Weather in Iceland in March Travel Guide

Imagine visiting Iceland in March. It's like being in a movie where the scenes keep changing from snowy mountains to green fields. March is a great time, when you still feel a bit of winter's chill, but you can also see spring starting to pop up. It's a mix of snowball fights and spotting the first few flowers. Planning a visit in March? Let's dive deeper into the weather in Iceland in March.

Visiting Iceland in March: an overview

Learn about the distinctive features of Icelandic adventures in March. Dive into the captivating charm of the Northern Lights and cope with possible weather challenges - we will tell you what awaits you on your March expedition to Iceland.

Benefits of visiting Iceland in March

Despite the chilly weather in Iceland in March, you'll find plenty of benefits for those looking to explore Iceland this month.

  • Budget-friendly off-peak travel: March is considered an off-peak travel season, meaning flights and accommodation often come at a reduced price. You could save a substantial amount on your total trip costs.
  • Rare Crowds: Popular attractions such as the Golden Circle, Blue Lagoon, and others are less crowded, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of Iceland at your own pace.
  • Extended daylight hours: While not yet into the endless summer daylight hours, Iceland in March offers a decent amount of daylight (around 12 hours by the end of the month) to explore the outdoors.
  • Northern Lights: As the darkness of winter recedes, March provides visitors with a unique opportunity to witness the magnificent Northern Lights before they disappear for the summer months.
  • Snowy landscapes: Revel in the enchanting winter beauty of Iceland, with pristine landscapes blanketed in snow, offering breathtaking views and excellent photo opportunities. The snowy conditions also make skiing and snowboarding a thrilling possibility.

Not sure about March? Explore our comprehensive guide to the best time to visit Iceland.

Famous glacier caves at Kverkfjoll in the highlands of Iceland © Shutterstock

Famous glacier caves at Kverkfjoll in the highlands of Iceland © Shutterstock

Drawbacks of visiting Iceland in March

Despite its many charms, visiting Iceland in March also comes with a number of challenges.

  • Weather unpredictability: Weather in Iceland in March can be highly unpredictable. One may experience rain, snow, and cold in a single day. This can lead to sudden changes in plans due to closures of roads and attractions.
  • Rough road conditions: March is one of the snowiest months in Iceland, which often leads to challenging driving conditions. If you intend to drive, ensure you're prepared to manage slippery roads and reduced visibility.
  • Limited hiking trails: While March is great for snowsports, some hiking trails can be inaccessible due to snowy conditions and closed for safety reasons.
  • Cold weather: The cold Icelandic weather can sometimes prove challenging for visitors not accustomed to low temperatures, especially when participating in outdoor activities or tours.

However, don't let these drawbacks deter you. With proper planning and precautions, visiting Iceland in March can be the experience of a lifetime.


Jokulsarlon, Iceland @ Shutterstock

What is the weather in Iceland in March

Before you embark on your journey to the land of glaciers and geysers, it's crucial to grasp the ever-changing and often dramatic weather in Iceland in March.

Temperature range in March

One of the key factors to consider when traveling to Iceland in March is the temperature. As the transition from winter to spring begins, the climate on the island remains cold.
At this time, the average low temperature in Iceland is around -2.2°C (about 28°F), while the average high temperature hovers around 3.3°C (or about 38°F). 

Keep in mind that these are averages, and actual temperatures can fluctuate above or below these values.

Therefore, dressing in layers is typically the best way to ensure comfort during varying temperatures throughout the day. The essential Icelandic layering rule applies moisture-wicking base layer, warm mid-layer (such as fleece or wool), and a water and windproof outer layer. Do not forget a good pair of waterproof shoes, hats, scarves, and gloves!

Feeling inspired? Here's a list of other cool destinations in March.

Snowfall and road conditions in March

Snowfall in Iceland is quite frequent in March. It adds a beautiful charm to the landscape, transforming the country into a winter wonderland. In Reykjavik, the snowfall amount averages around 16mm for March.

However, the snow and icy conditions can make roads extremely slippery, contributing to hazardous driving conditions. Major storms can lead to road closures, making it crucial to check the state-run website, for current road conditions before setting out for the day.

This fluctuating weather necessitates the utilisation of a four-wheel-drive vehicle during March, offering increased safety whilst navigating Iceland's roads. This is particularly true if travelling further North or into the Westfjords, where weather and road conditions can quickly change.

Remember, despite the extended daylight hours in March, it might necessitate a slower and more cautious itinerary, accounting for potential delays, detours, or bad weather conditions. One should always prioritize safety over convenience or speed while driving in Iceland during March.

Akureyri winter, Iceland © Shutterstock

Akureyri, Iceland © Shutterstock

Must-see attractions and tours in Iceland in March

There's a ton of things to do in Iceland, but here's a breakdown of the best things in March.

The magic of the Northern Lights

March is one of the best times to witness the spectacular beauty of the Northern Lights in Iceland. This extraordinary celestial phenomenon is on many visitors’ bucket lists, and for good reason. The nights are still dark enough to catch the ethereal green, pink, and blue hues dancing in the sky, yet the harshness of winter is beginning to taper off.

To see the Northern Lights, the sky needs to be dark, clear, and have the right amount of solar activity. There are two things to check before heading for an aurora hunt - the aurora forecast and the cloud coverage forecast. Use online resources like Iceland's Meteorological Office website for real-time updates.

We highly recommend booking one of our tours, as our experienced guides keep an eye on the forecasts and ensure that your chances of seeing this wonder are maximised. They can take you to hard-to-reach places you may not know about, maximising your chances of seeing the Aurora Borealis.


Kirkjufell, Northern Lights, Iceland

Ice caving in March

One of the most incredible experiences one can gain from visiting Iceland in March is exploring its ice caves. These are natural formations created by the flow of glacier meltwater, leading you into beautiful blue ice walls and unique landscapes. Bear in mind that the safety and accessibility of these caves often depend on the weather, as warm temperatures can cause the caves to melt and become dangerous.

A few of the most famous ice caves include the Katla Ice Cave and the Vatnajokull Ice Cave. It's important to note that each visit to an ice cave is unique, as the caves continue to change shape annually with the thrashing winds and flow of meltwater.

To ensure safety and the preservation of these natural wonders, visitors are required to book tours with experienced guides. We recommend booking your tours as early as possible since they can quickly fill up due to high demand and a limited operating window.

Remember, some tours might take you to manmade caves, so if the authentic experience is what you're looking for, make sure the tour description specifies a natural ice cave tour. Exploring Iceland's ice caves is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that travelers shouldn’t miss.

Skaftafell glacier, Iceland © Shutterstock

Skaftafell Glacier, Iceland © Shutterstock

Enjoying the geothermal spas

Iceland's geothermal activity isn't just responsible for the beautiful landscapes and stunning waterfalls but also contributes to an enriching Icelandic tradition – the geothermal spas. In the icy chill of March, nothing compares to the experience of bathing in a steaming natural pool surrounded by frosty landscapes.

These naturally-heated pools are found throughout the country, and they are a highlight of any visit to Iceland, no matter the month. Even though it might seem counterintuitive to bring a swimsuit to a country called 'Iceland' during one of the coldest months, there are so many opportunities to wear it that you certainly wouldn’t want to miss.

One of the most popular is the Blue Lagoon, situated between the capital city of Reykjavik and the main international airport in Keflavik. This spa offers an unforgettable relaxation experience with its mineral-rich waters.

Every town in Iceland boasts at least one swimming pool complex offering a unique geothermal spa experience. These often include multiple pools with varying temperatures, a few hot tubs, and sometimes steam baths and saunas.

Additionally, read the rules of etiquette when visiting a spa in Iceland.

Woman swimming in natural thermal pool in Fludir Secret Lagoon © Shutterstock

Natural thermal pool in Fludir Secret Lagoon © Shutterstock

Can you see the northern lights in Iceland in March

In March, Iceland's landscapes transition from winter's snowy embrace, revealing the stage for the celestial dance of the Northern Lights. Illuminating Arctic nights with enchanting green, purple, and red flashes, this mesmerizing spectacle invites exploration. Discover prime chances to witness this magical display, immersing yourself in the allure of a March adventure that promises memories to endure.

Where to see the Northern Lights?

In March, the longer nights and clear skies provide an ideal setting for catching a glimpse of the famed Northern Lights. Here are some of the most recommended locations in Iceland to see the Aurora Borealis in all its glory:

  • Jökulsárlón: Renowned as an extraordinary spot for seeing the Northern Lights, this glacial lagoon offers beautiful reflections of the colours in the water.
  • Seltjarnarnes: Just a short drive from Reykjavik, this spot offers dark skies with minimal light pollution, perfect for Northern Lights viewing.
  • Hvammsfjörður: Another great place to witness the phenomenon with calm weather and dark nights most of the time.
  • Skógafoss: A waterfall by day and prospective Aurora viewing spot by night, its remote location means very little light interference.
  • Seljavallalaug Pool: Imagine floating in a warm pool while the Northern Lights dance above you – this is what Seljavallalaug Pool can offer.
  • Eldborgahraun: This lava field is noted for its isolation and clear views of the sky, making it an excellent position for capturing the Northern Lights.

Remember, it's better to avoid the city’s light pollution to see the lights in their full glory. Even just driving a short distance out of town could significantly improve potential sightings. Always ensure you check the Aurora forecast before you venture out.

Northern Lights, Jokulsarlon, Iceland

Northern Lights, Jokulsarlon, Iceland  © Shutterstock

It depends on the weather conditions

While March offers a good possibility of seeing the Northern Lights due to its long and dark nights, the actual visibility depends on various weather and atmospheric conditions.

  • Clear, dark skies: One of the primary prerequisites for viewing the Northern Lights is a clear, dark sky. This requires no clouds and minimal light pollution.
  • Solar activity: The lights are caused by solar particles entering the Earth's atmosphere, so increased solar activity often correlates to more vivid and frequent light displays.
  • Cold temperatures: Though not a hard rule, cold, crisp nights often provide better conditions for spotting the Northern Lights.

The unpredictability of these conditions is why capturing the Northern Lights often demands patience, resilience, and a dash of good luck. For real-time updates and forecasts regarding the Northern Lights and optimal viewing conditions, keep an eye on resources like the Aurora Forecast from the Icelandic Meteorological Office.

Unforgettable and fully customisable Iceland itineraries

Our tailor-made trip service allows you to fully enjoy the weather in Iceland in March without the planning or hassle. All of our planned itineraries are created by local Iceland travel experts and can be tailored to meet your specific needs.

  • Arctic Coast Way Fly & Drive (10 days): North Iceland is one of Iceland's most fascinating regions with many famous and some lesser-known attractions - spectacular waterfalls, geothermal activity, lava formations, and canyons. The itinerary includes a visit to Akureyri as well as charming fishing villages along the coast.
  • Discover North Iceland and Snaefellses (7 days): Discover the best of North Iceland and Snaefellsnes! Impressive geological sights, stunning waterfalls, and mighty canyons await you in the vicinity of the volcanic Lake Mjøvatn!
  • Western Iceland: Cliffs, Coast and Waterfalls (6 days): Welcome to the trip of a lifetime, taking you to the most remote corners of Iceland, such as the dramatic cliffs of Latrabjarg and the waterfalls of Hraunfossar and Barnafoss.

Discover the full range of our Iceland itineraries.

If you're still looking for options for your spring trip, also explore our list of the best holiday destinations in March.

Seals perched on floating glacial ice in a deep blue glacial lagoon, Jökulsárlón, Iceland ©  Travis J. Camp/Shutterstock

Seals perched on floating glacial ice in a deep blue glacial lagoon © Travis J. Camp/Shutterstock

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average temperature in March

In March, the weather in Iceland remains largely winter-like, with the average temperatures ranging between -2.2°C (or about 28°F) and 3.3°C (or approximately 38°F). 

These are generally the lowest and highest average temperatures you can expect throughout the month. On some days, warmer temperatures around the higher end might be felt, particularly towards the end of the month as the season transitions slowly into spring.

Is it worth visiting Iceland in March

Absolutely! March is a fantastic time to visit Iceland for several reasons. It's one of the latter months of the year where you can still experience the magic of an Icelandic winter, complete with snow-dusted landscapes and the chance to see the Northern Lights, yet enjoy increased daylight hours for sightseeing.

Attractions are also less crowded in March, meaning you can witness the beauty of Iceland's most famous sites without having to navigate through large tour groups. Plus, traveling in March can be more cost-effective, as it is considered the off-peak season, potentially allowing for savings on flights and accommodations.

While each season offers something different in Iceland, there is no denying that March holds its unique charm and reasons to visit. It's a thrilling time of the year when the darkness begins to recede, the landscapes are still blanketed in snow, and the brilliant colors of the Northern Lights adorn the night sky.

Skaftafell, Vatnajokull National Park, Iceland © Jens Ottoson/Shutterstock

Skaftafell, Vatnajokull National Park, Iceland © Jens Ottoson/Shutterstock

How many hours of daylight does Iceland get in March?

March is an interesting month in terms of daylight hours in Iceland. At the start of March, you can expect approximately 10 hours and 9 minutes of daylight, with the sun rising around 7:30 AM and setting around 6 PM.

However, as Iceland moves toward spring throughout the month, daylight hours gradually increase. By the middle of the month, on March 16, the daylight extends to about 11 hours and 47 minutes. By the end of March, this stretches even further to approximately 13 hours and 25 minutes of daylight.

This rapid transition within the month means that visitors in March can reap the benefits of longer, brighter days, while still getting the opportunity to enjoy the starry night skies - a perfect mix for witnessing both the scenic daytime vistas and the stunning Northern Lights.

Want more tips? Read our content manager's personal experience travelling in Iceland and find out the important aspects you're likely to encounter on your trip. Also learn about the best ways to get to Iceland.

Olga Sitnitsa

written by
Olga Sitnitsa

updated 13.06.2024

Online editor at Rough Guides, specialising in travel content. Passionate about creating compelling stories and inspiring others to explore the world.

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