One may walk over the highest mountain one step at a time.
— John Wanamaker, 1838 - 1922
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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

IcelandIcelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura 

Nautholsvegur 52
Reykjavik 101
Iceland

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

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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 »

IcelandHotel Kea 

Hafnarstraeti 87-89
Akureyri 00600
Iceland

Price (US$): $122 - $219 / night

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Location. Hotel Kea is located in Akureyri, close to Akureyri Church, Akureyri Botanical Garden, and Jon Sveinsson Museum. Nearby points of interest also include University of Akureyri. Hotel Features. Hotel Kea's restaurant serves breakfast and dinner. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available during limited hours. The hotel serves a complimentary continental breakfast each morning in the breakfast area. This 4 star property offers small meeting rooms, technology support… more »

IcelandCenterHotel Thingholt 

Thingholtsstraeti 3-5
Reykjavik 101
Iceland

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

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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 »

IcelandRadisson Blu Saga Hotel, Reykjavik 

Hagatorg
Reykjavik 10
Iceland

Price (US$): $107 - $188 / night

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Location. Radisson Blu Saga Hotel, Reykjavik is a business friendly hotel located in Reykjavik, close to National and University Library of Iceland, Reykjavik City Hall, and Parliament House. Additional points of interest include Hallgrimskirkja and National Museum of Iceland. Hotel Features. Dining options at Radisson Blu Saga Hotel, Reykjavik include 2 restaurants. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. Recreational amenities include a health club, a spa… more »

IcelandHilton Reykjavik Nordica 

Sudurlandsbraut 2
Reykjavik 108
Iceland

Price (US$): $241 - $1268 / night

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Location. Hilton Reykjavik Nordica is a business friendly hotel located in Reykjavik's Laugardalur neighborhood, close to Laugardalsholl, Reykjavik City Hall, and Hallgrimskirkja. Additional points of interest include Perlan and Laugavegur. Hotel Features. Hilton Reykjavik Nordica's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel serves full breakfasts each morning in the restaurant (surcharges apply).… 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