Best Spring Road Trip with a Rental Vehicle in Iceland

Rental vehicle Jeep Rubicon in spring

Iceland in the spring offers a unique and ever-changing landscape that makes for an unforgettable road trip. Spring in Iceland, stretching from April to June, is a period of profound transformation. It is one the best times to get a rental vehicle in Iceland and explore the wonders of the land of Ice and Fire.

Here we will go over a popular route that many consider a must-do when visiting Iceland, especially in the spring. A time when secrets under the increasingly lingering daylight appear and you can experience both winter and spring conditions.

 

The Spring Climate: A Study in Contrasts

Icelandic spring is a testament to nature’s unpredictability, offering a climate that can oscillate from serene to stormy within the span of a single day. Temperatures hover between 0°C and 10°C (32°F to 50°F), occasionally dipping lower with the wind chill.

These months witness a melange of weather patterns, from the crisp remnants of snowfall to the refreshing drizzle of rain, each contributing to the dynamic beauty of the landscape. The wind, a constant companion in Iceland, adds a brisk vitality to the spring air, especially pronounced along the coast and in open areas.

One of the season's most remarkable features is the dramatic increase in daylight hours, progressing from about 13 hours in early April to the near-constant daylight of June's end. This gradual lengthening of days opens up extended opportunities for exploration and witnessing the natural spectacle of the midnight sun as spring transitions into summer.

icy roads in Iceland rental vehicle
You can still expect snow and icy roads during spring in Iceland.

Navigating Iceland’s Spring Roads

Spring travel in Iceland is an invitation to explore the island’s famed routes, with the promise of fewer tourists and landscapes in the throes of seasonal change. Selecting the appropriate rental vehicle for this journey is crucial, as spring road conditions can range from clear to challenging, with lingering ice or sudden snowfall. A 4WD becomes the rental car of choice, offering the versatility and stability to navigate Iceland’s diverse terrains, from paved roads to the more adventurous mountain tracks that begin to emerge from their winter closures.

 

Essential Spring Gear

Preparation is key when packing for an Icelandic spring adventure. Embracing a layered approach to clothing allows for flexibility in adapting to the island’s capricious weather. A moisture-wicking base layer, insulating mid-layer, and a waterproof and windproof outer layer constitute the holy trinity of traveler’s outfit, ensuring warmth and protection against the elements. Sturdy, waterproof hiking boots are indispensable for traversing Iceland’s varied landscapes, from the misty precipices of waterfalls to the rugged trails of its national parks.

 

Spring’s Natural Wonders

Spring in Iceland does not merely signal a change in weather; it heralds a season of renewal and life. The country’s iconic waterfalls, such as Gullfoss, Skógafoss, and Seljalandsfoss, swell with the meltwaters of spring, showcasing their majestic power. The cliffs become stages for the dramatic return of seabirds, including the charismatic puffin, offering unparalleled birdwatching opportunities. Despite the increasing daylight, the Northern Lights still dance across the early spring night sky, a luminous farewell to the dark Icelandic winters.

Seljalandsfoss waterfall in spring iceland
Seljalandsfoss waterfall in beautiful Icelandic spring weather.

 

A Season of Discovery

Spring in Iceland is for the traveler seeking the serene beauty of a landscape in transition, away from the peak crowds of summer. It is a time for discovery, where each day holds the potential for new adventures and the natural world awakens with a vibrancy that can only be witnessed in this season of rebirth. With careful planning, an adventurous spirit, and respect for the forces of nature, a spring journey through Iceland can unfold into an unforgettable expedition into the heart of the island’s ethereal beauty.

 

Where to Travel in Iceland in Spring?

To sum up and make your life a little bit easier, here are our recommendations for a great Spring Road trip in Iceland:

The Golden Circle:

  •         Þingvellir National Park: A UNESCO World Heritage site, rich in history and geology. Here, you can see the rift between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates.
  •         Geysir Geothermal Area: Home to the famous Strokkur geyser, which erupts every few minutes, and the dormant Geysir.
  •         Gullfoss Waterfall: A stunning waterfall that can be partially frozen or roaring with spring meltwater, depending on the weather.

South Coast:

  •         Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss Waterfalls: Two of Iceland's most iconic waterfalls. Seljalandsfoss offers a unique experience where you can walk behind the waterfall.
  •         Reynisfjara Beach: Known for its black sand and basalt column cliffs. Be cautious of the powerful waves.
  •         Vík í Mýrdal: A charming village with beautiful views, including the Reynisdrangar sea stacks.
  •         Skaftafell in Vatnajökull National Park: Offers hiking opportunities and the chance to see Svartifoss, a waterfall framed by hexagonal basalt columns.
  •         Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach: A lagoon filled with icebergs calving from the glacier, with the nearby beach where icebergs wash ashore, sparkling like diamonds on the black sand.

This route offers a good mix of natural wonders, from geothermal areas and waterfalls to glaciers and black sand beaches. It's also relatively easy to navigate and can be done in a relatively short time frame, making it perfect for a spring road trip in a rental car. Remember to book your rental car in advance, as spring is a popular time for visitors.

This incredible road trip to Iceland’s most amazing sites should take approximately 3-5 days, depending on how much time is spent at each stop. However, all these places also make a great day trip from Reykjavik. That’s the beauty of having a rental vehicle in Iceland, you can travel at your own pace and make your own travel schedule.

 

Rental vehicle in lava field spring iceland.
We recommend a 4WD for a Spring Road Trip in Iceland.

Which Car to Rent in Iceland in Spring?

Driving in Iceland during spring is a unique experience due to the country's variable weather and road conditions. Choosing the right type of car is crucial to ensure your safety and enjoyment of the trip. Here's what you should consider when selecting a vehicle and what natural wonders to look for during spring:

  •         4WD (Four-Wheel Drive) Vehicle: Highly recommended for spring travel in Iceland. A 4WD is suitable for handling icy patches, snow remnants, and gravel roads you might encounter, especially in more remote areas or if you're planning to explore the F-roads (mountain roads) that begin to open later in spring.
  •         SUV or Crossover: Offers higher clearance and better stability on varied terrains. Even if you don't opt for a 4WD, an SUV can handle moderate off-road conditions better than a sedan.
  •         Vehicles with Good Heating and Defrosting Systems: Spring temperatures can still be quite cold, especially in the early months or at higher altitudes.
  •         Heated Seats and Steering Wheel: For added comfort during cold weather.
  •         Sturdy Tires: Ensure the rental car has winter or all-season tires in good condition, as roads can still be slippery.
  •         GPS Navigation: Helpful for navigating and finding points of interest, though it's wise to have a physical map as a backup.

How are Driving Considerations in Iceland in Spring?

As mentioned earlier, the weather plays and important role when visiting Iceland during Spring. This is especially true when driving around Iceland’s roads. Here are some travel tips on how to prepare for a safe spring road trip in Iceland:

What to Wear in Iceland in Spring?

Given the variability and unpredictability of spring weather in Iceland, dressing in layers is key. This approach allows you to adjust to changing conditions throughout the day.

 

  •         Base Layer: Start with a moisture-wicking base layer to keep you dry from sweat.
  •         Insulation Layer: Add a warm insulating layer, such as a fleece or wool sweater, to retain body heat.
  •         Outer Layer: Use a waterproof and windproof jacket to protect against rain and wind. Waterproof pants are also recommended for rainy days or if you plan to hike.
  •         Footwear: Waterproof hiking boots are essential. They should offer good traction for slippery conditions and be comfortable for long walks.
  •         Accessories: Don't forget a hat, gloves, and a scarf to protect against the wind and cold, especially in April and early May. Sunglasses and sunscreen are also important due to the increased daylight and potential for sun reflection off snow.
  •         Swimwear: If you plan to visit hot springs or geothermal pools, remember to bring swimwear.

 

General Tips for Spring Travel

In conclusion renting a car in Iceland during Springtime is a fantastic experience, with opportunities to get the best and most unique trips of your life. In case you forgot, here’s our top travel tips about how to have the best Spring Road trip with a rental vehicle in Iceland:   

  •         Check the Weather and Road Conditions Daily: Spring weather can be unpredictable, with the potential for snowstorms, rain, or sunny days.
  •         Rent a 4WD Vehicle: Some areas might still have winter conditions, especially in early spring.
  •         Be Flexible with Your Plans: Allow some flexibility in your itinerary to accommodate weather changes or road closures.
  •         Bring Warm and Waterproof Clothing: Even in spring, temperatures can be chilly, especially in the mornings and evenings or at higher elevations.
  •         Be Flexible: The weather can impact travel plans. Have backup activities in case of bad weather.
  •         Stay Informed: Keep up with the latest weather forecasts and road conditions, especially if you plan to drive.
  •         Experience Nature: Spring is a great time to witness the awakening of Iceland’s natural landscapes, from budding flora to migrating birds like puffins.
  •         Enjoy Fewer Crowds: Although tourist numbers begin to increase in spring, they are still lower than in peak summer, offering a more peaceful experience at popular attractions.

If you like to get more interesting facts and travel tips about Iceland please visit our Blog where you’ll find great articles on Driving in Iceland and other Practical Info.

 

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