If you're noticing a whole lot of glacial waters and mountain-framed lagoons on your Instagram feed these days, you're not alone. Iceland has become a super trendy destination of late.
Some 1.7 million travelers checked it out in 2015—more than twice as many visitors as in 2005. And with a tiny population of around 320,000 (roughly the size of St. Louis, Missouri), the oasis they found was full of pristine, untouched landscapes. According to travel expert Ella Chase, who is currently taking a yearlong trip around the world, these scenic views are what make the island country so captivating.
"The appeal is the ability to connect with nature in an authentic way—Iceland is one of the few remaining places where the essence of the photographs actually matches the in-person experience," she told mindbodygreen.
Linden Schaffer, the founder of wellness travel company Pravassa, added the practicality and safety of an Iceland vacay as factors contributing to the tourism spike: "With cheap airfare, a feeling of uncharted territory, and a very low crime rate, it's appealing to nature lovers, wellness seekers, and families."
We didn't have to look far to find some friends of mbg who have visited the island lately (like I said, everyone's going!). We compiled their top travel tips to bring you the ultimate Iceland bucket list—brimming with notable food, wildlife, views, and Zen escapes.
If you're lucky enough to have a trip in the works, we hope it inspires your itinerary, and if you're still in dreaming mode, may it be that final push you need to book that flight.