SOURCE: Visit Iceland

Visit Iceland

November 21, 2011 12:45 ET

Iceland Named Top Destination in 2012 by Lonely Planet and National Geographic Traveler

North American Travel up 52% as Northern Lights Prepare to Dazzle

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND--(Marketwire - Nov 21, 2011) - North American travelers are warming up to Iceland thanks to recommendations by new books, magazine articles and TV shows. Add in the fascination over its world famous (but virtually unpronounceable) volcanic eruption in 2010 and it's no wonder Iceland has experienced double digit increases in visitation this year, moving the country up on American "bucket lists" as a must-see destination in 2012.

Over 3,000 readers of Lonely Planet banded together to elect Iceland the Readers' Choice Best Destination and Reykjavik as the Best City in the Best in Travel 2012 guidebook. "Clearly, in the view of voters, this is Iceland's year for travelers," wrote the guidebook's editors. This was considered quite an honor for Iceland, especially after being selected a "Best of the World 2012" trip by the editors of National Geographic Traveler (November-December 2011 issue).

The country was also featured on the new ABC television program Born to Explore. Richard Wiese, the host of the show, traveled to Iceland, rode the famous Icelandic horse, and even baked bread using geothermal heat. Another Born to Explore episode about Iceland titled, "In Search of Vikings," airs on ABC in February 2012.

January through August 2011 travel to Iceland from North America was up over 52% compared to the same period in 2010. September and October visitation also increased over 40 percent per month over the year before, according to Sif Gustavsson, Area Manager of North America for

"Within five hours flying time from the East Coast travelers can be sitting under the Northern Lights soaking in geothermal spas and indulging in the freshest seafood imaginable. Combined with great travel deals and a strong U.S. dollar, Iceland is a spectacular winter destination," she said.

Special Offers On Great Northern Lights Deals and Packages

An active solar cycle has lead scientists to predict that 2012 will deliver the best Northern Lights displays in more than a decade. One of the finest vantage points for observing the famed Aurora Borealis is the countryside near the northern capital of cosmopolitan Reykjavik. Travel deals include:

  • Icelandair: Iceland Northern Lights & Glacier Walk
    Available until March 26, this three-night tour includes a guided walking glacier tour, followed by lobster bisque in a charming Icelandic village and a tour in search of the Northern Lights. This package includes roundtrip air, hotel stay, the walk, dinner tour, and luxurious spa visit. From $763 p.p. Details at
  • Icelandic Mountain Guides: Golden Circle & Magical Nights
    This light hiking tour brings together the famous Golden Circle of natural wonders: Thingvellir National Park, Geysir and Strokkur geysers, and Gullfoss waterfall. The trip includes a visit to the newly built Fontana geothermal spa with hot spring bathing, dinner, and a chance to enjoy the natural magic of the Northern Lights. From $254 p.p. Log onto for more information.
  • Northern Lights Hunt on Sea
    The shimmering Northern Lights can be seen over the dark North Atlantic ocean and the sparkling, mountainous terrain surrounding Reykjavik on this new evening cruise that departs from Reykjavik's Old Harbor. The tour takes about three hours, and pickup from all hotels or guesthouses in the area is included, as are hot drinks and warm clothing to wear while onboard. About $65 p.p. See more at
  • Lake Myvatn Northern Lights Special
    Hunt for the northern lights in Northern Iceland on this five-day package that includes three days exploring the stunning natural beauty of the Lake Myvatn area and charming Akureyri, Iceland's second largest city. The Myvatn area is just below the Arctic Circle, and renowned for its natural beauty year-round. About $912 p.p. See more at

To order or immediately download a free travel guide to visiting Iceland, complete with photographs, maps and lists of hotels, restaurants and guide services, log onto:

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:

    Sif Gustavsson
    Visit Iceland
    917 484 1814
    Email Contact

    Jeff Blumenfeld
    Blumenfeld and Assoc. PR
    203 655 1600
    Email Contact