Reykjanes peninsula has seen a larger increase in the number of overnight stays than any other part of Iceland. The increase between 2010 and 2015 was a whopping 245%, compared to a national average of 161%. The growth is explained by the proximity to the Keflavík International Airport, and the rugged natural beauty, geothermal areas and lava fields of the Reykjanes Geopark.
According to the regional news site vf.is the growth in the number of overnight stays has been strongest in West Iceland and the South West, especially Reykjanes. Proximity to the Keflavík International Airport and Reykjavík and the capital region seem to be particularly important, as the smallest increase has been in East Iceland, where the number of overnight stays has grown by 138%.
At the same time as the number of foreign visitors and overnight stays has grown, the supply of hotel rooms has increased. However, the growth in the number of hotel rooms has been far slower than the growth in the number of visitors. In 2014 and 2015 the number of foreign visitors to Iceland grew by 175%, when the number of hotel rooms in the Reykjanes peninsula grew by 95%, leading to a better occupancy ratio of hotel rooms.
Unaralleled natural beauty
Reykjanes peninsula is not only home to the Keflavík Airport and one of Iceland‘s best known and most popular tourist attractions, the Blue Lagoon, but also countless other beautiful sights worth visiting.
The rugged lava fields of Reykjanes are among the most beautiful in Iceland. The last major period of volcanic activity in the region began shortly before Iceland was settled, in the 8th and 9th centuries, and came to an end in the mid-13th century. These lava fields formed in these eruptions are still relatively barren, since very little vegetation other than moss has managed to colonize the hostile lava fields.
The four major volcanic systems on the Reykjanes peninsula include hundreds of open fissures and major high temperature geothermal systems, characterized by intense surface activity that has created a diversity of colours contrasting with the black lava and the lush green moss. The best two of the best known, and most easily accessible, are on the Krýsuvík system south-west coast of Kleifarvatn and Eldvörp, west of the Blue lagoon.