What to wear in Iceland in December (2022)

I’ve lived most of my life in Iceland and I can tell you-

The weather in Iceland changes quickly and often.

Some days you’ll be bundled up, but on others, a sweater might do!

In this post, I’ll go over what to wear in Iceland in December.

I’ll touch on;

  • The weather
  • What to wear

Make sure to read until the end so that you can stay warm and cozy in Iceland!

Let’s get to it!

The weather in Iceland in December

1. It’s not the cold you need to worry about

When you think about the cold in Iceland, it’s not the temperature that stands out.

It’s the windchill, the rain, the sleet, and…all of them combined!

If you’re faced with strong gusts of wind on a regular basis you’ll want good gear to take care of you.

Example:

If you’re traveling the south coast and you want to enjoy the waterfalls and the coastline, you better get used to the wind in your face!

The wind and rain can make it feel much colder than it is.

The best way to combat this?

Make sure your clothes are waterproof (not just water resistant) and have hoods for when you’re trying to navigate through town or exploring our countryside.

But what about the wind?

2. Iceland is windy

It’s safe to say that all Icelandic weather is unpredictable.

What I mean;

The wind in Iceland can be strong and change direction at any given moment.

This can be a problem for travelers planning last-minute trips or those who are less experienced with windy and wintery conditions.

I recommend packing warm clothes and being prepared for cold weather at all times during your stay in Iceland—especially during December!

You’ll want to carry warm clothes, even when the weather is hot…which it probably won’t be, but one can hope!

This leads me to…

3. Iceland is Rainy

In reality, Iceland is a rainy country.

December is a very wet month and most people will experience at least one day of rain while visiting. 

While this may seem like a deterrent to booking a trip to one of the most popular destinations in Europe (especially during winter), there are many reasons why it shouldn’t be!

There’s tons of stuff to do which I will hit on later on in this post!

4. Iceland’s sun can be dangerous

While the sun isn’t a huge factor during December (since we don’t have a lot of it!)

However, you should be wary of it nonetheless. The sun in Iceland can be quite strong and the UV index is quite high.

I recommend carrying sunblock with you, this is not only to protect you from the sun but also the cold and to prevent your skin from drying up. 

As weird as it sounds if you’ve got sunblock at home, bring it with you—even in the wintertime!

No need to buy it specifically for your trip to Iceland, but if you have it then bring it!

5. Be prepared for rain, wind, snow, and everything in between in December

If you’re planning your first trip to Iceland in December, you’ll want to be prepared for rain, wind, and sun! 

All in one day!

The weather can change quickly here. One moment it’s sunny and warm with a light breeze; the next minute it’s dark clouds overhead and freezing cold.

Make sure that you have all the essentials like a waterproof bag for your camera and phone, as well as warm pants, hiking boots, a parka, and a beanie.

Even if it’s sunny out one day, there might be strong winds.

We call that ‘Window weather’

But what can you do about it?

What to wear in Iceland in December

1. Inner layers

The best way to dress for Iceland in December is to wear layers.

You want to be able to peel a layer off when it’s warm and put another back on when it gets cold again.

If you’re going out for the day, then you should probably bring an extra layer with you too.

This could be a waterproof jacket or even an extra fleece if the sun has shone all day but clouds suddenly appear and it starts snowing or raining…or both!

I would recommend thermal underwear – whether that’s leggings or long johns.

Then I’d put on my jeans or trousers because they’re good at keeping you warm (especially if they have been freshly washed!). 

I prefer wearing joggers over jeans, but that’s because I detest hiking or traveling in jeans. 

2. outer layers

Waterproof pants people!

If you can keep dry, you can keep warm. Our pants are completely waterproof and will help you stay dry and warm in Iceland.

I’ll put water-resistant hiking boots here as well.

One of the worst feelings is to travel with cold and wet feet.

Example: 

You just finished Seljalandsfoss.

You didn’t wear good shoes so now you’re drenched and you’ve got Skógafoss, the airplane wreck, and Reynisfjara left!

That’s a recipe for a bad time!

After that comes outerwear such as a scarf, hat, and gloves – these are important additions that keep your face from freezing off when there’s snow falling around.

And lastly, the parka. 

The parka will keep you warm and dry in the harshest weather. 

It’s the perfect garment for Iceland in December and I can’t imagine life in Iceland without it. 

An added benefit of the parka is that you won’t need as many layers! Which is always nice.

But what should you be prepared for?

What to do In Iceland in December

Ice caves

There are plenty of Ice caves in Iceland. 

Some of them are only open in the winter season!

Glacier Hikes

If you listen to my advice above, you’ll be well-equipped for a Glacier hike!

Walking the city

Walking in the city in December can be cold.

You can check out a local food walk.

Some museums 

Northern lights 

One of the main reasons why people travel to Iceland. You’ll want warm clothes for this activity. Check out our selection here!

Golden Circle, Snæfellsnes, south coast

These are some of the most popular daily tours in Iceland. 

I definitely recommend at least one of these while you’re here in Iceland.

No matter which one you’ll choose, it’ll be amazing!

Conclusion

That’s it!

Now you know what to expect and how to dress for it!

The weather in Iceland can be unpredictable, but with the right gear, you’ll know what to wear in Iceland in December.

Check out our selection

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