For most of us, Iceland is associated with the singer Björk, who was born in this distant land, as well as with the Vikings and snow. But in Iceland, it turns out, there is an amazing nature with geysers, volcanoes, glaciers and waterfalls. The nature of Iceland is a source of inspiration for many photographers and artists. No matter when you visit Iceland (summer or winter), Icelanders will always welcome you very hospitably.
Geography of Iceland
Iceland is located northwest of Great Britain in the North Atlantic Ocean where it meets the Arctic Ocean. Iceland is an island. The total territory of Iceland is, together with all the islands, 103,000 sq. km.
14.3% of Iceland’s territory is occupied by lakes and glaciers. Only 23% of the territory of Iceland has vegetation that corresponds to the geographical location of this state. The largest lakes in Iceland are Þingvallavatn, Lagarfljót and Mývatn.
Iceland has several volcanoes, some of which are active. Now the most famous Icelandic volcano is Eyjafjallajökull, due to the eruption of which in 2010 air traffic was paralyzed throughout Europe.
The highest peak in Iceland is the Hvannadalshnukur peak, which reaches a height of 2109 meters.
According to itypejob.com, the capital of Iceland is Reykjavik, which is now home to more than 125 thousand people. Historians believe that a human settlement on the territory of modern Reykjavik existed already in the 9th century.
In Iceland, the official language is Icelandic, which is a Scandinavian language.
More than 77% of Icelanders are Lutherans (Protestants) belonging to the Church of Iceland. About 10% of the inhabitants of Iceland are Catholics.
According to computerminus.com, Iceland is a parliamentary republic, headed by the President, who is elected by direct universal suffrage for a term of 4 years.
Legislative power belongs to the unicameral Parliament – Althingi, consisting of 63 deputies.
The main political parties in Iceland are the Social Democratic Alliance, the Independence Party, the Green Left and the Progressive Party.
Climate and weather
The climate in Iceland is subarctic maritime, the same as, for example, in Alaska. The warm Gulf Stream has a decisive influence on the Icelandic climate. On the south coast of Iceland, the climate is noticeably milder than on the north coast. The average annual air temperature in Iceland is +5C, and the average annual rainfall is 779 mm.
The highest average air temperature in Iceland is observed in July and August – +14C.
Average air temperature in Reykjavik:
- January – 0С
- February – +0.5С
- March – +1.5C
- April – +4C
- May – +7C
- June – +10С
- July – +11.5C
- August – +11C
- september – +8C
- october – +5С
- November – +2C
- December – 0С
Sea in Iceland
In the north, Iceland is washed by the Greenland Sea, in the northwest the Danish Strait separates this country from Greenland, and in the east is the Norwegian Sea.
Rivers and lakes
About 14.3% of Iceland is occupied by glaciers and lakes. The largest lakes are Þingvallavatn, Lagarfljót and Mývatn.
There are many rivers in Iceland, most of them originate in glaciers. Among the longest Icelandic rivers are Tjoursau (230 km) in the south of the country and Jökulsau au Fjödlum in the northeast.
There are a lot of salmon in Icelandic rivers, and trout in lakes.
Iceland was settled by the Norwegian Vikings in the 9th century. The first settlement on the site of modern Reykjavik was founded in 874 by Ingolf Arnason.
In 1262, Iceland fell under the rule of Norway. Around the middle of the 16th century, Lutheranism began to spread in Iceland. Subsequently, this country became completely Lutheran.
In 1814 Spain became part of Denmark. In the middle of the 19th century, a movement developed in Iceland that fought for the independence of this country (by peaceful means). As a result, in 1918 Denmark recognized the independence of Iceland. Thus the Kingdom of Iceland was proclaimed, having a union with Denmark. In June 1944, Iceland was recognized as an independent republic.
In 1946, Iceland was admitted to the UN, and in 1949 it became a member of the NATO military bloc.
Culture of Iceland
The origins of Icelandic culture go back to Norwegian traditions. This is due to the fact that it was the Norwegian Vikings who first settled Iceland.
In Iceland, some Viking traditions are still preserved. So, at the end of January, Icelanders celebrate Men’s Day (Bóndadagur). On this day, Icelandic men used to jump around their house while singing songs loudly. In this way they tried to appease the harsh January weather. Now, few Icelanders jump around their house on Men’s Day, but on this day, women give them various gifts and flowers.
At the end of February, Iceland celebrates Women’s Day (Konudagur). On this day, Icelandic men bring coffee to their women in bed in the morning and give them flowers.
The main products of Icelandic cuisine are fish, meat, vegetables, dairy products, and cheese. We advise tourists in Iceland to try the following traditional local dishes:
- Hangikjöt – smoked lamb;
- Harðfiskur – dried fish;
- Saltkjöt – salted lamb;
- Bjúgu – smoked sausage;
- Þorramatur – marinated meat or fish (including shark meat);
- Lax is a salmon dish.
The traditional Icelandic soft drink, Skyr, is made from sour milk and resembles yogurt.
As for alcoholic drinks in Iceland, the inhabitants of this country prefer beer and local potato vodka with cumin Brennivín.
Landmarks of Iceland
Despite the fact that Iceland is a very small country, it has many interesting places for tourists. The top ten Icelandic attractions in our opinion include the following:
- Lake Tjornin in Reykjavik
- Hallgrimskirkja Church in Reykjavik
- Geothermal lake “Blue Lagoon”
- “Golden Waterfall” on the Khvitau River
- Pingvellir National Park
- Viking Museum in Skogar
- Valley of Geysers Haukadalur
- Vatnajökull Glacier
- Skaftafell National Park
- Icelandic volcanoes
Cities and resorts
The largest Icelandic cities are Hafnarfjordur, Akureyri, Kopavogur, and, of course, Reykjavik.
Iceland has a lot of geysers and lakes that have healing properties. Therefore, it is not surprising that this country has several geothermal resorts. The most famous of them is located on the Blue Lagoon Lake.
Tourists from Iceland usually bring jewelry made from volcanic lava (necklaces, earrings, bracelets), figurines of elves, a woolen Icelandic sweater, Icelandic scarves and hats, CDs with Icelandic music, medical cosmetics from the Blue Lagoon lake, Icelandic potato vodka Brennivín.
Mon-Fri: 09:15-16:00 Banks are closed on
Ukrainians need a visa to enter Iceland. It is issued at the Norwegian embassy.
Currency of Iceland
The official currency in Iceland is the Icelandic krone (its international designation is ISK). Credit cards are accepted by hotels and big shops.
Import and export of currency in Iceland is not limited. Customs regulations in Iceland are the same as in Western European countries.
Useful phone numbers and addresses
Address of the Honorary Consulate of Iceland in Ukraine:
Index – 04119, Kiev, st. Yakira, 8
Т: (044) 568-59-62
Address of the Embassy of Ukraine in Finland and Iceland:
Finland, Helsinki, Vahaniityntie 9 00570 T: ( 10-3589
) 228 90 00
address: [email protected]
One phone number for all emergencies is 112
In Reykjavik, a doctor or the local emergency services can be called on 1770.
The difference with Ukrainian time is -3 hours. Those. if, for example, in Reykjavik it is 09:00 am, then in Kyiv it is 12:00 am.
In Iceland, tips are already included in the bill. Therefore, Icelanders are very surprised when foreign tourists give them money “for a tip.” However, foreigners give a 10% tip for excellent service in Iceland.
No special vaccinations are required to enter Iceland, but health insurance is required.
In Iceland, crime is at a very low level. Outside of Reykjavik, Icelanders almost never close their doors. However, tourists in Iceland do not need to be reckless.