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What should you not wear in Iceland

What should you not wear in Iceland

When we were traveling to Iceland in March I was very concerned about what to pack but didn’t really think about what you should not wear in Iceland. As a result we definitely took things that should be on your what not to wear in Iceland list. In this guide we will round up what not to wear to Iceland as well as the best alternatives to make sure you are ready to explore this amazing country to the fullest. 

Important Note: This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

Tips for what to pack for Iceland 

When you are thinking about what to pack for Iceland the three main things you need to consider are:

  • What season you are traveling to Iceland in. Iceland can be cold whatever season your are traveling in however Winter and the shoulder seasons can be chilly. 
  • Being outdoors – for me the best things to do in Iceland are all connected to being outdoors. The waterfalls, the glaciers, the black sand beaches.and of course the northern lights are all great outdoor things that will be on your Iceland bucket list so therefore you need to be prepared for everything that Icelandic weather has to throw at you. 
  • What to wear in Iceland at night – if you are traveling in WInter or are lucky in the shoulder seasons you may get a chance to see the Northern lights. Of course the Icelandic temperature drops at night so you need to be prepared. For more information check out our guide on what to wear to see the Northern Lights in Iceland.

Does Iceland have a dress code

This what should you not wear in Iceland list mainly concerns being comfortable, practical and safe in Iceland. So while there is no official Iceland dress code rules this is more guidance to help you enjoy your stay.

What should you not wear in Iceland 

Non waterproof clothing (or at least not exclusively)

WAterproof is an essential in Iceland even if you are visiting Iceland in summer and even when it isn’t raining. When we went to the beautiful Seljalandsfoss we did the beautiful hike behind the waterfall. It wasn’t raining when we went but we definitely got damp on the walk. 

As such no matter what time of year you visit Iceland I would recommend taking some waterproof clothing i.e. at least one waterproof jacket and one waterproof pair of trousers or at a minimum some water resistant clothing.  

So although you may not wear these things for the entire trip you will definitely want them for a few occasions. 

Click here to shop water proof and water resistant trousers

Shoes with no grip

As I said before being outside is one eof the joys of traveling to ICeland. Many of the places you will walk will have slippery surfaces i.e. waterfall and glacier walks. If you go with shoes with no grip you are asking for a fall especially if you are visiting and wondering what to wear in Iceland in October.

Be sure to pack at least one pair of shoes that have a great grip to ensure you don’t slip while out walking.

Click here to shop hiking boots

Thin socks

When you are out walking in Iceland chances are you will be using hiking boots and sturdier shoes that have good grip (as recommended above). 

For me there is nothing worse when traveling than when you get a blister and for me hiking shoes and thin socks a recipe for blisters. THis will without doubt impact your vacation. 

Therefore either bring hiking socks with you or use several layers of thin socks if push comes to shove. 

Click here to shop best socks for Iceland


Jeans might be ok to wear in Iceland at night say if you are looking for what to wear in Iceland however I don’t recommend them for the day time. It is easy to get damp in Iceland and walking around in damp jeans is very uncomfortable. 

During the day and when out walking put the jeans on your what not to wear in Iceland list and save them for evenings exploring Reykjavik. 

What not to wear in Iceland at night

Formal wear

Icelandic people are stylish but I wouldn’t say formal. Their style is more relaxed and pratical for the cold weather. Therefore unless you have a specific event i.e. a wedding you are traveling to Iceland for you will not be requiring your formal wear. 

Even if you are looking for what to wear to dinner in Iceland, even at one of Iceland’s finer establishments you will not be requiring formal wear. 

Lack of layers

Iceland can get chilly whatever season you go but especially if you are traveling to Iceland in December or are going out into the night to hunt for Aurora Borealis.

It is a mistake to not to travel to ICeland without plenty of layers. 

FAQS about what you should not wear in Iceland

Can you wear leggings in Iceland?

You absolutely can wear leggings in Iceland. In fact leggings for me are an essential on any Iceland packing list. 

In summer they are great because they can be worn as an item of clothing on their own and in winter they are perfect as an extra layer under your hiking or waterproof trousers to protection you from the cold. 

Click here to shop leggings.

Can you wear jeans in Iceland?

Yes you can definitely wear jeans in Iceland however there are instances where I would say you shouldn’t wear jeans in Iceland. 

Jeans are not the most comfortable for hiking or for  being in the rain in Iceland. However jeans are a great thing to wear in Iceland in the evening at bars or restaurants. 

Do you need sunglasses in Iceland?

Although the Winter days can get dark, sunglasses are something that should always be on what to pack for Iceland list for every season given the strength and height of the sun. 

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Do you need snow pants in Iceland?

IF you are traveling to Iceland in January or another of the winter months I would advise taking snow pants with you to Iceland. However you probably wouldn’t want to wear these in the center of REykjavik as you would look like a tourist. 

How should I dress in Iceland for dinner? 

For more information on how you should dress for dinner in Iceland see this guide. 

Have you been to Iceland? What would you add to this what not to wear in Iceland list? We’d love to hear in the comments