Iceland is a small and extremely beautiful island country located in the northern Atlantic, closer to Greenland, and therefore to North America than to Europe. However, Iceland is a European country, which is dealt in one group with the Nordic countries such as Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. It is inhabited by the Vikings from about 870th, and in its history the country was essentially ruled by Denmark for many centuries. The official language is Icelandic. It is considered to be extremely difficult, perhaps one of the most difficult language in Europe.
The reason lies in the complexity of the words spelling and atypical sounding of the Icelandic language. The country is a member of the Schengen Agreement and is part of the European Economic Area (EEA).
The country discusses about its membership in the European Union, although much of the political elite and many of its residents are opposed.
Desire for EU membership came after the very serious financial crisis that struck the island in 2008. Iceland was a very awkward position, since it would be quite different if it could rely on the tremendous support from the European Union.
Iceland is well known to the curious and adventurous minded tourists looking for experiences other than to roast on the beach. Nature is a typical north and the coastline is heavily indented by the action of glaciers.
Even today large areas of territory are yet occupied by glaciers, mainly in southern and western parts where the altitude is bigger. The largest glacier Vatnajokull is located in the south of Iceland.
In the southern part of the glacier is the highest peak in the country – Hvannadalshnukur, 2119 meters high. This peak is located not far from the Atlantic coast.
As a result of the effects of global warming, dangerously reduce the area of the glacier. Considering that Iceland is located adjacent to and even beyond the Arctic Circle, the presence of glaciers is not at all surprising.
Under the influence of the warm Gulf Stream, the climate in the country is highly modified and, unlike other areas in the world which are of such latitude, the climate here is not so cold.
But of course the fact that the country has a mostly temperate climate can be understood quite wrongly, as the conditions here are not quite as on the continent.
Here the winter temperatures are around 2°C in the capital Reykjavik which is quite normal for a country located at these latitudes, but summer barely reach 12 – 13°C which is less even than January temperature in Mediterranean Europe.
Besides beautiful glaciers and indented coastline, you’ll really enjoy the fabulous scenery.
When you see spraying icy cold waterfalls, jagged black volcanic rocks, emerald green meadows and widespread mist like a ghost you will understand how have arisen the myths about trolls and fairies in local folklore.
Indeed the local nature seems to be somewhat mystical and enigmatic. One of the most impressive waterfalls is Glymur. It is the highest waterfall in Europe.
Descends to a slight slope from a height of approximately 190 meters to the beautiful fjord, whose water surface is immovable as a mirror. One of the most dreaded is Dettifoss waterfall.
Its waters fall within 30 meters deep precipice with a bang. And the waters are really huge amount. It is the most powerful waterfall in Europe.
This waterfall looks like does not seem to run, but straight boil! Man would shudder at the thought of falling in those cold icy and boiling waters.
Dettifoss is situated exactly on the opposite northeast end of the island. On the north and east coast of Iceland have beautiful fjords.
They differ from those in Norway that Iceland is smaller and the nature around them is quite devoid of vegetation and much harsher. The advantage is that here you can feel much less the human presence in comparison with Norway.
Particularly impressive are the many geysers, which periodically let off the hot water. For the visitors it is very exciting to watch burble of boiling water amidst the cold northern landscape.
Around the springs you can feel the smell of sulphur and it reminds Yellowstone National Park in the U.S. state of Wyoming.
Iceland is among the leading countries in the world in number of hot mineral springs. Warm water springing from the earth and this is the main source for heating the inhabitants of the capital Reykjavik.
It is very interesting for visitors to this country to bathe in one of the hot mineral springs, when the weather out is very cold. There is great charm in it to bathe in hot water while there is a snow around you.
Country take full advantage of geothermal energy. Cold climate has played an important role here. Landscapes are extremely harsh.
Silence is impressive, and nature is like a rough diamond. The volcanic origin of the island is visible everywhere.
In April 2010, just when starts the beginning of the summer tourist season in most of Mediterranean Europe, in Iceland powerful volcanic eruption vented into atmosphere tones of volcanic ash.
This happened at a time when Europe was in economic crisis and for many countries tourism was salvage areas, which could help them to cope more easily with economic difficulties.
Volcanic eruption of Eyjafjallajokull formed a huge cloud of volcanic ash that blocks the flight traffic in much of Europe.
Many major European airports were forced to close because no one knew how will the volcanic ash affect on the work of an aircraft engine.
Huge clouds of volcanic ash was spreading around the North Atlantic. Indeed, the island of Iceland is one of the most active volcanic regions on Earth and tells the story of eruptions, which are many times worse than those seen in April 2010.
The majority of the population of Iceland lives in the capital Reykjavik. This is a city with a population of about 120,000 people located on the Atlantic coast.
The buildings are constructed in traditional Scandinavian style. Most are painted in bright colours to contrast the gray and gloomy weather in the country during most of the year.
Reykjavik has an excellent infrastructure, but can not boast a very rich fauna.
The reason is the weak sunshine during most part of the year. Fauna of Iceland is typical of most northern countries. Here live Polar foxes, goats, horses, deer, and a huge variety of birds.
It happened to be seen and polar bears, although this is really rare accident. The banks meet seals and walruses. For them, cold and rich of fish waters are the ideal habitat.
From the bird species, one of the most emblematic representatives is the Atlantic Puffin. This bird similar to the seals is attracted by the huge fish diversity.
This waterfowl nest on coastal rocks and thus it lives near by the food. If you decide to spend an unforgettable holiday in Iceland, we recommend you to choose the summer months from June to August, because then you will come across the best time of year.
Nature in this part of the year is green, and if you have a bit of luck might even encounter a sunny weather, although the sun in Iceland does not warm very much.
However, whenever you travel, you must wear many warm clothes as the weather in Iceland is always cold, or at least cool. In July you can go out at noon only by sweater, but still you have to be prepared for cool weather even in the high of the summer.
Never set out on a journey to this Nordic country without being put some warm jacket in your luggage. You have to know that in Iceland summer clothes are not suitable.
They will only take up space in your suitcase and you will not need to use them. But there are many people who are heading to Iceland in winter.
This season, though colder, also has its undeniable advantages. At the height of the Icelandic winter you can enjoy the magnificent northern lights.
Iceland’s international airport is located near the capital Reykjavik. Country’s infrastructure is perfect and the opportunities to travel when you’re already here are varied.
If you rent a car is good to know that the widest part of the country is about 480 km. This makes it easy to exploring. This distance could be travelled within a few hours. There is not heavy traffic even on the largest roads and highways – this is something unknown in Iceland.
This is a very modern country, which is primarily based on finance and deep sea fishing and in recent years on tourism.
In reality, the fact that country is not a member of the European Union, have both good and bad sides as well.
First, Iceland enjoys greater independence and doesn’t need consider its actions and decisions with other countries, but on the other hand in times of economic crisis as in 2008 the country has no one to rely on, making its economy much more sensitive and vulnerable.
Now Iceland is preparing for EU membership, but the country does not want to allow other European countries to its rich fish water.
Either way, Iceland is among the most affluent and developed countries in the world. Local residents, especially in the capital Reykjavik enjoy one of the highest living standards in the world.