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Over the past few years, Iceland has accumulated massive hype as a top-notch travel destination. Data from the Icelandic Tourist Board, according to The Reykjavík Grapevine, shows a massive increase in the number of tourists visiting Iceland in recent years.
What, you might ask, is causing so many people to flock to Iceland for vacation? There are many, many reasons to visit this utopian island nation, but here are the first four that come to mind.
Incredible sightseeing. Arguably the most obvious charm of an Icelandic vacation is the island’s sightseeing opportunities. A drive along Iceland Route 1 from the northern city of Akureyri to the country’s capital of Reykjavík is an incomparable way to see miles upon miles of untouched plains, snow-topped mountains, fast-flowing streams of clean water, and maybe the occasional puffin.
Geothermal pools. Iceland is known for its outdoor pools, most of which are geothermally heated. Guide to Iceland aptly summarizes the reasons why these naturally heated pools have formed: Iceland exists atop “a ‘hot spot’ on Earth, where there are dozens of volcanoes, craters and hot springs.” The experience of relaxing in an outdoor pool heated by nature, while the air temperature hovers well below that of American summer weather, is hard to come by in most other countries you’ll visit.
Caves abound. The “hot spot” phenomenon also gives Iceland an abundance of caves. Four types of caves exist in Iceland: lava, ice, geological, and man-made. Sign up for a caving tour to safely and thrillingly explore these caves, which include the Mariuhellar Caves, located just a 15-minute drive from Reykjavík. Speaking of which…
Reykjavík. Iceland’s capital city stands out from many international capitals. Reykjavík’s downtown strip is super walkable, and it has less of a “big city” feel, with fewer skyscrapers than many capital’s central areas do. Small shops, incredible restaurants, and art spaces including music venues and museums dominate the area. One thing to know though (and this applies to the whole country, but especially Reykjavík) — everything is very expensive.
If you’ve been to Iceland or are planning a trip there, hit the comments to let us know what about the country excites you the most!