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Iceland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is home to a progressive and peaceful nation that has formed a modern society where freedom and equality are the most important qualities. Iceland continuously ranks near the top of measurements for quality of life, gender equality, and democracy, and is one of the highest ranked countries in the world regarding health care, education and internet availability.

Iceland is a country of extreme geological contrasts. Widely known as “The Land of Fire and Ice” Iceland is home to some of the largest glaciers in Europe, and some of the world’s most active volcanoes. Iceland is also the land of light and darkness. Long summer days with near 24-hours of sunshine are offset by short winter days with only a few hours of daylight.

The cornerstone of Icelandic culture is the Icelandic language, which has spawned a literary tradition that dates back to the ancient Icelandic Sagas. These are tales of violent blood feuds, traditions, family, and character. A strong literary tradition still thrives in modern Iceland. Icelandic authors publish more books per capita than in any other country in the world. Iceland also boasts a prospering music scene, a burgeoning film industry, and Icelandic design is coming of age.


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History and Heritage

The country was settled by Norsemen from Scandinavia and Celts from the British Isles in the 9th and 10th centuries, who established the world's first parliament.

Geography

Iceland was formed around 25 million years ago, which makes it one of the youngest landmasses on the planet. Learn more about Icelandic geography and geology here.

Safe Travel

Iceland is one of the safest countries in the world. Crime rate is extremely low and medical care is excellent. However, it is necessary to take precaution when travelling in Iceland due to natural hazards caused by weather and nature, where conditions can change at a moments notice.

A Country of Creatives

For an isolated culture in the North Atlantic, creativity is important. Ever since Iceland was settled in the 9th century, writing and music have been an integral part of life in the country; and have in recent years reached a large audience on the global stage thanks to the efforts of international pop stars such as Björk and Sigur Rós, as well as the wide readership of authors like Halldór Laxness, Arnaldur Indriðason and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir.

Clean nature

Icelanders have long enjoyed one of the highest life expectancies in the world. There is no definitive explanation for this, but a clean environment and a healthy diet and lifestyle probably have something to do with it. The Icelandic diet is rich in quality raw materials, farmed, bred and caught in an unpolluted environment, and produced with the utmost care.

The Place for Adventure

Iceland remains largely uninhabited, with more than half of its 320,000 inhabitants living in the capital city. In fact, a mere twenty-minute drive from Reykjavík center takes you out of the hubbub of city life and into the seclusion of Iceland's spectacular landscapes, which inspire adventures from its shores to its mountaintops.

Culture

Iceland was the last country in Europe to be settled. To this day, it is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. Located in the middle of the North Atlantic, Iceland was settled by emigrants from Scandinavia and the British Isles in the tenth century. Due to Iceland's geographical location, it was mostly outside the influence of contemporary culture in Europe and America, until the late nineteenth century.

Mysterious Iceland

Iceland is home to the largest glaciers in Europe, as well as some of the world's most active volcanoes, and is widely known as "The Land of Fire and Ice". But Iceland escapes definition. It is also the land of light and darkness. Its location, just below the Arctic Circle, makes for long summer days with near 24-hours of sunlight; offset by short winter days with very little sunlight at all. Fortunately, while winters in Iceland are dark, they are relatively mild and play host to one of nature's most spectacular exhibitions of beauty; the Aurora Borealis.

Christmas and New Year

The Icelandic Christmas period is an intriguing mixture of religious practice and traditional folklore, beginning on December 23rd and ending on Epiphany, January 6th. In between, there is a whole lot of food to be eaten, people to be met and fireworks to be launched.

Volcanoes

Volcanic activity is a fact of life in Iceland, where people have learned to live with both its drawbacks, and considerable advantages, such as geothermal energy and dramatic natural environment.

People and Language

Iceland was the last country to be settled in Europe, when emigrants from Scandinavia and the British Isles first came to live on the island in the ninth and tenth century. It remains the most sparsely populated country of the continent with less than three inhabitants per square kilometer.

Practical Info

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