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Airport travellers are helping to make Iceland and Slovakia among the quickest-growing European destinations for foreign tourists this year, according to new figures. Iceland enjoyed a 30% jump in overseas arrivals from April to June compared to the same quarter last year, while Slovakia experienced a 20% rise.

Expansion was generally strongest in smaller European regions such as the Balkans and Eastern Europe, a report by the European Travel Commission also reported. Montenegro, Latvia, and Croatia, for example, each recorded 9.5% growth, and visitor growth in Hungary and Poland also rose about 7.5%. Of the major European nations, Germany and Spain reported a “healthy” 4% rise.

Editors at Lonely Planet travel experts earlier this summer named Iceland - more specifically northern Iceland - as one of their top European destination picks for 2013. They cited the northern European country's rich natural landscape including dramatic geysers, magnificent mountains, lava fields and towering waterfalls. The Godafoss waterfall, or “Waterfall of the Gods”, is one of the most spectacular in the Mývatn district. Andy Murdock, US digital editor of Lonely Planet magazine, said: “With a small window of affordability and a seeming worldwide need for a long soak in a hot spring, Iceland seems to be on every traveller's mind this year.” Hungary and Croatia were also included among Lonely Planet's top 10 list.

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