Posted: Jul 25, 2021 | Updated: Apr 23, 2023

Iceland is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic Ocean. It has a population of about 350,000 people and is the most sparsely populated country in Europe. It is a volcanic island and is home to many glaciers, mountains, and waterfalls. The climate is cold and wet, with average temperatures ranging from 0°C to 10°C.

That said, Iceland is a popular tourist destination, known for its natural beauty, its geothermal activity - in fact the world's largest geyser is in Iceland. Let's also not forget its Viking heritage as it was founded in the 9th century by Ingólfur Arnarson, a Viking from Norway.

History of Iceland

Iceland was uninhabited until 874 AD when the first Norse settlers arrived, bringing their language and culture. The oldest parliament in the world was founded in 930 and met annually to make laws and discuss matters of importance.

With such ties to Norway, perhaps it wasn't unexpected that it entered into a Union with Norway in 1262. It was largely self-governing but ruled by a Norwegian king.

However, in 1397 it entered into a union with Denmark until 1523. Denmark which was also in a union with Norway and Sweden, and being the dominant partner, ended Icelandic self governance, instead exerting the power of the Danish kings.

An independence movement started in the 1850s and despite Denmark recognising Iceland as an independent state in a union with Denmark, independence was still on the cards.

When Denmark was occupied by Germany in World War 2, Iceland took control of its own affairs and in 1944 the people voted to terminate the union and become a republic.

The Highlights

  1. Reykjavik is the capital and largest city and including the capital region has about 70% of the population of Iceland.
  2. Hallgrímskirkja church, a towering concrete church which is an iconic landmark of Reykjavik.
  3. Taking a dip in the geothermal pools.
  4. The midnight sun from May to early August.
  5. Hákarl, the traditional dish of putrid shark meat that probably isn't to everyone's taste.

Travel Iceland




Other Destinations in Europe

After you've experienced my delights or horrors of Iceland, see what the destinations below may have in store for you.

Belgium | Bulgaria | Czech Republic | Denmark | France | Germany | Greece | Holy See | Iceland | Italy | Netherlands | Norway | Poland | Portugal | San Marino | Serbia | Spain | Sweden | United Kingdom |



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Hi! I’ve been travelling since the 90's and have visited 48 countries - not many really when the world has over 240 countries and states.

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