A new website has been launched by the Icelandic tourist board, with the goal of interactively mapping all the interesting tourist spots in the country and, although it remains a work in progress, it currently indicates that the controversial Kárahnjúkar hydroelectric dam is a bigger attraction than places like Sprengisandur and Hesteyri, in the Hornstrandir nature reserve.
The fascinating new map of Iceland’s natural pearls and interesting places can already be viewed by everybody, though tourism chief Ólöf Yrr Atladóttir told RÚV it is still under construction. “It is not exhaustive and set in stone. We encourage people to make suggestions. We hope the map will develop and become more interesting with time,” she says.
Sites on the map are marked with red rings for especially interesting places, and yellow ones for mid-range attractions. The current map is comparatively light on locations in the highlands and the northeast, as well as on Hornstrandir.
Ólöf explains that a variety of different criteria are used to decide what makes it onto the map, “Such as accessibility and the willingness of people to enjoy and protect the place.”
All marked locations are believed to have unique and special natural or cultural significance and each circle can be clicked on for more details—though only in Icelandic at present.
350 people were involved in assessing locations in a project which took place last summer. Municipalities and stakeholders nominated places to a team of researchers which registered, assessed and checked information.
The website is primarily meant as a planning tool for the tourist industry, meant to help highlight new spots to visit and potentially relieve pressure on other locations which are struggling to cope with increased visitor numbers. It is not a traditional tourist guide website, but may nevertheless prove interesting and useful to visitors.