Here are our tips for what to pack for a trip to Iceland
Pack for activities first! Start by studying your itinerary to see what you’ll be doing on your trip to Iceland. Most outdoor activities (horseback riding, caving, hiking, glacier walking, etc.) will require basically the same gear (with the outfitter providing any specialized gear that‘s required – helmets, crampons, etc). You’ll need to wear heeled boots, such as hiking boots, moisture-wicking socks, long pants, and long sleeve shirts. You’ll also want a lightweight, waterproof but breathable shell for rainy or misty days, and a few wool (not cotton) or fleece sweaters for cooler days and evenings. You should consider bringing a hat, scarf and gloves all year round. There are also many opportunities to purchase Icelandic woollen goods!
Add in some “city clothes” In Reykjavík and Akureyri, the only unified theme in fashion is “unique.” It’s all about personal style, from the frilly dresses and stiletto heels you’d expect to find in New York and London to the hippie-chic styles you might imagine as the norm in any modern city. What you won’t find is anything boring and basic – no plain jeans, white t-shirts and sneakers here. Dressing for Reykjavík isn’t about changing your personal style, but it is about taking it to the next level. Though, if you plan on going on the weekend Runtur (pub crawl), you’ll want to add a few dressier items to your wardrobe. Women generally “dress” in a skirt or dress, or jeans with trendy tops. Men wear tailored dark jeans and button-up shirts, or dark pants and sport coats. For footwear, men usually wear sport loafers or Converse, while women wear anything from high-heeled boots to open-toed stilettos to fashionable flats.
Be prepared for anything A day that starts out rainy and cold can become warm and sunny by mid-afternoon (or vice versa) and when it’s pleasant in the city it may be frigid twenty minutes away, so always plan on wearing layers and being ready for a range of conditions. A light, breathable, waterproof shell jacket that can be layered with a wool sweater or cardigan, and a scarf and hat will prove invaluable. And don’t forget the bathing suit. Icelanders love swimming and there is a municipal pool in nearly every town. Admission prices are generally just a few bucks, with towels and bathing suits available for rent. Visiting one of these hot spring pools is one of the best ways to experience Icelandic culture, so be sure to come prepared for a soak.
Packing list for hotel based tours:
- Clothes for cold/cooler outdoor weather: warm trousers, a woollen pullover or fleece sweater, a warm wind and water proof jacket and rain pants, woollen socks and an insulated bottom layer, like thermal underwear. Remember, it is ICELAND, known for unpredictable weather.
- A hat, scarf and gloves that are made from material that will dry overnight are great protection in Iceland’s unpredictable weather and strong winds.
- Sturdy comfortable (hiking) boots are necessary for walking in Iceland‘s nature. Make sure your feet will be warm and dry – otherwise it is not fun. All sightseeing tours in the countryside involve some short walks here and there. In order to maximize your experience to explore these many nature sites good walking boots or shoes that may get dirty and wet are important.
- Buildings are often very warm, so bring light indoor clothes – t-shirts, lighter shirts and blouses.
- Bathing suits are essential, as a lot of the natural hot water is used to fill swimming pools, which are all over the country. Towels can be rented at most swimming pools.
- Binoculars, especially if you’re a bird watcher, but bird watching season is mainly May-August!
- Sunglasses and a bit of sunscreen are helpful - the air is very clear in Iceland so when the sun shines, it is very bright.
- A camera with lots of film or memory cards. Many travellers say that they shoot twice as many pictures in Iceland than in other destinations.
- A small alarm clock or cell phone with an alarm clock feature, since not all hotels offer wake-up calls.
- If you like a drink every now and then, consider stopping at the duty-free store on arrival at Keflavik Airport because alcoholic beverages are very expensive in Iceland. The same applies to tobacco. Travelers are allowed to bring 1 litre of strong liquor as well as 1 litre of wine or similar drinks into the country, and 1 carton of cigarettes. For more details see http://iceland.visahq.com/customs/