Iceland's Growth in Popularity - Good or Bad?

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Iceland's rather sudden growth in popularity is a good thing, right? It does after all bring with it enormous growth in the business and tourism side to the country.

Are you sure about that? I’m not!

Travel agencies sprouting out of the ground, each of them filling the roads with buses full of tourists. Pay and display car parks at every interesting location. Queues in and out of sites. Picture it yet?

From the point of view of a photographer wishing to explore the natural wonders of Iceland without being surrounded by swarms of tourists, the situation is quickly becoming critical. Every site you visit is swarming with people, and if it isn’t, it won’t be for long. The situation is only made worse by the fact that one major road surrounds Iceland: the famous Route 1. To most it will seem like easy access to most of the wonders that Iceland has to offer, though it can also be seen as a one road in and one road out catastrophe. Traffic on the roads is certainly increasing and it makes me think, how long will it be until your Icelandic holiday becomes a standstill in virtually one-way traffic?

Still don't believe me? Check this out!

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This photo was taken during the 2017-2018 winter season on my most recent trip to Iceland. We paid  the equivalent of €600 as a family of 4 for an Ice Cave tour. As you can see, it got a little crowded! This is bearing in mind this was on the first tour of the day, so it wouldn’t be getting any quieter! Forget about trying to get anything like the amazing photos you’ve seen online!

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This photo, on the other hand, was taken just 2 years before. A very similar ice cave tour in the same area. The guided tour involved no more than 12 people including ourselves and the guide. I think it is fair to say that tours today simply aren’t offering value for money, but that might just be my opinion. I think the rapid growth in tourism is ruining the incredibly large piece of nature that Iceland has to offer, but I'll let you guys be the judge of that!

So, what do you think? Feel free to share in the comments below!