Tips for Traveling to Iceland in the Winter

My brother and I compiled the following list of helpful tips if you are planning on going to Iceland in the winter:

Coastal areas in Iceland tend to be windy, gales are common, especially in winter, but thunderstorms are extremely rare.”
1. Synthetic or wool shirts, long underwear, sweaters, and socks
2. Outer shell that is wind/water proof
3. Wind proof hat or balaclava and gortex boots (especially if you are planning on doing any hiking or outdoor activities)
4. Wind and waterproof gloves. I also brought prettier wool gloves for walking around town.
5. 4wd vehicle with extra gas can and GPS. Most car rental firms offer this as an option. Really only needed if you are going to explore outside the city.
6. Calculator
7. Bathing suit and shower sandals
8. Windproof lighter
9. Credit is widely accepted (even in taxi’s) so no need to bring a lot of cash.
10. Girl’s might want to bring tights for going out in the evening.
11. Take a towel from your hotel with you to any of the thermal pools, otherwise you’ll be charged extra to rent a towel.
12. Earmuffs are not essential, but I sure as hell wished I had brought some with me.
13. Make sure to try the local yogurt, Skyr. It’s delicious and can be found at any supermarket or gas station.
Local resources and entertainment:
1. The Grapevine and WhatsOn are great online resources for what to do around town.
2. Go to Veganmont for relatively cheap eats and a pleasant atmosphere, and make sure to have a drink at KaffiBarinn: the best bar in Reykjavik in our humble opinion.
3. We stayed at Hotel Fron.  It was right in the center of all of the bars and restaurants and the room was really clean and comfortable.  The best part of the hotel is the adjoining restaurant/bar, Santa Maria’s.  The food is cheap and good, and the staff is unbelievably friendly.
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This is us in our everyday walking-around-the-city clothing.  And I can tell you that I am still freezing and if you had accidentally touched his hand it might have turned into stone and cracked from being exposed to the cold.  I kid I kid. But did I mention how effing cold it was?
Hope this helps!
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3 Responses to Tips for Traveling to Iceland in the Winter

  1. Brendan McGeehan says:

    A buddy and I are planning on going over New Years. Do you have any suggestions on things to do/places to go? Also, did you notice any fallout from the financial situation in the country?

    Thanks!

  2. Queen Savage says:

    So glad you found the blog. All of the locals said that January is the coldest month by far, but it is also the best month to see the Aurora Borealis– I’m jealous already. Definitely go to see the Geysir and Gulfoss. They are within ten minutes of each other and it takes rougly two hours to drive there from Reykjavik. It’s also a really beautiful scenic drive on the way there with lots of photo opportunities. Not sure how many hours of daylight you will have in January, but we had around five each day. The best dinner I had was at a place called Carrusos in Reykjavik. Kind of pricey but worth it if you like lamb or veal. The nightlife was a little cheesy for my taste, but the place I mentioned KaffiBarrin is much more down to earth and seemed like the major local hangout. Great music: Tom Waits, Sigur Ros, Nina Simone. I guess it depends on what you like though. They also have a pretty good local beer called Viking. No visible fallout from the economic situation except for that it is obviously a main topic of conversation with locals– and almost everyone was willing to accept dollars as payment. I tried to stick to just using credit though. Everyone mentioned that if we had come a few months earlier it would have been four times as expensive. So unfortunately their economic depression definitely worked in our favor. Let me know if you have any other questions. You are going to have an unbelievable time!

    ps. Go to the Blue Lagoon. It’s worth the experience. Also, try some of the local pools like Laugardalslaug Thermal Pool for a more authentic experience. I think Laugardalslaug is supposed to be the best one in the city.

  3. Pingback: Tips for Multi-Day Kayaking « Queen of the Savages

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