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Iceland has seen a huge increase in tourism: and it’s easy to see why. I first visited 2 years ago then returned 4 more times shortly after. It is almost impossible not to fall in love with the different landscapes, the friendly locals and the colorful main city.
Continually listed as one of the world’s safest travel destinations, Iceland is attracting hordes of solo travelers looking to venture across the country.
I have traveled Iceland in many ways: solo, by van, with tour guides, and then with my family. There is something magical about experiencing a landscape that changes every few minutes. Glaciers on one side and volcanic fields on the other.
If you’re looking for a place to start your solo travel adventures, this small Nordic island is a good place to start for all travelers.
the size of the country
While you could technically drive the entire 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 are going to rent a car or van in Iceland, the main roads are fairly easy. Icelanders and tourists are respectful on the roads and you will rarely hear the honk.
Although it is the second largest island in Europe, Iceland has a very compact feel. With a population of around 140,000, the main city of Reykjavik feels homey and easy to get around.
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 used to where to go.
Hotels and Hostels
Compared to most places I have traveled to, it is very easy to meet hotel staff and other travelers in Iceland due to its size and family atmosphere.
Having worked with Center Hotels, I have stayed at most of their locations in Iceland and definitely recommend them for solo travellers. My favorite out of all of them 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 the city for budget travelers. I stayed at both the Kex hostel and the Loft HI hostel. Both are right in Reykjavik and are popular with locals and solo travelers alike. Both have lively bar areas and events throughout the week.
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After years of travelling, I think I’ve met some of the nicest people – and they’re in Iceland! Icelanders are very proud of their country and are not afraid to share it with visitors.
I have visited Iceland about 5 times and have always met the happiest people on my travels, in restaurants and on the streets. If you are traveling alone they are very willing to help you with travel recommendations and tips and will even sit down and chat.
Icelanders are a genuinely happy people, and that is reflected in those passing through. After doing more than 15 tours in Iceland, I have always felt the passion of the locals when they share their home with me.
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 drive with a group of strangers, it’s virtually impossible not to make a friend or two along the way.
Day trips in Iceland are almost aimed at solo travelers. If you want to stay in Reykjavik, try any of the boat tours from the Old Port or the food walking tour. I tried this tour my first time visiting as a solo traveler and met a lot of travelers and locals.
There is a lot to do here; it is very difficult to get bored. As a solo traveler, it’s good to fill your schedule while traveling, and Iceland makes it easy.
In 2023, Iceland made it to the #1 spot as the safest country in the world. Laid back, with very low crime rates, Iceland has an aura that makes you feel instantly at ease upon arrival.
I have traveled to over 31 countries and I have to say that I definitely felt safer here. Venturing after midnight during the summer months or walking in the dark of winter, I never felt unsafe here as a solo traveler.
As anywhere, it’s always important to be 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 walking around at any time of the day or night.
I have never been more in awe of a place. Even driving from the airport, I realized how special Iceland’s landscapes were. If you explore the Golden Circle, you’ll see impressive waterfalls and geysers, but then venture to the south coast and you’ll be met with black sand beaches and glaciers.
Iceland is a paradise for nature lovers. Much of the country is reminiscent of Ireland, while the rest looks like a landscape from Mars. There is something here for every type of traveler to experience.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com