Sustainable Tourism in Iceland: Your Guide to Conscious Explorations

Daniel Cramer

7 min read

As the glow of the Northern Lights dances overhead, and your eyes take in the majesty of glacial landscapes, consider this: your journey is part of a larger, more significant narrative. It's the story of sustainable tourism, where the splendour of your experiences intertwines with the responsibility of preserving these wonders for future generations. The rugged, ethereal beauty of Iceland is a siren's call for such conscious exploration, a place where tourism's gentle footprints need to tread lightly on the land.

The Essence of Sustainable Tourism

Sustainable tourism is not just a buzzword; it's a commitment to cherishing our environment and nurturing its people. It's about experiencing the wonder of new places while also ensuring they're preserved for the joy of future explorers. And here in Iceland, sustainable tourism translates to magnifying the positive impacts of your visit and minimising the negative ones.

In an age where travel reaches the farthest corners of our world, the aftermath is often a world bearing scars from tourism, long after the echoes of visitors have faded. Sustainable tourism emerges as the powerful antidote to this challenge. It's a pledge to honour and protect the environment and the well-being of local communities. In Iceland, this pact manifests in counterbalancing our awe-striking adventures with efforts to limit our impact, nurturing local growth and cultural exchange.

Man standin in Icelandic nature, GG Sport.
Whether you're seeking top-notch equipment or insightful advice for your sustainable journey, GG Sport, one of our Buddies, has you covered in ensuring a mindful travel experience.

Choosing Green Attractions and Companies

Icelandic tourism is riding the wave of sustainability, with numerous companies leading the charge. By aligning your adventure with these eco-conscious businesses, you're casting a vote for sustainable tourism. Our Buddies sport some amazing companies that have made it their number one priority to be Eco-Friendly. Iceland's number one attraction is its unique nature, and we must to our utmost to respect how fragile mother nature truly is.

Responsible Camping

If you're drawn to the romance of camping under the northern sky, remember to camp responsibly, sticking to Iceland's designated camping areas. Also, if nature calls, don't answer the call on nature. Here you can find all the information you possibly need to know about camping in Iceland.

Waste Wisdom

Maintain the purity of Iceland's landscapes. Dispose of waste in designated bins or pack it out with you. Remember, drinking water from the tap is safe in Iceland, so BYOB! Bring Your Own Bottle, and fill it up with clean water from the tap or nearest spring.

Tread Carefully

Stick to marked trails to prevent soil erosion and safeguard local vegetation. Off-road driving is not just harmful to nature but illegal in Iceland and can result in fines or jail time.

Sailboat from Northsailing, Iceland. Company that is carbon neutral, sustainable Tourism. Iceland.
Our Buddy, Northsailing, stands as a testament to environmental responsibility, operating with a complete commitment to carbon neutrality.

Supporting the Heart of Iceland: Its People

Embrace the essence of Iceland by immersing yourself in its rich culture, and show your support to its local communities. We've curated a list of eco-friendly destinations offering captivating explorations, gastronomical delights, unique shopping, and deep cultural engagements. Impressively located within an easy reach of the legendary Golden Circle and Þingvellir, these places perfectly blend convenience and charm. Get ready to experience the true spirit of Iceland, reflecting its dedication to sustainability:

For additional insights into the wonders Þingvellir, don't miss out on our featured blog by clicking here.

Sólheimar - Eco Village

Immerse yourself in the inspiring community of Sólheimar, an emblem of sustainable living and inclusivity. Home to over 100 residents, Sólheimar is a thriving eco-village founded in 1930 by the forward-thinking Sesselja Hreindís Sigmundsdóttir. This haven showcases a harmonious blend of humanity and nature, fostering an environment where individuals of all abilities flourish. With their hands in the soil, residents grow their own vegetables, connecting with the earth in a visceral and meaningful way. Beyond just agriculture, the creative spirit thrives here, with artistry that embraces natural materials, fostering a deep appreciation for the environment. As a community for people with disabilities, Sólheimar is a beacon of inclusive living. Offering a broad spectrum of opportunities - from gainful employment to engaging cultural activities - it ensures everyone has the chance to lead a fulfilling life. With a rich tapestry of sustainable practices woven into its daily rhythm, Sólheimar stands as a remarkable testament to eco-conscious and compassionate living. It's not just a place, but a philosophy of life that inspires and motivates towards a better, more inclusive world.

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Discover the enchanting allure of Friðheimar, an Icelandic farm where sustainability shapes its ethos and operations. Friðheimar is more than just a tomato farm - it's a thriving restaurant and a standard-bearer for ecologically responsible practices. Here, nurturing both the environment and society goes hand in hand with everyday business. Recently, Friðheimar expanded its offerings with the opening of a charming vine bar nestled within an old greenhouse. Immerse yourself in the tranquil setting as you enjoy a delightful glass of wine or a comforting cup of coffee. What’s more, they tempt taste buds with an exquisite cheese plate and fresh Icelandic strawberries served in sparkling wine. It's a gastronomic delight that perfectly complements the serene surroundings. In setting an inspiring example for the tourism industry, Friðheimar is leading the way towards a greener, more sustainable future. Come experience this unique place where nature's bounty and innovative sustainability harmonize for an unforgettable visit.

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Picture of Friðheimar Vine bar, South Iceland,
Step into a world where sustainability meets culinary delight at Friðheimar. The thriving greenhouses are a testament to their commitment to nurturing both nature and taste buds. Follow the inviting path leading to their newly opened Vine Bar, tucked away in an age-old greenhouse. Awaiting you there is an indulgent cheese plate, fresh Icelandic strawberries, and sparkling wine - a true feast for your senses.

Navigating with Care: Green Transportation

Exploring the landscapes of Iceland need not compromise the health of the planet. A selection of environmentally-sound transport options ensures your wanderlust leaves minimal carbon traces. In Iceland, exploration and sustainability coexist harmoniously. Here's how you can navigate the realm of fire and ice while leaving the lightest of footprints:

Eco-Conscious Car Rentals

Many of our partners here at Northbound offer an impressive fleet of hybrid or electric vehicles. These earth-friendly options significantly reduce CO2 emissions, letting you experience Iceland's wonders without compromise.

Group Tours

Embrace the communal spirit and the green wave by partaking in group tours. Fewer vehicles mean reduced pollution and an opportunity to share your awe-inspiring journey with like-minded explorers.

Active Transportation

Truly immerse yourself in the rhythm of Icelandic cities with the most sustainable transport - your own two feet. Alternatively, you could rent an electric scooter or bike. The streets await your discovery.

Man standing in front of Glymur Iceland, nature, waterfall
Bask in the ethereal beauty of Iceland, but remember to tread lightly. Let\'s ensure we leave it just as magnificent, if not better, for the future generations who deserve to marvel at its splendour as we do today.

Leaving Light Footprints

The journey of a traveller is as transformative as the destinations they explore. Sustainable tourism in Iceland is more than a choice; it's our collective pledge as global citizens to safeguard the pristine landscapes, cherish local communities, and ensure our footprints are ephemeral.

By choosing to travel sustainably, we shift from being spectators to becoming guardians of the world's delicate ecosystems. Each choice we make becomes a step towards a future where exploration nurtures and respects the planet's diverse landscapes and cultures. As we venture on this path of conscious exploration, we ensure that the captivating beauty of Iceland continues to inspire, mesmerize and fill hearts with wonder for generations to come.