Have you always wanted to travel solo but just haven’t been able to get up the courage? Or maybe you’re not sure where to go. Perhaps you’re concerned about safety, language barriers, or feeling lonely and bored. Every solo traveler thinks about those things – it’s natural.
There are many places that I could recommend where you’d be safe, where language is no problem, and there is no shortage of things to see and do. But if you want to do something really adventurous and perfect for solo travel, I recommend Iceland.
Iceland is a top destination on almost every traveler’s bucket list for good reason — it’s a supernatural landscape of beautiful waterfalls, glaciers, active volcanoes, bubbling hot springs, and geysers. It’s also one of the best places in the world for a Northern lights holiday (aurora borealis), a phenomena of nature that everyone should see at least once.
Imagine hiking a glacier, floating in geothermal waters, or descending into the heart of a volcano. With so many incredible things to do, it’s pretty clear you’re not going to be bored in Iceland.
Many people tell me they’d love to try solo travel but think it’s more fun to share experiences with another human. While that can be true sometimes, I believe the confidence gained from traveling alone and the freedom to change plans at a moments notice make those special experiences even sweeter. Perhaps the key thing I’ve learned is that it is better to do something that you want to do on your own, than to wait for someone to go with you and risk never doing it. I’m a big fan of solo travel for many reasons, and not having to schedule around other people is one of the top ones.
Why Iceland Makes A Perfect Solo Trip
Which brings me to another reason Iceland is perfect for solo travelers – it’s called Stopover Buddy Service. Sponsored by Iceland Air, they will assign you a local to show you around at no charge! When you book your ticket, just sign up for the service and let them know what your interests are.
Another way to meet other travelers is to take a tour – you can choose from hundreds of day trips and tours in Iceland. If you stay in Reykjavik most tour companies offer direct pickup from your accommodation to visit the top sights. Tours are a great option for meeting other people who want to do the same things. At the very least you are not by yourself all day.
But wait, do they speak English in Iceland?
The native language is Icelandic, however most locals speak fluent English. Signs at tourist attractions are in both Icelandic and English.
What about safety concerns?
Iceland has been voted one of the safest countries in the world for eight years running and has the third lowest crime rate in the world. See what the UK’s Daily Mail has to say.
Now that you’re considering a solo trip, here’s a primer on the top attractions in Iceland.
Reykjavik is not the largest capital city in the world, but it is rich in culture and history. Plan at least a day to two to wander its charming streets, visit a local market, and relax over a coffee or beer in one of the many pubs. Then, fortified with some local sustenance, discover the monuments and charm of Reykjavik.
The most recognizable landmark is the Hallgrimskirkja Church, the tallest building in Reykjavik. The church’s tower is the best place to get a 360 degree view of the city, and the church itself is one of the most photographed sites in the country. The church is open daily, but as it is a working church, it is subject to unscheduled closures due to weddings and funerals.
The Ultimate Spa Experience at the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is a geothermic pool located in the midst of lava fields about thirty miles from Reykjavik. Though there are many other geothermal sites around Iceland, the Blue Lagoon is by far the most popular, probably due to its close proximity to the capital city. If ti’s privacy you seek, perhaps this is not the place for you. If crowds are no problem, suit up and dive in – the water’s fine.
The Northern Lights
If your main reason for visiting Iceland is to see and photograph the Northern Lights, you should know that there are no guarantees. But don’t let that stop you – this is a transcendental experience, worth the effort. Your best chance is to book a tour with experienced guides. Bonus: if you are not successful, they will offer you the chance to try again at no additional charge the following day. Book early in your trip, just in case.
The best time for viewing the Northern Lights is from September through April. You’ll also need a clear, cold, and dark night sky. Don’t forget to dress warmly, and bring your camera and a tripod.
The Golden Circle of Natural Wonders
As they are all within a day trip from Reykjavik, you can easily visit three of Iceland’s most stellar sights Thingvellin Park, where you can see the tectonic rift between continental Europe and North America, Gullfoss waterfall, and Strokkur waterspout at Geysir. This is one of the most popular tours for visitors, not only for the scheduled stops, but for the opportunity to view Iceland’s incredible landscape as you drive through the countryside.
So go ahead and book your solo trip and start planning to see some of Iceland’s astounding natural attractions. For more ideas about what to see and do in Iceland read National Geographics’s Iceland For Any Travler.