Thinking of travelling solo for the first time? You should totally do that. But if you’re struggling with the ‘where’s and the ‘how’s, I have a recommendation for you. Iceland wasn’t actually my first solo trip. But after spending four days there as a solo female traveller, I realised that it’s the perfect destination if you’re thinking of striking out on your own for the first time – whatever your gender.
It’s beautiful, safe, welcoming and easy to get around, and here are some great reasons why Iceland is a no-brainer for your first solo travel adventure.
It’s not overwhelming
Iceland itself is a pretty small country, and also the most sparsely populated one in Europe. Which means for a first time solo traveller, it feels very manageable. The capital city of Reykjavik definitely feels more like a large town than a full-on city, and the whole attitude there is a pretty relaxed one.
You can take advantage of cheaper accommodation in hostel dorms
While hotel accommodation in Reykjavik can be v.v. pricey (especially so in the high summer season), hostel dorms are still pretty affordable if you’re visiting Iceland on a budget.
And if you’re travelling solo, dorm rooms are the way to go on this one. If you’re worried about noisy roommates, I found travellers in Iceland to be much more relaxed than the party enthusiasts that would frequent hotels in cheaper European cities. Mainly because it’s HELLA EXPENSIVE to get lairy drunk here.
Other reasons hostels are a great option: You can cook your own food in the kitchen to avoid Iceland’s ridiculous restaurant prices, and you’ll get to meet other travellers too.
(If you’re not keen on hostels or simply not sure where to start, check out this helpful guide on where to stay in Iceland here!)
There’ll be lots of other travellers to meet
Relating to the end of my point above – Iceland has become a popular destination for young and young-at-heart travellers the world over, so chances are you’ll bump into plenty of people doing the same as you. Within half an hour of arriving, I was heading to the supermarket with a Canadian girl I’d met in my dorm and within a day, I was invited along to an opera show by another solo female traveller in my room.
Crime rates are low, so it feels super safe
Crime rates in Iceland are noticeably lower than in other countries of a similar size – with violent crime practically non-existent. Of course, petty crime such as pickpocketing does still occur – but walking the streets of Reykjavik as a solo female traveller, I felt perfectly safe all the time. It’s so safe that the police probably spend more time developing the community curating their awesome Instagram account than actually having any major crimes to deal with!
There are loads of tours you can take to see the country
When I was planning my solo trip to Iceland, I saw a lot of recommendations to hire a car. But personally, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable driving alone in the winter conditions (I 100% recommend visiting in winter BTW), so I booked onto a couple of tours instead. And they were really good.
You can read a bit more about my Golden Circle tour in a dedicated post, but with Reykjavik hotel pick-ups available, they’re a great no-hassle way for solo travellers to see some of the great attractions in Iceland for first time visitors.
It’s also pretty easy to navigate on your own
If you ARE planning on making your Iceland adventure a solo road trip, it’s a pretty easy place to get around. The roads are quiet, and there’s one big ring road that goes all the way around the island, that would take about 13 hours to drive with no stops. Obviously you want ALL THE STOPS though.
The locals all speak pretty brilliant English
One of the things that can make a first time solo traveller apprehensive is a language barrier. Thankfully, in Iceland, all the locals speak very good English. In fact, some probably spoke my own language better than I could. Sara, our Reykjavik Walking Tour guide, told us that studying English and Danish is part of the curriculum, as well as other language options, so it’s no wonder many Icelanders are so fluently multi-lingual!
It’s bloody beautiful
Obvious really. I mean, your Instagram following will TOTALLY thank you for your visit.