What to pack for your holiday in Iceland
To make packing utmost easy for you we created this free mini guide - including downloadable packing lists - which gives you an overview over what to bring, what to keep in mind and which clothes we absolutely recommend.
To go a bit more into detail - this is what you need to know when packing for a trip to Iceland:
Iceland is an extremely wild country so you probably have to pack a little differently, than usually (that is if you aren't a lover of the norther hemisphere and travel countries alike, all the time). If you have hiking gear then make sure to bring it (boots, rainwear, sports pants etc.) If not, then we do suggest to at least get some proper rain clothes which you most likely will need (find personal recommendations below) like rain boots, hiking shoes, a rain coat or cape and a wind proof jacket. It doesn't have to be the expensive and multi functional pro stuff but if you only bring your regular urban wear then Iceland won't be a lot of fun for you. Even though people keep promoting Chucks (or other white sneakers) for hikes: don't be fooled! You won't be able to walk most of the paths since they tend to be either snowy, icy, muddy or otherwise slippery. So please invest in some good grip!!! Whenever you go for a hike or pay all those natural wonders a visit and intend to walk a little then we recommend bringing some dry clothes in the car with you to be able to change in case you get hit by a snow, rain or hail storm. No matter what the weather forecast says it can always change in a heartbeat. The Icelandic weather is unpredictable like that. Bring a beanie or headband or at least make sure to wear a jacket with a hood – you will be thankful as soon as a storm hits and it doesn't matter what time of year you are coming for a visit. We tend to wear leggings and a fleece sweater under our hardshell jackets (in winter we add a layer of thermo underwear) which is super comfy and looks a bit more stylish than all the super functional outdoor gear. 😉 A snow suit can be practical when you come in the middle of winter - December to February. We advise against sandals, thin blouses, airy dresses and everything alike all year around, as even during summer it just isn't warm enough to bring out your summer clothes.
Thin sweaters or thicker blouses are a good choice for urban wear, you can combine them with jeans and nice sneakers and look put together whatever you intent to do. Always bring a jacket, even in summer, and maybe some thin cardigan that you can layer when the day is surprisingly cold. If you come in winter, then definitely bring thermo layers and snow proof boots!
If you want to go out for a nice dinner then we would bring some rather chic clothes. Doesn't have to be high heels and a dress but most Icelanders dress up when going out and if you want to blend in with the locals then maybe don't sit down in a restaurant with your hiking boots and hardshell jacket. We personally feel it's nice to go with the local flow.
You might realise that it is a tad tricky to pack for Iceland since you need a lot of different stuff, from Bikini to snowsuit. We suggest bringing three pair of shoes in summer: rain boots, hiking boots and some smart shoes for when you want to hit town and an additional pair (snow shoes) in winter. Pack swimwear for your hot pot experience, jeans and sweater for town and some layers for the great outdoors. In summer mix sports and rain wear with comfy pieces, grant yourself the possibility to layer and in winter opt for warm clothes. Beanie and headbands are a must, gloves are absolutely necessary during the dark season, as well.
Don't forget to bring your passport, travel health insurance card/papers, charging cable and (if you're traveling from the States, for example) adapter, a credit card with PIN and a first-aid kid with painkillers, plasters etc. Last but not least: sunscreen and sunglasses! You might underestimate the nordic climate – the sun is really intense and extremely bright, especially in summer or when reflected by the snow.
have a great trip to the land of fire and ice
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