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Holy Blue Lagoon! Reykjavik is now the third most popular European destination for American travelers this summer, according to popular travel insurance provider Allianz, which aggregated the Top 20 list based on Europe travel booked between Memorial Day and Labor Day 2018.
The capital of Iceland, which was only ranked No. 17 in 2017, jumped an astounding 14 spots ahead, outstripping Rome, Barcelona and Athens and falling behind only perennial favorites London and Paris.
US travel to Reykjavik has significantly risen in recent years, and partial credit no doubt goes to Icelandic low-cost carrier WOW Air’s popular offer to include free stopovers in Reykjavik on all Europe-bound routes. (The airline’s viral job offer probably didn’t hurt Reykjavik’s reputation, either.) Social media has been another significant factor in Iceland’s rising popularity, as the country’s otherworldly landscapes make for Instagram-worthy snaps at every turn.
Meanwhile, several other cities dropped in the ranks, with Barcelona slipping to No. 7 from its previous No. 5 rank in 2016 and 2017, most likely due to recent political unrest, street protests, and last summer’s terrorist attack. Yet Spain overall ranked as the second-most popular tourist destination in 2017, and No. 7 is still a respectable spot on the Top 20 list.
One destination on the list is a first-timer to the Top 20 bracket: the city of Nice, in the south of France. While the city experienced a terrorist truck attack during the Bastille Day celebration in 2016, nearly 2% of travelers are planning to fly into Nice this summer.
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