Bianca Miccolis ’21
At one point or another, most of us learned the paradox of Greenland and Iceland. Iceland is actually green whereas Greenland is actually covered in ice. Moving past that complication, Iceland has become a popular destination for travel. From the “Explore” page on Instagram to conversations with family and friends, it seems like everyone’s next trip is the island nation. As the beautiful destination has always existed, one must ask why Iceland has not been so popular a place to travel for a longer time. No doubt that the spectacular views and array of activity has caused this increase in tourism, but why now?
Iceland is a destination that will keep travelers busy. Between “mystical landscapes,” shopping, dining, and swimming destinations, Iceland has much to offer for an unforgettable vacation. One of the biggest attractions to the beautiful country is the Blue Lagoon located on the Reykjanes peninsula. I have seen so many posts on Instagram of tourists posting their most picturesque photographs of the milky, blue water, the jagged, rocky terrain, and steamy air from this destination. Blue Lagoon is a geothermal seawater spa with “natural healing powers,” especially with skin-related issues such as eczema and psoriasis. The lagoon offers spa treatments as well as dining at its Lava restaurant. This location offers scenic views as well as food, healing, and relaxation. What more could you want in an attraction? Not only are there spectacular beaches, waterfalls and lagoons, but there are volcanoes and natural reserves. The Volcano Hekla and Hornstrandir Nature Reserve offer more unique views and photo opportunities. In addition, from September to April, tourists can view the Northern Lights in Iceland as its latitude is at 64° North. To see the Northern Lights, one must be at 60° North or higher, which is why Iceland is a perfect place to see this phenomenon. Finally, other than being a destination of natural beauty and quiet, scenic travel, tourists can find many things to do in the small city of Reykjavik. Here, travelers may walk the city to find distinct architecture, museums, restaurants, parks, swimming pools, and more.
Just seeing pictures and reading about the attractions should convince any traveler to want to jump on the next plane to Iceland. However, there are a few factors that have affected the increase in travel to the breathtaking country. First, you can find cheap flights to Iceland from the United States. According to Business Insider, traveling to Iceland is 26 percent cheaper than any other European destination. In addition, budget airlines, such as WOW Air, have set some deals to fly. In the summer of 2016, WOW Air had a flight from Los Angeles to Keflavik International Airport for just $99. Of course, since the destination has become so popular, flight prices have increased, but WOW Air has a flight to Keflavik International Airport from Chicago for $199, a relatively fair price. Because flights are so affordable, Iceland has become a popular place to travel to for young people and families because of its attainable status.
Another reason Iceland has become a popular destination is due to the vast amount of places to stay in the country. Airbnbs are making travel more accessible for young people and the variety of options makes a trip to Iceland affordable to a wide spectrum of wanderlusters. In addition, there has been an influx of more luxury hotels in cities all over Iceland. Because there are so many places to choose from, lodging makes it possible to explore more of the country, as you can find places to stay wherever you want to tour.
Finally, Iceland’s marketing has increased American interest in visiting the beautiful scenes that they see on their televisions. In 2010, ABC’s “The Bachelorette” filmed an episode in Iceland. Because American media displayed Iceland’s unforgettable sights, it probably aided in the influx of travel there. In addition, the 2010 eruption of volcano Eyjafjallajökull drew attention to the country as the incident cause of the European-wide closure of air travel. Using this attention to their advantage, the Iceland tourism board released a media campaign, which also presented Iceland as a scenic destination to entice potential travelers. Media attention is the best way to gain more tourism as, generally, people are captivated by beauty, especially if they can find it on their screen at home.
Iceland appears to be the ultimate destination for travel because of its spectacular views, variety of attractions, and accessibility for Americans. Obviously, tourists have this same mindset, which is why this destination has become a bucket-list item for many. Just like in fashion, travel has trends and Iceland’s “trendiness” has lured people to visit. Once a destination is publicized by several travelers, others want to join that exclusive circle and share in those experiences. So, if you don’t have any plans over October break, maybe book a cheap flight to Iceland and explore all that it has to offer!
courtesy of Guide to Iceland