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The Guide to Pooping in Iceland

|August 1, 2017
Anthropologist, social media guru, Icelandic nature and food enthusiast.

One of those posts I wish I didn't have to write but there seems to be a great misunderstanding going on. Toilets are our friends!

Now, this might seem like a joke but really it is not. Recent visitors to our wonderful island seem to have troubles understanding the way you should do your number 2 in Iceland. Many reports have been of people deciding NOT to go to public toilets and instead, letting everything go in our sacred Icelandic nature or even in people’s backyards and not cleaning up after themselves!

Here are examples

Pooping outside

Photo from Þorkell Daníel Einarsson, taken from his house.

And then there was this case, right next to one of the most used roads in Iceland and in the town Hafnarfjörður where about 25 thousand people live. Maybe not the best location.

Ferðamaður hægir sér 10 metrum frá Reykjanesbrautinni

Toilets of some sorts were first seen in history books and drawing from 2800 BC (Before Christ, if you were wondering). These wonderful things made it to Iceland over 100 years ago and we have loved them ever since, so much that we actually prefer toilets for doing our number 1s and 2s rather than the great outdoors.

No one is judging, we are all human and we will all need, at a certain point, to unload.
But Iceland is a fragile country and the locals care for it truly, madly, deeply.

I am just going to keep it simple. If you are packing for travels in Iceland there are just 3 things you need to think about.

If you simply follow this list you will not piss anyone off and you can happily go about your ways. It’s easy!

  • Bring wipes
  • Bring ziplock bags
  • Always have some Icelandic coins on you, as you might need to pay for toilets

We do realize that at a certain point you might find yourself in a situation where no toilets are in sight and there is no way to reach one. For example when hiking high up in the highlands. Sometimes nature calls, in nature…

BUT there is a solution

At this point, we would like for you to leave your group, dig a hole, do your thing and then put your wipes or tissues in a ziplock bag and keep it until you encounter a trash bin. The hole, you will, of course, need to cover again. It’s just not nice to be having a walk in beautiful and stunning nature and then all of a sudden a wipe gets stuck under your shoes.

Also, keep in mind to be as far away from rivers or lakes as you can. Many use them for drinking and we really don’t want to mix these two.


Don’t do this / Photo from Vísir/Petur

In conclusion

Dear visitor,
We are trying very hard to keep our country clean, natural and unique. Iceland is an extraordinary place and we would like to keep it that way. The only thing we ask is that you use public toilets and if in nature calls in nature clean up after yourself. Thank you!

Let’s work together to keep Iceland clean, let’s use toilets and clean up after ourselves.

Please keep this in mind people one love!

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