Known as the northernmost capital of the world, Reykjavik offers charms in all seasons. But with spring just around the bend (March is often an ideal time to catch the ethereal Northern Lights) and long summer days further down the calendar, the city is bursting with activity after the typically cold winter months. Amongst the must-dos: hear out the local music scene, built on such notable names as Björk and Sigur Rós; linger at the European-style cafes; and test out the famed geothermal pools. Below are some ideas on what to pack.
Though the daylight hours will be soon be stretching their limits, the weather in the next few weeks is still quite brisk. A sharp wool coat, perhaps in a neutral arrangement of stripes ($389), is a wise acquisition.
Pay attention to materials when dressing for colder climes. A thin layer of cashmere, perhaps in this bright blue and black combo ($198), can do wonders, especially when worn over a breathable cotton tank.
When it comes to travel, stretch fabrics, including denim, seem downright friendly ($47.94).
Both the city center and the harbor area are worth a stroll. Boots are a staple, and this hidden wedge style will give you an extra lift ($188.95).
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You might be surprised at how a few key accessories will boost your warmth quotient. Plush gloves and this faux fur infinity scarf ($9.99) would be quite the pair.
There’s an exciting and expanding local food scene, including the tantalizing DILL Restaurant with its pan-Nordic focus. Dress for hot spots with both function and fashion in mind, like with these fleece-lined tights ($37).
On top, you can play with separates, such as an A-line knife pleat leather skirt ($209.99) plus a prim and neat layered collar sweater in cherry ($79).
If there’s one coat to buy for the season, then make it count. Canada Goose styles are popular for a reason: they hold up to subzero temperatures (prices range from $596.25 to $795). (Shopping tip: If you’re into scoring local fare, stop by Icelandic retail chain 66 North for your cold weather duds.)
Even if your outerwear has a hood, a beanie is an extra insulator. This slouchy style comes with cozy fleece lining and a playful pompom ($66).
There are several worthwhile day trips routing from Reykjavik. Mount Esja, with its hiking trails, is about six miles away. Depending on how you wear them, black slouchy sweat pants could do double duty: in the city and on the mountaintop ($24.95).
Going for more technical pieces, or merino wool, nature’s expert wicking material, would do just dandy. This gray and black patterned number would be an excellent addition on a multi-adventure day ($265).
The investment piece? If you have some funds to spare, a solid coat, such as this Woolrich down parka ($650) could last you this trip and many more winters to come.
You shouldn’t skimp on the extras. A cashmere skull cap, here in gray ($36), is a sweet little luxury, whereas leather gloves with built-in smart touch fingers are a savvy way to incorporate utility into your wardrobe ($134.93).
If pubs and other casual watering holes are your thing, then you’ll find plenty of establishments to frequent. Most are within easy walking distance of each other and near the city center, but it's best to have on a heavyweight layer you can easily shed, like this hooded shirt-jacket in classic red plaid ($140).
Underneath, a thermal-type or lightweight pullover, shown here in a cotton-silk-cashmere blend ($145) becomes a wardrobe foundation to build an outfit on.
Dark-wash jeans are appropriate for nighttime adventures, particularly when they have just a touch of Lycra ($89). (The better to make your dance moves in.)
With possible ice on the sidewalks, stick with a hefty heritage-style boot, such as these Red Wings with leather laces ($270).
Wear them with colorful socks ($20) for a final quirky touch.