Driving in April is great, it is pretty easy, mildly scary and all around unpredictable! This was fun for me, checking the weather, looking ahead into the road and figuring out a safe spot to stop and sleep. Once again, I didn’t do much prep for camp grounds and generally blagged my way through the 10 day road trip,which I urge you not to do. Luckily there was only one instance where I wanted to break down crying and flail around but thankfully it was short lived.
So how’s the weather?
It’s all around mental. I had every type of weather in the 10 days I had exploring. Rain is always going to play a part in your trip but if you have your waterproofs you’ll be fine. Snow might crop up every now and again, potentially quite heavily at times, but just keep an eye on the weather and you will be fine.
When I landed, there were going to be gale force winds in Reykjavik and in the east so what did I do? I drove five hours to Jökullsárlón, of course! This was my plan, wherever the storm went I went the other way. Unfortunately this meant I missed out on some beautiful areas but what I did see was incredible!
The south is generally where I find the easiest to navigate every time I have been in Iceland, there was rain and wind but also where I had the best weather. I had one of the nicest days at Dyrhólaey, the sun was warm and there was no breeze. I was on top of a cliff, no jacket, sitting enjoying the sun after about seven days of coats and layers. Note that it can still be cold at the main stops, this part of Skogáfoss was covered in ice and I almost went A over T a few times!
The west of Iceland is always such a beautiful place to drive around, I recommend it to anyone who goes there. The weather was generally overcast, however, it was also exceptionally windy, that strong, kicks your legs out from under you, strong! It also had a bit of ice and snow on the high roads, around the number 54. Was so easy to drive around, I encourage everyone to give it a go.
The West Fjords
The majority of the roads in the West Fjords were impassable, but the one road I wanted to go down was, for the most, part clear. That’s where I was headed. However the road that links the west to the west fjords was covered in snow, with terrible visibility. Driving in whiteouts is scary because you have no idea if you are driving on a cliff or a flat road. You can’t see anything. I eventually got out of the blizzard and calmed down. Just as I arrived at my road to the West Fjords, they closed it. Typical! This might happen at anytime in Iceland, they will close the roads and you will have to find an alternative route.
The North is stunning. I drove from sunny Akureyri to Lake Mývatn and it was like driving to another world. The landscape was covered in snow and ice. There was fresh snow falling but you can easily drive around this area as none of the snow stuck to the road. There was one section of road on the way to Dettifoss that was icy and would most likely be impassable at certain times of the year.
Unfortunately a lot of the East fjord roads were closed or icy and a storm was coming, this would mean I couldn’t stay very long but I drove on the number 1 road and it was still a stunning route. It’s not a road that you can stop frequently or a route that has a lot of tourist attractions along it. However, it’s a great drive and I urge you to definitely take the time to explore it and enjoy how beautiful it is.
What you need.
There are a few tech, websites and apps I used that were invaluable to my trip.
- A wifi box – I got one from Trawire.com, you can pick it up from the N1 petrol stations and to send it back just drop it in a postbox. It cost €10 a day and well worth it.
- 112 Iceland app – This is an emergency services app that will give the police your exact location. If you are travelling in a remote area this can be a big help.
Veður weather – This app and the website were perfect, it has alerts, tells you where the wind/storms are moving and it was a great tool to map my route if I had to change at the last minute.
- Road.is – This website will show you all of the road conditions and closures, it also has webcams of the roads so you can see for yourself what it is like. It is updated regularly and is such a useful thing to have during your trip.
- Aurora forecast – If you are travelling from October to March you have a better chance of seeing the northern lights however as the first northern lights of 2017 were in August, you could just be lucky. Be prepared.
Do you need a 4×4 in April?
Probably not if you are going around the ring route however, did I use the 4 wheel drive? Yes. I found that it really steadied the car on icy roads and the whiteout was very unnerving and having it was a comfort. I wanted to go places that were less frequented and if I was in a small car it would have been a lot more challenging and probably a very uncomfortable journey. The Pajero was great, highly recommend you check it out.
So go to Iceland in April, you just miss out on the expensive rates, the throngs of tourists and you get to experience all of the weather Iceland has in one go!