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How to Avoid the Crowds in Iceland With Hidden Iceland

July 10, 2019 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

There seems to be a fallacy that Iceland is now suddenly overcrowded. At Hidden Iceland we completely disagree. Sure if you fly into the main city of Reykjavik in the height of the summer and follow the big bus routes to nearby sights then it will certainly feel that way. But in a country the size of England there were only 2.3 million visitors in 2018. That number is forecast to drop by the end of 2019, and in actual fact year-to-date there has been a 12.5% drop in visitors. Compare that to the 85 million tourists in France last year and it’s quite clear that there’s still plenty left to explore. Perhaps 2019/20 is the year to come.

How to Avoid The Crowds

If you’re willing to travel a little further and be strategic with which company you travel with you can often enjoy even the most popular sights with only a few other people around (if you’re lucky).

Step 1: Avoid the big bus companies. Either opt for a private trip or pick small group tours with a guide.

Hidden Iceland take small group tours (12 maximum) across the country with passionate and experienced guides who are there to immerse and teach you about the surroundings. We treat our guests like friends and family so that it feels more like you are sharing a sunset over the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon with an old friend than with some driver telling you what time to be back on the bus.

Step 2: Timing is everything. Even the most popular spots can be quiet at the right time of the day.

We know it’s important to see the most famous places like the Black Sand Beach along the South coast. Or the Golden Circle. The trick with these areas is to be more strategic. We intentionally do the Golden Circle tour in reverse from everyone else so that we arrive at the Secret Lagoon hot pool when it’s empty (at sunrise) and finish at the Thingvellir National Park for the sunset while making sure we play with the Icelandic horses and eat at the Fridheimar tomato farm between the tourist spots along the way.

Step 3: Travel a little further. Day trips often aren’t enough.

We want to take you off the beaten path and show you some hidden gems like to the Westman Islands to meet rescue puffins or to hike on a glacier in the South East of the country on our 2 day Glacier Lagoon trip. Or even into newly discovered ice caves in the winter months. All our overnight trips conveniently sleep us in the middle of nowhere so it’s a great time to spot the northern lights or chase the midnight sun too.

Step 4: Come back again!

If you’re willing to really explore the forgotten areas of Iceland we’ve created longer itineraries geared at second and third timers such as heading up to the far north west of the country on a 4 day trip to the West Fjords.

These simple steps that we follow allows us to avoid the crowds in the most part. Sometimes you get unlucky, and the Christmas week with low daylight hours is particularly tricky but even then the idea of it being overcrowded is greatly exaggerated. In fact, our little boutique company have recently received a Certificate of Excellence on TripAdvisor for our efforts.

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