People have always been impressed with the amazing variety of Europe in every respect. And this is not surprising, given the fact that the Old Continent is a puzzle of 50 countries, each with its own culture and specificities. Considering that Europe extends between the Arctic and Africa, its natural variety is also staggering. We have prepared a brief comparison of two of the most remote and contrasting European countries, Cyprus and Iceland, because we want to show you how different and diverse the continent can be.
Iceland and Cyprus share a common feature – they are both located in the periphery of Europe, far from the mainland. Iceland is located far off the northwestern coast of the continent, approximately 820 km from the UK.
Cyprus itself is located in the Eastern Mediterranean and is closer to the shore of Asia than to any point in Europe. The distance between these two island countries is approximately 4495 km in a northwest – southeast direction.
Covering an area 103,000 square kilometers, Iceland is more than 11 times larger than Cyprus, whose area is only 9,251 square kilometers.
In its longest part, the island of Iceland is approximately 500 km and is much bigger in comparison with the island of Cyprus, which is only about 240 km long.
According to Eurostat, the population of Cyprus is 865,878 people in 2012 (this applies only to the part of the island which is in the European Union).
The total population of the island, including the Turkish-held area, is approximately 1,088,503 people. At the same time Iceland, which is much bigger, has a total population of only 321,857 people.
The average population density in Iceland is 3.1 people per sq km, while in Cyprus is about 121 per sq.km., i.e. Cyprus is 39 times more populous than Iceland.
4. Cosmopolitan society.
Few places in the world can rival Iceland when it comes to a multinational society and tolerance. The residents of this northern island are considered to be among of the friendliest and most tolerant people on the planet. Today, approximately one out of every 10 people living on the island is a foreigner.
Cyprus itself boasts deep-rooted thousands of years old traditions and therefore adaptation should be more difficult for foreigners.
However, this is not the case. Today, approximately one out of every 4-5 people was born outside this sunny Mediterranean country.
The wonderful climate attracts numerous immigrants from northern countries such as Britain and Russia, and the newcomers find here a warm welcome from the locals.
Only one city has a population of over 100,000 inhabitants in Iceland, and this is the modern capital Reykjavik, whose agglomeration is home to more than 202 000 people.
6. Standard of living.
Iceland is a very rich island and is one of the ten countries with best living standards in the world. The average monthly income per capita in 2011 was around $4008.
Although Cyprus also enjoys a high standard of living, the average income per capita in the Mediterranean country in 2011 was far lower, approximately around $2865.
When it comes to climate, the contrast between the gloomy and cold Iceland, located not far from the Arctic Circle, and the bathed in sunlight island of Cyprus, which is located just within reach of the dry and hot Sahara Desert, is simply astounding.
Iceland is situated where temperate air masses from the south meet the cold arctic air coming from the north. The average temperature is low throughout the year ranging between 2-3 degrees in January and 14-15 degrees in July.
Cyprus itself is popular as a year-round tourist destination with lovely temperatures between 18°C in January and 33°C in August.
Both islands, Cyprus and Iceland, have stunning natural beauty. But similarities end there. Warm and sunny, Cyprus is a land of endless superb beaches, fine sand, transparent sea waters, palm trees and evergreen vegetation along the coast.
The Troodos Mountains are known for their coniferous forests as well as for their charming chapels and centuries-old monasteries nestled among the trees.
Iceland itself is bewitching with its emerald greenness, some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world, countless spewing hot water geysers and giant glaciers, which tireless modify the surface of the island.
Furthermore, Iceland is one of the few countries in the world where you can enjoy the breathtaking Northern Lights.
9. Surrounding seas and oceans.
Iceland is located amidst the cold and inhospitable waters of the North Atlantic. Here, not far from the Arctic Circle, the ocean is full of life.
If you are planning to travel through the area, the greatest beauties to be seen are the herds of whales and the giant impressive icebergs drifting slowly into the dark and impenetrable water.
The island of Cyprus is completely different. In the dark-blue depths of the warm Mediterranean basin you will find brightly colored deep-sea species of corals that traditionally inhabit subtropical latitudes as well as numerous colorful fish of different sizes.
10. Typical features.
The most typical feature of Cyprus are the countless cultural and historical monuments, which are spread through the island. They are an evidence of an amazing thousands of years old civilization. They form the overall appearance of the country and are the main wealth and pride of the island.
The most characteristic feature of Iceland is the sense of mystery and the feeling of a completely different and unknown world. The country is a land of fascinating fairy legends.
Coming here, you will realise that the ancient folklore of one of the most northern and unknown countries in the world has been inspired by its out of this world magical natural beauty.