Tips for Avoiding Crowds in Iceland

Iceland is one of the top travel destinations lately and there’s no surprise why. The country is filled with beautiful landscapes, volcanoes, mountains, canyons, and of course waterfalls everywhere you look. Some of these locations draw tourists in like mad men and it can be a little frustrating when you are travelling and want to get perfect photos but there are 100+ people standing in your way. This can be avoided though with a few easy steps that won’t have any negative impact on your trip!

1. Get Up Early

One of the easiest ways to avoid the crowds in Iceland is to wake up early. If you are travelling in the summer time this becomes even easier because you have just about 20 hours of sunlight every single day. Instead of adjusting to the local time and fighting jet lag, I recommend waking up around 3 or 4 in the morning to begin your day. The sun will be up by then, and you can begin sight seeing. Most people will not even be awake by then and so you will have the place to yourself! Even the major tourist spots!

 

2. Stay up Late

Similarly to getting up early, I also recommend staying up late. Now I know what your’re thinking, “how can I get up early AND stay up late?! I will be exhausted all the time!”. What I found worked best for us is breaking up our sleep. We could get up early, head to our destination, hike, climb, or do whatever the plan is for the morning. Around 11 am places start to get really busy so that’s the best time to grab a nap! If you are sleeping in a travel van or trailer this works great because you can block out the light and the noise around you. If you are in a tent like we were, I HIGHLY suggest bringing a sleeping mask and ear plugs so you can fall asleep easily. Around 3 or 4 pm is a great time to get up and at it again! This is when people begin to end their day, settle into their campgrounds and eat dinner. While everyone is eating dinner you can go out chasing waterfalls and have them all to yourself! You also now have the whole evening to go wherever you like with no crowds!! Once you have gotten your second daily activity in and watched the sun “set”, grab a spot at a campground and tuck in for the night! Or at least until early morning! 

 

3. Travel During off Season

A really obvious way to avoid crowds is to travel during the off season. For Iceland this is during winter. Spring and fall are also not as busy but winter is definitely the slowest for tourist. The seasonality in Iceland is very different. If you are planning on visiting in winter there are way different activity options than during summer. And make sure to bring your warm clothes and toque!! 

4. Go To Less Popular Destinations

If you are planning on visiting during summer, then planning your trip away from extremely popular areas is a great way to avoid the crowds. The southern region is definitely the busiest outside of Reykjavik. It is definitely worth seeing, there is a reason it is popular, but if you want to avoid crowds then don’t spend too much time there. Traveling the ring road you get a little outside the crowds, but if you really want peace and quiet then travel outside of the golden circle. Head to the West Fjords or north-eastern Iceland! One of my favourite memories of my trip is a Dynjandi. We were one of the only people there which made it feel so peaceful! 

5. Book accommodations off the beaten path

The last suggestion I have for avoiding crowds in Iceland is to find your accommodations off the beaten path. For example the campground beside Skogafoss is always going to be very busy, but there are tons of campgrounds down smaller roads in the area that are way less busy. One of my favourite campgrounds we stayed at we found by accident because we took a wrong turn down a small road. We decided to stay the night, met a ton of locals and had a great night! Not to mention that the campground was almost empty so we didn’t get woken up by anyone nearby!

Not sure where to go?

What do you do when you get there?! My Iceland Map has all activities mapped out so you can easily find your way there! 

 

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