For individuals who are interested in nature and sustainable travel, a visit to Iceland is an exciting opportunity to immerse yourself in some of the world’s most stunning scenery. Known as the Land of Fire and Ice, Iceland is a bucket-list destination for travelers from around the world, which is easily accessible from Europe and the US. You’ll find incredible waterfalls, glaciers, and volcanoes to explore, which you can drive between in this relatively compact country. Today, let’s take a look at how Iceland is as a sustainable destination!
Ecotourism aims to leave the country in just as good condition as when you first arrived. When planning to visit Iceland, sustainable travel experiences and tours will allow you to witness the natural beauty of the country without disturbing or destroying the incredible scenery you’ll witness.
Sustainable tourism in Iceland
Following the 2010 volcano eruption, the number of people choosing to visit Iceland increased by an incredible 264%. While some people have been critical of the government’s reaction to over-tourism, there has now been a shift in focus with more sustainable travel initiatives being introduced in the country.
Multiple companies within the country have received their certification from Blue Flag, which is an organization certifying sustainable travel locations and companies. Each community within the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in Iceland has received the EarthCheck, which was previously known as the Green Globe, improving their sustainable travel reputation.
Iceland sustainable tourism initiatives
When planning to visit Iceland, travelers are encouraged to take ‘The Icelandic Pledge’. This voluntary agreement can be signed online before your visit, and encourages visitors to promise to respect nature during their stay.
To help compensate for over-tourism within the country, the government has set limitations regarding the busiest areas in the country. Tour buses can no longer drive down the main streets in the capital of Reykjavik, which offers more space to pedestrians in the city. On top of that, there is a 90-day cap on properties being rented via Airbnb, offering more accommodation to young people and local residents.
The Icelandic government set out plans to improve nature conservation during outdoor activities in their Outdoor Activities in Harmony of Nature initiative. They are working to offer travelers more information while also monitoring the capacity at popular natural sites that travelers who visit Iceland are keen to see.
Unique Ecotours to Experience When You Visit Iceland
When it comes to planning a visit to Iceland, you’ll find you are spoilt for choice with incredible ecotours for a sustainable travel experience. To avoid joining large coach tours, you may want to consider hiring a bike in Reykjavik, which will offer you the freedom to explore the area independently. Landmannalaugar is one of the most incredible sights to see on a trip to Iceland, and you can join a hiking tour here. There are mountain huts operated by the Icelandic Touring Association, which offer you basic, eco-friendly accommodation during your trip with a local tour guide.
The Blue Lagoon is a must-see attraction on any visit to Iceland and is powered by 100% geothermal energy. You can enjoy bathing in the hot springs knowing that you are enjoying a truly sustainable travel experience.
Finally, whale watching is an amazing adventure to enjoy on your Iceland trip. Choose a company such as Elding Whale Watching, which uses local guides but doesn’t disturb the natural habitat of the whales during your trip. They follow IceWhale’s codes of conduct during every trip they run and are also Earth Check Gold Certified.
When planning to visit Iceland, you’ll find your sustainable travel options are simply unlimited. With so many eco-friendly accommodation options and ecotours to choose from, you’ll enjoy witnessing the beauty of this country without destroying the natural habitat during your explorations.
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