Iceland Solo Travel
Updated: Nov 10, 2020
You’re ready to take that trip to the countries you’ve always dreamed of visiting. You’ve asked your closest friends if they would like to join you, but they’ve come up with excuses. You’re nervous to go on your own, but you really want to have an adventure. You’re thinking maybe you should start somewhere that safety isn’t an issue. A place where you can meet other travelers in an exciting, secure environment. Welcome to the guide to Iceland solo travel.
How to Solo Travel Iceland?
The land of ice and fire is consistently voted the safest country in the world. We have an extremely low crime rate and a dedicated Police service. If you want to travel solo but are nervous about the risks, Iceland is a great place to start. There are no big cities (the largest urban area, the Capital Region, which includes Reykjavík, which contains less than 230,000 people). It’s easy to make friends here, with plenty of hostels around the country designed to encourage socialization. You’ll never get lonely as long as you put yourself out there and make an effort. Start conversations with the people you share a dorm with, and who knows what adventure will follow.
What kind of solo trip you have depends on what you want to achieve during your time in Iceland. Perhaps your goal is to explore as much of the country as possible, visiting every hike and every hot spring. Or, perhaps you want to experience the culture and nightlife of the capital. Or maybe a mixture of both. If your itinerary is focused on the former, car rental, backpacking equipment, and camping sites will be crucial. If you want to embrace the latter, knowledge of public bus services and the best hostels and bars will do. Decide what you want your trip to look like and plan based on that premise. Your trip outlook will be determined by whether you want to socialize a lot or be alone in Icelandic nature.
My personal recommendation is to establish a plan but be open to it changing if opportunities arise. Of course, a structured itinerary whereby everything is booked in advance will give you peace of mind. But it’s best to leave gaps whereby you can embark on spontaneous adventures. In my travels, some of the best days out I’ve had with new friends were decided that same morning.
Traveling Around Iceland Alone
As I mentioned, there is a very low risk when it comes to personal safety from crime here. But that does not mean there are not hazards. Iceland is known for its extremes of weather and landscape, and extra precautions should be taken for solo travelers.
It’s recommended to download the 112 Iceland app. This allows you to log the route you take with the emergency services, by notifying them of your location. It’s simple to do this: just hit the ‘Check In’ button on the app. You can do this as often as you want. That way, if something does happen, they’ll know the last location you checked in at. If you are in need of assistance, the other button on the app is labeled ‘Emergency’. This will send the emergency services a text message, which includes your current location. Of course, this app isn’t just designed for solo travelers; everyone should have it if they’re traveling to Iceland.
Another consideration should be made for those that are planning to travel into the highlands. This is the interior of Iceland and is uninhabited, aside from a few campsites set up in the summer months. Of the roads that lead up to this area, known as F roads, many require river fording. First of all, you need to have the right vehicle and weather to do this; you can read more here. It’s recommended to cross when there are other vehicles nearby, in case you get stuck. If you meet other travelers who are planning to visit the same place, why not travel in a convoy? That way, you can all look out for each other.
Of course, even in the safest places, it’s important to exercise common sense. While crime among Icelanders is low, over two million tourists visit the country per year. Don’t leave your belongings lying around.
Other Good Apps for Solo Travellers
If you’re in Iceland to party, download the Appy Hour app. It will tell you the best places to go and at what times to get great deals. For those road-tripping, download the Iceland Road Guide app. This contains important information about amenity buildings such as hotels and hostels. If you’re scared about getting lost in the wild by yourself, don’t be. Free camping and off-road driving are both illegal in Iceland, so stick to the roads and registered campsites. Even in the smallest Icelandic communities, there will be places to stay and people who speak good English. Wapp is an app that contains hiking routes, for those who want to explore the rural areas.
Solo Female Travel Guide Iceland
Even on the weekends among rowdy people, it’s difficult to feel unsafe in Reykjavík. Yes, people in bars and clubs can get out of control here like they can anywhere. Be firm with someone if they cross boundaries, and you will probably find people around you jumping to your assistance. Most people in Iceland speak fluent English, so you don’t need to worry about a language barrier.
There is no Uber or Lyft in Iceland, so walking home or taking a taxi or bus are your options. On Friday and Saturday nights, buses run later; read about that here. And taxis don’t drive around waiting to be whistled; you have to call one. There are two main Icelandic taxi companies: Hreyfill Bæjarleiðir and BSR. Here are their numbers: Hreyfill is +354-588-5522, and BSR is +354-561-0000.
Iceland is ranked first in the world for gender equality. So, the ladies reading this can rest assured that Iceland is a safe place to travel solo around.
Iceland Solo Travel
Traveling solo is incredibly enriching; it forces you to make decisions for yourself, without friends or family holding your hand. Through this, we can discover our true individual potential. You find out just how capable you are when you are in an unfamiliar country by yourself. Now, you may not always have someone there to take a picture of you in a beautiful landscape. This is where a small tripod comes in handy. Use solo travel as an opportunity to test your confidence with strangers, and to embrace solitude. It’s wonderful to enjoy the peace and quiet of being alone on top of a mountain. Or, you could just talk to yourself.
Samuel Hogarth, Reykjavik Cars.