Why I’m Angry at Iceland

Iceland is one of my favourite countries in the world. David and I loved our time there so much that we even looking into relocating there for a year or two. Unfortunately, we discovered that landing a working visa as an Australian in Iceland is pretty much impossible.

So, why am I angry at the country I so dearly love?

It’s because the country is letting tourism destroy their most unique and important tourist drawcard, the environment.

Skogafoss Waterfall

new report shows that many of Iceland’s popular tourist destinations (such as waterfalls Skógafoss and Gullfoss) have reached their tolerance limits. That means that in a very short period of time, these beautiful attractions will be destroyed beyond repair.

Iceland’s economy thrives on the tourism boom the nature brings to the country each year but they’re not doing enough to protect it. By not providing enough signage, adequate supervision at popular spots and amenities such as bathrooms and garbage bins, the country’s environment has taken a big hit, bigger even than that of the infamous Eyjafjallajökull eruption in 2010.

Banning tourism isn’t the answer. The country’s economy so desperately depends on it. What needs to change is the way they manage and control it.

Iceland is a smart country though. So, what’s stopping Iceland from doing more to protect the environment and what’s taking them so long to act?

Unfortunately, it seems to be a bit of a blame game. No one can decide who’s at fault and where the responsibility for the environment lies as some of land that is affected is privately owned and the rest is state owned or a combination of both.


The number of tourists visiting Iceland each year is forecast to continue growing which means the small country needs to pick up their game and do more to prevent further damage.

Just last year my favourite Icelandic waterfall, Seljalandsfoss, was reported to be at damage from increased tourism. The solution that has since been implemented is a parking fee but with tourism numbers increasing year on year, that’s not going to do much in the way of preservation.

But who am I to judge? I live in a country where government after government refuses to acknowledge the severity of global warming and the importance of the Great Barrier Reef…

What do you think Iceland should do to combat environmental destruction? Let me know in the comments below!


3 thoughts on “Why I’m Angry at Iceland

  1. I totally want to blog about the environment…I’ve never been to Iceland but agree with your stance. I don’t know how Norway differs, they seem to manage it better. Something I even want to ask locals on my trip next month.


    1. I think you should go ahead and blog about the environment, the more people writing about its importance, the better. I look forward to reading your blog on Norway and what the locals had to say about the environment. I’ve heard that Norway still participate in whaling which is something I don’t agree with. I hope at the very least they’re not exploiting the trade. When I was in Norway I got the sense that everyone was proud of their unique and beautiful environment though. Be sure to visit Bergen! It’s still one of my favourite cities. 🙂


      1. I visited Bergen before, it’s something I need to write on for travel memories. I think most developed societies have a complicated relationship with the natural environment, the US included. I imagine they are proud of it. It’s one reason I’d make an effort to move there permanently…I could see making a difference much more than here in the US.


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