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Green Travel Guide: Exploring Iceland Sustainably

Updated: Sep 13, 2023

Iceland's unspoiled landscapes, geothermal wonders, and breathtaking natural beauty make it a popular destination for eco-conscious travelers. To help you explore this magnificent country in a responsible and sustainable way, we've put together a green travel guide, filled with tips and recommendations for minimizing your environmental impact during your visit.

1. Choose Sustainable Accommodation Look for eco-friendly hotels, guesthouses, and hostels that prioritize sustainability, use renewable energy sources, and follow environmentally-friendly practices. Some establishments, such as the Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon or the Ion Adventure Hotel, have been designed with sustainability in mind and hold eco-certifications like the Nordic Swan Ecolabel.

2. Travel by Public Transportation Iceland offers various public transportation options, including buses and domestic flights, which can help reduce your carbon footprint. The Strætó bus system connects Reykjavík to other parts of the country and offers discounts for multi-day travel cards. Alternatively, consider joining an organized tour with a reputable company that follows sustainable practices.

3. Rent an Eco-Friendly Vehicle If you prefer the freedom of driving yourself, consider renting an electric or hybrid vehicle to minimize your environmental impact. Many car rental companies in Iceland offer eco-friendly options, and the country is working to expand its network of charging stations to support electric vehicles.

4. Support Local Businesses Choose local restaurants, shops, and tour operators that prioritize sustainability and support the local economy. Look for businesses that use locally-sourced ingredients, products, and materials, and avoid purchasing items made from unsustainable or endangered resources.

5. Practice Leave No Trace Principles Respect Iceland's fragile ecosystems and natural beauty by following the Leave No Trace principles. Stick to marked trails, avoid walking on delicate moss or vegetation, and never remove rocks, plants, or other natural materials. Dispose of waste properly, and always pack out what you pack in.

6. Respect Wildlife and Their Habitats Observe wildlife from a safe distance, and never feed or disturb animals in their natural environment. Choose responsible tour operators for activities like whale watching or birdwatching, and follow their guidelines to minimize your impact on the animals and their habitats.

7. Conserve Water and Energy Iceland relies heavily on renewable energy, but it's still essential to conserve resources during your stay. Turn off lights and appliances when not in use, take short showers, and reuse towels and linens when possible. Additionally, avoid using disposable plastic bottles by bringing a reusable water bottle and refilling it with Iceland's pristine tap water.

8. Learn About Icelandic Culture and Environment Educate yourself about Iceland's unique environment, culture, and history to better appreciate and protect its natural wonders. Visit museums, cultural centers, and national parks to learn about the country's geology, biodiversity, and efforts to preserve its natural heritage.

Conclusion Exploring Iceland sustainably is not only possible but also a rewarding experience that allows you to fully appreciate the country's incredible natural beauty and rich culture. By following these eco-friendly travel tips and supporting local businesses that prioritize sustainability, you can minimize your environmental impact and ensure that future generations can enjoy Iceland's breathtaking landscapes for years to come.


1. Are there any eco-friendly tour operators in Iceland? Yes, several tour operators in Iceland prioritize sustainability and eco-friendly practices. Companies like North Sailing, Arctic Adventures, and Elding Whale Watching are known for their commitment to responsible tourism and environmental conservation.

2. Can I find organic or locally-sourced food in Iceland? Iceland has a growing number of restaurants and cafés that serve organic and locally-sourced food. In Reykjavík, you can find places like Glo, Kaffi Vinyl, and Sæmundur í Sparifötunum that prioritize fresh, local ingredients and offer vegetarian and vegan options.

3. What are some tips for reducing waste while traveling in Iceland? To reduce waste during your trip, bring a reusable water bottle, reusable shopping bags, and eco-friendly toiletries. Opt for digital travel documents and maps instead of printed versions, and choose souvenirs made from sustainable materials.

4. Are there any national parks or protected areas in Iceland that focus on conservation? Iceland is home to several national parks and protected areas that focus on conservation, such as Þingvellir National Park, Vatnajökull National Park, and Snæfellsjökull National Park. These parks aim to preserve the country's unique landscapes, ecosystems, and cultural heritage for future generations.

5. How can I offset my carbon emissions when traveling to and from Iceland? Consider using a carbon offset program to compensate for the greenhouse gas emissions generated by your flights to and from Iceland. Many airlines offer carbon offset options during the booking process, or you can use a third-party provider like MyClimate or Gold Standard to calculate and offset your emissions.

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