You’ve no doubt seen all of the fantastic deals on trips to Iceland in the last few years. Perhaps you’ve read a few articles and blogs about how beautiful Iceland is. And it truly is gorgeous. But with any destination that suddenly becomes hugely popular, the greatness tends to become watered down after so many people have been there. There are rumors that the country has become so overrun that the natural beauty has eroded.
With the demand for services to any destination, popular places like the capital of Reykjavik answer that demand and as a result, runs the risk of becoming too gentrified, too much like every other major city. Thereby losing its uniqueness in the world.
Has the Iceland tourist bubble burst? With so many people traipsing around, primarily on the southern half of the island around Reykjavik, natural conservation is always a concern.
The Golden Circle and the south coast, in particular, have seen boatloads of tourists over the last five years. Gysir Geothermal Park, the Gulfoss waterfall and Thingvellir National Park have seen the wear and tear of so many boots on the ground, as it were. Nowadays there are programs in place that educate tourists to Iceland on the importance of maintaining these natural wonders.
So, is Iceland still worth visiting? The answer is a resounding YES. Why? For several reasons:
- The vast majority of visitors spend their entire visit only in and around Reykjavik. There are plenty of areas on the little-explored north end of the island that are begging to be enjoyed. Dare to “rough it” from the comfort of the capital and find out what the true Iceland is.
- Visit in the off season. Prices are lower, as are the crowds. Take advantage of this and savor the beauty of the country without elbowing other tourists. Many enticing off-season packages can be had if you do a little digging.
- The foodie scene in Reykjavik is still rapidly developing. Dine at the hands of world-renowned chefs who put a deliciously new twist on Nordic cuisine. Ingredients foraged from the surrounding countryside ensure you get a fresh and unforgettable meal. Come and savor it.
- Experience a new concept: Go inside a glacier (instead of walking on top of one.) In west Iceland, on remote Langjokull, locals spent a good amount of time carving out 500 meters of tunnel inside a glacier. Just two hours’ drive from Reykjavik, it’s close enough to be accessible, but far enough away to feel like you’re on another planet. The stunning blue ice alone will transport you.
- Soak in the country’s newest hot springs, Krauma. Steer away from the too-popular Blue Lagoon and truly relax in this sophisticated geothermal complex. Five pools are sustained by the powerful Deildartunguhver, a hot spring known all over Europe as one of the best.
- Iceland will always be one of the best places in the world to view the aurora borealis. Hands down. The incredible starry light show is on many a bucket list, and should also be on yours.