A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.
— Moslih Eddin Saadi, 1184 - 1283
EN
EN

Iceland

Background

Iceland

Settled by Norwegian and Celtic (Scottish and Irish) immigrants during the late 9th and 10th centuries A.D., Iceland boasts the world's oldest functioning legislative assembly, the Althing, established in 930. Independent for over 300 years, Iceland was subsequently ruled by Norway and Denmark. Fallout from the Askja volcano of 1875 devastated the Icelandic economy and caused widespread famine. Over the next quarter century, 20% of the island's population emigrated, mostly to Canada and the US. Limited home rule from Denmark was granted in 1874 and complete independence attained in 1944. The second half of the 20th century saw substantial economic growth driven primarily by the fishing industry. The economy diversified greatly after the country joined the European Economic Area in 1994, but Iceland was especially hard hit by the global financial crisis in the years following 2008. Literacy, longevity, and social cohesion are first rate by world standards.

About

Iceland , (Icelandic: Ísland) is a mountainous island nation in the north Atlantic Ocean, located between Europe and North America. Though not part of the continental mainland, the country is considered European. The name of the country - Iceland - may not be that appropriate: although 10% of Iceland is covered by glaciers, it has a surprisingly mild climate and countless geothermal hot-spots. The native spelling ("Ísland") is appropriate in English as well.

Read more about Iceland in our Iceland travel guide »

Featured journals from

Iceland

Summer 2017

by madjeanne

Headed North to cool down a bit.

Jul 2017 - Sep 2017  »  United States | United Kingdom | Norway | Svalbard and Jan Mayen | Sweden | Estonia | Russia | Finland | Germany | Netherlands | Belgium | Ireland | Iceland | Greenland | Canada

Iceland in Winter

by niki38mike

Mike & Niki 2016

Jan 2016  »  Iceland

Featured hotels in

Iceland

IcelandHotel Keflavik 

Vatnsnesvegi 12-14
Keflavik 230
Iceland

Price (US$): $95 - $125 / night

Check rates »

Location. Near the airport, Hotel Keflavik is located in Keflavik's Reykjanesbaer neighborhood and close to Reykjanes Art Museum, Duus Hus Cultural Centre, and Viking World Museum. Regional points of interest also include Blue Lagoon and Gardur Folk Museum. Hotel Features. Hotel Keflavik features a coffee shop/café and a bar/lounge. Room service is available during limited hours. A complimentary continental breakfast is served each morning. Recreational amenities include a sauna, a fitness… more »

IcelandHotel Reykjavik Centrum 

Adalstraeti 16
Reykjavik IS-101
Iceland

Price (US$): $115 - $145 / night

Check rates »

Location. Hotel Reykjavik Centrum is located in Reykjavik, close to Parliament House, Hallgrimskirkja, and Reykjavik City Hall. Nearby points of interest also include Laugavegur and National Museum of Iceland. Hotel Features. Hotel Reykjavik Centrum's restaurant serves lunch and dinner. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel serves hot and cold buffet breakfasts (surcharges apply). This 4 star property has a business center and offers small… more »

IcelandHotel Holt 

Bergstadastraeti 37
Reykjavik 00101
Iceland

Price (US$): $161 - $302 / night

Check rates »

Location. Located in central Reykjavik, Hotel Holt is near the airport and within walking distance of Reykjavik Free Church, Parliament House, and Hallgrimskirkja. Additional points of interest include Reykjavik City Hall and National and University Library of Iceland. Hotel Features. Hotel Holt's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available during limited hours. The hotel serves hot and cold buffet breakfasts each morning… more »

IcelandCenterHotel Thingholt 

Thingholtsstraeti 3-5
Reykjavik 101
Iceland

Price (US$): $182 - $346 / night

Check rates »

Location. Located in central Reykjavik, CenterHotel Thingholt is within walking distance of Laugavegur and Reykjavik City Hall. Nearby points of interest also include Hallgrimskirkja and National Museum of Iceland. Hotel Features. CenterHotel Thingholt features a coffee shop/café and a bar/lounge. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel serves hot and cold buffet breakfasts each morning in the breakfast area (surcharges apply). This 4 star property offers a meeting/conference… more »

IcelandIcelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura 

Nautholsvegur 52
Reykjavik 101
Iceland

Price (US$): $107 - $179 / night

Check rates »

Location. Located in Reykjavik, Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura is near the airport and close to Perlan, National and University Library of Iceland, and Reykjavik City Hall. Nearby points of interest also include Hallgrimskirkja and National Museum of Iceland. Hotel Features. Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available during limited hours. The hotel serves hot and cold buffet breakfasts each… more »

Browse more hotels in Iceland »

Iceland

Full name
Republic of Iceland
Capital
Reykjavík
Location

Northern Europe, island between the Greenland Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of the United Kingdom

Geographic coordinates

65 00 N, 18 00 W

Area comparative

slightly smaller than Kentucky

Coastline

4,970 km

Climate

temperate; moderated by North Atlantic Current; mild, windy winters; damp, cool summers

Terrain

mostly plateau interspersed with mountain peaks, icefields; coast deeply indented by bays and fiords

Lowest point

Atlantic Ocean 0 m

Highest point

Hvannadalshnukur 2,110 m (at Vatnajokull glacier)

Natural resources

fish, hydropower, geothermal power, diatomite

Population

308,910 (July 2010 est.)

Ethnic groups

homogeneous mixture of descendants of Norse and Celts 94%, population of foreign origin 6%

Religions

Lutheran Church of Iceland 80.7%, Roman Catholic Church 2.5%, Reykjavik Free Church 2.4%, Hafnarfjorour Free Church 1.6%, other religions 3.6%, unaffiliated 3%, other or unspecified 6.2% (2006 est.)

Languages

Icelandic, English, Nordic languages, German widely spoken

Government type

constitutional republic

Independence

1 December 1918 (became a sovereign state under the Danish Crown); 17 June 1944 (from Denmark)

National holiday

Independence Day, 17 June (1944)

Chief of state

President Olafur Ragnar GRIMSSON (since 1 August 1996)

Head of government

Prime Minister Johanna SIGURDARDOTTIR (since 1 February 2009);

Internet country code

.is

Internet users

301,600 (2009)

Airports

99 (2010)

Ports and terminals

Grundartangi, Hafnarfjordur, Reykjavik

Other countries in the region