What to Wear in Iceland in Winter


As you already might know, the weather in Iceland is unpredictable. Therefore it is often difficult to decide what to pack for a trip to Iceland. Here are few guidelines on what you will need during your stay:

Dress warm and layer up!!

Warm Coats


Warm coats/parkas are a must in winter. If you don’t have one then we strongly recommend you get one before you arrive or you can buy one when you arrive. A waterproof outer layer is vital. Downtown you will find the shopping streets of Bankastraeti and Laugavegur in the city centre and there are two shopping malls on the outskirts; Kringlan and Smáralind. You will find Icelandic stores with outdoor clothing for the whole family. We recommend 66North, Cintamani, IceWear and ZO-ON.



A warm coat isn’t enough, you’ll also need to bring or buy gloves/mittens, a scarf, hat and warm socks. Wool socks are ideal as they will keep your toes warm no matter how cold it gets. If you are planning on going out whale watching or snowmobiling, etc then keep in mind that it will be much colder than in the city.



Icelandic weather is a little unpredictable and changes often. When the sidewalks are clear, trainers or even winter boots with heals can be ok. However, when it becomes slippery or the sidewalks and roads are covered with snow, you will want shoes with a good grip. If you can get the cover-the-shoe ice grips then bring some but you can buy them here too. When going on tours outside of Reykjavik city, make sure yo wear good walking shoes or hiking boots.

Sunglasses and Sunscreen


Sunglasses and sunscreen are probably the last things on your list for a vacation in Iceland but nevertheless it’s a must. The sun doesn’t go very high in winter and it is very strong, not to mention when the ground is white with snow (reflection). Protect your eyes with sunglasses whether you are in the city or out in the country.

Protect your skin with sunscreen when you go skiing or on a snowmobile on a sunny day, even though the temperature is well below zero. Last but not least, when the sun is coming up or going down in winter, it is very strong and can make it hard to see where you are driving so you will be glad of the sunglasses. These don’t need to be anything special but will help with the glare.

Sweaters and Pants


Warm sweaters and trousers with leggings or a thermal underneath is a good idea if you are going up to the mountains or will be spending time outdoors. Reykjavik has some quirky stores and boutiques with Icelandic designs for both men and women. Lopapeysa, the traditional Icelandic woolen sweater, is a classic and makes for a great souvenir – it will also keep you very warm too. If you are planning on just walking around in the city then jeans with a few layers on top are perfectly okay. If you are going on a tour then the key is to layer up.

TIP: avoid jeans or cotton close to your body, use a thermal base layer. If your jeans get wet they will stay wet and make you very cold. Also, if you sweat in a cotton layer then the damn sweat will quickly give you a chill.



We always recommend visitors to visit one of the many great swimming pools across Iceland. There are many to choose from, from local pools to hidden pools and the more iconic ones such as the Blue Lagoon. These geothermal pools are amazing and well worth the experience so don’t forget your swimsuit and towel.

The Countryside


Many visiters to Iceland want to explore the countryside and the famous sites such as the Golden Circle, the South Coast and Snaefellsnes. Make sure you are prepared for different weather conditions as the weather can be unpredictable.

If heading out on a Northern Lights and Stargazing tour then wrap up warm, while the bus is nice and cosy, you will be standing out watching the Aurora in some very cold conditions.


As you have probably figured out, it is important to dress warm when you visit Iceland. The weather in Iceland is unpredictable, especially during winter. You might be lucky and get a lovely sunny day (6’c) but you still need a coat and hat, scarf, gloves. A cold day with strong winds (-10’c) requires warm clothing so layer up and make sure you consider your footwear. Every day is unique, enjoy it and enjoy wonderful Iceland

Here’s a video from a local vlogger talking through a packing list for winter in Iceland.

Sonia Nicolson-Guðrúnarson