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Iceland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and you may be surprised to learn that solo travel in Iceland is extremely easy!
Even driving alone in Iceland is very manageable.
And that means a lot coming from me the person who sweats through her shirt every single time she drives it makes her so anxious.
Would Iceland be the first place in Europe I would recommend new solo travellers to visit? No, but I also wouldn’t tell someone not to take a solo trip there!
The only reason I didn’t include Iceland in the best European countries for solo female travellers is because it is expensive.
If money isn’t an issue for you, then it is hard to beat solo travel to Iceland!
But there are a few things you need to know before your first solo trip to Iceland. Lucky for you, I made a lot of mistakes the first time I visited Iceland alone.
I’m sharing everything I wish I knew before my solo travel to Iceland, so you don’t make the same mistakes I did!
1. Driving is Fine (Except for Reykjavík)
I hate driving and try to avoid it at all costs. Unfortunately, it is hard to visit Iceland and experience the country with a car, so I sucked it up and rented a car and drove around the island.
I was really nervous since it was my first time driving abroad, but it was actually a really pleasant experience.
There isn’t much traffic outside Reykjavík, most of the roads are in good condition, and the driving is quite easy and stress free.
There are some places outside Reykjavík where the driving can be a little tough to navigate, but it is easy to avoid areas like that.
The only time you’ll run into situations like that are if you try to drive up to the top of a mountain or something extreme like that.
If you’re just driving along the normal highway and to tourist attractions along the way, you won’t have any issue driving!
Just be sure to fill up whenever you see a gas station! They are few and far between in rural Iceland, and if you skip one, you can easily find yourself running on fumes before you make it to the next gas station.
You don’t want that to happen! With so few people on the road, it could take hours before a car comes by to help you, and it could take hours to walk to the nearest gas station.
Driving in Reykjavík is a different story than driving through the rest of the country though.
There are a number of one-way streets, narrow streets, and parking can be tough.
My recommendation is to find a parking spot near your hotel if you’re staying the night and walk around Reykjavík.
If you’re not staying at a hotel and are just spending a few hours in Reykjavík, find a parking spot at the edge of town and then walk around the city centre.
There are lots of large parking lots near the water. That’s the first place I would try to find a parking stall!
2. You Need Pocket Wifi
No matter whether you’re planning to solo travel in Iceland or travel with a group of friends, having a plan to access the internet is essential.
It is basically impossible to find free wifi outside your hotel room.
My top recommendation is to rent pocket wifi from your car rental company (instead of a GPS system since you can use GoogleMaps with the pocket wifi) or a third-party pocket wifi rental company like Trawire.
This allows you to access the internet wherever you are in Iceland.
You can easily contact your loved ones back home, post on social media, find the nearest restaurant or gas station, or call for help by using a pocket wifi device.
No matter how secluded a location you’re in.
Renting pocket wifi is without a doubt worth the extra money- especially in Iceland.
Having the internet at the tip of your fingers is a luxury in Iceland, and you’ll most likely wish you rented pocket wifi if you choose not to.
You’ll be surprised how many times you go to pull out your phone for directions, nearby attractions, or to find food.
I always highly recommend you install a VPN on your phone and laptop, so you’re safe and protected while using the public wifi in hotels.
You don’t want your personal data stolen while you’re in rural Iceland and go through the headache of trying to cancel your credit cards because they have been compromised.
3. Watch for Tourist Attractions as You Drive
One of the most interesting things I discovered on my first solo trip to Iceland was the number of markers along the side of the road indicating where tourist attractions are.
When I was planning my first trip to Iceland, I mapped out where the major tourist attractions were and planned my trip around them, but I had no idea how many smaller, unique tourist attractions I would stumble across when driving.
There are countless little stops along the highway you can make, and I recommend you do!
Most of them don’t take too long to visit, but they are very interesting.
There are normally information plaques that teach you about the attraction, and you learn a lot about Icelandic history and culture through these tourist attraction.
There are small(ish) signs along the highway pointing the way to these tourist attractions. If they sound interesting at all to you, take the extra five or ten minutes to visit them.
It is well worth the time, and it doesn’t set you too far back in your daily schedule.
In fact, you should just factor in an extra hour or two each day to leave time to visit these unexpected tourist attractions.
There were definitely a highlight of my first trip to Iceland!
4. Book Accommodation Well in Advance
I don’t like to book accommodation too far in advance when I travel. I like the freedom and flexibility to change my travel plans.
That strategy, however, does not work in Iceland.
There aren’t too many places to stay when you’re driving through rural Iceland, and the good hotels book up quickly.
As soon as you know you’re visiting Iceland and have an idea of what part of the island you’re visiting, figure out roughly where you’ll be staying each night and book your hotel.
This is even more important when you solo travel in Iceland because you don’t want to be stuck in a dump of a hotel all alone.
Or even possibly sleeping in your car alone because you didn’t book a place to stay in time!
5. Let Someone Know Where You’re Going
This isn’t the type of tip I normally give solo travellers, but I think it is an important tip for people partaking in solo travel in Iceland.
Most of Iceland is pretty rural, so I always recommend solo travellers let a loved one back home know what their plans are for the day.
Let someone know your end destination for the day and anywhere you plan to go hiking alone.
It is probably overkill to do this, but it is an added layer of protection in case you get lost hiking or your car breaks down.
6. Iceland is More Expensive than You Think
I knew Iceland was expensive, but I wasn’t prepared for how expensive it actually is.
It is painfully expensive to say the least, but it is so worth the money! It is one of the most beautiful and unique countries in the world.
I’m talking $20USD for a 6 inch veggie sub at Subway expensive.
The good news is that almost all of the tourist attractions you want to visit are free, so you don’t have to miss out on any amazing sights because of the cost.
The bad news is that food, gas, and accommodation will eat through whatever budget you do have pretty quickly.
Some bloggers say that you can visit Iceland for $100USD per day. Technically you could, but it would be a stretch.
You would have to stay at budget hotels, barely eat, and not drive too far because of gas prices.
I think $150USD to $200 USD per day is a far more realistic budget.
It is better to have a little extra money in your bank account on the way home than running out of money partway through your trip.
So, budget accordingly and safe a little more money than you think you need.
Because the prices in Iceland might just blow your socks off!
7. Don’t Try to See it All in One Trip
Iceland may look small on the map, but it is bigger than you think!
Unless you spend a month in Iceland, you can’t see the entire island when you solo travel in Iceland.
There is simply too much to see.
Pick one section of the island and focus on that area. There are plenty of things to see and do, so you won’t run out of activities.
My personal favourite part of Iceland is the south part of the island. I love the attractions and landscape, but you may prefer the north part of the island.
Research what to do in each quadrant of Iceland before your trip and decide what part of the island you want to spend your time.
Try to pack too much into your solo trip to Iceland, and you won’t have time to stop and enjoy the unique sights along the way.
8. Iceland is Extremely Safe
According to the World Peace Index, Iceland is the safest country in the world. Not only is Iceland the safest country in the world, but it has been ranked the safest country in the world 13 years in a row!
There really is no safer country is the world than Iceland!
There is basically no crime in the country, and the crime rate is less than 1%! That’s incredible and no other country even comes close to Iceland in terms of crime rate and safety.
This is great news for people planning a solo trip to Iceland.
You can confidently travel alone in Iceland and not have to worry about your safety. This is super reassuring because you’ll likely be the only person driving on many of the rural roads.
You can walk alone at night, go hiking by yourself, or anything else you can think of and be safe.
In the odd chance something happens, any local will be able to help you or if the situation warrants it, you can always go to the police.
I highly doubt that will happen though!
The only problem you’re likely going to run across while partaking in solo travel in Iceland is a herd of sheep blocking the road. 😉
9. Bring a Warm Jacket No Matter What Time of Year it is
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when you solo travel to Iceland (and one I certainly made) is not brining a jacket.
No matter what time of year you’re visiting Iceland.
I’ve visited in April, May, and June, and it has been cold, rainy, and windy on every trip. Even at the height of summer, you can get hit with a cold wind storm or a rain storm.
You need to be prepared and have a water proof jacket in your bag.
Trust me. You’ll kick yourself in the butt if you don’t pack one!
You may think it’ll take up too much room in your bag, but it is an essential item.
You may even want to throw in a headband and gloves while you’re at it. I use all my warm items on every trip to Iceland. Even when I think it the warmest time of year, and I don’t need them.
And you don’t want to be stuck buying warm items while in Iceland. That’ll break the bank for sure!
Solo travel in Iceland is an unforgettable experience.
It is freeing, exhilarating, and is a bucket list experience you’ll be glad you have.
I think Iceland is a great place to travel alone, but it isn’t for everybody. And that solely comes down to the price.
If you’re on a tight budget, then you may want to consider visiting somewhere else on your solo trip where you can maybe go for longer or splurge on fun experiences.
If you have a healthy budget, then you can’t go wrong planning a solo trip to Iceland.
It really comes down to your travel priorities and what you can afford on any particular trip.
That being said, I think everybody should try to save up for a trip to Iceland at least once in their life.
It is truly a country like no other, and you have to experience it to fully understand its unique beauty and charm.