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What to Wear in Iceland in Winter (Ultimate Guide)

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Got a winter trip planned to Iceland? Iceland can be fun to visit in the winter, but you'll want to make sure you're dressed right. The weather is cold and dry, with temperatures averaging around 38°F (that's 3°C). So what should you wear so you can stay comfy and fit in with the local vibe?

First and foremost, you'll need to dress warmly, as the temperatures can drop below freezing. A coat, scarf, and hat are going to be essential. Layering is also key, so consider wearing a sweater or vest under your coat. Boots with some grip are a good choice of footwear, as they'll keep your feet warm and dry whatever the conditions.

In just a second, I'll share my specific recommendations for exactly what to wear in Iceland in winter—whether you're visiting Thingvellir National Park, taking a dip in the Blue Lagoon, exploring Vatnajökull National Park, or checking out the geysers at Haukadalur.

What to wear for a winter trip to Iceland

What should women wear in Iceland in winter?

Iceland in winter is generally cold, and there are a few key items you'll want to pack. Here's what I definitely wouldn't go without: thermal baselayers, long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, heavy coat, and hat and scarf. With these essentials, you’ll be all set to experience everything Iceland has to offer.

Thermal baselayers

As Iceland in winter has a colder climate, you'll want to make sure you pack some thermal baselayers. Thermal baselayers are designed to keep you warm by trapping your body heat, and they can be worn under your regular clothes. They're especially useful for activities like skiing or hiking, where you're likely to work up a sweat. When choosing thermal baselayers, look for ones made of a moisture-wicking material like Merino wool. You'll also want to choose baselayers that fit snugly but not too tightly. With a little planning, thermal baselayers can help you enjoy your Iceland trip despite the cold weather.

Need some inspiration? Start here:

Long-sleeved shirts

Long-sleeved shirts are an essential part of any travel wardrobe. They can be dressed up or down, and they offer sun protection on bright days. When choosing a long-sleeved shirt for Iceland, it's important to look for one that is comfortable and breathable. A lightweight cotton shirt is a good option, as it will keep you cool in warm weather and can be layered under a sweater or jacket when the temperature drops. It's also a good idea to choose a shirt in a neutral color that can be easily paired with other items in your suitcase.

Here are some of my favorites:

Sweaters

Sweaters are super versatile and can be dressed up or down, making them ideal for both day and evening wear in Iceland. They also take up less space than other types of warm clothing, so you can pack more sweaters into your suitcase without sacrificing style. When choosing sweaters for travel, look for ones that are made of wrinkle-resistant fabric, such as Merino wool or cashmere. These materials will help to keep you warm without adding bulk.

This is the kind of thing I mean:

Heavy coat

You're definitely going to want to have a coat with you in Iceland, for those icy cold snaps. When choosing a coat, look for one that is both waterproof and windproof. A hood is also a nice feature to have, as it will help protect your head and face from the elements. And make sure to pack your coat in an easily accessible place so you can grab it quickly if the weather takes a turn for the worse when you arrive.

Why not treat yourself before you go:

Hat and scarf

A trip to Iceland in winter can be a wonderful experience, but it's important to be prepared for the chilly weather. A hat and scarf are essential accessories to keep you warm. A good hat will protect your head and ears from the cold, while a scarf can help to insulate your neck and trap heat. A statement beanie or colorful scarf will also really make your outfit pop.

If you're stuck for ideas, here are some of my favorites:

What should men wear in Iceland in winter?

For guys, here's the list of essentials I recommend you start with: thermal baselayers, long-sleeved shirts, jeans, heavy coat, and hat and scarf. With these in your suitcase, I guarantee you will enjoy your trip to Iceland in comfort and style.

Thermal baselayers

As Iceland in winter has a colder climate, you'll want to make sure you pack some thermal baselayers. Thermal baselayers are designed to keep you warm by trapping your body heat, and they can be worn under your regular clothes. They're especially useful for activities like skiing or hiking, where you're likely to work up a sweat. When choosing thermal baselayers, look for ones made of a moisture-wicking material like Merino wool. You'll also want to choose baselayers that fit snugly but not too tightly. With a little planning, thermal baselayers can help you enjoy your Iceland trip despite the cold weather.

These are some of my favorites:

Long-sleeved shirts

Long-sleeved shirts are an essential part of any travel wardrobe. They can be dressed up or down, and they offer sun protection on bright days. When choosing a long-sleeved shirt for Iceland, it's important to look for one that is comfortable and breathable. A lightweight cotton shirt is a good option, as it will keep you cool in warm weather and can be layered under a sweater or jacket when the temperature drops. It's also a good idea to choose a shirt in a neutral color that can be easily paired with other items in your suitcase.

Need some inspiration? Start here:

Jeans

You just cannot go wrong with a good pair of jeans. They're comfortable, versatile, and easy to care for—not to mention they always look great. Whatever you're doing in Iceland, jeans will always come in handy. Of course, not all jeans are created equal. Be sure to choose a pair that's comfortable and flattering. If you'll be doing a lot of walking, look for a light-weight denim that won't weigh you down. And if you're hoping to dress up for a nice dinner out, a dark wash denim will always do the trick.

These options are both stylish and comfy:

Heavy coat

You're definitely going to want to have a coat with you in Iceland, for those icy cold snaps. When choosing a coat, look for one that is both waterproof and windproof. A hood is also a nice feature to have, as it will help protect your head and face from the elements. And make sure to pack your coat in an easily accessible place so you can grab it quickly if the weather takes a turn for the worse when you arrive.

Why not treat yourself before you go:

Hat and scarf

A trip to Iceland in winter can be a wonderful experience, but it's important to be prepared for the chilly weather. A hat and scarf are essential accessories to keep you warm. A good hat will protect your head and ears from the cold, while a scarf can help to insulate your neck and trap heat. A statement beanie or colorful scarf will also really make your outfit pop.

Here are some of my favorites:

FAQs

Is winter a good time to go to Iceland?

Winter is considered the low season in Iceland, as temperatures can get very cold. However, if you don't mind bundling up (or mostly just want to stick to indoor activities), winter can be a great time to enjoy Iceland without the crowds.

How do people typically dress in Iceland in winter?

People in Iceland dress in a variety of different ways depending on their personal style, the occasion, and the weather. However, many winter outfits you will see in Iceland typically include coats, scarves, and boots.

What should you NOT wear in Iceland in winter?

There are no specific restrictions on what you should wear in Iceland. It's fine to dress casually when out and about, although it's still important to be respectful of cultural norms—especially when visiting sites of historical or religious significance. Some places may have their own dress code, so be sure to follow any local guidelines.

I hope these recommendations for what to wear in Iceland will help make your winter visit unforgettable. Now that you have a better idea of what clothing to take, it's time to pack your suitcase—and then go ahead and enjoy everything Iceland has to offer!