Tourist numbers in Iceland have been skyrocketing. Accommodation options are being stretched to the limit as well as bringing about a host of other problems. In 2016 tourists from the US will have outnumbered the local population or if you prefer pictures here are some lovely graphs. As a responsible tourist I have moved here to balance things out. With so many visitors it’s understandable if the feeling of claustrophobia starts setting in. Some smartasses might say well don’t go and add to the problem but since you’re already there here are three tips on how to avoid the crowds in Iceland.
Avoid the crowds in Reykjavík and get outside the Golden Circle
Most tourists follow a well-worn itinerary comprising of the Blue Lagoon, Reykjavík and the Golden Circle, maybe heading to Vík or Jökulsárlon. These are gorgeous places to be sure and I enjoy my few trips to the big smoke every month where I can be sociable before heading back to the quiet of the sticks. But there are lots of places off the beaten track such as the Westfjords which I really want to see, or East Iceland, or Snæfellsnes or the North or… you get the idea. Check out my alternatives to Iceland’s most visited places.
Visit attractions at night
A few months ago I was at Gullfoss at midnight and I was the only one there. It was snowy, icy and magical. And cold, but hey I wanted to avoid the crowds and that places get pretty busy. Now in the winter it’s not always possible to actually see whatever you’re looking at in the dark but in summer it doesn’t get dark or at least really dark for quite a while. I was lucky enough to spend hours sitting at Goðafoss almost on my own late at night when everyone else had long fallen asleep.
Visit Iceland during the winter
The days are shorter. And colder. And darker. And windier. And there are tourists. But less of them. And you might be lucky enough to see the Northern Lights. And the snow is just so pretty. This year really only December and January, except for Christmas, were quiet so make the most of the ‘off’ season and avoid the crowds.