The northerly position of Iceland means that it is cool all year round and temperatures peak at 13 degrees celsius in summer and drop to an average of -3 in winter (although the lowest on record is -39.7 brrr!). That’s pretty chilly even for a Scottish girl like me!
The weather in Iceland is very changeable and it’s mostly influenced by the atmospheric depressions crossing the North Atlantic, the so-called “Iceland-lows”. You’ll find that you can experience four seasons in one day in Iceland so although you might look outside in the morning and see sunshine don’t be fooled, it’ll probably be raining by lunch!
Chances are in Iceland you’re going to be spending a lot of your time outside gawping at the immense natural beauty of this stunning country so you’re going to need to be prepared for the climate. I travelled with just a carry on piece of luggage (EasyJet style!) so had to be super selective about what made the cut. Here’s my list of what to pack for a trip to Iceland…
If you want to visit The Blue Lagoon then you’re definitely going to need your swimsuit.
The Blue Lagoon isn’t actually a natural phenomena as such. It’s really the result of excess water from the nearby geothermal power plant that runs into the lagoon and creates pools for us to swim and bathe in and it’s absolutely glorious!
Plus, there are literally hundreds of natural pools and springs dotted around the island that you might want to take a refreshing dip in so it’s best to be ready!
When the climate is so changeable it’s important to pack lots of different layers. Think tank-tops, t-shirts, jumpers, cardigans, and rain jackets and you’ll be on track.
If you’re visiting Iceland in winter then a hat is a must pack item. The wind in Iceland feels like it could cut you in two so keeping your head cosy with a hat is a good idea.
Warm, Waterproof Jacket
If you’re going to Iceland with the intention of chasing after the magical Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, then you’re definitely going to need a warm jacket to keep you toasty while you wait for them to appear.
The amount of tourists I witnessed in Iceland in ridiculously unsuitable footwear was crazy. Did these people not realise where they were going?!
If you know that you’ll be hiking during your trip then bring hiking boots. If you’re not planning hiking but are planning to get out and about in the landscape then bring sturdy trainers or cute little wellies like I did. Aren’t these adorable?! Dry feet and still looking cute!
When you’re dressing in hiking boots, waterproof jackets and all sorts of other warm winter gear for the duration of your trip you might begin to feel a little drab and boring. Throw some bright, colourful accessories into your bag to jazz up your outfits a bit. This might be a beautiful scarf, a statement necklace or even a colour pop handbag – anything that’ll keep you feeling fabulous and allow you to fit in with the cosmopolitan, slightly-hipster types who call Iceland home.
This is one thing you’re definitely not going to want to be without in Iceland. You’ll need it to capture the otherwordly beauty that exudes from the landscape, the waterfalls, the glaciers and the unexpectedly funky street art that you’ll find in Reykjavic. This is the camera I use and I highly recommend. Don’t forget your memory card and charger too!
No point bringing your camera (and phone and kindle and all your other gadgets) if you’re not going to be able to charge them, right?! Electricity in Iceland uses the Europlug/Schuko-Plug (CEE types), which has two round prongs so be sure to pack your adaptor if needed. The Skross World Travel Adaptor is my favourite as it has two USB ports meaning I can charge all my gadgets at once. Perfect!
You might think that on a short trip with just carry on luggage I might have felt the need to leave my conditioner behind. Nope! Iceland’s geothermal activity means the water can be a little rough on your precious locks. Pack some conditioner to keep it shiny and healthy.
The cold, biting wind really dries out your skin (and lips) so be sure to pack a big bottle of body moisturiser and more face cream than you would normally use. You’ll thank me for it later!
Oddly my skin was also really dry after relaxing in the Blue Lagoon. I had expected it to be baby soft and smooth when I came out but it felt dry and tight and I wished I’d taken some moisturiser with me.
So these are my packing essentials for a trip to Iceland, do you have anything to add? Just leave a note in the comments section below!
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