Iceland in Winter March: To Pack and To Do

Last year, on second week of March 2017 precisely (yeah, it's obsolete) I went Iceland. It's still cold below 10 degree minus temp only at night (yes, it's cold, I'm Indonesian), still snowy along most of the ring road, very windy for sure.

I was with friends, we were hunting the ticket for almost a month. For this trip I become a member of Wizz Air, which I avoided since I got here. It's the cheapest direct flight we could get from Warsaw (but then we actually need to go to Budapest first, because we missed the cheap price from Warsaw).
There are some low-cost airlines to get to Iceland such as easyJet if you're flying from around UK, Wow Air from Netherland or France or from Scandinavian countries, Wizz Air from Poland or Hungary. Icelandair offer layover in Reykjavik if you travelling from around US to Europe. Most flight from Asia will choose stop over at Copenhagen the continue to Iceland (at least that's what I read).

So, low-cost airlines, for 5 days trip I tried to pack everything in one single backpack as usual, failed of course, so I bought extra cabin luggage. I'm not fond for cold temperature (but I love winter), so I make sure I bring everything that could make me warm:

Base Layer
For tops I brought 4 of them (I guessed I wouldn't sweat so I can use them more than once). I got 2 heattech and 2 merino wool.
For bottoms I got 1 heattech, 1 longjohn and 2 merino wool.

For tops I only bring 2 half polyester-half fleece sweater. But I ended up bought lopapeysa. It's kinda waterproof and windproof and surprisingly warm. I sometimes wearing it in sunny winter yet still cold in Warsaw whenever I don't want to use jacket.
For bottoms I had 2 windproof trouser with polyester lining from 2 jeans (yes jeans!),

I bring 2 windproof and waterproof jacket. One of them actually is kinda insulated one. And do not forget to bring waterproof trouser very useful if you want to visit Seljalandsfoss.

Socks. As much as I can tucked in my luggage. I bring probably 4 pairs, 1 contains several percent of wool so it's kinda bulky, others are polyester or merino wool.

Hat and scarves. I brought only 1 acrylic hat, 1 acrylic and 1 cashmere scarves.

Gloves. I brought 3 gloves. A touchscreen merino wool gloves (it's the most essential one because I need to access my cellphone anytime),  a 80% wool gloves and  a polyester one.

Shoes. I wore a nubuck leather boots with sheep's wool lining. Warm? yes... but if you want to do the glacier hiking without renting shoes, it's probably worth to just wore Gore-Tex hiking shoes.

Basically I still got cold at night when looked for aurora because it's very windy.
If I will go to Iceland again in winter, I probably will bring another wool or cashmere sweaters, insulated jacket for midlayer, windproof and waterproof jacket with fur hood with bright colour (good for photos), hiking shoes, more wool socks, hand warmers and probably a head lamp.

As for create perfect photos, I will bring extra power bank. I had smart battery case for my iPhone but still it's not enough for the whole day, cold temps drains your battery faster.
Bring tripod, extra batteries and intervalometer if you're planning to take pictures of aurora.

Talking about aurora....

I remember I ever wrote something about my crazy to do list before I died 8 years ago. It's crazy because I don't think it would be checked, not even one item. So it's remind me that I was enchanted with aurora from long time ago.

Reykjavik was 16.819 km from where I was that time, it take 2.921 hours on foot which of course impossible for me to do and more than 21 hours by plane which the ticket price would be insanely expensive for me.

Yet 7.5 years after I made the list, the last item on the list because I was pretty sure it would be the hardest thing to accomplished, I saw that green light dancing with my bare naked eye, the aurora borealis.

The Aurora Borealis in Iceland
A very blurry picture because I was a very bad photographer and still not getting any better
Mission accomplished.

If the aurora borealis is your main purpose why you visit Iceland... it's better not to give a high expectation because it's very depends on the weather. But I said, whenever the sky is clear, get out, look for dark place, as dark as you can get, because there will be a chance for aurora to be seen even the aurora forecaster said is low. But if the aurora activity is high but the night is cloudy, the chance will be smaller. For the aurora forecaster in Iceland it can be checked at

One of the reason why I choose Iceland for the aurora because there are lots of fun things that I could do that will still make my trip great even without the aurora and it's cheaper (no way! Iceland couldn't be a cheaper destination, it's surely very expensive) other than any those places in Scandinavian countries.

Landing at KEF to get to Reykjavik, you can take a public bus, the schedule can be seen in They even have the app both for Android and IOS and the app got Live Map telling you where the buses are, cool isn't it? The price will be 1.840 ISK (around US$18). You can buy the ticket from the app (the most convenient I guess) or from the 'vendors' or from the driver (only for bus running outside Reykjavik) or you just can get one or three day pass card.
If you're using the bus inside Reykjavik it'll need 1 ticket cost 460 ISK, travel to outside Reykjavik the cost will depend on how many payzones the bus get through. Bus from KEF to Reykjavik goes through 4 payzones so it cost 460 ISK x 4. It will be another problem if you need to change the bus, there is this thing called exchange ticket that you can ask from driver. But I don't really know how it works because I don't use this public transportation.
I took Flybus from KEF to BÍS, Reykjavik bus station. It cost 2.700 ISK one way or 4.900 return if you buy online. They offer to drop you in front of your hotel/apartment (the list of the hotel/apartment can be seen in their website) and the cost will be 3.300 ISK one way. From my economic view, I'm fine with BÍS then took bus or just walked to the apartment.

So we're rent an apartment with 2 bedrooms in Grettisgata for about US$220 per night (I could say this was cheap), just 1 block from that famous Laugavegur. A lovely one but unfortunately they're not renting the apartment anymore. We were not able to book any tour for the next day so our AirBnB host gave us a number of his friend that could drove us to whenever in Iceland. Basically he just drove us to whenever we want and of course he gave us a lots good tips and good conversation. I kinda like it this way than get from tour to tour because we had lots of time in one place but of course less place to visit but I can really enjoy the place.

So our second day, cost us 65.000 ISK for the 3 of us in a Land Rover, we hit the Golden Circle.
It's a sunny day with full power of wind. I don't have any words for these places so I'll just show pictures. Those places are b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l. that you need to see them by yourself.

Because a year later, I do comeback to see it again all by myself *biggrinsmilehappyface

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