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Photo: chadmagiera

A couple destinations traditionally seen as money pits are recast by Lonely Planet.

For years, Iceland was considered one of the most expensive countries for travelers.

More recently, it became a high-profile casualty of the world’s financial woes, famously declaring bankruptcy just over a year ago.

Now look at it. It’s been named by Lonely Planet as the #1 economic tourist destination of 2010. Says LP,

Have you always wanted to discover this magical, mysterious country? To explore ice caps and volcanoes, and wallow in hot springs? Been put off because of the prohibitive prices? Well, 2010 is your year.

Get the full story from AFP here.

Another out-of-placer on the list is London, which — as Trips reported previously — is no longer burning through your travel dollar.

Presumably we’re working on a relative scale here (I mean, Iceland has a ways to go before hitting the bargain basement of Thailand, #2). In other words, these destinations are steals compared to what they cost just a few years ago.

So it’ll still take some careful planning to tour Iceland’s fire and ice and throw down on the Reykjavik Rúntur without blowing your budget for the flight home.

Community Connection

Will Lonely Planet’s “bargain” list influence your travel decisions? Let us know in the comments below.



About The Author

Hal Amen

Hal Amen is a managing editor at Matador. His personal travel blog is WayWorded.

  • Stephanie

    I was in Iceland in June and while I’m sure it’s cheaper than it once was, it was by no definition cheap. What used to be Scandanavian prices are now Western Europe prices which is still pretty pricey by my definition. Food in particular was very expensive (most likely because Iceland has to import almost all of their non-fish and lamb food).

    That being said, it was completely worthwhile and one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been.

    • Hal Amen

      Sweet, thanks for this from-the-ground report, Stephanie. I can’t imagine Iceland ever being a budget destination in the absolute sense…but who knows?

  • Bianca

    It’s not expensive while you’re inside Iceland but it’s usually the flights that cost a lot unless you are in Scandinavia or NYC which has regular flights there. For hostels, I’d say the best ones are Salvation Army Guesthouse ( and Reykjavik Backpackers ( They are both “young” and Salvation is legendary in Reykjavic.

  • Jan Nordic

    Wanna travel around Iceland?

    Netbus is a licensed Icelandic tour and travel provider,
    offering welcoming bus trips across Iceland, professional guided coach tours
    and airport transfers upon request. Over the course of 50 years, Netbus has
    always believed in providing quality service at cheap prices. Netbus also
    believes in providing its customers with expert knowledge about Iceland and the
    country’s unique landscape and history. Visit the Blue lagoon, Gullfoss, Geysir,
    Thingvellir & more.

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