The 6 Stages of Spring in Iceland

Spring in iceland
Spring is a very interesting and tricky season in Iceland.

In Iceland, the transition from winter to spring is not always straightforward. Although the calendar says it’s spring, the actual weather might be quite different. This article will discuss the six distinct phases that mark the beginning of spring in Iceland.

In Iceland, just like in most places, Spring follows Winter. But when does Winter in Iceland come to an end? It’s not so simple as a set date, it’s more a matter of when the cold stops and the snow melts away. 

It can be very hard to predict when the transition from Winter to Spring will happen due to the variable climate in Iceland. This unpredictability is especially true for Spring compared to other seasons.

Fake Spring

As the days get longer, hope of a new Spring rises in Iceland. Then one day, suddenly all the snow is melting away and it looks like Spring has finally arrived after the hard Iceland winter. 

For a few days the average temperature goes up and along with it, the spirits of those not familiar with the seasons in Iceland.

Unfortunately, this will not last. Soon the weather will change and bring winter back.

Snow metling away at Seljalandsfoss waterfall.
Seljalandsfoss watefall in spring

Additional winter

Additional winter is often more extreme than the first one. At least that’s how it feels. Especially after a few good days of what feels like Spring. There is often heavy snow that follows the second winter and temperature is well below freezing.

Additional winter can last for a while but eventually the weather in Iceland will start to improve. Bringing once again hope that Spring has arrived.

SEE ALSO: The Ultimate Guide for Winter Outfits in Iceland

Phony Spring

Moving forward and conditions in Iceland are starting to look good again. 

Although it appears that Iceland’s situation is improving and that residents may finally stop worrying about snow and ice, it is too soon to bid farewell to winter clothing and switch from winter to summer tires. There is still more winter weather to come.

Church moutain and Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall in winter uniform.
Church mountain and Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall in winter.

Third winter

This is starting to sound like the story of the boy who cried wolf. And you might wonder if Spring is ever going to arrive in Iceland.

It surely doesn’t seem like it. Third winter might not be as snowy as the one before, but it is very cold. Often much colder than the first or second winter.

Meaning everything will freeze again. As the weather and the temperature in Iceland keeps shifting this creates an extremely icy situation. This is part of the reason we do not remove the studded winter tires from our rental cars until mid April, and we are 100% sure that winter is behind us.

Slush Season

The real switch from Winter to Spring in Iceland usually does not happen just over night. We know when Spring is really arriving when winter slowly starts to melt away.

This period is called Slush season. During Slush season it is still cold but not cold enough to freeze. The streets are therefore filled with slush as the ice slowly melts. This transaction makes the ground extremely wet turning it into slush and mud.

When the snow melts the streets of Reykjavik are full slush.
When the snow melts the streets of Reykjavik are full slush.

Actual Spring

Once the wet muddy period is over Spring finally arrives in Iceland. This is the Actual Spring which will last until summer begins.

Do take into account that this is still Iceland. So, even though real spring has arrived it is still rather cold compared to Spring in most other places. 

The first day of summer in Iceland is in mid April. However in reality it is not yet summer in Iceland at that time of the year. The summer in Iceland usually starts in June, ending the 6 stages of Icelandic Spring.

When visiting Iceland in Spring

Although the Icelandic Spring may sound strange and confusing, it is a great time to visit Iceland. Let’s be honest, you’re not traveling to Iceland for the weather.

There is an easy way to enjoy Iceland in Spring. It’s just a matter of being properly prepared. So here are our pro guide tips for a Spring trip to Iceland.

Keep Warm and Dry

Bring clothes that will keep you both warm and dry. It will most likely be cold and wet, so good outdoor clothes such as winter coats and waterproof jackets are essential as well as a good pair of boots.

Monitor the weather daily

Although the weather is rather unpredictable the Icelandic Met office has an excellent forecast. We recommend keeping an eye on the weather and checking out the forecast daily.

Do get fooled by the spring weather in Iceland. It may look very good but in reality it is extremely cold and windy. In Iceland this is called ” window weather” and is very common in Spring. 

Dacia Duster is a great rental car for traveling the South Coast of Iceland in Spring.
Dacia Duster is a great rental car for traveling the South Coast of Iceland in Spring.

Rental Car and Road Conditions

For exploring Iceland, we recommend having a rental car at your disposal. That is by far the best way to travel in Iceland. So, before heading out to your next Iceland adventure, please have a look at the road conditions in Iceland to see if it is safe to travel. 

Driving in Iceland is a great way to explore the country and its natural wonders. It’s important to have the perfect rental car in Iceland for your needs. 

A small car such as a Kia Rio is great for short trips in Spring. Or if your want to reduce your carbon footprint an Electric vehicle (EV) like our Tesla Model 3 are perfect for trips to the Golden Circle and other areas around Reykjavik. 

For longer road trips we recommend a rental car such as a Dacia Duster or Tesla Model Y. With a large rental car you will have no problem traveling the Ring Road in Spring and see all the amazing sites along the way. Such as Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach and more along the South Coast of Iceland.

SEE ALSO: Why You Should Visit Iceland in Autumn

It’s impossible to control the weather so it’s just a matter of making the most of what is at hand. By following these simple steps, you can be sure of having a great time in Iceland.