Travelling to Greenland might be on the bucket list of many explorers, however, let’s just admit it that it can be quite challenging preparing your packing list for your adventures in Greenland.
What should I wear? How is the temperature in winter? Can I wear shorts in Greenland during the summer? Here you can find your answers to ease your puzzles. Read this comprehensive equipment list before travelling to Greenland.
What to Wear – Clothing in Greenland
Most of Greenland is covered by a thick ice sheet (the Inland Ice Cap) and is located close to or inside the Arctic circle. Unique natural and geographical features offer Greenland an Arctic Climate – the average temperature in summer is usually below 10 °C (50° F) and in winter is around -5°C (23°F) to -10°C (14°F). However, in some extreme situations, the temperature in winter might drop down to or even below -35°C (-31°F). Thus, when travelling in Greenland, proper warm clothing is highly recommended.
Winter tours in Greenland
On all our winter tours you will be able to rent appropriate thermal clothing (this may include genuine Greenlandic seal skin anoraks and trousers) as well as polar boots.
But we strongly recommend that you also bring along warm clothes yourself, especially gloves, caps, thermal underwear etc. Dress according to the layer-upon-layer clothing principle. This enables you to make fast and easy adjustments to the temperature. The inner layer keeps the body warm, while the outer layer is for protection against snow and wind.
Your head, hands and feet need maximum protection!
Please read our recommended equipment list. It is meant as a guideline to the most necessary (and a minimum requirement) of warm clothing needed:
- – Woollen/or thermal windproof hat, which covers your neck (alternatively, thermal face mask);
- – Woollen/or thermal gloves (ideal as a base layer under waterproof gloves or mittens);
- – Woollen/or thermal socks;
- – Warm, insulated winter jacket and snow trousers or salopettes;
- – Woollen long sleeved shirts/or thermal shirts;
- – Thick sweater and woollen pullovers
- – Heat pads for hands and feet (especially for dog sled tours).
Summer Tours in Greenland
Greenland has an Arctic climate, which means that you should be prepared for sunny days, but also for cold, fresh mornings and evenings.
The average temperature reaches a max. of +10°C/50°F during the summer months. Nevertheless, you might experience days with temperatures of +15-20°C/59-68°F.
Therefore, it is important to bring warm as well as light clothes. It is advisable to dress in layers. This enables you to make fast and easy adjustments to the temperature. The inner layer keeps the body warm, while the outer layer is for protection against rain and wind.
For sailing trips, you may wish to stay outside and enjoy the scenery. And we recommend that you bring a warm sweater, hat, scarf and gloves for boat excursions.
For hiking and walking in Greenland, solid boots with a profiled sole is essential. A small day-tour rucksack, sunglasses, sun block and a mosquito repellent might prove useful.
Mosquito season runs from mid-June to mid-August; and north of the Arctic Circle the midnight sun can be experienced around the clock during the summer months; therefore, good quality sunglasses and high SPF sun block cream are essential items to pack.
All hotels in Greenland have a casual dress code.
Guide to clothing in Iceland and the Faroe Islands
Due to the warm Gulf Stream, Iceland enjoys a calmer climate and gentler weather compared to its neighbour Greenland. Even though it is named “Ice-land”, Iceland has a rather distinguishable four seasons and seldom has extreme temperatures.
The temperature of Iceland slightly varies from south to north. In the south, the average temperature of Reykjavik is around 1-2°C (33-35°F) in wintertime and around 12°C (54°F) in summer. In some extreme cases, the temperature in summer can drop down to 7°C (44°C) and reach up to 25°C (77°F) while in winter, it can be as low as -10°C (14°F) or as warm as +10°C (50°F). In the north, Akureyri has an average temperature around 11°C or 52°F in summer and around 0°C or 32°F in winter. The wind and storm can make the weather changeable even within a day – no matter in summer or in winter. So, rainwear is always advisable.
The Faroe Islands enjoys a similar climate and average temperatures as Iceland. With an average temperature around 11/13 °C (52/55 °F) in summer and 17 °C (34/45 °F) in winter, the Faroe Islands is not as cold as people expected.
A list below will get you well-prepared before your journey to Iceland or the Faroe Islands.
For winter travel:
- • Waterproof and windproof winter jacket – to keep you warm against the wind and sudden rain fall
- • Thermal underwear, woolen leggings and sweater – to keep you warm and protected
- • An umbrella or a Raincoat– you don’t want to be all wet right? Bring am umbrella! However, with the winds up there, the umbrella will break or fly away – bring long rain coats with fleece lining might be a better and wiser choice.
- • Waterproof winter pants
- • Hiking boots or Ice cleats – to ensure you can walk properly on ice or slippery roads
- • Warm gloves, hats, scarves and socks – there is not such thig as bad weather – only bad equipment!
- • Swimsuit – if you are planning to visit one of Iceland’s many naturally heated lagoons
- • Thermal bottle – a warm drink will boost your energy
- • Moisturiser – to keep your skins smooth even when it is windy
- • Sunglasses and sunscreen – when it is sunny, you will need those protections
For summer travel:
Even in the summer, temperatures in Iceland rarely go above 15C. If you are really lucky, you may have the chance to wear shorts, t-shirts or dresses in Iceland. But we would recommend you always pack the following:
- – Waterproof and windproof coats and pants
- – Waterproof hiking shoes
- – Gloves, hats and maybe a scarf – you will need them when it gets windy
- – Sleep mask or eye patch – the daytime is pretty long and it is needed to ensure a sound sleep without the disturbance of sunlight
- – Swimsuit – if you are planning to visit one of Iceland’s naturally heated lagoons
- – Thermal bottle – a warm drink will boost your energy
- – Moisturiser – to keep your skin smooth even when it is windy
- – Sunglasses and sunscreen – when it is sunny, you will need those protections
- – Mosquito head net – some areas in the wild are full of black flies in summer. But mosquitoes, luckily, are not a huge problem in Iceland. So a mosquito spray is not a must.