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What to Pack for Your Iceland Trip: Your Complete Guide

A trip to the Land of Fire and Ice is a vacation of a lifetime.

28. desember 2022

What to Pack for Your Iceland Trip: Your Complete Guide

A trip to the Land of Fire and Ice is a vacation of a lifetime.

28. desember 2022

With rugged volcanic and glacial landscapes, cutting-edge museums, and thrilling outdoor activities on offer, Iceland promises a holiday you’ll never forget.

Yet with so much on offer, visitors often have a fundamental question before they embark on their getaway: what to pack for a trip to Iceland?

In this post, we provide the answer. Ultimately, it depends on the season and what activities you’ve planned. Read on to discover the essentials to bear in mind when visiting Iceland—from clothes to cash and equipment, and everything else in between. - Explore our tours in Iceland to find out how to make the most of your Iceland adventure

What to pack for Iceland: The essentials

Let’s start with the basics. There are some things that you simply can’t do without on your trip to Iceland, no matter the season or what you’re planning to get up to. Here are the Iceland packing essentials, to help you get the most from your trip.

Warm, waterproof clothing

Iceland has pretty volatile weather all year round. That means that at any time of year, temperatures can vary wildly, rain can catch you unprepared, and the wind can pick up too. In fact, there are only four months of the year (June to September) when you shouldn’t expect snow at all.

That means what you pack to wear will be particularly important. It’s hard to have fun if you’re too cold or soaked to the bone.

We suggest dressing in layers. Many thinner layers keep you much warmer than one big layer, and you can take them off if you get too warm. Then, a waterproof jacket is a must, and—if you’re planning to be outside a lot—waterproof trousers too.

Gloves, a hat, and sturdy waterproof shoes are essential too. Icelandic woollen socks, which locals use to keep their feet warm, are a handy purchase when you’re here!

A good camera (or phone)

You’re coming to one of the most beautiful countries in the world, famed for its high volcanic peaks and grizzled glaciers, its dramatic coastlines and majestic waterfalls. We bet that you’re going to want to take some photos while you’re here to remember it all by.

Of course, these days, phone cameras are often good enough to take incredible photos. But if yours isn’t, it could be time to invest in a higher quality camera. You don’t want to snap the northern lights and then be disappointed by the result when you get home.

Alongside your camera, remember to pack any chargers and memory cards you might need too.

A power adapter

It’s always good to check whether you need an adapter plug before travelling. Iceland uses the standard northern European socket, which is sometimes identified as adapter “C” or “F”.

That means that if you’re coming from the UK or the US, you will need an adapter. Pack a couple so that you can charge different devices at the same time.

Sunscreen and sunglasses

We said above that Icelandic weather is volatile. That’s true—and it means that while the weather can sometimes be very bad, it can also be really excellent. It’s best to be prepared for that too.

Imagine you’re on a snowy landscape with the sun shining. The bright glare can make things uncomfortable (and hard to see!). It’s also the perfect recipe for sunburn.

Packing sun protection—sunscreen and sunglasses—is always smart. That means in winter too.

A swimsuit

This is another one for all seasons. In summer, you can swim in heated sea pools and lakes, and you’ll likely visit a spa or two as well. In winter, you’ll likely stick to the spas and thermal baths, like the Sky Lagoon or the Blue Lagoon.

While some spas can provide swimming costumes, you’ll probably be more comfortable in your own one.

Money?

You won’t need to withdraw cash before you touch down in Iceland. In fact, you’re unlikely to need cash at all during your trip. These days, Iceland is largely cashfree, with restaurants, shops, and hotels all accepting international debit and credit cards.

If you do need cash, it’s best to take it out when you arrive in Iceland, as that’s where you’ll get the best rate.

Remember: sometimes you’ll need to tell your bank if you are going to use your card abroad. Check with your bank before travelling!

The bottom line: Be prepared for all weather

In Iceland you can pass through all seasons in a day. The key to a comfortable and enjoyable trip is to be prepared for everything. If in doubt, pack it!


The Golden Circle & Glacier Trip


wtw 3

Are you planning a trip to the world-famous Golden Circle while you’re in Iceland? With the thundering waters of Gullfoss, the geothermal excitement of Geysir, and the ancient landscapes of Þingvellir National Park, it’s an essential experience when visiting the country.

But why not add another adventure to your itinerary? At Reykjavik Excursions, our Golden Circle and glacier tour extends your trip through Iceland’s three most famous sights with a glacier adventure.

Climb aboard one of our Sleipnir monster trucks and we’ll journey together across the Langjökull, Iceland’s second-largest glacier. Learn everything about this majestic scene, while gazing out across the ice. And, weather permitting, there’ll be the chance to see inside an ice cave too.


What you need in different seasons

We’ve covered the essentials of what to pack for your trip to Iceland. But as we said, seasons can change dramatically in Iceland—and it’s worth being prepared for all the types of weather the country can throw at you.

Spring

In spring, temperatures aren’t as low as they were in the depth of winter and the light levels rise as days slowly get longer. But in this season, from March to May, you should be prepared for all types of weather. It can snow or it can be beautifully sunny—and often it can do both on the same day. On any tour you take, you should be equipped to handle temperatures from subzero to mid-teens celsius (from below 32 to 60°F). Layers are key!

Summer

Summer in Iceland promises higher temperatures and longer evenings. It shouldn’t snow, although it can still be cold at night, so a range of clothes is best. There are a few things that are a must for this season, from June to August. As Iceland is so far north, in the summer there’s plenty of light throughout the night. If you’re a light sleeper, it’s worth packing an eyemask to help you fall asleep. Secondly, as in much of the rest of northern Europe, midges are common in Iceland throughout the summer. These annoying biting bugs are usually found in sheltered spots out of the wind—but they can be stopped by bug spray such as Smidge.

Autumn

Just like the spring, autumn (roughly September to November) has unpredictable weather, a range of temperatures, and lots of demands on your wardrobe! Again, you’ll need to come prepared for anything.

Winter

Iceland in winter is a wonderland of snowy landscapes. To enjoy it to the fullest, you need to be prepared.

For that, you’ll need everything we mentioned above—lots of thermal layers and warm clothing. Gloves and a hat will be particularly important, along with sturdy shoes that can enable you to walk comfortably on snow and ice. In this season, between December and February, temperatures don’t often rise above zero celsius (32°F).

We’d also recommend an alarm clock. It can be difficult to wake up if you’re not used to Iceland’s dark winter mornings—and you don’t want to miss your tour!

What to pack for different activities in Iceland

What to pack for Iceland will depend considerably on what activities you will be doing. If you’re just visiting museums you’ll need very different things from if you’re hiking across the Icelandic highlands!

For any physical activity, we recommend quality sports gear. In summer, that means breathable base layers, warm fleeces, and a soft shell and hard shell to keep you warm and dry. In winter, thermal base layers are preferable.

There are some activities for which you should prepare for the cold in particular. Visiting ice caves or snowmobiling across glaciers will be more enjoyable with windproof clothing, for example.

If you’re considering a black sand beach ATV ride or a lava cave tour, pack robust clothing that you don’t mind getting a little dirty.

Finally, if you want to try diving at Silfra, the spectacular intercontinental trench, or try horse riding in Iceland, you may not want to bring all of the required gear with you. That’s fair enough! When you join a tour with Reykjavik Excursions, we’ll provide most of what you need.

If in doubt about what you’ll need for a particular tour, just get in touch with us before booking.


Exploring the south shore of Iceland


wtw

No trip to the Land of Ice and Fire is complete without a journey exploring Iceland’s south coast. With waterfalls and black-sand beaches, glacier lagoons and volcanic peaks, it’s got everything that anyone imagines from the country.

On a tour of Iceland’s south shore, you’ll see the best of this breathtaking region. Witness Jökulsárlón, the lake fed by melting glaciers, or take a zipline over Vík, the delightful fishing village at the heart of the rugged coastline.

Alternatively, book a culinary tour of the south coast, to experience what Icelanders really eat. Or you can completely customise your own dream trip.

Whatever you want when exploring south Iceland, at Reykjavik Excursions we can make it happen.


Buying clothes and outdoor equipment in Iceland

If you forget something important for your trip to Iceland, don’t worry. There are plenty of shops here where you’ll be able to find whatever you need.

In fact, Iceland has many producers of world-class clothing and outdoor gear, as well as a wide variety of stores where you can pick up quality products from international brands. Reykjavik, Iceland’s biggest city, is the best place for your shopping.

Something to be aware of is that all visitors to Iceland are eligible for tax-free purchases. If you spend more than 6,000 Icelandic krona (roughly 40 euro) on a single purchase, you can ask the store for a tax-free form. Then, at the airport when you’re leaving Iceland, you’ll be refunded the tax you paid on the product. Remember it if you’re buying souvenirs or outdoor gear!

Finally, a little word of warning. If you’re buying walking boots in Iceland, make sure you wear them before you start a tour or a hike. Hiking in brand new walking shoes can be really uncomfortable and might spoil your trip!

FAQs about packing for Iceland

Still have questions about what to pack for Iceland? Here, we try to answer them.

What should you not wear in Iceland?

There’s nothing in particular that you shouldn’t wear in Iceland. There aren’t any cultural sensitivities, and Icelanders are open-minded and easy-going people. However, there are some things that are just inappropriate for the weather—and so might not be advisable.

You can probably guess these already. Flip-flops on a glacier, or a bikini in an ice cave? Obviously, it’s not ideal. Instead, wear clothes that will keep you warm and dry. It’s as simple as that.

What kind of shoes is most suitable for Iceland?

We recommend sturdy shoes that you’re comfortable walking around in.

These will change depending on the season and the activities you will be doing. If you’re walking in the snow, high-topped walking boots are most suitable. However, in summer, when there’s less snow, you will likely manage with walking shoes.

In town during the warmer months, any shoes you would normally wear at home are perfectly suitable.

Do I need to bring a towel on my Iceland trip?

Most visitors won’t normally need a towel on a trip to Iceland. You can expect your hotel to provide them for your stay, and spas such as the Blue Lagoon and the Sky Lagoon offer complimentary towels to all guests.

However, if you’re staying in a hostel or campsite, you’ll likely need to bring your own towel (or at least check with the accommodation first). Of course, if you’re planning on wild swimming, then you’ll need something to dry yourself.

What should I pack for a week in Iceland?

Depending on the season and what you plan to do with your time here, there are some essentials you should pack for a week in Iceland: - Warm clothes, including waterproofs and thermal layers - Sturdy shoes - A camera and charger - Iceland plug adapters (type “C” or “F”) - Sunscreen - A swimsuit - Entertainment - Payment cards - Passport

What can’t I bring to Iceland?

There are a few things that you are prohibited from bringing into Iceland. These include: - Uncooked meat products, including smoked and cured meats like salami - Uncooked milk and eggs - Blades over 12cm (4.7 inches), although penknives are fine - Snuff - Narcotics - Over 200 cigarettes - Over 100 days’ worth of medicine.

You can find out more about customs and imports to Iceland on the Icelandic Revenue and Customs website.

What do you wear at night in Iceland?

You can wear whatever you would like at night in Iceland! If you’re going out for an evening meal or a concert, people wear very similar things to what they would do in your home country. As ever, though, it’s important to be warm, so don’t leave your jacket at home.

Do I need an adapter or converter for Iceland?

You may need an adapter or converter for Iceland, depending on where you’re travelling from. Icelandic plug sockets are the same as those you will find across northern Europe, with two round pins. If you’re coming from the UK or the USA, a “C” or “F” socket adapter is what you’ll need.

Explore the best of Iceland with Reykjavik Excursions

All packed? Now it’s time to explore the best that Iceland has to offer. From its unique landscapes to its fascinating culture, you’re in for a trip you’ll never forget.

At Reykjavik Excursions, we make exploring Iceland easy. With our tours that run daily throughout the year, you can visit the length of the south coast of Iceland and venture deep into the Icelandic highlands. What’s more, with our range of partners, we can help you customise your dream trip.

You’ll find us when you arrive at Keflavík airport. The Flybus from the airport to downtown Reykjavik is the easiest way to reach the city centre.

Come and explore Iceland with us. Check out our Iceland tours to get started.

SOUTH SHORE BLOG

Your Ultimate Guide to the South Coast of Iceland

There’s so much to see in this astonishing, magical place. But what should you know before heading out on your adventure? In this post, we’ll share everything you need to get inspired—including all of the sites you really shouldn’t miss.

What to Pack for Your Iceland Trip: Your Complete Guide

A trip to the Land of Fire and Ice is a vacation of a lifetime.

28. desember 2022

What to Pack for Your Iceland Trip: Your Complete Guide

A trip to the Land of Fire and Ice is a vacation of a lifetime.

28. desember 2022

With rugged volcanic and glacial landscapes, cutting-edge museums, and thrilling outdoor activities on offer, Iceland promises a holiday you’ll never forget.

Yet with so much on offer, visitors often have a fundamental question before they embark on their getaway: what to pack for a trip to Iceland?

In this post, we provide the answer. Ultimately, it depends on the season and what activities you’ve planned. Read on to discover the essentials to bear in mind when visiting Iceland—from clothes to cash and equipment, and everything else in between. - Explore our tours in Iceland to find out how to make the most of your Iceland adventure

What to pack for Iceland: The essentials

Let’s start with the basics. There are some things that you simply can’t do without on your trip to Iceland, no matter the season or what you’re planning to get up to. Here are the Iceland packing essentials, to help you get the most from your trip.

Warm, waterproof clothing

Iceland has pretty volatile weather all year round. That means that at any time of year, temperatures can vary wildly, rain can catch you unprepared, and the wind can pick up too. In fact, there are only four months of the year (June to September) when you shouldn’t expect snow at all.

That means what you pack to wear will be particularly important. It’s hard to have fun if you’re too cold or soaked to the bone.

We suggest dressing in layers. Many thinner layers keep you much warmer than one big layer, and you can take them off if you get too warm. Then, a waterproof jacket is a must, and—if you’re planning to be outside a lot—waterproof trousers too.

Gloves, a hat, and sturdy waterproof shoes are essential too. Icelandic woollen socks, which locals use to keep their feet warm, are a handy purchase when you’re here!

A good camera (or phone)

You’re coming to one of the most beautiful countries in the world, famed for its high volcanic peaks and grizzled glaciers, its dramatic coastlines and majestic waterfalls. We bet that you’re going to want to take some photos while you’re here to remember it all by.

Of course, these days, phone cameras are often good enough to take incredible photos. But if yours isn’t, it could be time to invest in a higher quality camera. You don’t want to snap the northern lights and then be disappointed by the result when you get home.

Alongside your camera, remember to pack any chargers and memory cards you might need too.

A power adapter

It’s always good to check whether you need an adapter plug before travelling. Iceland uses the standard northern European socket, which is sometimes identified as adapter “C” or “F”.

That means that if you’re coming from the UK or the US, you will need an adapter. Pack a couple so that you can charge different devices at the same time.

Sunscreen and sunglasses

We said above that Icelandic weather is volatile. That’s true—and it means that while the weather can sometimes be very bad, it can also be really excellent. It’s best to be prepared for that too.

Imagine you’re on a snowy landscape with the sun shining. The bright glare can make things uncomfortable (and hard to see!). It’s also the perfect recipe for sunburn.

Packing sun protection—sunscreen and sunglasses—is always smart. That means in winter too.

A swimsuit

This is another one for all seasons. In summer, you can swim in heated sea pools and lakes, and you’ll likely visit a spa or two as well. In winter, you’ll likely stick to the spas and thermal baths, like the Sky Lagoon or the Blue Lagoon.

While some spas can provide swimming costumes, you’ll probably be more comfortable in your own one.

Money?

You won’t need to withdraw cash before you touch down in Iceland. In fact, you’re unlikely to need cash at all during your trip. These days, Iceland is largely cashfree, with restaurants, shops, and hotels all accepting international debit and credit cards.

If you do need cash, it’s best to take it out when you arrive in Iceland, as that’s where you’ll get the best rate.

Remember: sometimes you’ll need to tell your bank if you are going to use your card abroad. Check with your bank before travelling!

The bottom line: Be prepared for all weather

In Iceland you can pass through all seasons in a day. The key to a comfortable and enjoyable trip is to be prepared for everything. If in doubt, pack it!


The Golden Circle & Glacier Trip


wtw 3

Are you planning a trip to the world-famous Golden Circle while you’re in Iceland? With the thundering waters of Gullfoss, the geothermal excitement of Geysir, and the ancient landscapes of Þingvellir National Park, it’s an essential experience when visiting the country.

But why not add another adventure to your itinerary? At Reykjavik Excursions, our Golden Circle and glacier tour extends your trip through Iceland’s three most famous sights with a glacier adventure.

Climb aboard one of our Sleipnir monster trucks and we’ll journey together across the Langjökull, Iceland’s second-largest glacier. Learn everything about this majestic scene, while gazing out across the ice. And, weather permitting, there’ll be the chance to see inside an ice cave too.


What you need in different seasons

We’ve covered the essentials of what to pack for your trip to Iceland. But as we said, seasons can change dramatically in Iceland—and it’s worth being prepared for all the types of weather the country can throw at you.

Spring

In spring, temperatures aren’t as low as they were in the depth of winter and the light levels rise as days slowly get longer. But in this season, from March to May, you should be prepared for all types of weather. It can snow or it can be beautifully sunny—and often it can do both on the same day. On any tour you take, you should be equipped to handle temperatures from subzero to mid-teens celsius (from below 32 to 60°F). Layers are key!

Summer

Summer in Iceland promises higher temperatures and longer evenings. It shouldn’t snow, although it can still be cold at night, so a range of clothes is best. There are a few things that are a must for this season, from June to August. As Iceland is so far north, in the summer there’s plenty of light throughout the night. If you’re a light sleeper, it’s worth packing an eyemask to help you fall asleep. Secondly, as in much of the rest of northern Europe, midges are common in Iceland throughout the summer. These annoying biting bugs are usually found in sheltered spots out of the wind—but they can be stopped by bug spray such as Smidge.

Autumn

Just like the spring, autumn (roughly September to November) has unpredictable weather, a range of temperatures, and lots of demands on your wardrobe! Again, you’ll need to come prepared for anything.

Winter

Iceland in winter is a wonderland of snowy landscapes. To enjoy it to the fullest, you need to be prepared.

For that, you’ll need everything we mentioned above—lots of thermal layers and warm clothing. Gloves and a hat will be particularly important, along with sturdy shoes that can enable you to walk comfortably on snow and ice. In this season, between December and February, temperatures don’t often rise above zero celsius (32°F).

We’d also recommend an alarm clock. It can be difficult to wake up if you’re not used to Iceland’s dark winter mornings—and you don’t want to miss your tour!

What to pack for different activities in Iceland

What to pack for Iceland will depend considerably on what activities you will be doing. If you’re just visiting museums you’ll need very different things from if you’re hiking across the Icelandic highlands!

For any physical activity, we recommend quality sports gear. In summer, that means breathable base layers, warm fleeces, and a soft shell and hard shell to keep you warm and dry. In winter, thermal base layers are preferable.

There are some activities for which you should prepare for the cold in particular. Visiting ice caves or snowmobiling across glaciers will be more enjoyable with windproof clothing, for example.

If you’re considering a black sand beach ATV ride or a lava cave tour, pack robust clothing that you don’t mind getting a little dirty.

Finally, if you want to try diving at Silfra, the spectacular intercontinental trench, or try horse riding in Iceland, you may not want to bring all of the required gear with you. That’s fair enough! When you join a tour with Reykjavik Excursions, we’ll provide most of what you need.

If in doubt about what you’ll need for a particular tour, just get in touch with us before booking.


Exploring the south shore of Iceland


wtw

No trip to the Land of Ice and Fire is complete without a journey exploring Iceland’s south coast. With waterfalls and black-sand beaches, glacier lagoons and volcanic peaks, it’s got everything that anyone imagines from the country.

On a tour of Iceland’s south shore, you’ll see the best of this breathtaking region. Witness Jökulsárlón, the lake fed by melting glaciers, or take a zipline over Vík, the delightful fishing village at the heart of the rugged coastline.

Alternatively, book a culinary tour of the south coast, to experience what Icelanders really eat. Or you can completely customise your own dream trip.

Whatever you want when exploring south Iceland, at Reykjavik Excursions we can make it happen.


Buying clothes and outdoor equipment in Iceland

If you forget something important for your trip to Iceland, don’t worry. There are plenty of shops here where you’ll be able to find whatever you need.

In fact, Iceland has many producers of world-class clothing and outdoor gear, as well as a wide variety of stores where you can pick up quality products from international brands. Reykjavik, Iceland’s biggest city, is the best place for your shopping.

Something to be aware of is that all visitors to Iceland are eligible for tax-free purchases. If you spend more than 6,000 Icelandic krona (roughly 40 euro) on a single purchase, you can ask the store for a tax-free form. Then, at the airport when you’re leaving Iceland, you’ll be refunded the tax you paid on the product. Remember it if you’re buying souvenirs or outdoor gear!

Finally, a little word of warning. If you’re buying walking boots in Iceland, make sure you wear them before you start a tour or a hike. Hiking in brand new walking shoes can be really uncomfortable and might spoil your trip!

FAQs about packing for Iceland

Still have questions about what to pack for Iceland? Here, we try to answer them.

What should you not wear in Iceland?

There’s nothing in particular that you shouldn’t wear in Iceland. There aren’t any cultural sensitivities, and Icelanders are open-minded and easy-going people. However, there are some things that are just inappropriate for the weather—and so might not be advisable.

You can probably guess these already. Flip-flops on a glacier, or a bikini in an ice cave? Obviously, it’s not ideal. Instead, wear clothes that will keep you warm and dry. It’s as simple as that.

What kind of shoes is most suitable for Iceland?

We recommend sturdy shoes that you’re comfortable walking around in.

These will change depending on the season and the activities you will be doing. If you’re walking in the snow, high-topped walking boots are most suitable. However, in summer, when there’s less snow, you will likely manage with walking shoes.

In town during the warmer months, any shoes you would normally wear at home are perfectly suitable.

Do I need to bring a towel on my Iceland trip?

Most visitors won’t normally need a towel on a trip to Iceland. You can expect your hotel to provide them for your stay, and spas such as the Blue Lagoon and the Sky Lagoon offer complimentary towels to all guests.

However, if you’re staying in a hostel or campsite, you’ll likely need to bring your own towel (or at least check with the accommodation first). Of course, if you’re planning on wild swimming, then you’ll need something to dry yourself.

What should I pack for a week in Iceland?

Depending on the season and what you plan to do with your time here, there are some essentials you should pack for a week in Iceland: - Warm clothes, including waterproofs and thermal layers - Sturdy shoes - A camera and charger - Iceland plug adapters (type “C” or “F”) - Sunscreen - A swimsuit - Entertainment - Payment cards - Passport

What can’t I bring to Iceland?

There are a few things that you are prohibited from bringing into Iceland. These include: - Uncooked meat products, including smoked and cured meats like salami - Uncooked milk and eggs - Blades over 12cm (4.7 inches), although penknives are fine - Snuff - Narcotics - Over 200 cigarettes - Over 100 days’ worth of medicine.

You can find out more about customs and imports to Iceland on the Icelandic Revenue and Customs website.

What do you wear at night in Iceland?

You can wear whatever you would like at night in Iceland! If you’re going out for an evening meal or a concert, people wear very similar things to what they would do in your home country. As ever, though, it’s important to be warm, so don’t leave your jacket at home.

Do I need an adapter or converter for Iceland?

You may need an adapter or converter for Iceland, depending on where you’re travelling from. Icelandic plug sockets are the same as those you will find across northern Europe, with two round pins. If you’re coming from the UK or the USA, a “C” or “F” socket adapter is what you’ll need.

Explore the best of Iceland with Reykjavik Excursions

All packed? Now it’s time to explore the best that Iceland has to offer. From its unique landscapes to its fascinating culture, you’re in for a trip you’ll never forget.

At Reykjavik Excursions, we make exploring Iceland easy. With our tours that run daily throughout the year, you can visit the length of the south coast of Iceland and venture deep into the Icelandic highlands. What’s more, with our range of partners, we can help you customise your dream trip.

You’ll find us when you arrive at Keflavík airport. The Flybus from the airport to downtown Reykjavik is the easiest way to reach the city centre.

Come and explore Iceland with us. Check out our Iceland tours to get started.

SOUTH SHORE BLOG

Your Ultimate Guide to the South Coast of Iceland

There’s so much to see in this astonishing, magical place. But what should you know before heading out on your adventure? In this post, we’ll share everything you need to get inspired—including all of the sites you really shouldn’t miss.