Revive Your Energy on a Solo Girl Trip to Iceland
Often it happens that when women plan to travel, the options in terms of destinations become limited. Several doubts pertaining to safety, accommodation, cultural acceptance, and food and beverage options turn out to be the biggest barriers. It is this when guidance from experienced travel companies and regular travelers comes to play. They often end up recommending Iceland as the first travel destination for an all-alone trip.
A Country with Vibrant Culture
Iceland is sparsely populated with a little over 300,000 people and is loved by the tourists for its vivid culture and flora and fauna. For a first time traveler like you, it has several options to offer, no matter at what time of the year you wish to visit. The period from September to March is popular for the exceptional Northern Lights, while the warmer months provide a majestic view of distinctive species of animals, most of them unique to the country.
When it comes to topography, the country has it all – from towering mountains to deep valleys, to lava fields, natural geysers, waterfalls, hot springs and the crystal clear ice caves. Iceland is also known for its North Germanic traditions. It is a land of sagas and folktales that were written during the Middle Age. Rich in art, culture and history, the country is home to famous music bands, and artists. The diversity of cuisines is sure to keep your appetite in place. Relish from the most distinctive fish, lamb meat to unique and flavorful dairy products in the country.
Seeing the northern lights is something many people look at as a once in a lifetime experience. People travel from all over the world only to see the aurora dance above the skies. The Northern lights symbolize life after death, and in Europe and North America, it is also considered omens. Be it the scientific explanation or the mythological belief, what is promised is an unnatural and absolutely stunning scenery that is beyond any theory. If you get lucky enough to have a glance at the magical scene, capture it, and appreciate it for the rest of your life.
Find the Traveler in You by Visiting Iceland
Iceland enjoys the reputation of a safe destination for solo women travelers. The capital, Reykjavik is not only considered one of the safest cities in the world, it also holds some of the best hotels and restaurants that you will find. If you are a traveler on a budget, you do not have to be disheartened as there are several reasonable accommodation options as well including staying in Airbnb or hostels in Reykjavik, or around the country. Other options include inns and farmhouses.
A Travel Guide for a Trip to Remember
Travel Solo with no doubts
Traveling for a girl is sometimes unacceptable. However, it is about time that women step out of the so-called stigma and spend some time alone amidst nature and travel to the heart’s desire. One country where you can travel safely in Iceland. The Global Peace Index has ranked Iceland as the world’s most peaceful country for the last ten years. It is in fact the hotspot for solo travelers. The country is open to all irrespective of gender stereotypes.
The Icelanders speak fluent English and the menus you will find on restaurants are always available in English. The country is indeed built on tourism and has impeccable travel infrastructure. The taxi rates are fair and the drivers do not overcharge either. However, you need to keep the copies of essential documents safe and spend your time enjoying Iceland.
Reaching the Wonderland
The international airport of Iceland is located in Keflavik, around 45 minutes drive from the capital city of Reykjavik. At the airport you can opt for a rental car. Many travelers start their trip in Reykjavik and then head on a self driving trip around the country. Another option is to stay in Reykjavik and go on 1 day tours, or multi day tours to explore all the wonders of Iceland.
Where to Stay
The country has all kinds of options for accommodation. From the most luxurious hotels to the simple and sweet hostels and guesthouses, you can find both the most expensive to the most reasonable hotels and motels in the nation and choose one of them according to your wishes and your budget. All around the countryside you will find variety of accommodation options and it is highly recommended to spend some nights out of the city, close to the nature.
Places worth Your Visit
Iceland is home to so many tourist destinations that can easily fill your itinerary. Here are some places that you can easily include in your travel plan and will surely leave you flabbergasted:
- The Golden Circle: The Golden Circle is the most popular route in Iceland and therefore one of the major to-dos for your trip is to travel this route that every wander luster eyes intently. This trip encompasses three major sites including the geothermal area of Geysir, Thingvellir National Park, and the primary attraction, Gullfoss Waterfall. You will also find several other sites that are slightly off the route but very reasonably reachable such as the Secret Lagoon, Friðheimar Tomato Farm, Faxi waterfall and Laugarvatn Fontana. Thingvellir National Park is the place where Iceland’s first parliament building was erected. Although it is not in use right now, it is still there in the parka and can be visited. Other famous attractions from Thingvellir national Park include the Silfra fissure – the signature spot for snorkeling and diving in Iceland, and Öxarárfoss waterfall. Geysir geothermal area houses many small and big geysers. Geysers are a rare form of detonating water and is similar to jet-like explosions. A natural phenomenon, the geysers are something to behold while you explore the Nordic region. Last but not the least will be the Gullfoss waterfall or the Golden waterfall , named after the flowing gold-like appearance of the water.
- The Blue Lagoon: 40 minutes away from Reykjavik is the iconic geothermal spa – Blue Lagoon. This is a natural hot spring with pale blue water and the reflection of a power station nearby. The water temperature is about 37 to 39°C and is beneficial for skin and overall health.
- Landmannalaugar Nature Reserve: Landmannalaugar Nature Reserve is located in the highlands of Iceland. Landmannalaugar is one of the most popular places in Iceland and is well-known for the colorful rhyolite mountains, hiking tours, geothermal hot springs, and lava fields. This place is indeed a gigantic canvas of colorfully painted vibrant mountains that are sure to attract adventurous travelers, mountaineers, and environmentalists all summer long. Landmannalaugar is every hikers paradise, and if you are interested in hiking in Iceland – this should be your must visit place. And imagine relaxing in a hot spring after your hike. You can enjoy a good stay in a mountain lodge located in the area and soak in the raw nature, rustic scenery, and spectacular views. The campsite in Landmannalaugar is also popular for solo travelers.
- Snæfellsnes Peninsula & Snæfellsjokull National Park: Snæfellsnes Peninsula is also known as Iceland in a miniature. Snæfellsnes Peninsula has everything from glaciers to beaches, lava fields, waterfalls, craters, ice and lava caves, bird and whale watching spots, gorgeous towns and villages with rich history and culture as well as huge basalt rock structures. Snæfellsnes Peninsula contains most types of attractions from all over the country. Located only a few hours away from the capital city, Snæfellsnes Peninsula can be a part of your single-day trip but there are so many destinations and places that you can visit.
Check out the best locations on Snæfellsnes Pensinsula in this detailed article on the topic.
- Skaftafell Nature Reserve, Vatnajokull National Park: Vatnajokull National Park is the land of gigantic glaciers and magnificent landscapes. The national park is divided into four parts and is located from the south of Iceland to the north. It is home to Vatnajokull glacier, Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, the Diamond Beach and Skaftafell Nature Reserve, some of the most popular locations in Iceland. Skaftafell is home to some of the best hiking trails in Iceland and one of the best campsites that you can find. You can find various glacier tours on Svínafellsjokull glacier, located in Skaftafell. Everything from glacier hiking, ice climbing and natural ice caves. You can then see the ice caves bathed in blue light, leaving you awe-inspiring.
- Dettifoss Waterfall: The waterfall is located in the north of Vatnajokull National Park. It is 100 m wide and has a plunging of 45 m. Dettifoss is known to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe. It can be best approached from the east side of the River Jokulsa.
- Kirkjufell Mountain: The mountain and the waterfall next to it, is one of the most popular tourist attraction in Iceland. It is located in Snæfellsnes Peninsula, around a 2.5-hour drive from Reykjavik. Situated in the small fishing village of Grundarfjordur, Mt. Kirkjufell is the landmark of the whole Peninsula. The mountain is one of the most photographed mountain in the world and is the perfect place to watch the Northern Lights on a clear winter night.
- Akureyri: Akureyri city is located in the north of Iceland and is known as the capital in the north. It has a population of around 18,000 and has a vivid culture. It is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the Icelandic culture to the fullest. The main attractions are Akureyri Museum and the Aviation Museum at Akureyri Airport along with several ski resorts. Skiing is quite a popular activity in this city due to the geology of the place. The locals love to travel to Akureyri during the high winter season to go skiing.
- Perlan Museum: The observatory is one of Reykjavik’s landmark buildings. It is located on Oskjuhlid hill, a hill surrounded by rich vegetation. There is also an on-site revolving restaurant that offers gourmet food.
- Explore Reykjavik: The capital city is host to several cafes, bars, restaurants, bakeries, clubs, and whatnot that are perfect to be explored solo. Bring some books, sip in hot chocolate or coffee, dine out, and pamper yourself to the fullest and grab a fluffy croissant on your way out. Then step into a crazy party and dance your heart to the beasts of the latest tunes while you taste some of the best home-brewed beers and home labeled whiskies of the country. Iceland takes its alcohol seriously and you will be nothing but glad that you tried some.
Activities that are worth a try
Get in those Game of Throne vibes as you hike the 55 km Laugavegur trail or the slightly shorter Fimmvorduhals trail. There is no shortage of glaciers in Iceland so you want some time on the ice, you can find variety of glacier hiking tours to choose from. The ideal way to hike a glacier or tricky trails for any solo traveler is by joining a guided tour. You will get the required equipment for the hike and an expert guide for the group who can take care of the trips. Walk into the expansive mountain ranges and relax by the lakes. You can also hike to some of the famous waterfalls and take a closer view of the cascades they create.
Watch the Aurora Borealis
Also known as the Northern Lights, this natural phenomenon is breathtaking. The northern lights are visible from mid August to mid April and a must see if you are traveling to Iceland during the winter time. Get out of the town into completely isolated areas and observe the green lights in the sky. If you are lucky you may get to see many more colors than just the common green and blues. To maximize your chances of seeing the northern lights, it is recommended that you join one of the northern lights experts on a guided tour. The northern lights guides will know exactly where the northern lights are most likely to show up to make sure that you don’t miss them.
Indulge in Day Tours And Excursions
As a solo traveler, these are highly recommended and probably the most affordable way to travel on your own. From the Golden Circle to the South Coast, there is no shortage of destinations and tours that you can finish in a single day. You can go glacier hiking, snorkeling in Thingvellir National Park, visit the waterfalls in the south, go glacier kayaking, visit the diamond beach and the puffins or go horseback riding.
You say you are a fan of the trill and all that can make you have goosebumps? Then you are on the right track. This is one of the most adventurous activities in Iceland. Just get on the ATV and trek across rustic lava fields, ride upon the dormant volcanoes and pass through the pastures as you see the horses feeding in the fields. Driving an ATV is going to be a pretty memorable experience from your trip to the land of ice and fire.
Whale and Puffin Watching
Whale and puffin watching often go hand in hand and are two of the most loved activities in Iceland, particularly in Reykjavik. During summer you can indulge in whale watching under the midnight sun and sailing around the puffin islands, just close to the capital city. South Iceland also offers some great spots to hang out with cute little puffins. There are usually 95 percent chances of seeing the whales on a whale watching tour, while the chances of seeing puffins is 100%. You can find variety of whale watching and puffin tours from Reykjavik’s Old Harbor where you get on the boat and sail to the middle of the ocean to spot the whales and dolphins from up close. Puffins, however, should be observed from a respectful distance as disturbing them can disrupt their breeding and nesting cycles.
Tips to Stay Safe on the Trip
While there are a lot of beautiful locations and great activities to explore when in Iceland, one of the most important part is feeling safe while traveling. Here are some tips and tricks to stay safe while you are on your solo trip to Iceland.
- Take the bus or walk while traveling around. It will also help you save money and allow you to explore the city in a different-than-usual way.
- Carry your identification proof to all the places to avoid any troubles.
- Leave a copy of your itinerary with a family member so they can stay in touch with you.
- Pack according to the weather for each day. Ensure you pack light so that you can stay on foot if required.
- Use cards over cash. Iceland mostly is a cash-free country. Do not emphasize on withdrawal of money and then worry about keeping the cash safe.
- Take travel insurance. This is the best way to ensure you are traveling safely even if some medical emergency takes place.
The Right Time to Plan the Trip
Iceland has different sites to explore during different seasons. During summers, the sun shines past midnight while in winters it gets dark very early. But there is nothing to be disheartened. A trip to Iceland at any time of the year is a promise of adventure. During the warmer months, you get plenty of time exploring the outdoors and meeting new people. Exploring the landscape seems to be more comfortable at this time either on foot or by car. The winters are the prime time to catch up on the northern lights, a unique phenomenon that makes you fall in love with nature.
If you are on a budget, the best time to plan the trip is during the spring or fall season. Accommodation and tours are quite affordable and priced very reasonably. You can easily rent a camper van and have the trip on wheels. No matter when you plan the trip, you must pack well and according to the weather.
In summers, it is recommended to go prepared with waterproof hiking boots and waterproof jackets. During winters, get warmer clothes to stay warm when the weather takes a frigid turn. Also, pack sturdy footwear that keeps you going no matter how rugged the terrain is. And at last do not forget the camera that will make you remember what beautiful moments a woman can create while traveling alone and being the queen, she is meant to be.
Reconnect with Self
Being an independent woman is not easy. Maintaining a work-life balance is very important while keeping some time out for yourself and keeping in touch with your own consciousness. Thus, Iceland is the best place for a solo woman traveler to travel. You can go hiking to a mountaintop and view the entire region; breathe in the fresh air and take bath in a natural hot spring. Not to mention, this is the safest country in the world and has won the title for the 12th time in a row now, talk about consistency, right? This trip is surely what you need to be you all over again and will add some fantastic memories and some gorgeous pictures to your travel book of a free spirit.