Majestic Iceland

TOURIS Facts About Iceland
(Source: Icelandic Tourist Board)

Iceland is an island of about 103,000 square kilometers, - almost 40,000 square miles. Iceland's highest peak, Hvannadalshnukur, is 6,500 ft. Iceland has the largest glaciers in Europe - in fact, 11% of the country is covered by permanent ice or glaciers. The coastline is dotted with more than one hundred fjords - and green, fertile valleys extend from them, making a vacation in Iceland a scene out of a dream! Iceland also has more than 10,000 waterfalls and countless hot springs. Holidays in Iceland is as much about enjoying the culture as it is about exploring the landscapes and natural beauty. Iceland is a volcanic country and the entire country owes its existence to volcanic activity in the past during the last 20 - 25 million years. Iceland sits directly on  the middle of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, This ridge stretches for about  40.000 kilometers  in the ocean floor caused by the separation movements of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates.  Iceland sits right on the boundary of the two tectonic plates that are separating about 2 - 2,5 centimeters a year. The western part of Iceland, is on the North American plate and the eastern part to the Eurasian plate. Since the two plates are drifting apart or separating, a gap is bound to open up between the two tectonic plates. This allows lava from below to stream to the surface and to fill up the gap. There are between 30 and 40 volcanoes and craters in Iceland that are considered active still and on average, a volcanic eruption can be expected somewhere in the country about every 5 years. The most famous and active volcano in Iceland is Mt. Hekla which has erupted on 18 occasions since the year 1104, the most recent one in the year 2000. Due to the great volcanic activity, earthquakes are common, although most of them are usually not very strong. However, big earthquakes have occurred in the past, the most devastating occurred in the late 18th and 19th centuries.

Situated on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Iceland is a hot spot of geothermal activity. Almost 40  post-glacial volcanoes have erupted in the past 200 years. On average, a volcanic eruption can be expected in Iceland about every five years.  A side phenomenal of volcanic activity, -  geothermal activity and natural hot water,  supplies much of the population with cheap, and almost  pollution-free heating. Glacial rivers are harnessed to provide inexpensive hydroelectric power. The electrical current is 220 volts, 50 Hz. An interesting aspect of the glacier country that also makes Iceland holidays unique.

People and language
Of a population numbering just over 370,000, more than half lives in the Greater Reykjavik Area. The native language is Icelandic but most Icelanders speak fluent English. So you can expect a smooth Iceland holiday without language problems!

The first permanent settler of the country was Ingolfur Arnarson, a Norwegian,  who in 874 AD made his home where Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland  now stands. It is an excellent place to enjoy your Iceland holiday. In 930 AD, the Viking settlers of Iceland founded one of the world's first republican governments. They established a constitution based on individual freedom, land ownership, and sophisticated inheritance laws. The Old Commonwealth Age, described in the classic Icelandic Sagas, lasted until 1262, when Iceland lost its independence and remained a part of Norway and Denmark for a long time. In 1918 it gained independence again and in 1944 the present republic was founded. While on a vacation in Iceland, you can get a taste of its rich cultural history.

The economy is heavily dependent upon fisheries, which are the nation's greatest resource. 72% of all exports are made up of seafood products. Yet only a small proportion of the workforce is active in this sector (4.4% in fishing and 5.6% in fish processing). About 66% of the workforce is employed in services. Icelanders enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world which you can enjoy with an Iceland holiday in Reykjavik and nearing areas. Iceland was among the first counties in the world to be hit by the economy recession in the first decade of the 21. century. It seems like it will also be the first country to recover.

How to get to Iceland
For those planning to spend their holidays in Iceland, there are daily non-stop flights to Iceland from both North America and Europe. Among airlines offering flights to and from Iceland are Icelandair, Play Air, SAS, Lufthansa, Delta, German Wings, Norwegian and Easy Jet

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