Iceland is open for travel: check volcano updates here

Solo Travel in Iceland

Is Iceland a Good Place for a Solo Trip? Top Activities and Safety Tips

|December 1, 2023
Anhelina is a travel writer with over five years of experience specializing in Iceland. With a background in foreign languages and translation, she conducts in-depth research to provide readers with detailed insights into Iceland's landscapes, culture, and hidden gems.

Iceland is one of the world's best countries for solo travel. It’s safe, beautiful, and filled with excitement and adventure!


INTRODUCTION TO SOLO TRAVEL IN ICELAND

Iceland, with one of the lowest crime rates in the world, is a safe destination for solo adventurers, including female travelers who appreciate its inclusive and welcoming environment. This friendly country has a chilly climate but a warm welcome, where a great night out is never far away!

Additionally, there’s a lot to see and do in Iceland, and solo travelers enjoy mobility and versatility that groups sometimes don’t have. You are the only one to consult when choosing what to do, making a last-minute change, or deciding how long to stay somewhere.

Besides the practical considerations, the country’s natural beauty makes it attractive. There’s nowhere better for quiet contemplation than under the  Northern Lights, in a hot spring, or while taking in a breathtaking view. And thrill-seekers will love the adventurous side of Iceland, whether that means scuba diving at Silfra Fissure, whale watching, or conquering glaciers and volcanoes.

Visiting Diamond Beach in Iceland offers a unique spectacle, where icebergs from the nearby glacier lagoon wash ashore.

IS ICELAND GOOD FOR SOLO TRAVEL?

Is Iceland good for solo travel? Absolutely. Iceland offers a plethora of natural wonders and activities for solo travelers. From the serene experience of the Northern Lights and relaxing in hot springs to the excitement of glacier hiking and exploring ice caves, the country caters to various interests.

You can explore iconic hiking trails, waterfalls, majestic glaciers, and stunning mountains and volcanoes. The diversity of the Icelandic landscape allows for a rich exploration within a relatively small area, offering solo travelers an array of environments to discover on their own terms.

TOP REASONS FOR SOLO TRAVEL IN ICELAND

One of the top reasons for solo travel in Iceland is the combination of its stunning natural landscapes, the safety and friendliness of the country.

Solo travelers find Iceland ideal for several key reasons.

Iceland's Spectacular Nature

Solo travel in Iceland means immersing oneself in some of the planet's most stunning natural phenomena. Imagine standing alone before the thundering curtains of Gullfoss or the towering cascade of Skógafoss—moments of solitude that resonate with the power of nature. Glaciers like the vast Vatnajökull offer silent, icy realms waiting to be explored.

Adventure at Every Turn

For the intrepid solo explorer, Iceland is a playground of excitement. Envision trekking across ancient glaciers, snorkeling between continental plates, or galloping on a native Icelandic horse through untamed landscapes. The thrill of spotting a humpback whale breach the ocean's surface is a solo memory you won't have to share.

A Compact Treasure Trove

In Iceland, the wonders are densely packed. A solo traveler can wake up to the mist of a waterfall and, by evening, soak in a hot spring under the midnight sun—all within a day's journey.

Freedom to Choose

Traveling solo here means the freedom to linger in a field of lupines or to change course at the sight of an offbeat path. Iceland's laid-back rhythm caters to those who seek to craft their own unique tale.

Exclusive Experiences

Solo in Iceland is to witness the extraordinary: the surreal dance of the Northern Lights or the serene pleasure of a geothermal lagoon. These are experiences that solo travelers cherish, as they speak to the soul's longing for wonder and tranquility.

FEMALE SOLO TRAVEL IN ICELAND

Woman with orange backpack stands facing waterfall in Iceland, mist rising around her as water cascades down lush, green cliffside.

A traveler pauses to admire the cascading Seljalandsfoss Waterfall in Iceland.

This secure environment in Iceland is particularly reassuring for solo female travelers. Iceland is noted for its high regard for gender equality, being repeatedly voted as the top country in the world for this aspect. Women traveling alone in Iceland can expect personal freedom and safety. There is a notable absence of issues like catcalling, and the community is very supportive. If you ever feel uncomfortable, locals and staff in public places are generally very helpful​​.

If you’re particularly concerned about safety as a female solo traveler, consider visiting in the summer when the extended daylight hours mean it never really gets dark. So you don’t have to worry about walking alone after dark.

In addition to safety, the friendliness and warmth of Icelandic people make female solo travelers feel welcome. Despite the Nordic climate, the local community is known for its open and hospitable nature.

So overall, in Iceland solo travelers can comfortably engage with locals and other travelers, enriching their travel experience. For women, and particularly for LGBTQ travelers, Iceland stands out as one of the most advanced countries.

TOP TIPS FOR SOLO TRAVEL TO ICELAND

Traveling solo in Iceland offers a unique blend of adventure and personal discovery. Here's how you can navigate this stunning country with confidence:

  1. Step out of your comfort zone by trying new activities, foods, and joining group tours to engage with the local culture. Small group tours are especially beneficial for seeing sights and meeting other travelers without the stress.

  2. Regularly check forecasts, especially when planning outdoor activities or self-drive tours, to remain flexible and adapt your plans based on weather conditions and new recommendations.

  3. Connect with other solo travelers and locals to share stories, experiences, and possibly get invites to spontaneous local tours or events.

  4. Seek unique Icelandic adventures like geothermal hot springs or lava tube exploration, and appreciate the solitude and freedom offered by Iceland's diverse landscapes.

  5. Manage costs effectively by opting for budget dining options, staying in hostels or Airbnbs, and choosing combo tours over single-activity trips. In urban areas, use public transportation instead of taxis to save money.

  6. Pack light and appropriately for varied terrain, prioritizing practicality and comfort. Waterproof and windproof jackets are essential, as well as other items, that you can find in the full packing list. Remember, Iceland is a place where you dress for the weather, not for fashion.

  7. Use cash sparingly as Iceland is almost a cashless society. Credit and debit cards, including American Express, are widely accepted for most transactions.

  8. For first-time solo travelers, especially those not renting a car, basing yourself in Reykjavik is ideal. The capital city's strategic location allows for convenient day trips to most of Iceland's famous attractions.

By following these tips, you'll be well-prepared to enjoy a memorable and enriching solo travel experience in Iceland.

Discover the joys of independence among Iceland's icy wonders, finding new friendships and unforgettable experiences.

LANGUAGE AND COMMUNICATION IN ICELAND

Fortunately, Iceland is exceptionally accommodating to English-speaking travelers. Most Icelanders, particularly in tourist areas, are fluent in English, making communication straightforward and reducing language barriers. This ease of communication allows solo travelers to navigate the country confidently, interact with locals, and access services without significant language challenges.

While not essential, learning a few basic phrases in the Icelandic language can be fun and respectful. Icelandic, a language closely linked to Old Norse, is unique and ancient. Even simple greetings or thank-you phrases are very appreciated by locals, adding a layer of richness to your interactions. This small effort can open doors to more engaging conversations and deeper cultural immersion.

Most Icelanders, particularly in tourist areas, are fluent in English!

SOCIALIZING IN ICELAND

In Iceland, particularly in Reykjavik and other towns, the social scene is very accessible and friendly, making it easy for solo travelers to meet new people. One effective way to connect with fellow adventurers is through online platforms. Joining Iceland travel groups on Facebook or engaging in discussions on the “Visiting Iceland” subreddit can help you find travel companions, share tips, and plan activities together.

Staying in hostels in Reykjavik is another excellent strategy for socializing. These places often attract solo travelers and provide a communal atmosphere that's perfect for making new friends. If you're looking to share travel costs or find company for day trips, the ride-sharing platform “Samferda” is a practical solution. It allows travelers to connect and plan journeys together, making exploring Iceland more fun and budget-friendly.

Group tours and activities offer a fantastic avenue for meeting people who share your interests. Participating in a guided hike, cultural tour, or Northern Lights hunt not only lets you explore Iceland’s stunning landscapes but also helps you build camaraderie with fellow travelers.

Immersing yourself in local events and cultural activities is another great way to meet both locals and travelers. Attending festivals, local pools and spas, or public events allows you to dive deep into Iceland's vibrant culture. These interactions enrich your travel experience, providing authentic insights into the Icelandic way of life and expanding your social circle.

Group tours and activities offer a fantastic avenue for meeting people who share your interests.

SAFETY OF SOLO TRAVEL IN ICELAND

Is Iceland safe to travel alone? Well, Iceland is one of the safest countries globally, with few serious crimes in the past decade. In such a peaceful environment, even minor incidents can become newsworthy. Notably, Iceland is progressive regarding gender and LGBTQ rights, offering a secure and welcoming environment for women and LGBTQ travelers.

The primary concern in Iceland is not crime but the natural environment. Its stunning landscapes can present risks. Travelers, for instance, might encounter dangerous situations if they disregard safety measures, such as floating away on icebergs or getting caught by strong waves on windy beaches. It's crucial to stay on designated paths and respect nature's power. Activities like ice cave exploration or glacier hiking require a guide – it's not just risky to go alone, it's prohibited.

Lone traveler walks along famous Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach in Iceland, with its stark cliffs and distinctive sea stacks visible in distance.

Remember to stay vigilant for powerful waves while soaking in the views at Reynisfjara Beach, known for its dramatic beauty.

That's exactly why guided tours in Iceland, particularly in remote areas like the Highlands or glacier regions, are a smart choice. These tours offer a safer way to explore and are led by local experts who are familiar with the terrain's quirks and dangers. As a solo traveler, going on a guided tour means you can experience Iceland’s natural beauty safely, under the guidance of someone who knows how to navigate its challenges.

To ensure a safe and enjoyable solo travel experience in Iceland, consider these essential tips:

  • Inform Someone. Always let someone know your itinerary, particularly when venturing into remote areas.

  • Weather Updates. The weather in Iceland can be unpredictable. Stay informed, especially when planning outdoor activities.

  • Choose Guided Tours. For activities like glacier hiking or exploring ice caves, opt for guided tours. Solo ventures in these environments are not advisable.

  • Stay Connected. Ensure your phone is operational in Iceland. Consider getting a local SIM card for better coverage.

  • Respect Natural Hazards. Heed warning signs and stay on marked paths to avoid unforeseen dangers.

  • Avoid Risky Activities. Steer clear of potentially hazardous activities when alone.

  • Have a Backup Plan. Keep alternative routes and emergency contacts ready.

  • Travel Insurance. Essential for unexpected medical issues, lost luggage, or trip cancellations.

  • Secure Important Documents. Keep documents safe and have digital copies available.

  • Trust Your Instincts. Pay attention to your intuition, especially in unfamiliar settings.

  • Stay Vigilant. Despite the low crime rates, always be aware of your belongings and surroundings.

Remember, while Iceland's crime rate is low, its natural environment demands respect and cautious exploration. With these tips in mind, and an expert guide by their side, solo travelers can safely enjoy all that Iceland has to offer.

Person with an orange beanie hikes through an open field in Iceland, with snow-capped mountains in the background.

Keep in mind that despite Iceland's low crime rate, its natural surroundings require careful and respectful exploration.

EXPLORE ICELAND INDEPENDENTLY WITH ARCTIC ADVENTURES

At Arctic Adventures, we specialize in transforming your Iceland solo travel dreams into reality. We focus on creating experiences in Iceland that resonate with your preferences and style.

  • Adventure seekers, nature lovers, or culture enthusiasts, we have a range of tours and activities designed for every kind of solo traveler.

  • Our deep understanding of Iceland's landscapes and culture ensures that you're in safe hands. Our expert guides prioritize your safety and enrich your journey with unique insights and stories.

  • Small group tours provide a fantastic opportunity to meet and connect with other like-minded solo travelers, adding a social dimension to your Icelandic exploration.

  • As a solo traveler with us, rest assured that all logistical aspects of your tours are taken care of. We aim to give you peace of mind to enjoy your adventure fully.

Committed to preserving Iceland’s natural beauty and cultural heritage, we ensure that your travel experience is both enjoyable and sustainable. We can be your travel partner who understands and embraces your solo travel aspirations. With the help of our expertise and guidance, you can create an enriching and exhilarating solo adventure in Iceland.

TOP ACTIVITIES IN ICELAND FOR SOLO TRAVELERS

Iceland offers a variety of activities that are well-suited for solo travelers, providing both the thrill of adventure and the opportunity to meet other travelers. Here's a list of solo-friendly tours and activities, each with a unique appeal for those traveling independently:

Climber ascends a glacial crevasse in Skaftafell, Iceland, equipped with ice axes and crampons against a backdrop of brilliant blue ice.

Scaling the icy walls of Skaftafell, a climber tackles the glacier's challenge.

Glacier Hiking and Ice Climbing

Glacier hiking and ice climbing tours are ideal for solo travelers, because they offer different difficulty levels. You'll join fellow enthusiasts for safety and socializing opportunities. Our guides focus on providing insights into global warming and sustainability alongside the exhilarating experience. Being part of a guided group offers safety and the chance to connect with fellow adventure enthusiasts.

Glacier hiking in Iceland is one of the most popular choices for all travelers, and can only be done with a certified guide.

Snorkeling in Silfra

Silfra, renowned for its stunning visibility, is a fissure between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Snorkeling in Silfra is an opportunity to glide between continents in water so pure it’s drinkable.  As you float in the near-surreal clarity of Silfra, you’ll witness an underwater world unlike any other, with vibrant colors and geological formations. For those looking to deepen their snorkeling experience, we offer the opportunity to earn a drysuit diving certification.

Northern Lights Hunt

Perfect for solo adventurers in search of magic and contemplation. Chasing the Northern Lights provides a unique blend of exhilaration and peaceful introspection, making it an ideal experience for those seeking excitement and quiet reflection moments.

Silhouette of person stands in glass cabin under vibrant green aurora borealis in night sky.

Solitary figure marvels at the aurora borealis, a magical moment for any solo traveler in the quiet of the night.

Exploring the Golden Circle

Golden Circle tour is a must-do, whether you choose a self-drive adventure or a small group tour. This journey allows you to discover Iceland's famous iconic sites. While the tour follows a set itinerary, it offers the unique advantage of shared experiences and insights, allowing solo travelers to enjoy the journey with fellow enthusiasts and learn more about each destination's significance.

Hiking and Trekking

With expert guides leading the way, you'll explore breathtaking landscapes and hidden trails, ensuring a safe and enriching experience. Our hiking and trekking tours cater to various difficulty levels and interests, from leisurely walks to more challenging treks. Join us to connect with nature and like-minded travelers, making your solo hike a personal journey and a shared adventure.

Ice Cave Exploring ( or Lava Caving)

Our specialized tours for solo travelers take you into Iceland's mesmerizing ice caves and ancient lava tunnels. Led by expert guides, you'll safely explore these unique formations, gaining insights into Iceland's volcanic and glacial landscapes. Each cave offers its own unique beauty and adventure, from glittering ice walls to intricate lava shapes, making it a must-do for those seeking to uncover the less-trodden and intriguing parts of Iceland's natural wonders.

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT ICELAND FOR SOLO TRAVELERS

CONCLUSION

In Iceland, solo travel offers an unparalleled opportunity for personal growth, adventure, and self-discovery. Iceland welcomes solo adventurers with its safe environment, breathtaking landscapes, and warm-hearted community. Whether you seek tranquility under the Northern Lights, the thrill of exploring glaciers and volcanoes, or the simple joy of connecting with nature and yourself, Iceland is a destination that fulfills and exceeds expectations.

As you prepare for your solo adventure in Iceland, remember to balance your independence with safety, embrace the unexpected, and take the time to appreciate the moments of solitude and connection.

With its enchanting landscapes and welcoming spirit, Iceland is the perfect setting for this transformative experience. So pack your bags, set your sights on this Nordic wonder, and embark on your solo journey.

Kayaker in a red kayak and life jacket paddles in the waters near the snow-covered Kirkjufell mountain in Iceland.

Set against insanely beautiful landscapes, Iceland welcomes solo travelers to transformative experiences.

FAQ ABOUT SOLO TRAVEL IN ICELAND

Solo travelers often have specific questions and concerns about their journey. Here are some frequently asked questions about solo travel in Iceland:

Is Iceland safe for solo female travelers?

Yes. Iceland is one of the safest countries in the world for all tourists, thanks to its low crime rate and friendly, community-oriented society. This makes it an ideal destination for solo travelers, including women​​.

Can I easily navigate Iceland as an English speaker?

Yes, English is widely spoken in Iceland, especially in tourist areas, making it easy for English-speaking travelers to communicate, navigate, and access services​​.

What is the best time of year to visit Iceland for solo travel?

Iceland is a year-round destination, but you should do some research before planning your trip. Summer offers milder weather and longer daylight hours, ideal for exploring the outdoors. Winter, while colder and darker, allows to see the Northern Lights.

How can I meet other travelers or locals in Iceland?

Staying in hostels or guesthouses, joining group tours, and participating in local events are great ways to meet both travelers and locals. Engaging in conversations at cafes and bars can also lead to new acquaintances.​​

Are there any cultural norms I should be aware of?

Icelanders are generally informal but appreciate politeness and respect for personal space. It’s customary to remove shoes when entering someone’s home and to respect nature by staying on marked paths and not disturbing wildlife.

What should I pack for a trip to Iceland?

Pack layers, including waterproof and windproof clothing, sturdy walking or hiking shoes, a warm hat, gloves, and a scarf. We created a complete packing guide you can use.

How can I stay safe while exploring Iceland?

Stay informed about the weather, inform others of your travel plans, respect natural hazards, and always have a backup plan. Carrying travel insurance and ensuring your mobile phone works in Iceland are also essential safety measures​​.

Can I drive around Iceland as a solo traveler?

Yes, self-driving is a popular way to explore Iceland. The country has a well-maintained Ring Road that covers many major attractions. However, always check road conditions and weather forecasts before setting out, especially in winter​​.

How can I budget effectively for a solo trip to Iceland?

Plan your budget considering accommodation, food, transportation, and activities. Look for budget-friendly options like hostels, public transport, and free attractions. Pre-booking tours and accommodations can also help manage costs​​. Check prices in Iceland for more information.

Related Tours

Related Blogs