Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag


5 essentials for a winter visit to Iceland

By Sara McMahon

  • The land of ice and fire Iceland Magazine put together a short list of key items needed for your winter trip to the land of ice and fire. Photo/Vilhelm Gunnarsson

There’s an old saying that goes: “If you don’t like the weather in Iceland, wait five minutes and it will change”. And it’s true, the weather in Iceland can be unpredictable at best. One could even compare it to that proverbial much quoted box of chocolates: You never know what you‘re going to get. So the best philosophy is hope for the best, but dress for the worst when travelling in Iceland. Iceland Magazine put together a short list of key items needed for your winter trip to the land of ice and fire.


Autumn in the city:
1. A warm jacket with a hood is essential, as one could face rain, sleet, and driving northerly winds when checking out the sights around the capital city. It’s best to stay both warm and dry to really enjoy all that Reykjavík has to offer.

2. A camera! Reykjavík is a quirky little city that boasts wonderful views of the ocean and is full of delightful old buildings and colourful street art. To put it simply: It’s a city full of perfect photo ops!


A scarf is an essential item to bring with you for a winter visit. Photo/Stefán Karlsson

3. Casual, waterproof footwear. Give your hiking boots a little rest while in the city and bring out the street wear instead. This will help you blend into the local crowd as the people of Reykjavík like to dress their best while out and about.

4. Swimwear! Yes, it’s autumn. Yes, it’s cold. But the geothermal swimming pools you’ll find all over the city are not. In fact, they are pleasantly warm all year round. This is also where the locals like to gather either early morn or late afternoon, unwind and discuss current affairs.

5. A scarf is another essential item of clothing needed for an autumn/winter visit. Sometimes the hooded jacket just isn’t quite enough to keep you snug and warm while soldiering through the northern gales (called norðanáttin in Reykjavík)—on such days you need to wrap up with a good scarf.


Autumn in the country:
1.  Water-repellent outer shells
. While hiking through the countryside of Iceland, you need to keep warm and dry, so good waterproof gear is crucial!

2.  A fleece or woolen jumper (Am: pullover) for insulation underneath your waterproof jacket is another absolute must. Don’t underestimate a good fleece—it has proven to save people’s lives, quite literally. Also, wearing several layers of clothing means one can discard layers should weather conditions change for the better.


Water-repellent outer shells are crucial Photo/Vilhelm Gunnarsson

3. A camera! Iceland has been described as a “miracle of nature” and a “photographer’s dream” because of its stunning landscape, scenic fjords, Northern Lights, deserted highlands, quaint little villages, and ocean views. The perfect picture will present itself at every turn, so be sure to keep your camera on hand.

4. Waterproof hiking boots with good soles. You cannot trek through Icelandic terrain for long without stumbling upon a creek, a river, or vast moorland, making good hiking boots a necessity. After all, dry feet are happy feet.

5. Mobile phone. This might sound a bit foreign, but this tiny, everyday device has proven to be quite the safety tool for both local and international travelers who suddenly find themselves in trouble while out in nature—not to mention if it comes equipped with GPS. The emergency number in Iceland is 112.

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