In Iceland, add to the winter scene the Northern Lights casting that unforgettable backdrop behind snow-filled scenes. Reykjavik, in particular, is covered in lights. It’s truly a sight to behold.

How do you get the most of this magic? By dressing right for wherever it is you’re going.

You’re probably reading this because you´re thinking about traveling to Iceland in winter. Preparing for that trip might sound intimidating, with all the current restrictions and any country with the word “ice” in its name brings a tundrous and frosty scene to mind. But if you take a look at Icewear’s new winter collection (released every fall), you’ll see how easy it is to prepare for a comfortable wintertime stay in the capital city.

To get started, these are our high-level things to know when preparing for a trip to Reykjavik in winter:

  • Think simple, not fancy. Though winter doesn’t get as cold in Iceland as it does elsewhere, you’ll be more comfortable if you dress practically. (And if you are staying in Reykjavik, you don’t need to dress up like a mountaineer climber, either—save that for another trip.)
  • Don’t be fooled by the locals! Icelanders are sometimes underdressed for the winter weather because these vikings are used to the cold and they mostly drive everywhere. (The greater Reykjavik is quite large, driving is how most locals get around.)
  • The purpose of your trip makes all the difference in how to pack. Will you be renting a car and driving around the metro? Or will you be staying in a central part of town?
  • The two items you should never forget are your headwear and gloves.

Practicality for the weather in Iceland in winter

Depending on where you’re originally from, winters in Iceland can range from “pretty cold” to “not that bad.” Did you know, for instance, that winters get colder in many parts of Central Europe than in Iceland? In Reykjavik (located in the southwest part of the country), temperatures during the winter range from 32° down to 10° Fahrenheit. If this sounds warmer than you would have thought, it’s largely because of the Atlantic Gulf Stream.

Winter lasts from November 8 to April 4 in Iceland. The air is dry, and the winds can cause a degree of unpredictability with regular currents swept over the island nation. Dressing for this weather requires thinking in layers and paying special attention to your baselayer, which should be moisture-wicking for optimal comfort.

Daylight in winter

If you’re in Reykjavik during winter, will you even see the sun? How long does the darkness last in Iceland?

The sun does come up in the winter, and in fact is notoriously bright as it reflects off the snow. And so, another consideration when packing for your winter trip to Iceland is how you’ll protect yourself from this brilliant reflection! Wearing a cap and a good pair of sunglasses is essential.

Read more about the darkness in Iceland winters here.

Whatever the occasion, traveling to Reykjavik in winter can be as simple as remembering these golden rules: think in layers, pick a well-made jacket, and never forget hats and gloves. Then all you’ll have to remember is to have a good time! We hope a visit to one of the Icewear stores in the greater Reykjavik area will be part of it!

An example of winter wear for the coldest days in Iceland

The most recognizable winter wear in Iceland might forever be the parka. And selecting the right parka is more than a matter of colors and taste; as you’ve seen from the article above, dressing for winter starts with practicality. For this reason, the Hinrik Men's Winter Parka is one of our favorites to turn to. It’s a classic down-lined parka that keeps you particularly warm, including the cozy hood framing your face and protecting you from oncoming winds. The parka is also completely water repellant, and has a regular fit so that you can comfortably layer underneath. And speaking of layers, the Frodny Long Wool Cardigan is a long Icelandic wool sweater that you can successfully match with jeans or dress pants in the winter months. This beautiful sweater has detailed metal buttons and a classic Icelandic knit design, and is water repellent as well. Choose between the dark gray or the dark red to layer up and show off some of your favorite, traditional Icelandic fashion!