Iceland will send you home squeaky-clean.
7 QUIRKS OF ICELAND
-There are 40 publishing houses in Iceland, making its people among the most literate in the world. On the other hand, who else will publish a book in Icelandic if they don't?
-A local newspaper, the Reykjavik Grapevine, reported that one way to measure Iceland's fall from financial hotspot to recession-plagued recovering nation is that the number of Range Rover registrations plummeted from a high of 259 in 2007 to 4 in 2011.
-The mayor of Reykjavik is an actor.
-Due to the downslide of the Icelandic krona against the dollar, it's about 25 percent cheaper to visit Iceland than it was before the 2008 recession.
-Iceland had 277,000 tourists in 2002. In 2012, about 700,000 visited the country. This year, it might hit 1 million, a government official said.
-In summer, nightclubs really get busy only after midnight. But the sun is still up.
-Americans built the original international airport at Keflavik during its military occupation in World War II, bringing American culture and influence to Iceland.
IF YOU GO:
WHEN TO GO: High season is mid-June through August, when the midnight sun shines and partiers congregate. Try May or September; true iconoclasts should come way off-season for low prices and quiet.
GETTING THERE: Icelandair flies from several U.S. cities to Reykjavik; from Boston and Washington Dulles it's a 5-5 1 / 2hour flight for about $860 round-trip in the off-season or $1,100 in summer. Check package deals for flights, hotels and activities at http://www.icelandair.us, 800-223-5500.
GETTING AROUND: The Keflavik Airport Flybus (( http://www.re.is/flybus ) takes tourists between the airport and Reykjavik. Tour companies like Reykjavik Excursions (( http://www.re.is ) offer day trips to far-flung sights and rides from your hotel to the airport, with a stop at the Blue Lagoon. Staying in Reykjavik? It's a walkable city with no need for a car; take a taxi to Perlan or other sites on the city's edge. Rent a car for jaunts to the countryside.
STAY: Most of Reykjavik's hotels are Iceland-owned, such as Center Hotels with multiple properties in downtown Reykjavik (( http://www.centerhotels.com ).
FOR MORE: http://www.travelnet.is or http://www.visiticeland.com.
Ellen Creager: firstname.lastname@example.org