Friday, October 6, 2017

Iceland skating in as most popular tourist destination

What makes Iceland such a hot destination

by Patti Covello Pietschmann

Our globetrotting friend, Glenn, just returned from Europe and is off in the next couple of weeks to South America and after that, more parts unknown outside the US. "But," he said during dinner at a The District by Hannah An, trendy West Hollywood restaurant last night, between sips of wine and bites of poke, " I want to go to Iceland." "You and everybody else," I remarked. But why has  Iceland become one of the hottest travel spots on earth?

For starters it's a destination that travelers seem to save for last on their bucket lists and it's so a millennial thing. I haven't yet been but understand Iceland is Mother Nature's masterpiece and still unspoiled. It is also one of the safest spots on earth and has a low crime rate and good medical care.

What's more there are luxurious hotels in which to bed down and commune with nature such as Deplar Farm(see photos below)--a converted sheep farm tucked away in the remote Flijot valley offering bespoke travel in the lap of a luxurious hotel.

Here's a few facts:

Its Flag is blue with a red cross outlined in white fimbration, extending to the edges of the flag. The colors are symbolic for three of the elements that make up the island: red is for the volcanic fires, white recalls the snow and glaciers, and blue is for the skies above.

Population is 332,000 (2016). An estimated 9% (29.900) of the population is of foreign-born nationality.

Capital city: Reykjavík. The largest municipalities are Reykjavík* (122,000); Kópavogur* (34,000); Hafnarfjördur *(28,000); Akureyri (18,000); Reykjanesbær (15.000). * denotes cities in the capital region.

103,000 sq. km (40,000 sq. miles), bigger than Hungary and Portugal and a little bit smaller than Cuba.

Iceland is a parliamentary constitutional republic. Suffrage is universal from 18 years of age. The president is elected by direct popular vote for a term of four years, with no term limit. Most executive power rests with the Government, which is elected separately from the presidential elections every four years. Althingi is a legislative body of 63 members elected for a term of four years by popular vote. Judicial power lies with the Supreme Court and the district courts.

Language: The official language of Iceland is Icelandic, a North Germanic language derived from Old Norse. It has changed relatively little throughout the centuries. English is widely spoken and understood.

Religion: Most Icelanders (80%) are members of the Lutheran State Church. Another 5% are registered in other Christian denominations, including the Free Church of Iceland and the Roman Catholic Church. Almost 5% of people practice ásatrú, the traditional Norse religion.

The currency: The Icelandic monetary unit is the króna (plural krónur) – ISK.

Time Zone:
Iceland is on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) throughout the year, and does not go on daylight saving time.

Getting there

Options for direct flights from the US are more limited than if you fly to other European destinations. You could get a very cheap deal on WOW Air if they have a seat sale. But Icelandair and Delta (summer flights only) can be competitive. 
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