From Settlement

If you think of Iceland, what would be the first thing popping up in your mind – propably Vikings, vulcanoes and rough living conditions? Indeed, the Atlantic island is a relatievely young settled living environment with a highly interestring development.

Til Modern Age

Iceland has a moving history which is characterized by brave settlers, foreign rule and especially harsh natural conditions. Continue reading to learn more about Iceland´s exciting history.

9th to 13th Century

Around 870, tribal chief Ingólfur Arnason and his fellows arrived in the south-western part of Iceland after being expelled from Norway. He named the settlement Reykjavik (translated it means smoky bay) after he saw steam rising from the thermal springs. He and his continuously trailed Nordic settlers banished the few Irish monks who already settled down in Iceland. This period, in which the Nordic men settled down in Iceland, is called settlement. Due to an increasing population growth, the tribal chiefs called for an Althing, the Icelandic parlament, in the year 930. As a consequence, the first Islandic Free State was born. As a result, the Althing is considered to be the oldest parlament of the world. This substantial place of Icelandic history can be found in the national park Thingvellir.

The 11th century is considered to be the Saga-Age. In this era, Greenland has been colonialized by Eric the Red, America has been discovered (Vinland) and Christianity was carried over from the prevailing pagan faith. After aggravating living conditions and years of fights and war between the hostile Islandic clans, Iceland fell under Norwegian highness in 1262. This was the end of the Free State.

14th to 17th Century

In the year 1380, Norway and therewith also Iceland, fell under Danish rule. The Black Death attacked Iceland and reduced the population by two-third. In 1550, the Danish King forced through a reformation. One century later, Friedrich III. declared Denmark as absolut sovereign over Iceland. This caused a Danish trade monopoly with the Icelandic external trade. At this time, most of the inhabitants were workers or tenants.  

18th to 19th Century

In 1783, volcanic eruptions of laki-crater desolated the whole country and ended in a hunger crisis. More than one fifth of the population died in the following years. In 1800, Denmark dissolved the althing. But as the rest of Europe, Iceland also strived for independence. Jon Sigurdsson became the leader of the Icelandic liberation movement and in 1874, exactly 1000 years after the first settlement, Iceland achieved their first own constitution.

20th to 21th Century

In 1904, Iceland established their seat of government in Reykjavik. 14 years later, Iceland and Denmark agreed on the union contract, which made the independence official. Only the foreign policy remained in Denmark´s hands. But the Icelandic republic was first announced in Thingvellir in 1944. Sveinn Björnsson became the first president of the country. Already after two years, Iceland entered the UN.

Fishing was one of the most important economic factors and therefore, Iceland expanded their fishing borders between 1952 and 1975. This led to the so called Cod Wars with Great Britain. It took quite some time (1985) until those fishing borders were officially accepted.

Nowadays, almost two third of the Icelandic population is living in Reykjavik. The financial crisis of 2008 almost ended in a national bankruptcy, but the established emergency laws prevented it. In the past years, Iceland is flourishing again – thanks to the growing interest of people around the world in Iceland.


I travelled to Iceland through Iceland Pro Travel, and booked their ‘Guided Iceland Circle’ tour, lasting a week.  Iceland Pro Travel had been recommended to me by my brother who has booked trips through them several times.  The

YM, Buckinghamshire, UK September 2018

Just to say ‘thank you’. Fabulous few days and loved Reykjavik and all went to plan!

Kevin Murphy, Kent. January 2018

I liked the three accommodations, getting stronger from the cold, eating lamb most days and and indulging an appetizer w/ mayonnaise & dill, raw salmon, & ginger ice cream. WOW! So good on the eyes as we traveled across the beautiful

Arlene Jordan. November 2017

Dear Bergey, I wanted to write to thank you all at Iceland ProTravel for arranging our five day stopover.  We had a wonderful time and both fell in love with your incredible country. The trip to the Blue Lagoon was er - interesting!  We

Shelagh Boughton. November 2017

Dear Bergey and all involved with planning our trip to Iceland last month. We had the best time, and all went without a hitch. What an amazing and varied country it is; each region so different. so interesting, and friendly folk. We wanted to send

Happy travellers. October 2017

Hi Stefania. Just wanted to let you know our holiday in Iceland was absolutely fantastic. We loved the amazing ever changing landscape. All our hotels and trips worked well. Our guides at Grimsey (Raghnahildur known as Gaga) and on the superjeep

Anne and Richard, London. June 2016

Hello Stefania. I just wanted to drop you a quick note to say thank you so much for organizing our trip to Iceland last week. We had the most fabulous time and have fallen in love with the country and can't wait to go back ! Everything was perfect

Kerri Tilson, Norwich. January 2016

Iceland ProTravel helped plan and book my recent trip to Iceland and provided both me and my partner an excellent service which enabled us to see some amazing sights and experiences on the tours ProTravel arranged for us in advance. Great value for

Gemma Smith, London. January 2016

I am writing to thank you for the great Northern Lights City Break you arranged for us in Iceland last week. Everything was arranged to perfection. The Hotel Fron exceeded our expectations, the location was just perfect, surrounded by those

Alan Keggie, Penarth. January 2014

I wanted to thank you for booking and guiding us with our booking for Iceland. We had the best time. We would love to go there again. All the tours we booked were excellent!

Sherry Kanwar, London. January 2014

Many thanks for organising our recent holiday to Iceland.The hotels/ farm guesthouses were comfortable and had everything we required. Most of all, we found the scenery spectacular in its variety and beauty, whatever the weather. We packed as much

Claire, Manchester. July 2013

Well, we're back from holiday and had a really good time. It was a pleasant surprise that the weather was much better in Iceland than here in the U.K! And the Hotel Borg and it's staff were excellent.

Howard, London April 2013

Just to let you know we are back from Iceland and we had a marvellous time. The tour was excellent, very full and well organised, we really felt we had seen a really good part of Iceland , can not fault anything, the hotels were as described, 2/3

Neill and Kathleen, Sleaford. March 2013

Have just got back from a truly memorable holiday in Iceland. The trip was made truly special by Einar our fantastic Icelandic guide. Einar is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about his homeland and his enthusiasm rubbed off on the group. We

Rita Crane, England. February 2013

I just wanted to write and say how much we enjoyed our holiday in Iceland. We had a wonderful time and really very good weather for most of the days. The scenery was fantastic and Jeff has some really beautiful photographs which will keep it

Thea and Jeff Pine, Berkshire. August 2012

Just wanted to say what an absolutely fantastic time we had in Iceland. Brilliant country and such nice people. Perfect holiday for older children with so much to see. And the sun shone every day. Thank you so much for organising us such a good

Claire Lee, Stockport. August 2012

....thanks for organising my trip for me to your beautiful home country. My camera was red hot! The capital is also a perfect size to spend a few days in and see the sights and sample the lovely food. All the connections and pickups were on time

Iain Wyllie, Scotland. July 2012

We had a great time. Both Alison and I absolutely fell in love with Iceland. Thank you so much for all your help !

Stephen Jones, Cheshire. June 2012