In March, temperatures are climbing all around Iceland, and you may even spot the random person wearing shorts on especially "warm" days in early anticipation of the coming Arctic summer. While there may be one or two unseasonably warm afternoons, the temperatures are still cold and there are plenty of snow flurries to justify a pair of boots in your suitcase.
March, surprisingly, might actually one of the best times to visit Iceland. You can still participate in winter activities like visiting the ice caves and seeing the Northern Lights, but tour groups will be smaller given than most people wait for the warm months to visit the island. The temperatures are cold, but you get to visit one of the most remote countries in all of its end-of-winter splendor.
The dark winter starts to lose its gloom in March, when there are officially more hours of daylight than nighttime. The snow is definitely melting at this point in the year, but there is the chance that a storm will blast through, closing roads in its wake. Keep a close eye on the national weather website, Vedur, for up-to-day road closure information.
Given the slight unpredictability that still looms in the forecast, it's best not to plan any long-winded hikes or journeys into the Central Highlands during this time. Iceland does have a system of emergency huts available to wayward hikers during the winter months, but it's best to avoid any dangerous situations.
Ahead, you'll find everything you need to know about visiting Iceland in March, from what to pack to the events happening around the country.
Iceland Weather in March
Temperatures will crawl closer to 40 degrees Fahrenheit during the month of March but expect to hit lows below freezing (around 28 degrees Fahrenheit) overnight. While you won't see as much rain as you do during February, there are still plenty of snowstorms, random hail fits, and wind that will plague your hikes if you aren't prepared.
What to Pack
Layers, layers, layers—and thermal underwear. If there's one thing you remember to put in your suitcase, it's your thermal layers (wool or polyester—no cotton!). The weather changes in such a massive way throughout a day, you'll want to be able to remove some outer layers should the sun peak out.
A good waterproof jacket is also necessary during March, as there is still snow and rain hitting the country. One thing that's easily forgotten is a dry bag for keeping your camera and other digital items safe from rain during impromptu storms.
March Events in Iceland
The days are getting longer once March comes along, and Icelanders are anxious to crawl out of their winter hideaways. There are a number of early spring events happening, notably in the music space:
- Food and Fun Festival: The first weekend in March brings with it a celebration of incredible food featuring local ingredients. Both local chefs and foodies traveling from afar will convene to come up with some majorly creative menus.
- DesignMarch: This is Iceland's annual design week—March 25-29—which puts local and international artists and designers in the spotlight. The week also hosts various events, workshops, exhibit openings, and other showcases.
- Battle of the Bands: Since 1982, local bands have been taking the stage with the intent of taking home the "Best Band" title. On the list of previous winners, you'll find Of Monsters and Men. This year, the shows will be held between March 21-28 at Harpa.
- Reykjavik Folk Festival: Held at Kex Hostel, the Reykjavik Folk Festival is held March 1-3. The event brings acts from all over the country into a location known for bringing locals and travelers together over food and excellent beer.
- Moustache March: Much like many other people may celebrate No-Shave November, Icelanders like to partake in a wonderful month-long event call Moustache March. It's exactly what it sounds like it is.
March Travel Tips
- Make sure you rent a car with 4WD to make it easier to navigate dark, icy roads.
- Have a back-up plan if you want to camp—the weather often won't cooperate and you'll want to stay indoors.
- You can still see the Northern Lights at times throughout the month.
- Check the local weather station, often.