Visit "The Land Of Fire And Ice"
Before it was the setting of a fantasy book series and popular television show, “The Land of Fire and Ice” was known as Iceland, the country home to both some of the world’s most active volcanoes and to glaciers. Iceland has a geyser, Strokkur, that erupts every 5 to 10 minutes. Geologically speaking, Iceland is one of the youngest land areas in the world, formed just 25 million years ago. Let us take a closer look at this exciting, picturesque country.
The country was first settled by the Norse in the ninth century, making it the last European country to do so. It remains the least populated country in Europe. It is also one of the safest countries in the world with a very low crime rate and has a great healthcare and educational system helping to make it the 13th most developed country in the world. Originally ruled by Norway and then Denmark, Iceland gained its independence in 1918 and became a republic in 1944.
The weather in Iceland is variable and extreme. In the summer, there are nearly 24 hours of sunlight a day while in the winter there is barely any daylight. Iceland’s climate and geography have greatly impacted its development. It has always relied heavily on fishing and agriculture but in the last century has developed into one of the wealthiest countries in the world with other economic, social, political, and technological advancements.
Iceland has a rich culture that has been influenced by its Nordic roots. Its capital of Reykjavik has been named the fifth City of Literature by UNESCO and is the only non-native English speaking city on the list. Ancient sagas are very popular in Iceland. The language of Iceland is Icelandic, a North Germanic language descended from Old Norse, which remains for the most part traditionally intact.
Places to Visit
Iceland is divided into seven regions. The Southwest houses the capital and much of the population. The South is home to many of the most popular tourist attractions, including the world’s largest glacier. Iceland is known for its natural beauty. There are many fjords to explore and a popular way to travel the country is by cruise ship. The Gulfoss in the Interior region is a beautiful waterfall. Iceland has many geothermal spas, including its most popular, the Blue Lagoon. There are three national parks in Iceland, and popular activities include hiking, bird watching, caving, and ice climbing. Another popular tourist trek in Iceland is hunting for the Northern Lights, the phenomenon of aurora borealis, which causes beautiful green streaks of light to dance across the sky. The Northern Lights can be seen from September to April but there is no guarantee you will see them. It is best to go with a guide and the chances of catching a glimpse go up away from the populated cities. The best way to travel around Iceland is by car.