Iceland Mag

4 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Crime

Reminder: Collection of parking fees at Hraunfossar is NOT legal

By Staff

  • Hraunfossar waterfalls One of the most picturesque waterfalls in Iceland. Photo/Pjetur

  • Illegal fees One of the men collecting the parking fees. Photo/Kristrún Snorradóttir

  • The parking lot 10% of the area of the parking lot sits ontop land belonging to the farm Hraunsás, 90% is on the land of Hraunsás 2 which has been rented by investors who are now charging travelers to enter the lot. Photo/Map.is

Yesterday investors who have rented land overlooking Hraunfossar waterfall started charging visitors a "Parking Fee". The parking voucher doubles as a coupon for a free cup of coffee at a rest stop operated by the same investors. This is the second time the investors attempt to impose the fee. Last year Police stopped their activity after all relevant authorities had clarified that the fees were illegal. 

Read more: Illegal entry fees again imposed at Hraunfossar: Visitors "robbed in broad daylight"

Last year the investors charged visitors 1,500 ISK for using the parking lot. The fee has now been dropped to 1,000 ISK. 

It is unclear whether anything else has changed since Octobe when Police in West Iceland stopped the collection of parking fees at Hraunfossar. A local restaurateur who operates a small restaurant/café next to the parking lot where the parking fees are being collected told the newspaper Fréttablaðið that the men were at the parking lot all day charging visitors for using the parking lot.

Read our full coverage of the conflict as it unfolded last year:

Read more: Police has stopped the collection of illegal parking fees at Hraunfossar waterfalls

A spokesman for the Icelandic Road and Coastal Authority told Fréttablaðið that the investors were collecting the fees in violation of law: The parking lot was constructed by the IRCA, which is also responsible for its maintenance. It is also illegal to impede traffic on a public roadway in the way the men are doing.

To make the parking fees even more problematic the investors only control a part of the land where the parking lot is situated. 10% of the parking lot sits on land controlled by the restaurant. The restaurateur has protested the parking fees, arguing they are driving business away from his establishment.

Neither the Police in West Iceland nor the Icelandic Environment Agency, which is responsible for Hraunfossar, have commented on the fees this year. The Environment Agency has previously said that it has not permitted the collection of fees at Hraunfossar.

What should you do?
We at Iceland Magazine would like to stress that the parking fees at Hraunfossar are the ONLY entrance or parking fees at tourist sites in Iceland which are open to legal challenge. All other fees are levied legally by landowners or the relevant public authorities. However, the illegality and shamelessness of the Hraunfossar fees is a stain on the Icelandic tourism industry.

Visitors should of course feel free to pay the illegal fees, but remember that their collection does not have the power of law. It is illegal to impede travel on a public roadway, and the parking lot at Hraunfossar is maintained not by the landowners but by taxpayers through the national road authority.

We would therefore like to echo the instructions of Hraunfossar restaurant which has adviced its customers to ignore the fees. The restaurant owns 10% of the parking lot by the waterfall.

The investors who are collecting the fees also operate the rest stop Baulan on the Ring Road in West Iceland.

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