Tips From An Icelander: What To Wear In Iceland In Summer (2024)

Wondering what to wear for Iceland in Summer? Then this is the post for you!

I’ve lived almost my entire life in Iceland and even I don’t know what to expect on most days.

If you want to enjoy our little island, you need to be prepared for bad weather. Cloudy days, rainy days, windy days, and the occasional sunny one! 

Here I’ll go over everything you need to know to get the most out of your adventure in Iceland.

  • A packing list for the summer in Iceland
  • What to expect from each summer month
  • Things to do in Iceland in the summer

So let’s jump into it!

Make sure to read until the end so you can be fully prepared for your adventure in Iceland.

What to wear in Iceland in summer

Packing list for the summer in Iceland

Let’s start with a comprehensive packing list. This list is good if you’re coming to Iceland from May-August.

As a local, this is my list for when I do day trips. Now of course if you’re coming from a very warm climate, then you’ll want to add a few extra layers.

So here is a packing list for what to wear in Iceland in summer.

  • Thick socks
  • Waterproof hiking boots with good grip
  • Water-resistant and windproof outdoor pants
  • Jeans/joggers
  • Thick sweater
  • Thin sweater
  • Hoodie
  • Thermals
  • A Warm and waterproof outer layer. 
  • Beanie
  • Medium warm gloves
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen…yes sunscreen!
  • Nice running shoes for the nice days (hopefully!)
  • A swimsuit 
  • An adapter 
  • Mosquito net

So let’s go over my reasoning for each one real quick.

Thick socks

Now I don’t mean super thick socks, more like, running socks. Semi-thick socks that dry fast. That’s what you want.

Waterproof hiking boots with good grip

Now, this is really important. You need a good pair of hiking boots for Iceland. If you plan on doing a lot of walking and exploring, then you’ll want to have a pair of waterproof hiking boots on your feet. 

Nothing ruins a day as fast as cold and wet feet.

Water-resistant and windproof outdoor pants

You’ll want to be wearing outdoor pants over your regular ones

You want to protect yourself from the waterfalls and rain. But most importantly, you’ll want protection from the wind. 

The wind is one of the main reasons why Iceland is so cold and a good pair of outdoor pants will make your time in Iceland much more enjoyable.

Jeans/joggers

If you’re wearing outdoor pants that protect you from the wind and rain, you won’t need a lot of layers underneath. However, if you’re worried about having cold legs, then wear thermals as well!

Thick sweater

Very good to have for windy days.

Thin sweater

Good to have for warm days.

Hoodie

Good for cold days

Thermals 

I would highly recommend buying a nice pair of thermals before coming to Iceland.

If you’re wearing thermals, you won’t need a lot more on even the worst of days. All in all, one of the best things you can bring with you to Iceland.

A Warm and waterproof outer layer

The key to your outer layer is that it has to be waterproof! If it can keep you warm and protect you from the rain and wind at the same time, then that’s the best you can hope for!

Check out our summer coat or Fitted raincoat!

Beanie

Don’t neglect your ears!

Medium warm gloves

Don’t bring thick gloves. Just something that can protect you from the wind.

Sunglasses

If the sun is showing its face, then a good pair of sunglasses is essential.

Sunscreen

The sun in Iceland can be strong. So although it doesn’t show its face every day, on the days that the sun is shining, you’ll want to be wearing sunscreen. 

Nice running shoes for the nice days

Not every day is a bad one. So on nice days, it’s good to leave the hiking boots at home. 

A swimsuit 

Iceland has a lot of hot springs and swimming pools. Bring your swimsuits!

An adapter for the EU outlet

You need to charge your stuff right?

Night mask

When it’s bright every day and night, you’ll want to have a night mask to get a bit of a break every now and then!

Mosquito net

A mosquito net is great to have. You can buy one at plenty of gas stations around the country, or you can bring your own!

And those are the essentials! 

Now let’s move on to each month!

May

May is a wild card month. It can be a mild warm month, or it can be absolutely crazy.

Temperature

In May you can expect around 6°C (43°F). Which isn’t all that high but not terrible.

The thing to note about that temperature is that it doesn’t take wind or humidity into account. 

And since May is a wildcard month, then you have to be prepared for the worst.

What about the rain?

Rain

In general, May is one of the driest months of the year!

But since you’re in Iceland, that doesn’t say much.

You can still expect rainy days and wind. But there’s hope that you won’t get a single rainy day!

But one thing you’ll notice with my advice – and this goes for all summer months – is that you never know what will happen. 

In order to enjoy Iceland, you should be prepared for a lot of rain and wind. If not, then your time in Iceland will not be as pleasant!

Notable days

There are no notable days in Iceland in May. As in, no days where something exciting is happening downtown or the entire country is celebrating. 

What can you expect?

  • You can expect a milder temperature
  • Less snow
  • Accessible roads
  • No icy roads
  • Long days, lots of daylight
  • Little to no chance of seeing the northern lights 

Now let’s move to June!

June

The temperature is cozy and the days are super long

Temperature

In June you can expect around 5.5 degrees Celsius (42 F). So it’s getting much warmer!

Again, the same issue with June as in May, this temperature doesn’t account for wind and humidity.

However, in general, the weather is quite nice. We’ll have bad days every now and then, but this is a month where you might have an entire week of nice weather!

Rain

Similar to May, it doesn’t rain a lot in June.

Again, you shouldn’t count on it, since you’re playing with your vacation here! Always come prepared. 

But the chances of rain are much lower in June

Notable days

On the 17th of June, we have our independence day.

You can expect a lot of activity in downtown Reykjavík and in towns around Iceland. 

I would recommend trying to be in Reykjavík on the 17th of June.

Then you have the 21st of June, the longest day of the year!

So make sure to use all that daylight!

What can you expect?

  • Warm weather
  • No snow or Ice
  • Accessible roads
  • Long days
  • No chance of seeing the northern lights
  • Windy days and some rain
  • Lots of people

But what about July?

July 

July is the best summer month. You can expect the warmest days and the mildest weather. 

Temperature

In June you can expect around 10,6°C (51°F). Very warm! We might even go up to 20°C (68°F)

This is a wonderful time to visit Iceland! But again, you should expect wind and rain.

And remember, that temperature doesn’t factor in windchill.

You can expect a nice climate but you should still be prepared!

Rain

It doesn’t rain a lot in July. 

But again, and I know this is getting frustrating, you should prepare for it. 

The summer in Iceland can still be very cold and you don’t want to be unprepared.

As you noticed on our packing list, waterproof clothing is the way to go!

As long as you bring them with you (or rent them…wink wink) and layers, you’re good to go!

Notable days

There are no notable days in July

What can you expect?

  • Warm weather
  • No snow or Ice
  • Accessible roads
  • Long days
  • No chance of seeing the northern lights
  • Windy days and some rain

Moving on to August.

August

And now we’re in the final month of summer. Some years the summer is extended into September, but there’s no way to know before. 

But most of the advice you’ve been reading in this post will be applicable in September.

Temperature

In August, you can expect around 13°C (55°F). So definitely warm! 

August is right between July and May. As in, it’s warm but it’s a bit of a wild card month.

In some years August is the best month of the year, in others, it’s quite a disappointment. 

So you never know what to expect (you can see the pattern here can’t you). 

Rain

It can rain quite a bit in August. So bring that waterproof clothing! 

Notable days

There are a few notable days in August.

The first is the 7th of August, Frídagur Verslunarmanna. There’ll be a lot happening downtown and events all around. There’s also a huge festival at Vestmaneyjar.

The next is the 12th of August, that’s Gay pride. You want to be in downtown Reykjavík for the parade and festivities! 

The 21st of August, Menningarnótt. There will never be as many people downtown as on this day. It’ll be absolutely packed. And over the day the city is full of activities. 

Then, at the end of August, you have puffin season. So if you’re coming to Iceland and want to see some puffins, this is the time to make your way to Vestmannaeyja

If there is a day to stay in Reykjavík, this is that day!

Then, in the evening, there’ll be concerts and fireworks!

What can you expect?

  • Warm weather
  • Rain
  • Accessible roads
  • Medium long days
  • Some chance of seeing the northern lights at the end of the month.
  • Windy days.

And that’s it! 

That’s what you can expect for all the summer months but what can you DO?

Things to do in Iceland in Summer

There is a ton of stuff to do in Iceland during the summer months. 

Here I’ll list a bunch of stuff you can do for your trip to Iceland!

ATV ride

Try ATV riding if you’re looking for a bit of adrenaline. 

Glacier hikes

You won’t regret going on a glacier hike while on your trip. It’s one of the main things i recommend doing while in Iceland.

Ice caves

Go on a personal Ice cave tour

Into the volcano

Explore the inside of a volcano! Something unique to do in Iceland!

Explore waterfalls in the Westfjords 

The Westfjords are amazing! And if you’re in Iceland and looking to do something different!

Explore the north

There’s so much to do in the north and if you’ve got the time, you should go there. 

The plethora of lagoons we have in Iceland

There are so many lagoons in Iceland, a simple google search will reveal a plethora of them! 

Natural springs

Make sure to google natural hot springs when you’re exploring Iceland. 

You can find out more about them here

Check out and enjoy the day in a small town

Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses. 

There’s a lot to do in Iceland but you don’t want to rush past small towns that are scattered around the country.

So make sure to stop and grab a coffee or ice cream!

Horseback riding

Remember, they’re small horses, not ponies! 

You wont’ forget going horseback riding in Iceland!

Enjoy Reykjavík

Reykjavík has a lot to offer for a day or two.

Make sure to leave some time to unwind and walk around the city.

Grab a drink, go on a food tour, and try a local swimming pool!

Final words

And that’s it! 

If you follow my recommendations then you’ll be all set to make the most out of your trip to Iceland!

You now know What to wear in Iceland in summer, what to expect from the weather, and what you can do during your trip!

And if you want to save some money and space in the bag, check out our selection of rental clothing! 

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