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Iceland Is Sick of Tourists' Bad Behavior

Visitors are underestimating the country’s dangers—and taking locals for granted.
That water's hot: Tourists walk in mist near the geyser at Geysir, Iceland, which gave the phenomenon its name.
That water's hot: Tourists walk in mist near the geyser at Geysir, Iceland, which gave the phenomenon its name.Stoyan Nenov/Reuters

This month, Iceland’s ongoing tourism problems took a dark turn.

Over the first weekend of July, two tourists in separate incidents died while hiking in the country’s notoriously hardscrabble terrain. One male visitor died after falling from a cliff at Hljóðaklettar in Iceland’s northeastern highlands, while a woman lost her life after tumbling from the slopes of Iceland’s most photographed mountain, Kirkjufell, from a spot lying off the official path. While they may have been caused by unforeseen circumstances rather than negligence, the two deaths point to a worrying trend. Too many tourists are coming to Iceland without being fully prepared for its extreme terrain and weather.