What to wear in Iceland?

How is the weather generally?

The average temperature during the summer is about 10–13 °C (50–55 °F) but can reach 20–25 °C (68–77 °F) on the warmest days. During the winter the average temperature is around 0°C (32 °F), but in the highlands −10 °C (14 °F) although it can get as cold as −25 to −30 °C (−13 to −22 °F).

However, the temperature varies from day to day and even hour by hour. It also varies in different parts of the country, so if you are going on a road trip, the weather can be totally different at your destination than from where you departed.

And then there is the wind factor. The wind can make it feel much colder than the thermostat is telling you.

The most important key word is layering.

Keeping warm and dry

During the winter it’s a good to prepare for changeable weather conditions, wearing woolen or thermal long underwear, especially if your plan is to stay outdoors side seeing or hiking.

Fleece jacket, both underneath your jacket in the winter or used as a jacket during the summer.

The Icelandic wool sweater is perfect for Icelandic weather. It keeps you warm when it‘s cold and keeps you cool when it‘s warm and it‘s also water repellent, so keep your eyes open if you see a good deal on one.

Outer layer needs to be WATER and WIND resistant. It is windy and it rains a lot in Iceland all year round, so no matter when you are visiting keep this in mind.

Hiking shoes, the terrain in Iceland is very rough. Mountain rocks, lava fields, black sand, and ice is a common terrain in Iceland. So we recommend good hiking shoes, better if they reach over your ankles to give your feet support and of course they should be water proof.

Summer dress code: June to August

  • Base layer – normal underwear and short or long-sleeve t-shirts are usually fine
  • Warm sweater – wool or fleece
  • Lightweight outdoor trousers/pants
  • Lightweight weatherproof jacket with hood – rain and windproof shell
  • Sturdy hiking boots – water-resistant with ankle support, especially if you plan on hiking. If not, then lighter trekking shoes are enough
  • Hat and gloves/mittens

Winter dress code: September to May

  • Base layer – woolen underwear i.e. ‘long johns’, thermal long-sleeve t-shirt, socks
  • Warm sweater – wool or fleece
  • Outdoor trousers/pants
  • Warm weather-proof jacket with hood – down is the warmest, if not down then take extra care to bring a warm sweater and base layer with you to wear underneath
  • Sturdy hiking boots – as in summer, see above
  • Warm hat and gloves/mittens