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Fastest growing tourist hotspots in Europe

Iceland and Slovakia are among the fastest-growing tourist destinations in Europe for foreign tourists this year, according to the latest report out of the European Travel Commission.


Iceland experienced an impressive 30% spike in foreign arrivals in the second quarter of 2013 compared to the same period last year. Slovakia saw a 20% increase in international visitors this spring.


Overall, growth was strongest in smaller European regions such as the Balkans and Eastern Europe.


Montenegro, Latvia, and Croatia, for example, each recorded a 9 percent growth, while visitor growth in Hungary and Poland also increased about 7 percent.


At the other end of the spectrum, the banking crisis in Cyprus earlier this year also dealt the country’s tourism industry a major blow, as visitor arrivals plummeted -12 percent.


Meanwhile, editors at Lonely Planet also named Iceland — or rather northern Iceland — one of their top European destination picks for 2013 earlier this summer, for the country’s rich natural landscape including dramatic geysers, lava fields and towering waterfalls.

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