What to wear in Iceland during Winter?
Text by: Egill Fannar Halldórsson
Are you travelling to Iceland in the winter? If so, you are doing a great job by looking up what to wear and how to dress in Iceland for this time of the year. Because one thing is for certain: It. Will. Be. Cold.
In this blog post I am going to try my absolute best in telling you everything you will need to know on what to wear and how to dress for your Iceland trip! And if you still have some questions, don’t hesitate to fire away in the comment section below and I will personally get back to you asap!
WEATHER IN ICELAND DURING WINTER
It is safe to say that Iceland is literally a winter wonderland. With short summer months from May-August and cool spring and autumn it’s easy to call everything from October and until April, winter in Iceland!
The average temperature in Iceland during the winter is around 1,7 °C or 35°F. January is always the coldest month of the year with February and March as strong runners up. Other signatures of the Icelandic weather are wind and rainfall – Or our favourite: Snow!
So, it will definitely be cold. No doubt on that. But on our clear, snowy days – Oh, how beautiful it gets to be!
Average temperature in Iceland by month:
Join our awesome Reykjavik Bar Crawl to experience the Reykjavik nightlife like the locals!
WHAT TO WEAR IN ICELAND
I decided to split my little ‘what to wear blog’ into two! What to wear in Iceland while touring around, doing road trips, exploring waterfalls or glaciers – And then on the other half, how to dress in the city (see below).
So, for exploring the outdoors you will obviously have to be prepared for any kind of weather and your job is to dress so warm that nothing will stand in your way from enjoying the day to the fullest! Here are my recommendations:
- Shoes: First and foremost – PLEASE do not go for sneakers. You might think this is too basic but you would not believe how many people travel our country during winter in their Nikes and complain that they are cold on their feet. Good walking shoes are the minimum requirement, hiking boots are recommended or anything with water/snow blocking.
- Good socks: One thing that has followed our culture from the Viking ages are our “Ullarsokkar” or simply wool socks in English. Oh, god they are good on cold days! Big recommend.
- Your warm base layers: The last thing you will regret while spending time outside is wearing quality base layers from top to toe. Most Icelanders will have a wool first layer underneath their other clothes and parkas. Essential on cold days!
- Icelandic wool sweaters: Well, do I even have to mention this? Our hand knitted wool sweaters almost serve as the national costume of Icelanders and for a great reason. They are as warm as a sweater can get! … And so trendy!
- Jackets and/or parkas: For most days this is your most important layer. A warm jacket – Or a super warm parka like most Icelanders wear is going to keep you warm and dry from October – April. When exploring Reykjavik and definitely the countryside you will notice almost every single local wearing a parka. I recommend the same to you. And on extra cold days or when you are spending a lot of time outdoors, we recommend base layers and even wool sweaters or a fleece layer underneath!
- Hats and gloves: Like every Icelandic mom will tell her children: “It’s better to dress too warm and be able to take layers off rather than to not dress properly and be cold!”. Definitely go for your favourite set of warm clothes or stock up with some of our super trendy Icelandic outdoor clothing brands (see below!).
HOW TO DRESS IN REYKJAVIK
I can easily say that almost everything I mentioned regarding what to wear (up there) definitely applies for the city as well. Since on the coldest days of winter, walking up and down the main shopping street Laugavegur might feel like you just hiked up a glacier!
However, the only difference is that most locals try to be more trendy in Reykjavik. Icelanders have a great sense of fashion (or at least we like to think so!) and obviously, it’s all about winter fashion! Here are some things to keep in mind for your Reykjavik trip and what to wear:
- Even though you are only spending time in the city – You still have to dress warm! Use the list above as a guideline.
- Most importantly I recommend a good jacket or a parka to keep you warm. It’s a big pro if it also looks great as then you can use it in the evening as well, if you want to visit fine dining restaurants, bars or clubs.
- Keep trendy hats and/or gloves in your pocket. Believe me, you never know when you just might need it!
RECOMMENDED ICELANDIC OUTDOOR CLOTHING
As you might have guessed, winter fashion is huge in Iceland. On the top of my mind right now I can think of 4 major brands (Cintamani, ZoOn, 66° and IceWear) that are the largest outdoor clothing brands in Iceland. And personally, I cannot recommend my personal favourite brand, Cintamani enough to you.
Even though they have been keeping Icelanders warm for more than 25 years, I feel that for the past 5-10 years Cintamani has been significantly growing and are getting more trendy every winter now. Today they are the most popular brand for young and fashionable Icelanders and you will definitely see that when you walk around in Reykjavik.
If you are planning a trip to Iceland in the next weeks or months I’m sure you might see some of their shops in Reykjavik but if you’re looking to do some trendy outdoor clothing shopping you can warm up by browsing their website, here: Visit Cintamani website.
TO SUM IT UP …
Iceland will be awesome and cold. Are you prepared for it? I certainly hope so!
I really hope that have found the information you were looking for in my blog but please don’t hesitate to let me know and help me to make it better if there is something I missed! Also you can let me know what you think or if you have any questions in the comments below! Other than that, I host the delicious Reykjavik Food Tour on multiple days every week, so maybe I will see you there when you are in Reykjavik? #JustRememberToDressWarm