Iceland is a land of fire and ice. Nowhere else can you find a more diversified, contrasted and extraordinary nature. Even with a location barely below the Artic Circle, the winters on the island can be warmer than in New York or Vienna. The landscape is rough but at the same time romantic: steep cliffs plunging precipitously into narrow fjords, deep canyons, extensive glaciers, black sand-beaches, grumbled vulcanos and boiling geysers represent the island.
Get further information about the history, sightseeing-tipps or shopping possibilities on the following pages. We also provide you with practical information and a map to prepare yourself for your next Iceland-adventure.
How do Icelanders live?
The capital Reykjavik is one of the cleanest places you will ever visit. But ironically, translated it means “Smoky Bay”. Because smoke, or rather steam, was the first thing the city founder Ingolfur Arnarson saw rising from the thermal hot springs in the 9th century. Today, this steam is used for heating up the whole city of Reykjavik. But besides clean and fresh air, Reykjavik also offers neat restaurants where you can find the freshest of fish. If there is no show running at the national theatre, you will find the inhabitants of Reykjavik sitting at home on the couch with a good book. The Icelanders are famous for publishing books; they publish more books per capita than any other nation in the world. They love to write, read and tell stories, especially about their famous trolls and sagas.
After days of “city life”, you may want to see something else. But you do not have to go far because Iceland is the less densely populated country Euopes (only 334.000 inhabitants). Most of the townspeople owe a country house, which they use in their free time for fishing or observing birds. But whoever is interested in “real” wilderness needs to visit the Westman Islands in the South. The youngest island is Surtsey. All of the sudden, it appeared after a volcanic eruption in 1963 and is still unhabitated. It is a paradise for birds, plants and wild flowers.
In the past thousand years, the people have been influenced by many terrible forces of nature and by history. Black Death, hunger and natural catastrophes have formed the character of the Northener and Celts, which settled down in Iceland first. These influences developed a tough and vigorous folk, in which Nordic fatalism and self-confidence is combined with sensitivity and curiosity of the Celts.