia. Having the little bird back in Iceland is always a welcome sight, and it can’t take long anymore now till its arrival.
You can go on puffin watching tours
The golden plover is not the only bird returning to Iceland, as the cute puffin arrives on the island again in April. Puffins are pelagic birds, which means that they spend more than half the year far out at sea. They are well suited to life at sea and mostly eat fish. You will find the most puffins in Iceland from May to August, and puffin watching tours are the easiest way to see them. Bring binoculars though, since puffins are only about 30cm tall!
Whales return to their breeding grounds
In springtime, baleen whales, like minke whales, fin whales, and humpback whales, are also back in Icelandic waters, their breeding grounds. They are a migratory species and most travel long distances to tropical waters in winter and back to polar regions in spring and summer, between April and October. Lots of companies offer whale watching tours, and the most popular locations for whale safaris are Reykjavík in the south of Iceland, and Akureyri, Húsavík, and Hjalteyri in the north.