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3 Outdoor Activities for Eco-Tourists to Look Out For in Iceland

Shutterstock Photo License - Kirill Chernyshev

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The eco-tourism industry is booming, as more people than ever strive to lower their carbon footprints. The market for eco-tourism services was worth nearly $186 billion last year and is projected to grow by over 15% a year through 2030.

However, even though more people are trying to travel sustainably, they don’t always know how to do so. Sustainable tourism can be even more difficult when you are in a new country and don’t know how to lower your carbon footprint there.

Fortunately, it is possible to be an eco-tourist anywhere. Iceland is no exception.

For adventure enthusiasts, Iceland is a land of plenty.

Whether you’re into biking, ski touring, glacier exploration, whitewater rafting, or you just want to walk around and admire the landscapes, The Land of Fire and Ice has you covered. You can partake in many exciting activities without having to harm the planet in the process.

Check out some of our favorite outdoor activities for eco-tourists visiting Iceland below!

Backcountry Skiing

Skiing can be a great way to enjoy your trip to Iceland as an eco-tourist. Some people argue that skiing isn’t the most eco-friendly hobby, because you have to cut down trees in mountainous areas. However, the long-term environmental impact is fairly small after that.

Looking to shred untouched pow for days on end? Tour for a week without seeing another skier? North Iceland is the place to go. 

You’ll find everything from mild virgin slopes to steep couloirs and spectacular summit-to-sea lines, all in a dense, stable snowpack. Also, the peace, solitude, and scenery bring the experience to a whole new level.

For beginners, Olasfjordur is an excellent option. Famous for its cross-country tracks, the lift-accessed alpine terrain hosts some really good slackcountry runs. More advanced skiers will love going more remote and skiing the steep, open lines of the Troll Penninsula, or chasing long summit-to-sea runs in the Westfjords.

You want to take the right steps to ski in an eco-friendlier manner. One of the most important things is to rely on environmentally friendly transportation to get to the resort. You may want to use public transportation as much as possible, since it has a lower carbon footprint per person. You can also try the other eco-friendly travel options we discussed here.

Mountain Biking

Biking is another great way to lower your carbon footprint, since you will not 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 eco-tourists.

When planning an MTB getaway, Iceland might not be your first choice. Well, maybe it should!

If you’re an active rider with some technical prowess, you’ll love Iceland’s wild and varied singletrack. Imagine riding flowy ridgeline trails carved into volcanic rock, with bubbling hot pools below you and a multi-colored rhyolite mountain looming overhead. You won’t find rides like these anywhere else.

For an easy-going 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 an authentic thrill ride, try out Kjaran’s Avenue, a trail chiseled into a sheer cliffside.

Hiking

Last but not least, the hiking trails in Iceland are some of the best in Europe, if not the world. Learn why they crown all the top 10 lists.

Hiking requires almost no carbon footprint if you are using eco-friendly transportation options to the hiking trails. Just make sure to clean up any trash that you leave on the trip!

Arguably the best way to experience Iceland’s wilderness is on guided hikes. They’re far from regular treks, though— you’ll be spelunking in ice caves, trudging rivers, exploring secret waterfalls, cramponing across ancient glaciers, and stopping for dips in natural hot springs.

The most popular pick here has to be the Laugavegur Trail, and for good reason. Winding through the best of the Icelandic highlands, this hike was named one of the finest in the world by National Geographic. Other great options include Landmannalaugar Valley for quick day hikes or Thorsmork, with well-maintained treks appropriate 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 are going. There are a lot of great ways that eco-tourists can enjoy their stay in Iceland.

The Land of Fire and Ice abounds in adventure. What’s on your bucket list?

Chris Farrell is the managing director of Zenex Energy, a British company founded in 2003 specialising in innovative energy saving products for both the domestic and commercial markets

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