Quickly becoming one of the most popular destinations in Europe—Allianz Global Assistance has ranked Reykjavik as third most popular destination in Europe only to be topped by London and Paris—Iceland is on pretty much everybody’s travel to-do list.
Our family has been obsessed with this magical island country for the past decade and quite frankly, I have always been a little surprised that it took so long for Iceland to explode onto the travel scene.
There are several reasons why Iceland is so popular NOW:
- It’s easy to get to Iceland. It takes under 6 hours to reach Keflavik Airport (Iceland’s main airport) from JFK making it a quick jaunt for European standards. And yes, it has always been this easy, but studies are showing that the NUMBER of Americans traveling is increasing, so places that are a quick hop-‘or-the-pond are a natural stopping point.
- There are oodles of cheap flights to Iceland. With the advent of discount airlines like WOW Air and promotional deals like Iceland Air Stopover Pass (where you can stay in Iceland for up to five days without additional airfare charges), people are using Iceland as a landing pad on the way to Europe.
- There is endless daylight in the summer. Due to its northerly location, Iceland is one of seven countries to experience total sunlight (other countries include Canada, Norway, Sweden, Greenland, Finland, Russia and the United States—in Alaska). According to Iceland Magazine, “The midnight sun therefore stays visible in the sky for more than 21 hours in Reykjavík in the middle of summer.” This means countless hours to tour around and keep the party going way into the late hours of the night.
Unfortunately, this raging popularity comes at a cost. What used to feel like an off-the-beaten-path gem can now feel like a day at Walt Disney World. In a place known for its mind-blowing natural beauty, it can be heartbreaking to have to share it with 1,000 of fellow tourists.
So what’s a traveler to do? It would be a tragedy to miss out on all of Iceland’s splendor just because 25 of your closest friends are planning to go there too. Our plan? Two words: Shoulder Season.
The following articles are about traveling to Iceland during the Spring and the Fall—months like March and November—where the temperatures are significantly colder and the only thing predictable about the weather is that it keeps the droves away.
While you will miss the splendor of the midnight sun in Iceland (and amazing festivals like the Secret Solstice), there are MANY more rewarding aspects to the country untouched by the masses. The following articles will highlight some of our favorite (and at times not-so-favorite) aspects of Spring/Fall travel in the Land of Ice and Fire.