Hotspot Reykjavik, Iceland

March 01, 2009|By Liz Atwood

If there's one place the global financial crisis has hit harder than the United States, it's Iceland. But one industry that's thriving in Iceland is tourism, as visitors rush to scoop up bargains in what was once one of the most expensive countries in the world. Lonely Planet and other travel publications have listed Iceland as one of the top destinations this year. Icelandair used to fly direct from BWI Marshall Airport to Reykjavik. That service has been discontinued, but you can hop a flight out of New York or Boston and be in the world's northernmost capital in less than six hours.

1

Explore the art scene:

The Reykjavik Art Museum is actually three museums in one: Hafnarhus, Kjarvalsstadir and Asmundarsafn. The venues, devoted to contemporary art, make up the largest visual art institution in Iceland.

2

Continental congress:

Thingvellir national park is one of Iceland's most historic spots. The jagged landscape lies at the intersection of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. It was the site of the world's first democratic parliament in 930.

3

Get in hot water:

The Blue Lagoon, a man-made geothermal pool near the airport, is on the to-do list of most tourists who visit Iceland. Relax in the salty, milky-blue waters and take in a spa treatment.

4

Double the pleasure:

Gullfoss, or Golden Falls, is a stunning, 105-foot double waterfall. It is by far Europe's most powerful waterfall and is just over an hour's drive from the capital.

5

Explore your inner Viking:

Check out the countryside with a tour on horseback. Gentle Icelandic ponies are descended from horses the Vikings brought to the land 1,000 years ago; it's a great way to see the craggy landscape.

More information: visitreykjavik.is or icelandtouristboard.com

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