Business & Government Nature & Environment Jan 10, 2019

An Expat’s Top Tips for Top Notch Tourism: Iceland Edition!

Guest post by Marissa Bartle

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Stopping to take photos whilst on holiday is completely expected; however stopping in the middle of roads, be it on foot or stopping your car, is not advised. Whether the road is in the middle of the exposed Icelandic wilderness or a small side street in the center of town, stopping unexpectedly can cause danger to yourself and others. There are plenty of hidden dips and peaks along the roads, as well as poor weather conditions at times, so please use designated pull-in areas. Iceland has plenty of safe places to stop and an abundance of exceptional views, so please do take care. Not only could you be causing a hazard by stopping irresponsibly, but you’ll also be irritating the locals with your behavior, and we don’t want that!

I’m more than certain that one of the main reasons you’ve chosen Iceland as your holiday destination is the prodigious landscapes, scenes and geothermal activity offered here. Icelanders would like to keep the landscapes unspoiled by human hands and preserved for generations to come. As a result, please do stick to the beaten track, avoiding walking and driving over fragile ecosystems, and avoid dropping litter. With over 1.7million tourists visiting in 2016, and figures rising year after year, you can understand the amount of waste produced, and thus, the importance of helping Iceland to be environmentally friendly!

Iceland has very strong relationships with traditions and folklores from old times past. When it comes to food, Iceland has an abundance of local products to try, so use local vendors to get a real authentic culinary experience and help to keep traditions alive. Iceland also produces arts and crafts of numerous kinds, as well as exquisite clothing from a range of natural materials, so again try to find a local vendor for real authenticity. Lastly, you can support the local services on offer by using Icelandic tour companies, guesthouses, bars and transport services. You’ll find by using all of the above mentioned, you’re more likely to get to know the locals, and hear stories and advice that money simply cannot buy, as well as being a supporter of the local economy.

Here in Iceland, there is an incredible rescue team; ICE-SAR, which stands for the ‘Icelandic Association For Search And Rescue’, and similarly to other mountain and sea rescue groups, all of the members of this family are volunteers. Although this amazing group of people is on hand to help, they want you to be as safe as possible for the duration of our stay, and we hope not to meet this group of people (at least not in their ICE-SAR uniforms, anyway!). Therefore, please use guides where appropriate during your trip and adhere to all rules and regulations, as well as any advice you may be given. Icelanders are hardy folk, so when they give warnings of danger or poor weather conditions, they mean it, and the advice and knowledge of the locals is not something to be taken lightly. Prepare well, pack sensible clothing and equipment, and ask for assistance if needed!

Of course, you have to remember to enjoy yourself! It’s fair to say that in Iceland, if you follow these ‘Top Notch Tourist Tips,’ you’ll have a truly memorable trip. Remember that everything you marvel at should be there for generations to come, so be happy, and be responsible.

To read more of Marissa’s tips click here!