Complete Guide: How to dress in Iceland for every season

Understanding how to dress in Iceland, a land of contrasts where wild nature and unpredictable climate reign supreme, is essential to enjoy every adventure. Iceland, known as the Island of Ice and Fire, offers landscapes of rare beauty that change with the seasons, but also weather that can vary rapidly even within the same day. In this article, we will guide you through packing the perfect suitcase to face Iceland in each of its seasons.

 

Icelandic Climate: An Intriguing Puzzle

Before diving into the list of what to bring, it is essential to understand the Icelandic climate. "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes": this popular Icelandic saying could not be more accurate. Iceland's proximity to the Arctic Circle and the influence of the Gulf Stream create a subarctic climate, which results in mild summers and relatively moderate but unpredictable winters.

 

Summer in Iceland: Preparing for Variability

During the summer, temperatures typically fluctuate between 10°C and 15°C, but it is not uncommon for them to reach 20°C or more. However, the weather can change abruptly, going from bright sunshine to rain in a matter of minutes. Layered clothing therefore becomes essential: start with a breathable base, add an insulating layer such as a light fleece, and finish with a waterproof and windproof outer shell. Don't forget a hat and light gloves, useful in the early morning hours or when hiking at altitude.

 

Icelandic Winter: Facing the Cold in Style

The Icelandic winter is characterised by its short days and long nights, temperatures that can drop well below freezing and the possibility of admiring the Northern Lights. Technical underwear is the ideal starting point, followed by thicker thermal layers and a robust, waterproof and windproof outer jacket. The choice of waterproof and warm boots is crucial, as are gloves, scarf, and a hat capable of retaining body heat. A good pair of sunglasses is also indispensable in winter, to protect against the reflection of the sun on the snow.

 

Indispensable Accessories: From Technical Underwear to Crampons

No matter the season, certain accessories are indispensable for every traveller in Iceland:

  • Technical underwear: It provides a breathable base that keeps the body dry.
  • Footwear: In summer, waterproof hiking shoes; in winter, boots with non-slip soles.
  • Headgear: A hat for the sun in summer and a woollen cap in winter.
  • Rain and windproof jacket: Essential all year round to protect against the elements.
  • Ramponcini: Useful in winter or for walking on glaciers.

 

Travelling Light but Prepared

The goal is to travel as light as possible but be ready for anything. Weather conditions can change quickly, so it is better to be prepared than to be in trouble. Also, remember that Iceland is a destination where nature rules, so respect the environment and be prepared to be surprised by its incredible beauty.

 

The Beauty of Iceland in Safety

By following these tips on how to dress in Iceland, you'll be ready to explore this magical land in safety and comfort, from the majesty of its glaciers to its hot geothermal springs. Iceland offers unforgettable experiences in every season, but the key to fully enjoying this incredible island lies in preparation, especially when it comes to the right clothing.

 

Customise Your Experience

Every traveller is unique, and so should be their approach to packing. Consider the specific activities you have planned: are you a keen trekker looking for adventure in the Icelandic highlands, or do you prefer relaxing dives in geothermal springs? Your equipment should reflect your travel aspirations.

 

Do Not Underestimate the Midnight Sun and Winter Darkness

In summer, Iceland is famous for its midnight sun, which offers long, light-filled days ideal for exploring. However, this also means protection from the sun for longer periods. On the other hand, winter brings long hours of darkness, making a good head torch or headlamp essential for your explorations.

 

Sustainability and Respect for Nature

When selecting your clothing and equipment, consider the environmental impact of your choices. Iceland is a country that deeply values nature and the protection of its unique environment. Choosing items made from sustainable materials and produced by companies that respect ethical practices will not only help you reduce your environmental impact but also connect you more deeply with the values of the country you are visiting.

 

Photographing Iceland: Prepare for Climate Challenges

For photography enthusiasts, Iceland is a paradise of visual opportunities, from northern lights to vast volcanic landscapes. However, the climate can be challenging for photographic equipment. Be sure to bring waterproof covers for your equipment and silica bags to combat humidity. A sturdy, wind-resistant tripod will be your ally in the long exposures required to capture the Northern Lights.

 

Embrace Adventure in Iceland

Dressing appropriately for Iceland means being ready to embrace adventure, whatever the weather. This extraordinary island has so much to offer, and with the right preparation, every moment becomes an opportunity to discover something new and fascinating. Whether you're traversing lava fields, climbing glaciers or simply admiring the quiet fjords under the midnight sun, Iceland promises to be one of the most memorable adventures of your life.

Remember, the adventure in Iceland starts with the right suitcase. With these tips on how to dress, you are already one step closer to discovering this country of incredible beauty and mystery. Iceland is waiting for you, and now you're ready to face it in all its wonders.


Aurora Borealis in Iceland: A Guide to Observing it at its Best

Aurora Borealis in Iceland: A Guide to Observing it at its Best

Hunting for the Northern Lights in Iceland is an adventure that attracts travellers from all over the world, eager to witness one of the most fascinating natural spectacles on the planet. This phenomenon, also known as the northern lights, paints Iceland's night sky with vibrant colours dancing among the stars. In this article, we take you through everything you need to know to experience the Northern Lights: when to see them, where to go and how best to capture this incredible celestial spectacle.

 

When to see the Aurora Borealis in Iceland

The Northern Lights are visible in Iceland during the winter months, from September to April, when the nights are long and dark. The optimal time to observe it is between December and February, when darkness envelops the island almost around the clock. However, this does not mean that it cannot also be seen in early autumn or late spring, if the weather conditions are favourable.

 

Where to observe the Aurora Borealis

Iceland offers many ideal places from which to admire the Northern Lights, far from the light pollution of the cities. Here are some of the best:

  • Thingvellir National Park: Only an hour's drive from Reykjavik, this national park is not only a site of outstanding historical and geological importance, but also offers a perfectly dark night sky to observe the lights of the north.
  • Vik: The small village of Vik on Iceland's south coast is renowned for its black sand beaches and impressive rock formations, which provide a spectacular backdrop to the Northern Lights.
  • Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon: The glacial lagoon of Jokulsarlon, with its floating icebergs reflecting the aurora lights, offers one of the most breathtaking views.

 

How to Photograph the Aurora Borealis

Capturing the Northern Lights with your camera can be a challenge, but also incredibly rewarding. Here are some tips to make sure you bring home spectacular photos:

  • Use a tripod: To avoid blurred photos, a tripod is essential to keep the camera stable during the long exposures required to photograph the aurora.
  • Set a long exposure: Start with an exposure of 15-30 seconds and adjust from there according to the intensity of the lights.
  • It uses a wide opening: To capture as much light as possible, use the widest aperture available on your lens (e.g. f/2.8).
  • Increase the ISO: Don't be afraid to increase the ISO to improve your camera's sensitivity to light, but watch out for image noise.

 

Tips for a Successful Aurora Hunt

  • Check the weather: Clear, cloudless nights are ideal for observing and photographing the Northern Lights.
  • It monitors auroral activity: Use apps and websites to monitor geomagnetic activity and predict when the aurora will be most visible.
  • Dress appropriately: Prepare for the cold with warm, waterproof and thermal layers. Comfort is key to enjoying the show.
  • Be patient: The Northern Lights can appear at any time during the night, so patience is essential.

 

The Northern Lights are just one of the many natural miracles that make Iceland a unique destination. Watching the northern lights dance across the night sky is an experience that sticks in the memory, a moment of pure magic that connects those who experience it with the wonders of the universe. By following this guide, you will have the best chance of witnessing this incredible natural spectacle, armed with useful knowledge on when, where and how best to experience the Northern Lights in Iceland.

 

Plan Your Adventure with Iceland Adventures

Remember, the key to an unforgettable experience is planning. As well as choosing the right time and the perfect location, make sure you consider all the practical aspects of the trip. Contact us and we will give you our personalised advice on how best to plan your trip, either with our private tours or with our 'Self Drive' service.