Iceland in March: 5 Things You Should Know
March is one of the best times of the year to visit Iceland, but before you embark on your trip, there are a few things you should know to ensure your comfort and safety.
This month is Iceland’s off season, so attractions will be less crowded and accommodations will be priced accordingly. That makes March an ideal time to see and do everything that Iceland has to offer.
Things to Know About Visiting Iceland in March
There are a few things that you must know when visiting Iceland in March.
While these are not official “rules and regulations,” they will help you to have a safe and enjoyable time abroad, so following them is certainly in your best interest.
- It’s going to be cold, wet and snowy.
- Prepare for rough driving conditions .
- Take advantage of off-season pricing.
- Choose the proper seasonal tours
- It’s a great time to see the Northern Lights.
These useful tidbits of information will make a huge difference in the quality of your trip to Iceland.
Learn more about Iceland’s weather in March, what’s going on around town, the best tours to take in March, and more.
Iceland’s Weather in March
Iceland has got three temperatures: cold, colder and “oh dear, I cannot feel my limbs.” In March, the weather falls somewhere around “colder.”
The coldest the country gets during March averages at around -2.2°C (28°F) and gets up to about an average of 3.3°C (38°F). The temperature typically flirts with freezing, and records fluctuate about 10°C (20°F) either way.
March tends to be a bit of a rainy month, but when the temperature is right, you may see flurries of snow.
Your best bet is to check the weather before you head out each day to make sure that whatever you have on tap still works with the forecast. The weather does tend to change fast in Iceland.
See also: Iceland’s Golden Circle: How to Plan Your Visit
Clothes to Pack for Iceland in March
The key to dressing for winter weather is to layer, layer, layer. The weather can change throughout the day and you’ll be in and out of buildings, so you need to dress accordingly.
When you visit Iceland in the winter, there are a some articles of clothing that you must pack.
Here is our list of recommendations.
- Thermals (long underwear)
- Thick socks
- Long sleeved shirts
- Sweaters (woollen or fleece)
- Coats (wind and waterproof)
- Winter boots (waterproof)
- Tights or leggings
- Hats, scarves, earmuffs, gloves
Dressing for your comfort is great, but you’ve got to keep your safety in mind, as well. While the weather in March does not typically get cold enough to cause issues like hypothermia, getting wet and cold at the same time could have serious implications.
Driving in Iceland in March
Although the roads aren’t completely iced over throughout the entire month of March, there is definitely some risk that comes with driving in Iceland during this season.
Since the weather hangs out around freezing, patches of ice may spot the road. This may make driving difficult for those who are not used to navigating through these conditions.
There are a few precautions that you should take when planning to drive through Iceland in March.
- Rent a 4×4 vehicle. The terrain and conditions may get tough. You want to be prepared.
- Research your rental agency. Choose a rental agency that has easily accessible resources in the case of a breakdown.
- Add insurance to your rental car. Your driving through Iceland won’t be your typical Sunday stroll. The path might get a bit crazy. Protect yourself.
- Don’t run close to empty. You may drive long stretches without hitting a gas station.
- Carry cash. Make sure you have cash in case gas stations don’t accept your credit card so you don’t get stranded.
- Do not drive if you are not completely comfortable. Take a bus or travel with a tour group.
For those who come from climates with snowy winter seasons, driving in Iceland in March will be no trouble at all. Those who come from tropical areas where there is no snow are the ones who may have issues.
If at any time you feel uncomfortable driving in Iceland, pass the baton to another driver or find a safe place to enjoy your time until the conditions are safe to drive in.
Popular Events in Iceland in March
When you are planning your trip to Iceland, you should plan to attend some of Iceland’s most popular events. This allows your to immerse yourself in Icelandic culture and engage with the locals. You may make some new friends.
From Battle of the Bands to Moustache March, there are lots of fun things to do in March in Iceland.
Food and Fun Festivals in March
If you are in Iceland in the first weekend of March, you cannot miss the Food and Fun Festival. This “Culinary Circus” invites chefs from around the world to collaborate Icelandic restaurants to create spectacular dishes with local ingredients.
All dishes are entered in a contest and judged by foodies with the most refined palettes. This entertaining festival helps local restaurants to revamp their menus.
Iceland’s Battle of the Bands
The Battle of the Bands, also known as Icelandic Music Experiment, is a competition that allows teens and 20-something musicians from Iceland to showcase their talents. There are fifty competitors each year.
Every once in a while, a group or two breaks through and makes it big. One of the most recent successes was Monsters and Men.
Moustaches are kind of a big deal in Iceland, especially in March. During the month of March, men in Iceland stop shaving their facial hair as part of a festival to raise money and awareness for a variety of noble causes. Other countries celebrate something similar called “No Shave November.”
If you are visiting Iceland during Moustache March, you might consider growing out your beard so that you fit in with the locals.
Reykjavik Folk Festival
Folk music is a huge hit in Iceland. During the first weekend of March, several Icelandic folk artists gather at Kex Hostel to put on an unmissable show! This festival is very, very popular in Iceland.
Reykjavik Fashion Festival
The Reykjavik Fashion Festival showcases the work of some of the best Icelandic fashion designers. Aspiring artists in the fashion industry are encouraged to share their wonderful work during this event.
This event is particularly important because Icelandic fashion trends are on the rise globally. Unique patterns are crossed with extraordinary materials to create designs that are stylish and trendy.
Enjoying Reykjavik in March
Reykjavik is Iceland’s capital. Located in the west, this coastal city is never short on fun. This city is full of amazing things to do.
From museums to bars, your day will be packed with fun. How will you spend your days in Reykjavik.
Great Eats in Reykjavik
While you’re in Reykjavik, you will likely enjoy a ton of fresh fish dishes. Icelandic cuisine also incorporates a lot of lamb and beef for the landlubbers.
Stop by some of the most delicious restaurants in all of Reykjavik to step out of the freezing March weather.
- Grillmarkadurinn: At this farm to table restaurant, you can ensure that you will be served the freshest food possible! You can order off of the traditional menu or choose to dine at the special chef’s table.
- Sjavargrillid: Make a reservation at Sjavargrillid to ensure that you get a chance to try some of the yummiest seafood that Reykjavik has to offer.
- Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur: This famous hotdog stand has got the best wieners in all of Iceland. You don’t want to miss this iconic street food.
- Sægreifinn: Fish on a stick is the specialty at this famous Icelandic dive.
- Fiskmarkaðurinn: The “Fish Market” is known for their delicious seafood with hints of Japanese cuisine. Their sushi and desserts are not to be missed!
Come to Iceland ready to eat. These 5 restaurants in Reykjavik are only the best. Delicious food can be found on every corner.
Nightlife in Reykjavik
In Reykjavik, nightlife is a little different than what you’d expect. While some bars have music and dancing, some serve the sole purpose of a location to chat, drink and smoke.
In Reykjavik, those who take part in nightlife rarely stay in one place for the duration of their time out on the town. Bar crawling is huge in Iceland, as the locals love to experience a variety of places and meet new people throughout the night.
Before you go out, be sure to research your intended destinations. Familiarize yourself with dress codes and what sort of scene you can expect. This helps you to better assimilate and experience the culture.
Best Bars & Clubs in Reykjavik
Most nightlife venues in Reykjavik are lowkey bars and cafes with fresh drinks and good vibes, but there are a few clubs that have loud music and dancing like clubs in other parts of the world.
Check out some of these great bars in Reykjavik. You’ll surely have the time of your life while you sip beer with Icelanders and make new friends from around the world
- Kaffibarinn: This bar is among the oldest in the capital and is frequented by the local hipsters.
- Húrra: Interested in a night of music and livelihood? Stop by Húrra for a night of karaoke and fun!
- Club Kiki: Kiki is the best gay bar in all of Reykjavik.
- Ölstofa Kormáks og Skjaldar: For a posh night of drinking and smoking with celebs, stop by Ölstofa Kormáks og Skjaldar. This bar doesn’t do much in the way of music and dancing because that is really not the socialites’ jam.
- B5: B5 is among the most exclusive bars in all of Reykjavik. You’ll have to be dressed to the nines to get into this bar.
There are bars for all sorts of visitors in Reykjavik. Whether you want to go out and let loose or have a drink in a calm venue, there is an option for you.
Visit Museums in Reykjavik
If there is a day when the weather is absolutely nasty, visiting museums is a great way to escape the cold. Reykjavik is full of museums that are great for people of all ages.
Explore some of the best museums in Reykjavik!
- Perlan: This museum is known for its interactive science exhibits. These exhibits display information about some of Iceland’s most phenomenal landforms and natural occurrences.
- National Museum of Iceland: The National Museum of Iceland shares the history of Iceland back through the Medieval days and the viking settlements. There is only one permanent exhibit at this museum, and the rest of the exhibits come and go.
- The Settlement Exhibition: This museum is all about the vikings! Take a step back in time to learn about the settlement of Iceland.
- Arbaer Open Air Museum: The property that this little museum sits on used to be a church and farmhouse! It is now rented out for baptism, weddings and other celebrations.
- Reykjavik Maritime Museum: Since Iceland is a relatively small island, the sea has a great impact on the culture of the country, especially when it comes to the cuisine. This museum teaches visitors about the nation’s long lived dependence on the fish industry.
Examining the exhibits and artifacts in museums is a great way to learn about the history of Iceland.
Planning an Off-Season Trip to Iceland
March is Iceland’s off-season which makes it the most affordable month to travel to this beautiful country. Finding cheap flights to Iceland in March will really help you cut the costs of your trip.
One of the greatest things about traveling to Iceland during the off-season is that attractions will be much less crowded and tours will not book up as quickly. You’ll also have a greater chance of dining in the most famous restaurants that usually need to be booked weeks in advance.
On top of everything else, locals tend to be much friendlier when it’s off-season and the tourists are sparse. Of course, visitors are welcome, but it’s nice when there aren’t flocks of people taking over your hometown. Traveling off-season gives you an advantage if you’re interested in becoming friends with or interacting with the locals.
Best Tours of Iceland to Take in March
Iceland has so much to do all year round but there are a few tours that you cannot miss if you visit in March! This time of the year is when the weather is gently transitioning into spring, but much of the snow remains. You can truly enjoy the remains of the winter wonderland without losing feeling in your toes!
Check out some of these amazing tours of Iceland in March:
- Ice Cave Exploration: Explore Iceland’s phenomenal ice caves! You don’t want to miss this expereince.
- Snorkeling in Silfra: Snorkel where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates diverge in the Silfra Fissure.
- Whale Watching: Admire some of Iceland’s most majestic creatures on a boat tour through the bay.
- Horseback Riding: Explore Iceland on the back of the iconic Icelandic Horse.
- See the Northern Lights: Chase the Aurora borealis on ATVs with a knowledgeable tour guide.
- Glacier Tours: Snowmobile over beautiful icelandic glaciers.
These tours are great to fill your days in Iceland. You will not regret your choice to visit this wonderful country in March!
Best Ways to See the Northern Lights in March
March is the tail end of the Northern Lights visibility period, so you’ve got to make sure you don’t miss this spectacular phenomenon.
There are quite a few ways that are recommended for seeing the Northern Lights. Some people like to chase the Aurora borealis and others like to sit and wait for their glimpse.
Explore the options that are available to you!
Where to See the Northern Lights in Iceland
We know of a few super hot—well, super chilly—spots to see the Northern Lights in Iceland. Even if you don’t catch a sight at the Northern Lights, these are still places that you don’t want to miss in the day time!
From pool to beaches to cliffs, there are so many places to see the Northern Lights. The trick is to find somewhere with minimal light pollution. Consider scoping out a remote location during the day and coming back with snacks to enjoy the show after the sun goes down.
Seeing the Northern Lights by Boat
Boat tours are a great way to see the Northern Lights because they take you out into the dark bay. You chance of catching a glimpse is great when all other lights are cut out! The only downside to this sort of tour is that it gets really chilly at night so if this is the option you choose, make sure you bundle up!
Seeing the Northern Lights by ATV
Chasing the Northern Lights on ATV is one of the most exhilarating experiences. Hekla’s ATV and Northern Light Tour is among the most fun things to do in Iceland. This hour-long mountain safari tour takes you on a mission to find the Northern Lights. Your tour guide will share stories of the mountains greatest mysteries as you search for the majestic Aurora borealis.
Best Icelandic Travel Guides
No matter what time of the year you plan to visit Iceland, you should check out our Icelandic travel guides to get a better idea of all that this country has to offer. There is so much to do, and it would be a shame to miss out on any of the beautiful attractions!
Are you ready to plan your trip to Iceland? Start by booking your flights today!
If planning your own trip isn’t your style, you’re in luck! Hekla offers a variety of tours that will take you through the best parts of Iceland. We’ve certainly got your back.
Visit Iceland in March
Visiting Iceland in March is a great choice because of the reduced price tag alone. You will find so many fun things to do and you may even catch one of the last glimpse of the Northern Lights for the season.
The weather during this time of the year is relatively mild, so you should be able to explore comfortably.
Be sure to enjoy some of the best local events and venues. Dive into the rich Icelandic culture and appreciate the beauty of this lovely little country.
Plan your trip to Iceland with Hekla today!