By Andrea Romano
Updated: March 15, 2019

Despite what you’ve heard, Iceland isn’t always the land of ice and snow.

According to The Telegraph, the mayors of two particular Icelandic towns are pretty tired of everyone believing what they see on Google Maps.

Jon Pall Hreinsson, mayor of Bolungarvik, and Guðmundur Gunnarsson, mayor of Ísafjörður, have sent complaints to Google because the app’s satellite images consistently show their towns covered in snow.

Iceland has become a hot destination for world travelers over the last few years, even with its icy weather. One of the country’s most popular attractions is a geothermal spa that’s a pleasure to visit year-round.

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But, contrary to popular belief, it’s not always a frozen tundra. The weather can actually be quite pleasant, summery, and yes, even green, in Iceland if you visit the island nation at the right time.

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Hreinsson wrote on a Facebook post, as translated by The Telegraph, that even though snow is “often the reality” in Bolungarvik, a fishing village in northwest Iceland, it’s not always the case. He added that Google Maps showing snow in the area all the time could hurt tourism as a result.

“I’m thinking of the millions who might be considering visiting the Western Fjords and then look at the map and see, well, nothing but snow,” Hreinsson wrote on Facebook, according to The Telegraph.

Similarly, Gunnarsson is equally irked that his town (also in the Westfjords region) is unfairly cast as having endless winter. He told Icelandic newspaper Visir, as translated by The Telegraph, “Imagine someone wondering whether to head west or north and this is what they see, while it’s all green and beautiful in the other direction. I think they’d take that into consideration when deciding which way to go.”

According to the Iceland Review, Hreinsson also added that other Nordic countries have different views on Google that show off the seasons. “If it’s possible to show Hammerfest (in Norway) in its finest green, then it’s also possible here!” Hreinsson said on Facebook, according to the Iceland Review.

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There also seems to be a vast discrepancy between the satellite images and street view for these towns, depending on the time of year. If anyone were to see these towns in Google Street View, they might be surprised to see sunny, green vistas as opposed to the cold, snowy images on the satellite view.

The two mayors don’t expect the wintry views to go away altogether, but they merely want Google to show their towns in a more realistic way.

Mayor Hreinsson intends to keep contacting Google until a change is made, and encourages residents to do the same. He added on his Facebook post that any Icelanders working at Google should feel free to reach out to him.

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