Iceland is known as the ‘Land of Fire and Ice’. Its dramatic landscapes feature volcanoes, hot springs, geysers, and those incredible glaciers. The country is the least densely populated in the whole of Europe, with just over 350,000 inhabitants in the area of 40,000 square miles. Much of the population is centred in and around the capital city, Reykjavík.
This is the latest instalment in my packing guides series. You will find the highlights, what to pack for an enjoyable visit and some pointers to getting the best from your trip below. You will find similar guides for New York, Cornwall, Barcelona, and many other top-rated destinations elsewhere at Luggage Review.
Packing for the Major Attractions in Iceland
The Blue Lagoon:
When you think of Iceland, one of the first attractions that comes into your mind is the famous Blue Lagoon. The unique, geothermal seawater makes for the ultimate bathing experience, where you’ll feel at one with nature in those milky blue waters. The water is rich in minerals including sulphur and silica, a perfect combination for your skin. Not to mention the fact that the water is super-heated, vented from a nearby lava flow. Book early if you want the Blue Lagoon experience, as it can sell out well in advance. And don’t forget to pack your swimming gear and flip-flops.
For a magnificent waterfall experience, Gulfoss is a must visit. As part of the Golden Circle route (which also encompasses Geysir and Thingvellir National Park) you get to view the unique geographical features of the falls. Gulfoss has two distinct drops, with an initial drop at complete right angles to the secondary drop. This landmark is the largest waterfall in terms on volume in the whole of Europe.
Vatnajokull Ice Caves:
The Vatnajokull National Park is the largest national park in Iceland, covering both the incredible glacier and the surrounding sites. One of the most striking experiences in the area is a visit to the Ice Caves. These have been formed due to the rivers of meltwater deep below the glacier, creating an other-worldly formation of blue ice formations. You can only visit the caves during the winter, as during the summer months there is always a risk of collapse.
A visit to Reynisfjara Beach can almost transport you into a fantasy land, such is the unique look of the shoreline. The Basalt sea stacks and the black sand on the beach create an almost alien-like look to the shore, so its little surprise that visitors want to flock to this popular landmark. Be aware that the beach can be a dangerous place, with powerful waves coming inland.
Geysers of Haukadalur:
As part of the golden circle, you get to enjoy the incredible geyser experience. Strokkur is one of the most popular of these natural water features, which erupts every few minutes. Have your camera handy and capture those amazing moments. Geysir is another popular geyser, while Blesi consists of two ponds, one which is completely clear, and the other is a stunning blue.
What to Pack for a Trip to Iceland?
Here’s a guide to some of those must have essentials you need when visiting Iceland.
Iceland Travel Guide – With so much to see, a travel guide can be useful when visiting Iceland. This will help you to plan your days, getting as many attractions in as possible. Good travel guides will also give you information about those less crowded hidden spots, as well as all the info you need about travelling to and from locations.
Travel Umbrella – One of the things you quickly get used to in Iceland is the rain. It is more likely to rain in Iceland than not on any given day, so a good quality travel umbrella will ensure you’re not left drenched as you see the awe-inspiring sights.
The Right Shoes – Ensure you have the right shoes for your trip. Ensure that your choice of footwear is rainproof, while hiking boots are essential if you intend to trek around the island. Even if you are just walking about the capital city, it can still be an idea to invest in hardier shoes than just trainers.
A Hat – One thing about Iceland you can be sure of is that it gets cold. Therefore, hats are essential. Grab yourself a colourful and patterned knitted Nordic hat to really feel at home with the locals during your trip. Grab yourself a hat in Iceland and it will make for a great souvenir for your journey.
Eye Masks – If you are travelling to Iceland during the summer, it can be an idea to bring an eye mask. The famed midnight sun can be a real shock to your body clock, at a time when it should surely be dark. Wear an eye mask and that body clock won’t be messed up, ensuring you’re raring to go at the start of each new day.
Wrapping Up: Packing for Iceland
This beautiful country has become more accessible than ever – with multiple regional airports serving it. Go in the winter for the stunning northern lights or enjoy the landscapes and glaciers in the summer. You’ll need warm clothes whenever you travel.
See you at the ice caves!
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