The southern coast of Iceland is picturesque. In fact, it’s one of the most popular parts of the country that tourists visit. The area is as adored by locals as it is admired by visitors, too, with Icelanders referring to it simply as “South Coast.”

There are charming fishing villages like Vik that attract tourists interested in the culture of Iceland in addition to the surrounding natural sites. The south is home, for instance, to Jökulsarlon glacier lagoon, referred to as “The Crown Jewels of Iceland.” You can also visit the Vatnajökull National Park, which is nothing short of amazing. In the car on the way, you’ll pass cliffs and lava fields, hiking and paragliding and so much more.

A trip to the South Coast takes many forms. Many will take a guided tour. For a more relaxed schedule and a little more control over how much time you spend at each site, many families, couples and groups opt to rent cabins along the countryside. Along with a car rental, you can be off on a true and genuine Icelandic adventure.

To get the most out of your vacation, you’ll want to pack for the occasion. To do that, you’ll have to factor in the season you’ll be traveling in and the weather that goes with it.

Preparing for the weather in Iceland

In Iceland, the saying is popular that “if you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute.” Without a doubt, the weather can be unpredictable. In winter you can assume you’ll need more layers, and in summer you’ll assume you need lighter daywear. But with the wind, humidity and precipitation as players in that equation as well, there is a better way to come prepared.

Here’s what to know:

  • Iceland’s climate is actually much milder than most think. The warm Gulf Stream currents are to credit for this, particularly on the South Coast. This current moderates the weather and makes even winters a little warmer than in many parts of Central Europe, even though Iceland is located considerably farther north (hanging onto the Arctic Circle). If you will be touring the South Coast, you can still anticipate plenty of walking and time outdoors, so bring the appropriate light jackets in summer or heavy coats in winter. In all cases, bring the right hiking boots and more socks than you think you need.
  • Iceland is windy! The average wind speeds can climb up to 16 miles per hour. Winter tends to be windier, too. Pack clothing that fits you properly and won’t blow away, because losing an article of clothing to a particularly brutal gust of wind is not unheard of.
  • Prepare for the unexpected. Even after doing your homework and packing according to the season’s averages, Iceland’s weather is notoriously changeable. The best way to prepare for your South Coast travels is to think in terms of layers, for example with Nordic sweaters designed for this very climate.

Day trips on the Iceland South Coast:
A special mention of Vík Icewear

For anyone going the cabin-rental route for their own excursions along the South Coast in a rental car, you’ll see small fishing villages like Vik, located directly south of Myrdalsjökull Glacier.

Not only is Vik close to Myrdalsjökull, it’s also technically within reach of the Katla volcano, which fortunately hasn’t erupted since 1918. The sight of it in the distance is absolutely breathtaking.

Vik itself is a popular lunch stop for those touring the South Coast, and the town has 1,400 hotel rooms thanks to its popularity and convenient location. If you do stop by, be sure to visit the Icewear store conveniently located along the main road.

Would your ideal South Coast tour be by way of a guided jaunt or the cabin-and-car rental route? Start the conversation! We would love to hear how you plan to spend your vacation in Iceland and help you layer up for your adventure.

Examples of daywear in Iceland

Vacation comes with careful planning to ensure your clothing works for whatever occasion you encounter. It also requires a certain relaxed fit in order to accommodate expanded waistlines and long hours sitting in the car, on trains or in busses. For those and many other reasons, the two pieces we often turn to as examples of ideal summer road trip wear in Iceland are the Helga Norwegian Lined Wool Sweater Jacket and the Bergen Lined Wool Sweater (Nordic Style). The Helga, for starters, is a versatile garment for women that combines on-trend (yet classic) style with high functionality—a “must” when you’re away from home. It's a sweater, but it’s also a jacket—and lined with Wind Cutter K-100 fabric, the durable and water-repellant piece will surely fit whatever occasion you find yourself in during your countryside travels. As for the Bergen lined Wool Sweater, this Icewear classic dates back to 1998. It's been such a go-to (and one of our all-time best sellers) that we've been producing it for more than 20 years. Inspired by the Nordic knitting tradition, this sweater is also lined with Wind Cutter K-100 fabric. Both of these sweaters are stylish for everyday wear and also suitable for all your outdoor adventures as you drift through the countryside on your Icelandic summer vacation.