Iceland is famous for its diverse natural beauty shaped by ice, fire and wind, creating a scenery of magical blue glaciers, lava shaped volcanos, hot spitting geysirs and lush green hills. Its scenery is Iceland’s biggest attraction, making it the perfect outdoor destination all year around for outdoor and adventure seekers alike. But the conditions in Iceland can be harsh and sometimes challenging, so it is important to prepare to get the most joy out of your trip. We have put together some useful tips on what to bring and how to dress on your next iceland adventure.
What should I wear?
Icelandic weather is very varied and can change from rain to hail storms to beautiful sunshine in just over a couple of minutes. So it is important to dress in layers to be prepared for warming sunshine, making it too hot for insulated outdoor wear, or chilling rain storms, asking for proper rainproof outdoor clothing and shoes.
So your layers should always include
A base layer made of t-shirts and regular underwear. Thermal underwear can be recommendable especially in winter.
A middle layer like a light fleece jacket, cardigan or wool sweater
A water and windproof jacket
outdoor/hiking pants, avoid jeans!
What to pack for an Iceland winter break?
Winters in Iceland are long and strong, so when going to Iceland, you should always keep in mind that you will spend a good bit of your time outside and need to be protected against strong cold wind, low temperatures far below 0 (especially outside the city) and snow, hail and rain storms. So all your layers should be aiming at keeping the cold out, from thermal socks and tights, warm fleece or wool sweaters over hiking trousers and waterproof trousers, a warm, waterproof jacket to a warm hat, scarf and proper warm gloves.
What to pack for Iceland summer breaks?
Even though the days are long and the sun can be strong, you are still high up in the Northern hemisphere, so a warm jumper and waterproof jacket should always be by your side. Bring t-shirts and underwear for a base layer, warm fleece and woolen sweaters and hiking trousers that can be transformed into shorts if the conditions are asking for it. Never rely on jeans when spending longer times outside as they soak through easily and take a long time to dry off. Complete your outfit with light waterproof trousers and a waterproof jacket.
Keep in mind that the summer nights in Iceland are bright, so sleep masks can be a good sleep aid.
Iceland outdoors essentials
Good strong hiking boots which cover the ankle give the best support. These should be worn in and worn with suitable wool or synthetic socks. They are an absolute must when going glacier hiking as the gear provided can only be fitted over proper hiking boots. Even if you are not intending on going for longer hikes, proper and waterproof hiking boots will still be the best choice, considering the weather conditions and the rugged and damp surfaces on rocks, lava, beaches and ice.
The sun can be strong in Iceland at any time of the year, so bring sunglasses and sunscreen to protect yourself. Your outdoor daypack should be waterproof and big enough to provide some space for light rain gear, a towel (and swimwear if you don’t want to miss out on any swimming opportunities), some snacks and drinks and other personal items.
Also keep in mind that you will spend the evenings in rather stylish and fashionable Reykjavik, so unless you want to stand out as a tourist, you should also bring clothes for spending some leisure time in Reykjavik.
To sum up - stay warm, dry and comfortable on any outdoor adventure and dress to impress when you hit the town.
Iceland is open to visitors from the Schengen area since mid June 2020, but anybody traveling to Iceland is either required to get tested for Covid19 at the airport or to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. You can find up-to-date information on the travel situation on the Inspired by Iceland website.
Check out our Iceland adventure here