An island of mystery, history, and mesmerizing landscapes, Iceland is often described as an “otherworldly” place to experience the power of nature. Photographers are drawn to the Nordic nation’s stunning waterfalls, glaciers, geysers, and volcanic mountains. Adventurers arrive for hiking, climbing, camping, and kayaking in fjord-cut coastlines. And visitors find that even the experience of driving in Iceland can elicit wonder: Imagine traveling for hours over moss-covered ranges of volcanic rock or endless fields of purple lupine. (See 31 stunning photos of adventures in Iceland.)
In recent years, a financial crisis and volcanic eruptions have thrust the small nation (it’s nearly the size of Kentucky) into the international spotlight. Travelers have come in droves; now more than two million visitors arrive annually, greatly outnumbering a population of about 340,000 people. (Learn how to avoid overtourism.)
Despite this popularity, Iceland retains its mystique as a place where natural wonders inspire photogenic journeys and more than a few eerie folktales.