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Secrets to Eco-Friendly Iceland Travel

How do Icelandic people protect their country and respect natural treasures? Here, you will learn several secrets of eco-friendly Iceland travel to enjoy the Land of Fire and Ice responsibly. 

Tent camping in Þingvellir National Park

Although Icelandic people have high standards and cherish a luxurious lifestyle, they are also big admirers of spending time outside in nature as much as possible. Moreover, Icelanders are aware of their local natural treasures, which they are strongly determined to protect. 

Eco-Friendly Flying: No Need to Stopover…

Iceland is an A+ Destination Unto Itself  

As tempting as it may be to use Iceland as a seemingly cheap stopover due to being in-between Europe and North America, the negative environmental costs can be much more significant. Iceland is an incredible destination unto itself, and to help reduce your carbon footprint, use it for a round trip instead. This eco-friendly flight tactic limits the number of daily flights going in and out of Iceland. In addition, it helps Keflavík International Airport (KEF) reach its net-zero carbon emissions goal by 2030.

Eco-Travel Bonus Tip: Offset your carbon footprint: check out Icelandair’s FREE carbon offset program. They use a calculator that helps determine the carbon-producing effect of your flight and then grow trees in Iceland to offset accordingly!

In Iceland, Localness Is Living

For Icelanders, self-sufficiency also confirms that locals live really aligned with nature. Since there are just a few towns and Reykjavík is the only actual ‘city,’ many residents must live off the land. Many use their knowledge to run their farms and horse ranches. 

Group of Icelandic horses at Seljalandsfoss waterfall in the South region of Iceland

Every year, an increasing number of Icelanders who grew up in the highlands come to Reykjavík to work in tourism – loads of them are guides for the same regions they are intimately familiar with. During our extensive Iceland adventure tour, you will meet many fascinating people with tales of what makes Iceland unique and challenging – yet highly desirable. They will guide us through glaciers, ice caves, foodie paths through Reykjavík, bubbling hot-spring lagoons, and black sand beaches as seen in Game of Thrones!

Iceland is a Hiking Mecca

A couple exploring Thingvellir National Park

As mentioned earlier, Icelandic people are really into nature, and Iceland is one of the world’s hiking Meccas. Despite the often rough weather conditions, there is no bad weather, only bad clothing, they say :-). You can often see locals hiking in the snowstorm or in the wind…eh, no problem! They hike when they can. So much so that it is very common among Icelanders to choose hiking for a first date. ♥♥ It’s very romantic to bring dried fish and soda and enjoy Iceland’s lovely scenery. So, when you visit this land – be all in, pack a backpack and act like a real Icelander.

Don’t touch the moss.

Iceland Eco-Friendly Hiking Rule: Do not anger an Icelander by stepping on the moss! The Icelandic moss, as well as the entire ecosystem, is fragile. This recommendation, more of a rule, should be known more among tourists. The moss grows just a few millimeters yearly and has become holy for Icelanders. Unfortunately, plenty of unaware tourists carelessly trample on the Icelandic moss, frantically searching for that *perfect selfie*. This activity drives Icelanders crazy and destroys one of the Earth’s most incredible ecosystems, so please walk along on designated pathways. 

Drink Up! Iceland’s Tap Water is Among the Cleanest on Earth

In Iceland, fresh water is everywhere.

You will probably never drink better tap water than in Iceland. Free from calcium, chlorine, nitrate, and fluoride, Icelanders and visitors can confidently enjoy some of the cleanest water on Earth! In addition, the crystal clear water from glaciers cleared by the pure ground tastes unbelievably fresh and smooth. 

Iceland Eco-Travel Tip: Although Icelandic tap water can be purchased in cute plastic bottles at the supermarket, the bottled water indu$try was developed for tourists.

Every Icelander drinks water straight from the source. It is available absolutely everywhere. It is also served automatically in every restaurant entirely for free. Even when hiking, there is no need to filter or boil it to prevent contamination. 

Drinking pure glacial-fed Icelandic water

Iceland Eco-Travel Tip: Take your own water bottle when exploring Iceland. You can constantly refill it from rivers, waterfalls, springs, or designated fountains around Reykjavík.

Þingvellir National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the only place on earth where you can stand on two different continental plates at the same time. Here, you will find the rift between the North America and Europe.

The Paths and Roads to Eco-Friendly Iceland Travel

Iceland’s landscape is breathtaking and volatile, yet fragile. To help protect it during your travels, try to limit the time spent in transit and spend a longer time at each destination. More frequent movement = more fuel, energy, food, and other resources are also needed to accommodate within a short period. As mentioned earlier, this Nordic island is an excellent destination unto itself, so take your time to enjoy what each region in Iceland has to offer

Eco-Friendly Driving: 

To eliminate traffic emissions, rent an electric car to get around town and on self-driving tours. Iceland has an endless supply of energy and plenty of charging stations to match. Plugshare provides a map of charging stations in Iceland to use during your journey. 

When you are driving, avoid offroading. If you want to get closer for a great landscape shot or explore an area in depth, be respectful of the flora and fauna around you, so bike or hike instead. 

The Eco-Friendly Path:  

As with any natural environment, when hiking, exploring, or looking for the perfect selfie spot – you should always stick to the designated pathways to prevent damage to this fabulous yet fragile ecosystem. 

Geldingadalir Volcano in Iceland

Iceland is (Literally) Bursting with Energy 

Icelandic geothermal and other renewable sources keep the lights on…literally. Iceland is one of the world’s leaders in the fight for sustainable energy use, and its own environmental factories use these natural sources to the fullest. Although it is a relatively small country land-wise, due to its wealth of raw energy and marine food resources, Iceland is very wealthy and entirely self-sufficient. 

  • Renewable energy sources account for 85% of what powers this Nordic nation.
  • The lava underneath the entire country makes for endless supplies of energy. In addition, a high number of volcanoes on the island secures the ground heat and abundant created gas. 
In Iceland – many roads are heated

Hot Roads 🔥

Many years ago, some ingenious Icelanders invented heated roads. What is better than using the natural volcano heat to heat the icy roads covered by layers of snow? Pipes with hot water are located right beneath the road’s surface, ensuring the snow is melting without frozen, slippery layers. It may surprise you to drive and see the steam coming up off the streets. Heated roads are located in the North of Iceland, and you can also spot heated sidewalks in Reykjavík! It is a hilly city, so walking on an icy surface could be dangerous in the winter; therefore, heated sidewalks are actually super cool!

Strokkur in Iceland – located right next to the original “geyser”: Geysir

Icelanders Can Enjoy Long Showers 

Since the water is naturally heated by the volcanoes and geysers, it is streamed straight to every home. Therefore, Icelanders can enjoy endless hot showers without the guilt. Furthermore, hot water from the ground also runs many popular hot springs and natural baths around Iceland. So, for travelers, that also means there is never a bad time to visit Iceland!

Greenhouses in Iceland use geothermal energy to grow food and flowers – safe from the harsh climate

If You Can Grow It Here, You Can Grow It Anywhere

As you’ve already learned, Iceland extensively uses its natural resources for daily living and is a highly self-sufficient country. That self-sufficiently includes not only renewable energy but also agriculture. Even though their traditional and natural products consist of animal products such as meat, fish, milk, or potatoes – many Icelanders also grow their own fresh fruit and vegetables. But, how and where do they grow food in an Artic tundra, you say? In volcano-heated greenhouses, of course! The irony is that these endless renewable resources also allow for things that would have otherwise not been possible. Being the ‘Land of Fire and Ice’, Iceland is independent of imports from other countries, which is an enormous privilege. You may be lucky and spot some greenhouses on an Iceland adventure tour. 

The Land of Fire and Ice

By now, it must be obvious why Iceland is called the Land of Fire and Ice. This is a country with harsh natural conditions, and Icelanders fully respect that. When you visit, understanding that will allow you to enjoy your Iceland adventure tour to the fullest!

Puffins nest on grassy bluffs of Heimaey Island

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