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5 Reasons Why Iceland Was My Favorite Destination For Solo Travel This Year

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Iceland has seen a major increase in tourism: and it’s easy to see why. I visited for the first time 2 years ago and then went back 4 more times soon after. It’s almost impossible not to fall in love with the differing landscapes, friendly locals, and colorful main city. 

Continuously on the list as one of the safest travel destinations in the world, Iceland is attracting hordes of solo travelers looking to venture throughout the country. 

I’ve traveled around Iceland in many capacities: solo, by van, with tour guides, and later with family. There’s something magical about experiencing a varying landscape every few minutes. Glaciers on one side and volcanic fields on the other.

If you’re looking for somewhere to begin your solo travel adventures, then this small Nordic Island is a good place to start for all travelers. 

woman touching ice in iceland

The Size of the Country

While you could technically drive the whole Ring Road around Iceland in about 24 hours, a more realistic time frame would be about 6-10 days, depending on your stops and route. 

Luckily if you’re renting a car or van in Iceland, the main roads are pretty straightforward. Icelanders and tourists are respectful on roads, and you’ll rarely hear the honk of a horn. 

Although it is the second-largest island in Europe, Iceland has a very compact feel to it. With a population of about 140,000, the main city of Reykjavik feels homely and easy to navigate. 

Of course, there are parts of Reykjavik where the locals live, but the central part of the city is connected by a few main streets. Once you’ve walked it once or twice, you get the hang of where to go. 

iceland nature mountains

Hotels and Hostels

Compared to most places I’ve traveled, it’s really easy to get to know the hotel staff and other travelers in Iceland because of its size and family feel. 

Having worked with Center Hotels, I've stayed at most of their locations in Iceland and definitely recommend it for solo travelers. My favorite of them all is Center Hotels Laugavegur. You’ll see the same staff, some of the same travelers, and it’s central to everything (with a happy hour).

There are also quite a few hostels in town for budget travelers. I stayed at both the Kex Hostel and Loft HI Hostel. They’re both right in Reykjavik and are popular for solo travelers and locals. Both have buzzing bar areas and events throughout the week.

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whale watching in iceland

The People

After years of travel, I think I’ve found some of the nicest people: and they’re in Iceland! Icelanders are extremely proud of their country and aren’t afraid to share this with visitors. 

I’ve visited Iceland around 5 times now and have always met the cheeriest people on my trips, at restaurants, and in the streets. If you’re traveling alone, they’re very willing to help with recommendations and travel tips and will even sit and chat.

Icelanders are genuinely happy people, and that emanates to those passing through. After taking over 15 tours in Iceland, I have always felt the passion of the locals as they share their home with me. 

The Black sands of Reynisfjara Beach in Iceland

Day Tours

Yes, almost every country offers day tours, but the ones in Iceland are on a whole new level. When you’re traveling to the South Coast for a 10-hour day trip with a bunch of strangers, it’s virtually impossible not to make a friend or two along the way. 

Day tours in Iceland are almost targeted at solo travelers. If you want to stay in Reykjavik, try any of the boat tours from the Old Harbor or the walking food tour. I tried this tour my first time visiting as a solo traveler and met so many travelers and locals.

There’s so much to do here; it’s really difficult to get bored. As a solo traveler, it’s nice to fill up your schedule while traveling, and Iceland makes this easy. 

Aerial View Of Reykjavik, Iceland

Safety

In 2023, Iceland made it to the number 1 spot as the safest country in the world. Peaceful, with very low crime rates, Iceland has an aura about it that makes you feel instantly at ease upon arrival.

I’ve traveled to over 31 countries, and I have to say I definitely felt the most safe here. Venturing out past midnight during the summer months or walking around in the darkness of the winter, I’ve never felt unsafe here as a solo traveler. 

Like anywhere, it’s always important to remain diligent, but crime is a rarity in Iceland. If you’re staying in Reykjavik, most hotels are located within walking distance of everything, so you’ll feel safe strolling around any time of the day or night.

Aerial view of the city of Reykjavik Iceland

Natural Wonders

I’ve never been more in awe of a place. Even driving from the airport, I noticed how special the landscapes were in Iceland. If you explore the Golden Circle, you’ll see impressive waterfalls and geysers, but then venture to the South Coast, and you’re met with black-sand beaches and glaciers. 

Iceland is a nature-lovers paradise. A lot of the country is reminiscent of Ireland, while the rest looks like a landscape from Mars. There’s something here for every type of traveler to experience. 

A person standing near a turquoise river surrounded by large volcanic formations in Iceland

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Michelle

Monday 3rd of July 2023

Iceland is one of the most expensive countries I’ve been to. It’s beautiful but definitely don’t recommend on a budget. The dollar does not go far at all. By that I mean a 10 minute Uber drive is at least $30.