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Today I finished my first trip to Iceland: five fantastic days that I enjoyed immensely. I can’t wait to tell you about all the amazing experiences I had and show you the unbelievable landscapes.
Many women email me telling me that they’re thinking of traveling solo for the first time. I always tell them to go to the place they dream about, the place that’s been speaking to their soul for years — but if they’re up for suggestions, I’ve got a ton!
And Iceland now tops that list.
So what makes Iceland an ideal pick for a first time solo trip?
Iceland is an easy and safe destination.
Iceland couldn’t be an easier place to travel. Nearly all Icelanders speak impeccable English, and there are English menus and signs everywhere you go. The country is built on tourism, and therefore the travel infrastructure is spectacular.
In addition to that, crime in Iceland is extremely low, and travel scams are virtually unheard of. When you go to Iceland, you won’t have to worry about things like getting overcharged by a taxi driver or struggling to order something you can eat.
Doing your first solo trip in as easy a country as Iceland will give you the confidence to tackle more challenging destinations down the road.
Iceland is all about day tours and excursions.
I love day tours and I always recommend them to solo travelers. They’re a great way to meet new people and socialize during the day, and sometimes you end up making friends for life!
Iceland has hundreds if not thousands of day tours, and they all focus on the same thing: Iceland’s beautiful and unusual natural environment. You could hike to natural hot springs like my sister Sarah did, or go whale watching or puffin watching. On my trip, I went glacier hiking, snorkeling in Þingvellir National Park, and horseback riding. If you’re more low-key, you could do scenery tours, like the Golden Circle or a South Shore tour.
It’s a surprisingly doable weekend getaway.
I recommend new solo female travelers to go away for a weekend on their own before trying out a longer trip.
The flight is five hours from the East Coast and there’s only a four-hour time difference. That’s a closer flight from Boston than Las Vegas. You could theoretically fly out on Thursday night, spend Friday exploring Reykjavik or doing a Golden Circle tour, go horseback riding or glacier hiking on Saturday, and hit up the Blue Lagoon on Sunday on the way to the airport.
Of course, a long trip is great, too. I’d love to come back, rent a car, and spend at least a week driving around the island.
Reykjavik has a lot of great cafes.
There are so many great cafes in this town! My favorite? The Laundromat Cafe, a fun and quirky place with an unbelievable skyr parfait. But there are cafes all over the place in Reykjavik, providing Icelanders with their daily java jolt.
So, what do cafes have to do with solo travel?
Cafes are a great place to go out alone. Bring a book, have some coffee, stay for dinner if you’d like, and you’ll fit right in with everyone else. Cafes can be much less intimidating than going out to a restaurant alone.
Iceland can be easily built into another Europe trip.
If you’re going to visit a friend in London or meet up with a group in Spain, why not add on a few days on your own in Iceland? If you fly IcelandAir from North America, you can build in a stopover in Iceland for free before or after flying to your European destination.
Icelandair is often one of the cheapest airlines for transatlantic flights, so I suggest you check it out as a possibility.
It’s impressive. It’s mysterious. It’s exotic, in its own way. When you come home and casually drop your recent solo trip to Iceland into conversation, you’ll get people’s attention — that’s for sure!
I mean, LOOK at that waterfall and double rainbow!!
One thing to keep in mind
Iceland is a very expensive country. When Iceland’s economy took a nosedive a few years ago, Iceland suddenly became…affordable. Since then, both the economy and prices have picked up. Prices are not as expensive as they once were, but they’re still quite expensive.
Expect to pay $25 for a hostel dorm room, $6 for a latte, and at least $15 for lunch. Most half day tours are $75-100; full-day tours are roughly double that. You can compare prices on hotels in Iceland here.
That said, I think that despite the prices, Iceland is excellent value. Iceland has such a unique environment and so many different things to do, many of them top quality. It’s hard to imagine any other place that could compare.
Read More on Iceland:
Would you go to Iceland? Would you dare to go solo?
Many thanks to the Iceland Tourist Board for sponsoring my trip to Iceland. All opinions are my own.