What to Wear in Iceland

How to Dress for Every Season and Outdoor Adventure in Iceland

|May 27, 2020
Jessie is your basic nature lover with a particular interest in all things water. From the high peaks of the Himalaya's to the lush depths of the Amazon, she's hiked some of the the world's greatest trails.

Wondering what to wear in Iceland? No matter where you travel, how you dress makes the difference between a good trip and a great one. Whether you’re going to Iceland in winter or summer, this guide will prepare you for whatever weather you face. Check out our recommendations on how to dress for every season and outdoor adventure in Iceland.


What to Wear in Winter

Man At The Glacier Lagoon in Iceland

Icelandic winter weather lasts from October to April and has between four to seven hours of daylight. No matter where you’re going in Iceland, it’s important to choose the right clothing.

We strongly recommend dressing in three layers and preparing yourself for unpredictable periods of stormy, windy, and cold weather. Windproof and waterproof layers are a must! Also, the best shoes to wear in Iceland during winter are high-quality and waterproof boots.

What to Wear in Summer

Taking photo in front of Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

Summer in Iceland is filled with daylight and lasts from June to August. Just like in winter it’s advised that you dress in layers while traveling in summer.

The best layers to bring include windproof softshell clothing, polar insulation, and a warm pair of long johns and undershirts. Also, even if you’re creating a packing list for Iceland in August or July, gloves and hats are always recommended.

What to Wear in Spring

Town near Thingvellir national park

Wondering what to wear in Iceland in April or other spring months? Spring in Iceland is full of muddy trails and new growth. People often dress in winter clothes during spring since windy and snowy weather conditions often appear.

Make sure to bring a warm hat, gloves, and a waterproof outer layer with you. Waterproof footwear is also strongly advised.

What to Wear in Fall

Woman in yellow jacket near Kirkjufell Fall in Iceland

Fall weather in Iceland is often full of wind and rain. When you’re trying to decide what to wear in fall, we recommend sporting a wind-stopper and waterproof jacket in Iceland.

Your mid-layers should also have good insulation as strong gusts of wind can easily cut through most fabric. If you’re wondering what to wear on your feet, the best boots for Iceland trips are sturdy and worn-in boots.

How to Dress for Hiking and Outdoor Adventures in Iceland

Crossing the river on Laugavegur Trail in Iceland

Deciding what Iceland hiking clothing to pack can be difficult. To be ready for unpredictable weather during your next hiking adventure in Iceland, make sure you dress in clothes that do the following:

  1. Insulate your body
  2. Water and windproof 
  3. Resilient against all weather conditions
  4. Breathable 
  5. Light and durable
  6. Easy to pack

Use the Three-Layer Approach

Happy man on a hiking tour in Iceland

As you prepare what to wear in Iceland for outdoor activities, it’s important to think in layers. Layering is the best way to dress in clothes that are durable in all weather conditions.

When dressing for Iceland, we suggest using the 3-layer approach. Each layer plays an important role in preparing you for any uncomfortable conditions you may encounter. The 3-layer system includes:

  1. A layer next to your body
  2. An insulating layer 
  3. An outer shell to shield you from wind and water

What Clothes to Pack for an Outdoor Iceland Adventure

Man standing near Seljavallalaug Natural Pool
  • Thermal underwear 
  • Wool/fleece thermal mid-layer and hat
  • Hiking pants 
  • Waterproof pants & jacket
  • Warm pair of gloves
  • Thick socks (wool or synthetic)
  • Waterproof hiking boots with stable ankle support
  • Swimgear (for the baths)

Traditional Icelandic Clothing: the Lopapeysa

Couple wearing Traditional Icelandic Sweater

While in Iceland, it’s likely you’ll see locals wearing knitted wool sweaters that feature unique patterns. This traditional sweater is a “lopapeysa.” The lopapeysa isn’t only a big part of Iceland winter fashion, but also a main piece of clothing in classic Iceland outfits no matter the season.

If you’re looking for a great souvenir from Iceland, buy a handmade lopapeysa from local handicraft stores, markets, or souvenir shops scattered throughout the country. It’ll keep you warm for years and will be an excellent keepsake from your Iceland adventure.

Looking for good ideas for your next adventure? See our long list of epic Iceland activities to choose from to start planning the ultimate holiday in Iceland.

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