Solo Travel in Iceland
Girl about the Globe (GatG) – Nature GatG, Wellness GatG
Iceland is such an amazing country to visit and very safe for solos. If you are planning a trip to Iceland, below is our solo travel to Iceland guide to inspire you. Happy planning!
N.b. For every booking made through this article, I donate money to projects helping vulnerable girls about the globe. Thank you for helping to make a difference to their lives.
- Why Visit Iceland
- Best Things To Do in Iceland
- Iceland Tours
- Where To Stay in Iceland
- Getting Around Iceland
- What Does it Cost To Travel To Iceland?
- Icelandic Phrases
- Best Place To Get Coffee
- Travelling From Iceland Airport
- How To Be a Conscious Traveller in Iceland
- Plan Your Iceland Holidays
- Map of Iceland
With landscapes that look like they’ve been lifted straight out of fairytale books, it’s easy to see why Iceland has been tipped to top travel trends this year. The need to break away from smog-filled cities and breathe non-toxic air is heightened when you step outside at 8am in the morning, head bleary-eyed to the nearest coffee shop and find you are the only one there. So far removed from your commuting Starbucks fight that you’ll shake your head in disbelief.
Take back the feeling of adventure as you wander across the island; bringing you to shooting geysers, vast ice-sheened volcanic plates and gravity-defying crystal caves. Immerse yourself in stripped-back terrain, where clusters of trees get called a forest and hundreds of miles pass without signs of a single house, let alone town. Have your breath taken away at the extreme geography that confronts you, daring to be challenged.
Throughout your whole trip in this spellbinding country, you’ll feel inferior to the wonders of nature. Waterfalls will gush over you and glaciers will loom behind you, standing on top of mountains, legs astride, glancing down at the jagged edges, you’ll be reminded that we are just a tiny speck on this giant planet of ours.
* Before you travel, check what paperwork or visas are required for Iceland.
Best Things To Do in Iceland
When you solo travel Iceland, you’re most likely to fly into Keflavik Airport, Iceland’s main international hub and here begins the exploring. Reykjavik’s positioning means that travelling to all the featured landmarks is relatively easy. The drive to Vik (and the rest of the Southern attractions) takes anything from 6 – 8 hours (thank ice, snow and wandering cattle for the varied journey times.)
The shooting Geysir’s are an Icelandic bucket list essential. They are a rare form of detonating water, similar to jet-like explosions. A true natural phenomenon to behold on your Icelandic exploration.
The allusive Northern Lights is something that you can’t leave Iceland without at least attempting to see. There are plenty of tours that will take you away from the major towns (the lights are brighter in complete darkness) with a coach full of other people. For a more intimate viewing of the Aurora Borealis, you can also take a 4 x 4 that will help chase the lights until they make their magical appearance.
Hot springs are a casual pastime in Iceland. Many Icelanders will spend their Sunday mornings submerged in boiling waters to relax. You’ll see men recounting the morning news to one another, women exchanging town gossip and teenagers planning a night out. Head to Laugarvatm Fontana as a cheaper alternative to the Blue Lagoon Iceland Package it’s around the corner from the Gulfoss so it makes for a very relaxing refuel stop.
If there’s one Icelandic attraction people have heard of, it’s the Blue Lagoon! Yes it’s incredibly touristy, but it’s undeniably spectacular. Make sure you coat your hair in conditioner to avoid suffering from a straw-like texture in the upcoming weeks and definitely make use of the organic mud mask that lines the edges of the lagoon.
The mud is filled with natural minerals that will leave your skin feeling refreshed and radiant and it’s also the same masks that are sold in the gift shop, so see it as kind of a free sample! Most travellers also choose to stop off at the Blue Lagoon before their flight as it’s on route to Keflavik. I guess there are worse ways to prepare for a flight home…
At the Skogafoss Waterfall, after climbing 370 steps, you’ll be rewarded with a mesmerizing view over the island’s southern coastline. The heavy veil of water comes from not one, but two glaciers and legend has it that the waterfalls hide Viking gold! On sunny days it promises a double rainbow, so close your eyes and make a wish! Discover South Coast Iceland here
When you’re visiting the Sólheimasandur Black Sand Beach don’t forget to drop by the famous US Navy 1973 plane crash. Now a photographers dream (and the ultimate landscape for the perfect profile picture) there is something both alluring and eerie about the skeletal aircraft remains. Discover South Coast Elements here
Visit the Vatnajokull Glacier and deep underneath are magnificent crystal ice caves. Glaring, defiant icicles dart out in all directions in this illuminated treasure trove of gleaming blue hues. Showcasing nature’s extremities, you’ll feel like you’re entering a secret supernatural lair.
Unfortunately, visits during the Spring and Summer are forbidden due to the danger of the caves collapsing, so save this one for your Iceland solo travel visit in the winter when the freezing temperatures solidify this almighty structure.
Iceland is ideal for the hiking solo. Whether you choose the 55km Laugavegur trail or the slightly shorter (easier) Fimmvörðuháls trail (which is equally as stunning, but less brutal on the knees!) both feel like stepping onto a Games of Thrones set. Walk across expansive mountains, gaze at mirrored lakes and as the light reflects, catch the odd rainbow or two.
If you plan on seeing the Golden Circle, Gulfoss is the highlight of the Golden Circle Tour. The Golden Circle tour takes wanderlusters to visit three famous sights just outside of Reykjavik, including the hot spring Geysir’s, Thingvellir national park and the crown jewel: the gushing Gulfoss waterfall. Saturated in rainbows and gleaming icicles, standing on top of the Gulfoss is an empowering feeling; that is until you glance your eyes downward and realise the sheer force of the waterfall! * Check tours, prices and dates for the Golden Circle tour Iceland
For the best place to snap a sunset selfie, race to the top of Hallgrímskirkjafor a few Icelandic króna and snap the perfect hashtag no filter sunrise selfie. An enchanting palette of pink, orange and golden hues set over the sea of toy houses with Mount Esja framing the picture – it’s postcard-worthy.
Mount Esja provides the backdrop to Reykvaik and protectively frames the skyline. It is often misconceived to be just a single mountain, but is in fact a volcanic range that dares you to come closer – and you can do just that. There is an easy walking trail that leads you right to the base of Mount Esja, and it provides some pretty epic photo pit stops on the route too!
Tread tentatively though, in the winter small lakes freeze over and camouflage themselves amongst higher tufts of grass, so carefully watch where you’re walking to avoid breaking the ice and falling in!
Day Tours in Iceland – Get Your Guide helps you to find top-rated Iceland activities and tourist attractions in Iceland. Choose from a Golden Circle, Kerid Carter, and Blue Lagoon tour from Reykjavik, a South Coast & Glacier Hike, or a Snæfellsnes Peninsula Full-Day Tour. There are several to choose from including a whale watching adventure or exploring the Ice Cave Iceland below Katla Volcano and it’s really simple to use. Although some tours have a minimum of 2 people, they have plenty of Iceland tours for solo travellers. Just check the reviews, price and availability then book online. Read my review here or click the link below for all tours.
G Adventures Iceland
If you feel more comfortable in a group for either part of your trip or the whole duration, G Adventures is a responsible tour company that mainly caters towards budget travellers. Most tours have an average of 12 people and there is no upper age limit. G Adventures trips range from a 3 day Classic Reykjavik winter or summer mini adventure, a 5 day Iceland Northern Lights & Golden Circle tour, to a Complete Iceland tour over 9 days. You can even spend 6 days trekking Eastern Iceland. There are plenty of adventures in Iceland whether you have a long weekend or two weeks to travel. I have personally used G Adventures and recommend them as a solo female friendly company.
Intrepid Travel Iceland
Intrepid Travel is similar to G Adventures with an average of 12 people on each tour. They tend to use hotels instead of hostels and have a more comfortable style of accommodation hence the trips can appear a bit more costly than G Adventures. Their Intrepid Iceland trips are carbon offset and range from a 4 day Iceland Retreat: Golden Circle, a week camping in Iceland, an 8 day Iceland Discovery, to a 15 day trip including Spitsbergen and Greenland. With both tour companies, you share a room with someone of the same gender or you can pay extra for your own room. Read our Intrepid Reviews or click on the link below for their Iceland tours.
Where To Stay in Iceland
Iceland has a variety of accommodation from hotels and apartment to hostels, guesthouses, cottages and farm stays. Plus there’s Airbnb which offers rooms in Iceland with a local where you can stay in a private room in a local's house or rent their whole apartment.
Basing yourself in Reykjavik is a good start. If you are traveling to Iceland alone and staying on the south of the island, check out Hotel Ranga and Welcome Hotel Lambafell as they are both only a few miles from the Selijalandsfoss waterfall. Both feel more like staying in a friends mountain lodge, than a hotel!
All of the accommodation below have been recommended by solo female travellers and come with our Solo Female Friendly endorsement. For all other accommodation, click the link below.
If you’re looking for somewhere sociable and are unsure where to stay in Iceland Reykjavik on a budget, Kex Hostel is a trendy hostel in the centre of Reykjavik near the bars and cafes and right in the action. They also have their own gastropub where you can enjoy some Icelandic classics or you can choose to cook for yourself in the hostel kitchen. It’s a short walk to the bus stop which takes you to the Blue Lagoon too. Kex Hostel used to be a biscuit factory and equips itself with its very own library. As one in ten Icelanders have written their own book, this is the ideal place to start. Choose from a female-only dorm room, a 4, 6, 8 or 16-bed mixed dorm or a private single or double with an ensuite.
- Prices from £38 / €45 per night for a 4-bed mixed dorm
- To book, check prices or availability for Kex Hostel
Stay Apartments Einholt is in a super convenient location and boasts basic cooking facilities for late-night snacks and cuppa soups. It is only a short walk to Laugavegur where all the main shops, restaurants and bars are. Keep basic groceries in the fridges instead of dining out, to avoid empty stomachs and enjoy fatter wallets! Choose from a studio apartment or a one-bedroom apartment.
- Prices from £102 / €120 per night for a studio apartment (basement)
- To book, check prices or availability for Stay Apartments Einholt
Alda Hotel features luxurious leather furnishings and faux fur throws draped artistically over armchairs. Combining modern with a classic, gentlemanly interior makes it’s the perfect place to indulge. It’s located right on Laugavegur, Reykjavik's main shopping street. Choose from a single room, an economy or double or twin room, a deluxe double room with a balcony and sea view, or a queen, king or junior suite.
- Prices from £119 / €139 per night for a dorm bed
- To book, check prices or availability for Alda Hotel Reykjavik
Getting Around Iceland
Public transport is quite sparse in Iceland due to its small population; Reykvakik is Iceland’s largest city with only 119,000 residents.
If you’re planning on staying for more than a few days, the best way to travel in Iceland for ultimate freedom is to rent a car. Renting a car is a great way to see Iceland as you’ll have the freedom to explore at your own will, stopping as frequently (very frequently, there is a lot of beautiful landscape to devour) as you wish.
Bear in mind that Icelandic weather is extremely unpredictable, especially in winter and roads are often devilish with large patches of black ice. So you may want to be a confident driver before hiring a car.
Alternatively, most transport is included in tour and excursion bookings. Plus, there is always the option of snowmobiles if you fancy channelling your inner Bond villain (evil white cat optional.)
What Does It Cost To Travel To Iceland Alone?
Extend the term ‘shoestring’ a little and you should be ok. Iceland doesn’t claim to be a budget break but the cost of travel in Iceland doesn’t have to break the bank. There are plenty of free things to do in Reykjavik and we found if you combine your tours, you’ll get a better deal. Expect a solo trip to Iceland cost an average of £100 / $142 / €117 a night, based on staying in cheap accommodation, three meals and tours. This can obviously be more depending on how many tours you want to do and if you're there during the Northern Lights. An Iceland trip cost from £569 for 3 days (see the Iceland Tours section above).
Splurge on the Northern Lights
Standing in an empty field, stomping your feet and blowing into your hands for several hours is worth it when seeing kaleidoscopic greens, blues, purples and pinks dance across the sky, telling you their own story. Framed by a backdrop of piercing stars, the shape-shifting Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) is worth the, slightly steep, tour price.
Make sure you check the weather beforehand as forecasts can often predict how likely you are the see the mystical lights, and a lot of tour companies will also offer a second chance at viewing them if you do not see them on your first trip!
Okay, so this a tough one. Icelandic isn’t the easiest language to learn, and you’ll often find yourself awkwardly pointing at a menu or shrugging your shoulders in confusion at trying to pronounce the name of a national park, but don’t worry the majority of tourist spots have English speaking guides / signs / information packs.
If you want to add to your global tongue, however, how about getting started with these phrases? We’ll start with the basics and the common Icelandic phrases.
Hæ/ Halló – Hello… (v.basic)
Já/ Nei – Yes and No …(basic)
Góðan daginn – Pronounced: go-thah-n die-in
The most common greeting in Iceland, translated to mean good day. Repeat after me go-thah-n die-in (moderate)
Mastered those? Try these!
Hjálp ég er villtur (difficult) – Help, I am lost!
‘Hjalp’ kind of resembles the English equivalent and the word villtur almost sounds like wilder, so if you stick them together when you’ve backtracked past the same record store four times in Reykavik, most locals will kind of get the hint and push you in the right direction!
Hvar er klósettið? (somewhat difficult) – Where is the bathroom?
My goal is to be able to say this phrase in as many languages as possible because it is by far the handiest. Kloset sounds like the English closet so if you wave your hands a bit, cross your legs and say it slowly and loudly, you should be pointing in the right direction…
Follow it up with ‘Takk’ short for thank you. (v.easy)
Best Place To Get Coffee
As a self-confessed coffeeologist, I feel I am now passing on the holy grail of caffeine tips. In Reykjavik there is a hidden gem within the Iceland coffee shops called Stofan. Now whilst it looks fairly inconspicuous from the outside after you’ve purchased your first cup of coffee they provide free refills. Yes, this is not a drill. Unlimited caffeine, for free.
Warm your hands and feet whilst exchanging tips with other nomads or cuddle up with a good book, either way, your caffeine kick costs less than your daily designer brew!
Best place to get soup in a bread bowl
Nothing quite compares to the homely feel of Svarta Kaffi, with its checkered tablecloths and worn wick candles after a day exploring glaciers and volcanoes in sub-zero temperatures. Sink into a steaming hot portion of homemade soup in a novelty bread bowl. Svarta Kaffid is the authentic version, however lots of restaurants in Iceland off the same winter warmer.
Travelling From Iceland Airport
Landing in Reykvaik you can take The Airport Shuttle, operated by Gray Line Iceland and priced at only 3900 ISK return. They offer a door-to-door service so will take you right outside your hotel. Super easy and super quick. The same bus can also take you back to the airport via the way of the Blue Lagoon, to save paying for the journey twice.
Where to go next?
Iceland’s main international airport, Keflavik, also flies to multiple USA cities and a variety of electic European destinations. Why not continue your Nordic adventure and head to Copenhagen, Denmark or Begern, Norway?
How To Be a Conscious Traveller in Iceland
Social Impact Program
Kaffitár is a coffee company that has been around since the 1990s and has multiple outlets across Iceland’s capital. They source their coffee from Nicaragua, Brazil, and Guatemala and through directly working with and buying from local farmers they ensure maximum transparency. Enjoy a cup of Kaffitár coffee while strolling along the quaint streets of Reykjavik.
Stay Eco in Iceland
Eyja Guldsmeden Hotel
This hotel does not only offer a great location but was awarded Iceland’s first Green Globe certification. The boutique hotel, which is situated in downtown Reykjavik, has a philosophy that is deeply rooted in sustainability and being eco-conscious. Whether it’s serving locally-sourced food products or adhering to their Sustainability Management Plan, Eyja Guldsmeden Hotel is certainly on the right track and offers a delightful stay for travelers.
- Prices from £100 per night / €117 per night for a single room
- Check prices, dates and availability: Eyja Guldsmeden Hotel
Loft HI Hostel
Loft HI Hostel provides a comfortable environment where travellers can meet, hang out, and have a drink while talking vigorously about their past adventures. Quality- and Eco-certified, this hostel’s aim is to make ethically conscious and sustainable travel more accessible. Loft HI Hostel is the right fit for the eco-conscious traveler who loves making like-minded friends on every adventure.
- Prices from £29 / €34 per night for a bed in an 8-bed mixed dormitory room
- Check prices, dates and availability: Loft HI Hostel
Volunteering in Iceland
Volunteering with Iceland’s Environmental Agency is a good way to raise one’s own awareness of the surrounding environment, as well as promote the protection of Iceland’s natural beauty. Long term placements and short-term opportunities are both available. Whether it is removing invasive plants, maintaining small paths and bridges or helping the local rangers, this should be a treat for all nature enthusiasts. Find out more…
Issues affecting vulnerable Girls in Iceland
- The past couple of years, including the report published in 2021, Iceland had been number one in the world for closing the gender gap and thus has been labelled as “The best place in the world to be a woman”, according to the World Economic Forum. Read more…
- However, Iceland falls into the list of other Nordic countries that participate in a phenomenon that scholars label the “Nordic paradox”, a phenomenon that describes a country’s implementation of structural equality for women but also its disregard towards the disproportionately high instances of violence and assault towards them. Read more…
- A study conducted by the University of Iceland in 2018 found that 1 in 4 women have been sexually assaulted or raped during her life span, 1 in 3 women have experienced traumatic childbirth, and about 4 in 10 women reported incidents of bullying or psychological abuse from childhood or even adulthood. Read more…
- Can I drink the water? Most definitely. The water often streams straight from the mountains and glaciers. Oh, and when you’re taking a shower, just ignore the slightly eggy smell. It’s just the geothermal hot water, which is why Icelandic hot water is perfect for bathing!
- Emergency numbers – 112 is the single emergency number in Iceland to reach fire, crime, search, rescue and natural disasters.
- Is tipping expected? Tipping isn’t expected in Iceland. Restaurants usually include service charge but if there isn’t then tip 10%
- Fixed price or barter? Fixed price.
- Any ATMs? Yes, ATMs are widely available.
- Which side of the road do they drive? The right-hand side.
- Good for vegetarians? The traditional Icelandic dishes aren’t ideal for vegetarians but you can find vegetarian and vegan dishes in the country’s restaurants.
- Any Seven Wonders of the World? Yes! The Aurora Borealis (the Northern Lights)
Plan Your Iceland Holidays
Current Time in Reykjavík
Budget – £100 a day
Capital – Reykjavík
Population – 356,991
Language spoken – Icelandic is the official language but English is widely spoken.
Local Currency – Icelandic króna
Do I need a visa to travel to Iceland? British passport holders do not need a visa for a stay of up to three months.
Did you know? Iceland was the last place on Earth to be settled by humans!
Lingo – They speak English!
The Best Time to Go – May and July are the best months. Below is the annual weather forecast for Iceland from January to December.
Map of Iceland
About the Author
Hi, my name is Fleur Rollet-Manus and travelling is my favourite form of education. I continually seek to submerge myself in other cultures, marvelling at the wonders of the world and being in complete awe of my surroundings. I am a fully-fledged travelling addict and an avid passport stamp collector. You’ll often find me with an overstuffed backpack, swapping stories with other travellers over a cocktail or two!