With this super easy responsible travel guide, we can all minimise our impact and keep Iceland beautiful.
Iceland is a beautiful country and maybe I have a biased opinion as I live here, but I would happily give it the top spot for most beautiful country in the world.
I live and work in Reykjavik and I am constantly telling friends who plan on coming to visit that real Iceland is out in the wild, from its lush deep green moss to its picturesque glaciers and fjords without forgetting the simply gorgeous canyons, the huge variety of equally impressive waterfalls, dramatic volcanoes, towering cliffs, endless black sand beaches … okay, you get the picture: I really really like this country.
With this handy responsible travel guide, we can all minimise our impact on the landscape and keep Iceland beautiful and keep tourists visiting for many years to come. Here are some super easy things to try out when visiting our country!
Reusable water bottle
First of all, buying bottled water is a waste of money in Iceland. The water you get from any tap, anywhere in the country is delicious, pure glacial water. The government is even running a campaign with the hashtag #kranavatn, which is Icelandic for "tap water". By bringing a reusable water bottle, you can also reduce the amount of plastic you use on your trip. You can also minimise your footprint by carrying a reusable bag for groceries and shopping, avoiding plastic bags.
HI Iceland is raising awareness on plastic pollution as well and encourage our guests to be responsible travellers. During August 6th-9th we celebrate the HI Iceland Water Week and give our guests a bottle for drinking water so they can refill it with delicious Icelandic tap water during their stay in our country.
Thanks to geothermal energy, it is actually possible to get fresh fruits and vegetables that are locally grown in Iceland. Eating locally has many benefits, from reducing your carbon footprint to supporting local farmers and producers and encouraging sustainable agriculture.
One of the best ways to make a positive impact is to purchase products that are locally grown and made in Iceland.
What better souvenir to bring back from your trip to Iceland than a genuine handmade traditional icelandic sweater, lopapeysa, for example?
Eco tour activities - slow down and enjoy
Iceland offers plenty of eco-friendly options for tours, you just have to research the right companies to go with. Arctic Adventures and Saga Travel are two such examples of sustainable tour operators where you can travel in a eco friendly way. Here you can find some tours as well.
Reduce your travel footprint on tours and sightseeing and dont leave any footprint in natural places
Icelanders are so, so tired of telling people that the fences and barriers are there for a reason. It's not just a safety thing, there's usually moss growing beyond the barriers which is a delicate species of plant in Iceland. It's very sensitive and sometimes never recovers if stepped on. So, please stick to the designated pathways and be so kind not to litter.
Eco transportation within Reykjavik and around Iceland
Within Reykjavík, there are many green options for getting around. It‘s a small enough city, so if you feel like stretching your legs, you can walk around the city. Not only is this the most eco-friendly option, but you‘re also more likely to spot the hidden gems around town, notably its street art located down residential side streets. There are also multiple companies and hostels which rent out bicycles, and let‘s not forget Iceland‘s lovely yellow Straetó buses!
Respect the local culture
Do a bit of a research before you arrive. Promote Iceland has a campaign called The Icelandic Pledge, which tourists can read and sign online, pledging to be more conscious and to travel responsibly and sustainably while visiting Iceland.
Off road driving in Iceland - It is a no no!!
The law is simple, it is illegal to drive off-road in Iceland! So please dont do it. We care about the unspoiled nature in Iceland and nobody likes to spoil the experience by looking at tire tracks in the landscape. Respect the nature.
Reduce, reuse and then recycle. Watch your waste.
As mentioned above, a reusable water bottle, filled with delicious kranavatn, and a reusable groceries bag keeps you from using single-use plastics.
On top of this, Iceland has extensive trash separation for recycling. You can read up about it to familiarize yourself with the different types of waste bins but I found it quite easy to follow when I first arrived here: they make it so easy to save the planet!
Let your friends and family know about your eco friendly adventure to Iceland
Promoting sustainable travel and everyday changes, and empower your friends and family to become more responsible and choose sustainable options when travelling.