by Natalie Smith

Iceland, the ‘Land of Fire and Ice’, is known for its outstanding natural beauty with its landscape made up of glaciers, geothermal hot springs, ice caves, waterfalls and black sand beaches. Our founder, Natalie Smith was lucky enough to visit in 2021 where she found inspiration not only in its mystical terrain but also the country’s respect for the environment, nature and sustainability which is embedded deep into its culture: 


Something that many people don’t know about Iceland is that it began switching to renewable energy in the 1960’s and is already a world leader when it comes to reaching its climate goals. It meets 90% of its primary energy needs through renewable energy by producing all of its electricity through a combination of hydro power – drawn from waterways, glaciers, and geothermal energy from the country’s 600 natural hot springs. Yes, the energy comes naturally to the island, but Iceland has spent years casting off fossil fuels and transitioning to renewables too. 

During my time there, I was impressed at how connected the people were to nature. A beloved Icelandic tradition is to soak in the mineral-rich geothermal water derived from the hot springs in one of the many lagoons across the country. The oceanfront ‘Sky Lagoon’ takes a holistic approach to sustainability – from the meticulous design and spa operations, right through to its food and drinks offering. Clean, renewable energy is at the core of Sky Lagoon’s sustainability strategy, as they harness geothermal water that runs through the oceanfront lagoon, which is collected and redirected through an in-floor piping system. This heats the buildings, the spring-water showers and outdoor sidewalks.

Iceland meets 90% of its primary energy needs through renewable energy.

Next on our trip, we visited Fridheimar – a family run tomato farm that grows tomatoes all year round, even during the dark winter months, by using renewable hydro-power energy, pure water and organic pest controls – otherwise known as bees! It was fascinating to see how Fridheimar can produce a huge portion of the country’s tomatoes without the need of importing, simply by relying on renewable energy. Such pioneering sustainability steps are essential for carving out space for other companies to follow. 

Less than an hour’s drive from the hustle and bustle of Reykjavík and set against a backdrop of majestic mountainous lava fields and surrounded by the unspoiled wilderness of southwest Iceland, the boutique ION Adventure Hotel is just one example of the many sustainably run hospitality experiences you can experience in Iceland. Focusing on bringing in local produce from the local area, it gives guests a true taste of Icelandic culture, and it has also been highly praised for its minimalist eco-conscious luxury renovation of the abandoned structure that juts dramatically out of the Mount Hengill. Set on the ‘Golden Circle’ route, close to the nearby Thingvellir National Park, ION gives easy access to some of Iceland’s best experiences such as the erupting Strokkur geyser, the cascading Gullfoss waterfall and the dramatic tectonic plates in the icy waters of the Silfra Rift.

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