Reykjavik Excursions Blog
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Sustainable travelling in Iceland

26/10/2017 Blog

It is hard to travel in Iceland sustainably. You either must come by boat or aeroplane, both of which have high emissions. However, when you are in Iceland, you can take steps to minimise your footprint. 


The first step is to choose a day tour company that has a solid environmental policy like Reykjavik Excursions. By not renting a car, you reduce your carbon footprint by quite a bit. If everyone who chose to go on guided day tours rented cars instead, the country would quickly become a lot more polluted. And when clean nature is the main selling point of Iceland, that is something we do not want.

When you are out on tours, we ask you to not litter. Either find the nearest rubbish bin or if there is none nearby, take the litter with you and throw it away when you find one. Icelandic nature is fragile, and we all need to work together to keep it in good shape. We also ask you to only walk on paths and do not go over railings, no matter how small they are. They are there for a reason.

However, there are not always signs or railings to show you where not to go. In those cases, you must use your common sense. It is for example not sensible to go too near the edge of a waterfall. Icelandic nature can be dangerous, so check where you are going.

Another thing is that there is no need to buy bottled water in Iceland. We have clean water in abundance, and the water from the faucet is everywhere good enough for drinking. Many rivers also have water you can drink from, just do not fill your bottle with glacial river water. You know it by the cloudy white colour. By bringing your own bottle and filling it yourself, you help reducing litter as well as the overall carbon footprint of Iceland. The fewer people that buy plastic bottles, the fewer we need to transport to Iceland.

If you do rent a car, it would be best if you were a party of three or more. The average number of people in a car in Iceland is just over one person. Also, remember to travel responsibly. Off-roading is strictly forbidden in Iceland. No matter where you are, what size of the car you are driving or if you see tracks; it is illegal to drive off roads. As mentioned before, the Icelandic nature is very fragile. Even though the black sand deserts and beaches seem to be just that, they have a very delicate ecosystem. The sand behaves a bit like the moss; all tracks stay there for decades so you would be leaving a mark which will not disappear for years to come as well as ruin the small growth of plants that grow there and bind it. 

By supporting local businesses is another way to travel sustainably. Even though Icelanders need to import almost everything they use, by buying from local businesses reduces the importation of manufactured goods from far-away countries like China. Try Icelandic food if you can, such as lamb and fish. We also recommend you take the Icelandic pledge to be a responsible tourist here

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