Iceland tops polls as most attractive destination in 2012

Tiny Iceland has come up huge in polls for this year’s top travel destinations. Iceland topped The National Geographic’s Traveler Magazine’s list of the world’s best destinations in 2012, which claimed it was “[a] final relic from the world’s last ice age.”

“This North Atlantic island nation is a world of knife-cut valleys, gargantuan fjords, monumental cliffs, black-sand beaches, thundering waterfalls, and silent white glaciers. Recent volcanic eruptions remind us that Iceland is still a country in the making, with changed landscapes that even Icelanders continue to discover.”
Iceland also finished far ahead of the competition in the vote for the Best in Travel 2012 by readers of the respected travel publication Lonely Planet. Iceland received a stunning 32% of votes cast, 19% more than 2nd place, Italy. In addition, Iceland’s capitol, Reykjavík, finished well ahead of 2nd placed Lisbon, as the most exciting city to visit in 2012 for the same publication. 
Iceland’s rugged beauty, shaped by glaciers, waterfalls and volcanoes, was a major hit with Lonely Planet Readers’ who were attracted by the country’s untouched nature and pristine landscapes. Other attractions include the bustling nightlife and the interplay between the country’s constant geothermal activity and the bursting creative energy of the population.
By year end, the country was also selected by readers of the Sunday Times as the Best Adventure Travel Destination at the annual Sunday Times Travel Magazine Readers Awards 2011. Iceland scooped the top prize, beating stiff competition from runners up Norway and Switzerland. The country was praised for its ‘lunar landscapes’ and wide range of adventure activities on offer.
In addition, Reykjavík has been awarded the World Festival and Event City in 2011 by the International Festivals & Events Association‘s (IFEA). A panel of industry experts awarded the city, stating: 
Reykjavik enjoys a surprisingly energetic and inspiring community of artists, musicians, writers and designers. This creative group finds one of its outlet in the cities numerous festivals and events. Reykjavik offers ongoing festivals and events throughout the year. The city is the home of around 30 festivals annually which focus on everything between tango and the Icelandic horse, design and cutting edge theatre. The City of Reykjavik produces many of the city’s largest festivals and is a proud and important sponsor of many more. In 2004 the City Council approved a Tourism Policy which supported the importance of festivals and events for the cities’ image as a young, cultural and vibrant city.  In 2011, Reykjavik City Council approved a new Tourism Policy which further emphasizes the importance of festivals and events playing a major role in portraying Reykjavik as an attractive destination all year round.
Reykjavík also recently become the first non-English speaking city in the world to be named a UNIESCO City of Literature.

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