Iceland: A Beautiful Country of Extreme Geological Contrasts

Nature rules in Iceland. With its thundering waterfalls, magnificent glaziers, and impressive night-time displays, Iceland is a unique country that’s recently become a very popular travel destination. Known worldwide as the Land of Fire and Ice, this beautiful country is home to some of the largest glaziers in Europe and the most active volcanoes in the world. Also referred to as The Land of Light and Darkness, Iceland enjoys long summer days where the sun shines for almost 24 hours, offset by winter days that are short with just a few hours of daylight.

Interesting Fact: Almost 11% of Iceland is covered by glaziers, with almost 269 glaziers named. Europe’s largest glacier is located in Iceland – it’s called Vatnajökull.

Just like its Scandinavian neighbors, Iceland is a modern welfare state, with everyone enjoying free education from preschool right up to university level, free health care, high standards of living, and guaranteed pension. Violent crime, prostitution, poverty, and illiteracy are almost unknown in modern-day Iceland, with its tourism, fishing, high-tech, and geothermal industries making Iceland one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

More than 60% of Iceland’s population live in Reykjavík, the capital city, which is the most northern capital city in the world.

Reykjavík 

Everything in Iceland begins in the capital city Reykjavík, a city of around 123,000 people. 216,940 people live in the greater Reykjavík region, which is Reykjavík itself and the 60 municipalities surrounding it. 

Reykjavík resembles a large fishing village in Maine, with its bustling downtown of modern office buildings and sophisticated shops. Most tourists prefer to bypass the more modern hotels surrounding the domestic airport and choose instead to vacate in the old city centre in one of the smaller establishments with its brightly painted corrugated iron dwellings set amongst tiny gardens of lilacs and tulips. Reykjavík has built itself a reputation as both a party town and a creative hot spot. It certainly has its share of musicians, poets, and writers. 

Interesting Fact: As one of the youngest landmasses on the planet, Iceland was one of the last places on earth to be settled by humans.