The Weather in March in Iceland
Yay, more daylight! By early March in Iceland, the island sees roughly 10 hours of daylight. By the end of March, (following the spring equinox, March 20) the day stretches to approximately 13 hours and 26 minutes.
When travelling to Iceland in March, expect the unexpected. The seasons are shifting from winter to spring so be prepared for either rain and snow, maybe both. It’s better to be over-prepared than under, so bring your waterproofs including warm layers. Although March is commonly the last month in Iceland with a decent amount of snowfall, the locals have long since learned that the weather is unpredictable. The temperature commonly hovers around 0°.
Don’t Miss Your Chance to Visit a Natural Ice Cave
March is your last chance for exploring ice caves. Why? It’s getting close to the end of winter and the best ice caves usually only last a single season. After that, they start to melt and sometimes collapse under the warm summer sun, so it’s not safe to venture into the caves after March.
As far as ice caves are concerned, the crystal blue ice cave near Jökulsárlón is a popular choice among travellers. Personally, we recommend booking a room close to the location, as driving from Reykjavík to Jökulsárlón takes approximately six hours, which means that returning to Reykjavík the same day would be a total 12-hour drive. Sitting in a car for twelve hours straight and rushing past the country’s most stunning natural attractions along the way is definitely not recommended.
If a day-tour from Reykjavík is what you’re after, there is also an ice cave close to Vík. If you have a car, the drive is three hours from Reykjavík to the meeting point but the tour is also available with transfer from Reykjavík.
Top 3. – Ice cave tours we recommend (Meet on location)
- 1. Ice Cave tour – Easy (Departure: Jökulsárlón)
- 2. Ice cave – Adventures dream (Departure: Jökulsárlón)
- 3. Katla ice cave tour (Departure: Vík)
- Bonus: The Blue Dragon – Heli Ice Cave Combo
Snowmobiling on a Glacier
Why come to Iceland if not to snowmobile atop a glacier? Snowmobiling on a glacier is not something that is available to everyone in the world. Lucky for us in Iceland, it’s available all year round!
The tours are scenic, fun, and despite a hefty dose of adrenaline and action, they’re also safely comfortable. Discover the surface of the glacier and enjoy the amazing views at the same time.
You will be brought to the snowmobile starting point on top of the glacier by either glacier truck or super-jeep. Before going snowmobiling, you will be instructed how to operate the snowmobile and you will get warm overalls and a helmet. By then, you’re ready to start your exhilarating ride over the snowy surface of the glacier. Note that you can share a snowmobile or pay a little bit extra to have one to yourself.
Top 3. – Snowmobile Tours (meet on location)
- 1. Snowmobile on top of Eyjafjallajökull
- 2. Snowmobile and Ice Cave from Gullfoss
- 3. Snowmobile – South Coast
Top 3. – Snowmobile Tours (join from Reykjavík)
- 1. The Pearl Tour – Golden Circle and Snowmobiling – Super Truck
- 2. Hot Spring and Cool Glacier – Snowmobile and Glacier Ice Cave
- 3. South Coast and Snowmobile
See the Northern Lights
It is getting closer to the end of the northern lights season since during summer, the lights are overshadowed by the bright midnight sun. In March, you still have a good chance to view the stunning natural phenomenon in the night sky. All we need is the darkness, a clear sky, and a conveniently placed solar storm.
If you‘re interested in seeing the northern lights, or the Aurora Borealis (a term coined by Galileo in 1619, from the Roman goddess of the dawn and the Greek name for the north wind), there are plenty of scheduled tours available. We recommend travelling in small groups (on jeeps or a minibus).
Helpful tips for seeing the Northern Lights:
- Most all minibus/jeep tours include hot chocolate and pastries.
- Jeep/minibus tours are up to 4-5 hours long.
- The cruise is 2-3 hours long.
- You can join tours which include photos of you with the northern lights in the background.
- The tours don’t run unless it’s worth going for a hunt!
- Hunting down northern lights is just like going fishing; sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don’t.
- If you don’t see the lights on your first try, you’ll get a second try for free. Some companies even offer unlimited re-tries.
Top 3. – Northern lights tours we recommend.
- 1. Northern lights & stargazing – Jeep tour
- 2. Northern lights by Mini bus
- 3. Northern lights Cruise
The South Coast and a Glacier Hike
The south coast of Iceland kind of has it all! Numerous majestic waterfalls, volcanic black sand beaches, glaciers, and famous volcanoes. Famous? Yes indeed, the one you can’t pronounce, Eyjafjallajökull. When driving the south coast of Iceland you’ll pass by it.
We could say that going on the south coast is like stepping into a movie set. Skógafoss waterfall is seen in The Game of Thrones and Thor: The Dark World. The black sand beach is seen in Vikings, Star Trek: Into Darkness and Vík is seen in the Captain America movie. At this time of year, you’ll most likely have plenty of snow and ice to add a dramatic edge to the already impressive scenery!
Add some spice to the tour and go glacier hiking on Sólheimajökull.
During the tour, you’ll learn about these massive natural phenomena from your guide and you will be provided with all the necessary equipment to get some exercise in full comfort and safety.
Top 3. – Scheduled South coast and glacier hike tours.
- 1. South Coast – Fire & Ice Tour
- 2. South Coast – Semi private glacier hike and dinner at the Viking lodge
- 3. One Day South Coast and Katla Ice Cave Tour
Annual Festivals in March in Iceland
March is a rather busy month as far as annual events go; in addition to the Design March festival, which will be taking place for the twelfth time in 2020, there is also the Icelandic Music Experiments and Food & Fun. Have a look below for further information.
An unofficial holiday held on March 1. Icelanders celebrate beer once a year because, for the longest time, they couldn’t have any. Read more about it here.
Iceland’s biggest design festival. The twelfth annual festival will take place from March 25-29 in Reykjavík. During DesignMarch, the capital of Iceland is transformed into one big showcase for innovative creations and designs. The festival aims to connect local and international designers at more than one hundred events and exhibitions.
DesignMarch will take place in June 2020!
In light of recent developments of the Covid-19 virus, the board and staff of DesignMarch have decided to move the festival until late June 2020. It was a difficult decision to make but our main priority at this time is to take measures to contain the virus.
The Icelandic Music Experiments
A five-day music festival, aiming to make way for young and upcoming musicians (prize include recording sessions and musical instruments). Bands like Mammút, Vök, Samaris, and Of Monsters and Men have all jumpstarted their careers at the I.M.E. This year (2020), the festival will be held in the Norðurljós auditorium in the Harpa Music and Conference Hall.
Food & Fun
An annual culinary festival downtown Reykjavík, celebrated for the 19th time from March 4 to March 8. The festival assembles chefs from all over the world for a long weekend in Reykjavík, where they get the chance to work with local restaurants and Icelandic ingredients. During the festival, Reykjavík is the place to be for foodies and food lovers.
Looking for more? Check out our online event calendar for plenty of other events that take place during March in Iceland.
Stormy day in Iceland?
As mentioned above, March weather is unpredictable and at times, it can get stormy. Tour operators’ number one concern is their customers’ safety and, therefore, some tours can get cancelled if the weather is deemed to risky. Keeping a flexible schedule is helpful if it turns out you can‘t leave the city. So we’ve made you a list of things you can do within the city.
Things to do on a stormy day in Reykjavík
- We suggest visiting the Wonders of Iceland tour in the iconic Perlan in Reykjavík.
- Flyover Iceland, located in the Grandi Harbour District, is also a good idea on a stormy day.
- Swimming pools. Soak in the warm water. The water temperature in the pools and hot tubs range from 27 to 42°C, which will keep you warm even on the coldest days.
- Go to the movie theatre. Bíó Paradís keeps up an ambitious schedule of internationally-acclaimed films from all over the world, as well as regular screenings of Icelandic films – with subtitles.
- Get the Reykjavík city card (see below)
Purchase the Reykjavík City Card
The Reykjavík City Card is a great way to experience Reykjavík for less. It includes free entry to all of the public museums, public swimming pools, the city bus, and the ferry to Viðey island. It also offers discounts on private museums, select restaurants, tours, and stores.
The Reykjavík City Card is available in 24, 48 and 72-hour increments, depending on how long you need it. It is available for children as well as adults.
“The easiest, most affordable, and most eco-friendly way to enjoy Reykjavík”.
Better Safe Than Sorry!
In order to travel safely, you need to keep your wits about you.
• Approach everything with caution; hiking, driving, even sightseeing.
• Just because there’s not a sign, doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous.
• Always, always, ALWAYS check the weather, even when traveling during summer.
• Ask www.safetravel.is if your travel plans are safe. More importantly, listen to their advice!
• Pay them a visit at Laugavegur 54 (Trip), Monday-Saturday.