About Iceland

Land

Iceland is an island spanning approximately 103,000 square kilometers.  This is roughly the size of the state of Kentucky. Spain, for example, is 4.9 times bigger than this tiny country. Iceland is a diverse land, full of  natural wonders. Iceland's highest mountain peak, Hvannadalshnjúkur, is 2,110 m. high.  This country is known for having the largest glaciers in Europe; in fact, around 10% of Iceland is covered by glaciers. The coastline is dotted with more than one hundred fjords and green, fertile valleys extend out from about them. Iceland also has more than 10,000 waterfalls and countless hot springs.

Rauði

Energy

Situated on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Iceland is a hot spot of geothermal activity. Thirty post-glacial volcanoes have erupted in the past two centuries and natural hot water supplies much of the population with cheap, pollution-free heating. Rivers, too, are harnessed to provide inexpensive and clean hydroelectric power. The electrical current is 220 volts, 50 Hz.

Deildartunguhver

Language

The Icelanders still speak the original language of the Vikings (Old Norse). When new words are needed, they simply coin words that are combinations or modifications of old words. Iceland alone is know for upholding another Norse tradition: the custom of using patronyms rather than surnames. If, for example, Einar has a son named "Pétur", the son's name is Pétur Einarsson (Peter Einar's Son). If Einar has a daughter whom he names "Margaret", she becomes Margrét Einarsdóttir (Margaret Einar's Daughter). Members of the same family can therefore have different "last names", which often causes confusion to foreigners. If you are looking for someone in the phone directory, make sure to look them up by their first name.

Time

In spite of its mid-Atlantic location, Iceland is on Greenwich Mean Time all year round.

History

The first permanent settler of Iceland was Ingólfur Arnarson, a Norwegian Viking who in 874 AD made his home where Reykjavik now stands. In 930 AD, the Viking settlers of Iceland founded one of the world's first republican governments. They established a constitution based on individual freedom, land ownership, and sophisticated inheritance laws. In the year 1000, Icelandic-born Leifur Eiríksson (Leif Eriksson, sometimes called "Leif the Lucky") became the first European to set foot in North America.

On another Viking expedition a couple of years later, Icelander Guðríður Þórbjarnardóttir had a son, Snorri, who became the first child of European descent to be born in America.

The Old Commonwealth Age, described in the classic Icelandic Sagas, lasted until 1262, when Iceland lost its independence. In 1918 it regained independence and in 1944 the present republic was founded. The country is governed by the Alþing (Parliament), whose 63 members are elected every four years. Elections every four years are also held for the presidency; The current president, President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson was first elected in 1996.

Glaumbær

People

Iceland has a population numbering around 320,000, with more than half living in the Greater Reykjavik Area.

Economy

The economy is still rather dependent upon fisheries, which are the nation's greatest resource. While 36,7% of all exports are made up of seafood products, only a small proportion of the workforce is active in this sector (2.4% in fishing and 1.7% in fish processing). About 73% of the Icelandic workforce is employed in services. Icelanders enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world.

Stykkishólmur

Health

The average life expectancy of 83.0 years for women and 79.6 for men is one of the highest in the world. Our comprehensive state health-care system aims to keep it that way. The mortality rate of live-born babies is only 2,5 out of every 1000.

Síldarsafnið

Religion

The National Church of Iceland, to which approximately 79 percent of the population belongs, is Evangelical Lutheran. In addition to the many Lutheran churches in Reykjavik, there is a Roman Catholic Cathedral at Landakot, with regular Sunday Mass.
There is freedom of religion in Iceland, and most religions of the world are represented in Iceland.

Ingjaldshóll

Book your holiday

Contact us now

Use this website to book your Iceland vacation now!

You can book your entire tour package to Iceland with Nordic Travel right now by simply opening the “Book Now” link above. Choose your tour, level of accommodation, type of rental car and any excursions you wish to take. Then, send us the no obligaton booking request with a valid email address and our North American representative will contact you and personally help design a vacation package that meets your individual needs.  If you have questions concerning your flight to Iceland, we will happily assist you or  simply use www.dohop.is to find the flights that best suit your needs.

Additional information can be found by clicking on the “Our Prices” link above. If you would like further assistance, please call our USA sales representative, Mrs. Cheryl Hill, she will be happy to assist you with your travel plans and to answer any questions you may have.