The eco-tourism industry is booming as more people than ever strive to reduce their carbon footprint. The market for eco-tourism services was worth nearly $186 billion last year and is expected to grow by more than 15 percent annually through 2030.
However, even though more people are trying to travel sustainably, they don’t always know how to do it. Sustainable tourism can be even more difficult when you’re in a new country and don’t know how to reduce your carbon footprint there.
Fortunately, it is possible to be an ecotourist anywhere. Iceland is no exception.
For adventure enthusiasts, Iceland is a land of plenty.
Whether you’re into cycling, skiing, exploring glaciers, rafting, or just want to walk and admire the scenery, the Land of Fire and Ice has you covered. You can take part in many exciting activities without having to harm the planet in the process.
Check out some of our favorite outdoor activities for ecotourists visiting Iceland below!
Skiing can be a great way to enjoy your trip to Iceland as an ecotourist. Some people argue that skiing is not the most environmentally friendly hobby because you have to cut down trees in the mountains. However, the long-term environmental impact is quite small after that.
Looking to shred untouched pow for days? Tour for a week without seeing another skier? North Iceland is the place to go.
You’ll find everything from gentle unspoiled slopes to steep gullies and spectacular summit-to-sea lines, all in dense, stable snowpack. Also, the peace, solitude and scenery bring the experience to a whole new level.
For beginners, Olasfjordur is a great option. Renowned for its cross-country runs, the ski lift-accessible alpine terrain is home to some very good slackcountry runs. More advanced skiers will love going further afield and skiing the steep, open lines of the Troll Peninsula or chasing long peak-to-sea runs in the Westfjords.
You want to take the right steps to ski in a greener way. One of the most important things is to rely on eco-friendly transportation to get to the resort. You may want to use public transport as much as possible as it has a lower carbon footprint per person. You can also try the other green travel options we’ve discussed here.
Cycling is another great way to reduce your carbon footprint as you won’t be as dependent on vehicles that have a lot of carbon emissions. It can also be a great way to enjoy your trip. Mountain biking, in particular, can be a very fun activity for ecotourists.
When planning a MTB getaway, Iceland might not be your first choice. Well, maybe you should!
If you’re an active rider with some technical skill, you’ll love Iceland’s wild and varied singletrack. Imagine riding flowing trails carved into volcanic rock with bubbling hot pools below you and a mountain of multicolored rhyolite looming overhead. You won’t find races like this anywhere.
For an easy cruise, you can’t go wrong with the highlands, home to some of the most diverse MTB trails on the island. And if you’re looking for a real thrill ride, try Kjaran’s Avenue, a path carved into a steep cliff.
Last but not least, Iceland’s hiking trails are some of the best in Europe, if not the world. Find out why they crown all the top 10 lists.
Hiking requires almost no carbon footprint if you use eco-friendly transportation options to the hiking trails. Be sure to clean up any trash you leave on your trip!
Probably the best way to experience Iceland’s wilderness is on guided hikes. They’re far from ordinary hikes, though—you’ll cave in ice caves, wade through rivers, explore secret waterfalls, crampon over ancient glaciers, and stop to soak in natural hot springs.
The most popular choice here has to be the Laugavegur Trail and for good reason. Winding through the best of Iceland’s highlands, this hike was named one of the best in the world by National Geographic. Other great options include the Landmannalaugar Valley for quick day hikes or Thorsmork with well-maintained hikes suitable for all age groups.
Enjoy the best eco-friendly activities in Iceland
You want to find eco-friendly ways to enjoy your trip, wherever you go. There are lots of great ways that ecotourists can enjoy their stay in Iceland.
The Land of Fire and Ice abounds in adventure. What’s on your list?