Traveling to and wondering what to pack for Iceland in November? Well, look no further as our handy guide will tell you EXACTLY what to wear in Iceland in November in terms of clothes, as well as other essentials for make for an enjoyable and budget friendly trip.
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Iceland Weather in November
There are a few things you have know about Iceland weather no matter the month, and that is that you can experience four seasons a day. But this is especially true in November.
Although there is debate about when Winter truly starts in Iceland, you will find the weather to be quite Wintery if you are visiting in November. Therefore when putting together your Iceland November packing list you are going to need lots of layers, as well as some waterproof and wind resistance layers. But how cold is Iceland in November?
Note: It is worth noting that the weather in Iceland changes dramatically between months especially at this time of year. If your visit spans two months be sure to check out our other seasonal guides:
And for more specific guidance on local places in Iceland be sure to check out our more specific guides:
- What to wear in Reykjavik
- What to wear whale watching
- What to wear to spot the Northern Lights
- What to wear on the Golden Circle
How cold is Iceland in November?
November isn’t the coldest month in Iceland but it is certainly chilly. The average temperatures in November in Iceland tend to hover around 1.1°C / 33.9°F.
However the temperatures have been known to drop to around -10°C/14°F so you will definitely need plenty of layers with you.
And these temperatures can feel even colder as this time of year has severe winds that can reach around 100km a hour / 62mph which can definitely make it feel it even colder.
How rainy is Iceland in November?
Firstly in answer to is Iceland rainy in November I can say yes it definitely is. In November you can expect anywhere between 10 – 20 days of rain. And this can come as rain, sleet and sometimes snow.
Therefore you will definitely need some waterproof wear with you, especially shoes and trousers, as well as something that can cope with snow.
Is it snowy in Iceland in November?
It really depends on the part of Iceland you are visiting as to how much snow you will see. However a good guide is that Reykjavik gets just under 3.5 inches of snow in November.
And you may find that some of the smaller roads off the ring road will be shut in November due to the snow and ice.
Iceland Packing Advice for November
Now you have an overview of the weather in Iceland in November and before we get onto specific packing list items we thought it would be a good idea to point out some of our packing advice and considerations for packing for Iceland in November.
Mode of Travel
Iceland is a country that is best explored by car on your own in my opinion. However the road conditions in Iceland in November are starting to get difficult, and some of the roads will be shut. For this reason we recommend sticking to the main road and having a good quality car.
We recommend getting a 4×4 for road trip at this time of year, but you may also want to consider packing a capsule wardrobe to save on space in the car.
For more information on how to pack a capsule wardrobe for Iceland check out our guide to using the 54321 packing method.
Waterproof and Wind Resistant Layers
Given the increase in rain and snow, and the wind speeds in Iceland November you will need some top layers that are waterproof and wind resistant.
You will also need to have some good thermal base layers at this time of year especially if you are going to hunt for the Northern Lights during your stay.
I have never been anywhere in Iceland where I felt under dressed. Therefore don’t worry about packing formal wear. Casual and at most 1 smart casual outfit will be good enough for Iceland.
For more information on what to wear to dinner in Iceland check out this post.
What to wear in Iceland in November
It is worth noting that normally when I create these what to wear guides that I break it into women and men’s packing lists. However this really isn’t needed for Iceland as the items you need are universal due to the practical nature of what is needed.
Although in November you will be rewarded with fewer crowds at the main tourist attractions, you will also have to contend with worse weather especially in terms of wind, rain and snow. Therefore a warm waterproof top layer in the form of a thick waterproof coat is an absolute must for visiting Iceland in November.
North Face and Columbia are my personal go to brands for waterproof coats and jackets.
Thermal Base Layers
A thermal base layer comprising of leggings and a long sleeve top are an absolute essential. I recommend packing merino base layers.
Merino wool is one of my favorite fabrics to include in a Winter capsule wardrobe. That is because provide extra warmth as they are an insulating fabric but is also compact unlike a thick knit. Therefore it is easy to pack and doesn’t take up a lot of space in your case.
WAterproof trousers are an absolute essential for Iceland in November.
With all the rain in November waterproof trousers will save you from getting cold and soaked. And the great thing is that as a top layer they can easily be pulled on and off during your stay so you won’t have to wear them at sites when there isn’t rain.
Although the average temperature is around 1 degree, it can feel much cooler due to the wind and in places such as glaciers, wind swept black sand beaches and next to the stunning waterfall.
To protect your extremities be sure to pack a nice woolen hat or beanie to take with you. This is especially necessary for those who are planning to go out in evenings to hunt for the Aurora Borealis.
As I mentioned above, it is important to protect your extremities when traveling to Iceland in November. Therefore gloves are an absolute essential.
Our preference for gloves for Iceland are the type that allow you to be able to use your electronics while wearing gloves like the ones below.
You will want to be taking a lot of photographs when you are in Iceland and it would be a real pain to have to keep taking your gloves on and off whenever you want to use your phone.
For when it gets extra cold a scarf is brilliant to protect you from the wind or can be used as an extra layer in an emergency.
Ear Muffs or a head band
If you are visiting in November then you may want to add some ear muffs or a headband on top of your beanie hat to help cope with the wind.
Jumpers, Hoodies, and Sweaters
Jumpers are a staple of the Icelandic November wardrobe. You will need a few of these with you (I recommend one for every day you are in Iceland).
If you want to look like a local then you could get one of these traditional Icelandic jumpers. These are usually made of merino wool and are very stylish and a great souvenir.
However, do bring enough from home as Icelandic jumpers can be expensive.
Hoodies and sweaters are also useful for dry days but for cooler and wetter days I recommend a microfibre fleece. This is because they are easier to condense into carry on or a backpack and have better water and wind resistance.
On top of the above layers we also recommend you having one microfiber fleece with you. These are very compact so easy to add to your Iceland day pack but also cope well with wind and rain, as well as drying very quickly.
Iceland is a place best explored on foot and through outdoor adventures therefore you need the right trousers with you.
Make sure whatever walking trousers you bring with you are waterproof.
Jeans are usually on my what not to wear hiking in Iceland list however I still recommend bringing a pair with you.
You don’t want to be wearing jeans for your outdoor excursions as jeans are uncomfortable in the cold and wet weather however these are the perfect answer to what to wear for dinner in Iceland.
Thick Thermal Socks
The fact that you will need hiking boots means that you will also need thick socks. Be sure to have several good pairs of thick walking socks with you.
There would be nothing worse than having sore feet in boots and thick socks will go a long way to help prevent this.
We also recommend having thermal socks as in the Icelandic weather your feet can get cold quickly.
As I mentioned above Iceland is quite a casual place and I have never felt underdressed in Iceland. For this reason I think t shirts are an essential of any Iceland packing list.
We recommend packing a mix of long and short sleeve t shirts so you can amend your outfit for the weather.
While it may seem counterintuitive to be packing swimwear for a cold weather destination in November, you will definitely be wanting swimwear for Iceland.
In my opinion one of the best things to do in Iceland are visiting some of the geothermal pools and natural hot springs, the most famous of these being the Blue Lagoon. However there are many of them around the country and all are special.
The blue lagoon and many other the hot spring dress codes do not have a rule over what type of swimwear you have to wear so just pack the swimwear you feel most comfortable in i.e. one piece or a bikini. However for some other natural hot springs you may also need towels and robes.
For a full hot springs and Blue Lagoon packing list check out our what to wear to the Blue Lagoon post.
If you are visiting Iceland and the Blue Lagoon or even plan on using your hotel hot tubs in November the floor can be very cold when you are getting in and out of the water and walking to the changing rooms. For this reason we recommend packing slippers with you.
The weather in Iceland is starting to cool down in November. Although hotel rooms are heated well I would take a pair of more winterish pyjamas with you when visiting Iceland in November especially if you feel the cold.
Best Shoes for Iceland in November
Normally I hedge my bet when answering the question what is the best shoe for a destination. However there is no need for Iceland as there is a clear winner.
My number shoe for Iceland has to be:
Waterproof Hiking Boots
Iceland is a country where the outdoor activities are unrivalled even for Winter visitors. You will be doing a lot of walking and many of the locations you will be walking may be icy, snowy or slippery.
Therefore you will definitely be needing shoes with a good sole. In our opinion the best types of hiking boots for November in Iceland are absolutely hiking boots.
Whichever pair you pick you need to make sure you have a thick sole with a good grip as well as a pair with good waterproofing.
Again my favorite brands are Columbia, Eddie Bauer and Merrell.
Just be sure if you buy a pair for Iceland that you wear them in before travel and have thick hiking boots and blister plasters with you.
Pair of Shoes for evenings
If you plan on eating out at night and like to change of dinner you may want a change of shoes with you. At this time of year a pair of flat ankle boots would be perfect.
Flip Flops or Slippers
Useful for at hot springs, the Blue Lagoon and at hotels with sauna or hot tub amenities.
What to pack for Iceland in November (Non Clothing)
So now you know what to wear in Iceland in November we will turn our attention to what to pack for Iceland in November other than clothes.
Back Pack with Rain Cover / Waterproof Outer Shell
To keep everything you will need for a day out in Iceland you will need a backpack with you. I also recommend bringing a rain cover for your back pack in Iceland to help protect your electronics, towel and clothes you have.
Waterproof phone case
If you plan to visit places like the Blue Lagoon and other geothermal there is no doubt that you will be wanting to lots of photos. To take photographs at the Blue Lagoon you will want a waterproof case like the above for your phone.
This is also useful if you plan on walking near some waterfalls such as Gullfoss waterfall pr plan on going on a trip to see humpback whales it may come in handy then too!
Quick Dry Towel
This is another one for the Blue Lagoon or geothermal springs in Iceland. While you can rent towels at these locations and the Blue Lagoon provides towels in its ticket prices – you can find out more about the Blue Lagoon packages and what is included here), not all hot springs will provide towels. Bring a quick dry towel with you to save you money (and let’s face it Iceland is an expensive country to visit).
If you have plenty of space you could add a dry robe to your Iceland packing list.
Food and drink in Iceland is expensive, a reusable water bottle is a great way to cut costs and is better for the environment.
Iceland is an expensive country and one of the biggest lines on your Iceland budget will be food. Iceland allows you to bring certain foods into the country with you – no raw eggs, raw meat, or milk, up to 3kg in weight.
To save money, if you are bringing a checked luggage we recommend using your 3kg of food allowance to pack snacks and food to help reduce your costs.
Days in Iceland require early starts to get to most of the sights and beat the crowds. To help me get up and at them I always take a thermos which I can fill with my morning coffee before heading out for the day. Click here to shop travel thermos.
If you are traveling to Iceland you will need a electrical travel plug adaptor. Iceland uses European C and E sockets. Click here to shop travel adaptors.
You will be using your phone a lot in Iceland for sat navs, cameras and more and just me this drains your battery quick. Therefore if is worth having a battery pack charger with you as well as a USB cable for charging in your car. Click here to shop battery packs.
Iceland is a stunning place bring the best quality camera you have with you.
Iceland has amazing wildlife from humpback whales to birds. If you plan on doing some nature excursions be sure to pack some binoculars with you.
While usually we advocate buying budget versions of things for vacation, binoculars are something I would buy the best version you can afford as you will notice a difference in quality. Click here to shop binoculars.
Normally I leave toiletries off my packing lists. That is because you either have to restrict volume for carry on or need to pack them carefully for hold bags.
Note: be sure to check liquid volume restrictions if you are traveling with carry on only. preferring to buy them on arrival. However Iceland is an expensive place for food and toiletries.
However I always bring toiletries to Iceland from home. Iceland is an expensive place for food aswell as toiletries. Therefore you will save yourself both time and money by brining them with you.
Normally my toiletry bag for Iceland will include:
- Moisturiser – the wind and rain in Iceland along with the salinity in the hot springs take the toll on your skin. A good moisturiser is therefore a must.
- Conditioner – again the salinity in the hot springs and blue lagoon can damage your hair therefore we recommend packing a good quality conditioner with you for visiting Iceland.
- Toothbrush and tooth paste
- Hairbrush and Hairbands – Iceland gets windy even in Summer so tying your hair up can be essential, especially for photographs.
- Make Up – I am normally quite minimalist with my makeup in Iceland due to the activities I will be doing. The key however for all makeup you bring to Iceland is that it is waterproof.
- Medicines – as required.
- Lip Balm – And as well as protecting your skin also protect your lips with a lip balm that has sun protection. Our favorite brand at the moment is Sun Bum.
For my essential travel toiletries packing list check out this post.
FAQS about What to wear in Iceland in November
Should I pack a dress for Iceland in November?
Dresses are not appropriate for most Iceland activities and tourist attractions which will usually require some physical activity. I.e. I would never wear a dress for hiking, waterfalls, glaciers, beaches or any other outdoor activities.
However if you like yo change clothes for dinner then a dress can be appropriate. Just remember to pack tights for with your dress otherwise you are likely to be cold. And pick something like a wool sweater dress or something with long sleeves instead.
What to wear to Reykjavik in November?
Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and people will usually make at least a quick stop in the city whether to stock up on supplies, or to stay relatively close to the airport or Blue Lagoon in Keflavik. So what should you wear in Reykjavik in November?
Well the truth is Reykjavik is actually a pretty casual city and most people will feel perfectly comfortable in jeans and a sweater (my favorite is an Icelandic wool jumper).
I have never felt under dressed in Iceland and I have seen people dressed very casually in the city. So you really don’t have to pack anything different for the city compared to the Golden Circle or the Ring Road.
However you will also need to have your waterproof gear, thermal layers and thick coat with you.
Do I need thermals in Iceland in November?
Yes you absolutely s need thermals for Iceland in November.
Have you been to Iceland in November? What did you wear? Leave us a comment and tell us about your favorite Iceland in November outfit.