Layers, layers, layers! Come prepared for all types of weather
Iceland’s weather is as varied as its incredible landscape. Whether you're planning a city break or a self-drive journey through remote rural areas, make sure to pack smart and stay warm and dry with our quick tips below.
Here’s a sample packing list of items you should bring with you regardless of the time of year you’re travelling:
- Fleece jacket/lightweight wool sweater
- Rainproof/windproof jacket
- Rain pants
- Sturdy walking shoes with a good tread/grip
- Hat (toque/beanie)
- Thermal underwear (specifically for highland travel/activities)
- Waterproof hiking boots (specifically for highland travel/activities)
- Warm socks (specifically for winter and highland travel/activities)
- Quick-dry towel (for visiting pools and hot springs - towels are available for rent at swimming facilities)
- Reusable water bottle (to refill as you go) and reusable shopping bag
SUMMER PACKING TIPSSome visitors find it difficult to sleep with the light of the midnight sun, so eye shades may be helpful. It is also recommended to bring sunglasses and sunscreen. There are few insects in Iceland, but small midges do thrive in the summertime, especially by lakes and streams.
Those spending time in the Lake Mývatn area during summertime may also wish to bring insect repellent or fly masks or nets (especially useful for horse riding).
- Explore these Iceland summer travel packages
WINTER PACKING TIPS
Temperatures do not often drop below freezing during Icelandic winter, but an insulated jacket is recommended due to the cool northerly winds. See our Weather guide for average temperatures.
And as sidewalks can get icy and slippery, you may want to bring ice cleats, ice grips or anti-slip soles to give your shoes better traction. These can also be purchased in Iceland at various shops, like outdoor clothing stores.
- View these Iceland tours in winter
HITTING THE TOWN
Though dress codes are rarely enforced, Reykjavík is a cosmopolitan city like any other European capital. We’d recommend you pack a nice outfit and shoes to wear if you plan on going out in Reykjavík either to grab a bite or to explore the city’s famous nightlife.
Don't worry. Several apparel stores and second-hand thrift shops can be found in downtown Reykjavík. Among them is Flying Tiger, a budget variety store with inexpensive accessories like sunglasses, gloves, ear plugs, batteries and more.
For inexpensive swimsuits, socks or undergarments, there is an H&M store at Austurbakki 2 in downtown Reykjavik with men's, women's and children's clothing. The Kringlan shopping mall, located just a few kilometres from the city centre, also has numerous international high street brands.
STAY WARM & DRY
Icelandic apparel store 66° North sells a wide selection of outerwear for any weather condition Iceland may throw at you. If you want to be dressed like an Icelander, check out 66North.com.
If you’re feeling cold or wet after arriving in the North Atlantic, we’d recommend paying a visit to their shops on Bankastræti in Reykjavík or at the Kringlan or Smáralind shopping malls.
Keep your receipts for items purchased in Iceland to receive tax back on departure!
- Get more tips with this guide to Iceland travel
FOR LIGHTER LOADS
We recommend bringing a rucksack or small backpack for your daily essentials (e.g. camera, wallet, medications, extra clothing layers, bottle of water, etc.) since you may not have easy access to your suitcase during the day as you travel between accommodations. It can also come in handy for hiking excursions or picnics.
A SPECIAL NOTE FOR HORSE RIDERS
All gear, including the loan of boots, helmets and overalls, is provided for horse riding tours in Iceland. To protect Icelandic horses from serious diseases, it is strictly forbidden to bring any used horse riding gear or clothing from other countries to Iceland.
DOING YOUR LAUNDRY IN ICELAND
Self-service laundromats are not common in Iceland, but most hotels (typically 3-star or higher) throughout the country offer some laundry or dry-cleaning services for a moderate fee. In downtown Reykjavík, self-service laundry facility can be found at a few location.
Need more advice? Browse our site or ask our travel consultants for advice when you book your Iceland break.