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Travel advice

What to pack for an Iceland cruise

Reykjavik's beautiful Blue Lagoon

Cross Iceland off your bucket list and join us on the a cruise aboard Spirit of Adventure or Spirit of Discovery. Read on to learn what to pack and get inspired by some of the amazing experiences we’ve prepared for you.

The weather in Iceland is as diverse as its scenery and it would be fair to say, you should expect the unexpected when it comes to Icelandic climate. This make it hard to know what to pack when visiting this beautifully rugged destination, but with a few tips, you can ensure you’re prepared for all eventualities.

We have created a list of items to take to Iceland, based on feedback from our cruise passengers. If you’re planning on booking one of our Iceland cruises, we hope that you find this of some use when planning what to pack.

1. Waterproofs

Iceland has a reasonable amount of rainfall – on average 255 days of precipitation per year, including days with sleet, snow and mist. The wettest month is October and the north of the island tends to get more rain that the south. Iceland’s maritime climate means that showers can come on suddenly and you want to avoid getting caught in a shower unprepared, especially when there’s so much outdoor exploration to be had.

Waterproofs are lightweight and can easily be rolled up and stashed in a bag or backpack. Passengers often take waterproof jackets and trousers, as well as waterproof shoes.

2. Fleece

Although Iceland’s climate is warmer than most people expect, given its Arctic location, the winter does see temperatures fall just below zero and snow and ice are common. Layering up is advisable, especially in rural areas where you are more exposed to the elements than in cities such as Reykjavik.

A fleece helps to trap in body warmth, yet they are surprisingly lightweight and easy to pack away or tie around your waist.

3. Walking boots

Iceland is famous for its dramatic landscape with volcanoes, lava fields and hot springs bringing great hike opportunities. To enjoy a good hike, sturdy boots with good grip are essential, to ensure you can cover the terrain comfortably and safely, and without injury.

If you’re unsure which boots to buy, it’s worth doing your research to find decent boots that were made for walking.

4. Eye mask

Iceland is known as the ‘land of the midnight sun’ – its location in the Arctic Circle means the sun rarely sets during the summer. In fact, between May 21 and July 30, the sun doesn’t set at all in Reykjavik. If you’re cruising to Iceland during the summer months, you may want to take a black out eye mask, so that you can guarantee undisturbed sleep. Although hotel rooms do have dark curtains, it’s always good to have an extra level of protection, just to be sure. Sunshine at night can be quite disorientating.

5. Camera

It goes without saying really, but Iceland has some of the most picturesque scenery on the planet. From glaciers and fjords to volcanoes and fishing villages peppered with colourful houses, there are incredible photo opportunities at every turn.

Whether you’re capturing your travel pictures on professional equipment, or an everyday digital camera or smartphone, make sure it’s got enough charge for the job. Take spare batteries and extra charger boosters, just to ensure you don’t miss that National Geographic-worthy snap!

Take the opportunity to snap a perfect photograph of Godafoss Waterfall, the waterfall of the gods. As a part of an included excursion, we will take you to this astonishing 30 metre wide waterfall with a horse-shoe shape - arguably Iceland’s most beautiful waterfall.

6. Water Bottle

People mostly associate dehydration with hot climates, but the risk of dehydrating yourself is still high in cold weather. Sweat evaporates more quickly in the cold air and you’re tricked into thinking you’re not perspiring.

Keeping hydrated is key, especially during long excursions, such as walk to beautiful Kirkjufell Waterfall. Take a refillable water bottle and replenish your water reserves where you can.

7. Swimwear

Perhaps not the most obvious of items for a cruise to Iceland, but you’ll be needing your togs should you wish to take a dip in Blue Lagoon - Iceland’s famous thermal pool.

Iceland is known for his natural hot springs and in our opinion, you can’t visit this beautiful volcanic land without bathing in the hot water, whilst breathing in the cold outdoor air. It’s really quite liberating!

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.