Summer is coming.
Iceland is so hot right now.
Well, maybe not literally. The chilly European destination, which is not actually covered in ice as the name would lead you to believe (that would be Greenland), is anticipating its biggest summer tourist season ever.
The Nordic nation hasn’t always been a hotspot for tourists. The country was hit hard with a recession in 2008, and it wasn’t until an eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in 2010 that the world started paying more attention.
Another reason for Iceland’s sudden rise in popularity is HBO’s hit show, “Game of Thrones,” which filmed its many northern scenes there.
Combine TV news footage of volcanoes with wildlings, White Walkers and Jon Snow waging battles in Iceland’s stunning scenery, and it was only a matter of time before visitors started flocking.
According to NBC News, the country has seen tourism numbers rise from “under 500,000 in 2010 to more than 2.4 million tourists expected this year.” Making 2017 the biggest year ever for Iceland.
Aside from “Game of Thrones” fans, tourists also have been coming to Iceland for years to take in the country’s many natural wonders. The nation boasts incredible glaciers, waterfalls, geothermal pools, and, of course, a stunning view of the Northern Lights. Even a handful of popular Icelandic musicians have gained international stardom, such as Björk, Of Monsters and Men, and Sigur Rós.
WOW Air and Icelandair have been increasing their service from cities in North America, and frugal travelers should watch out for sales: WOW Air has offered flights for as cheap as $99 one-way.
The increased service to Iceland means American and Canadian travelers can have a stopover in Iceland while traveling to other European destinations.