The one minute summary on Iceland
This is it: one minute to the best info on Iceland. This info alone will put you ahead of 99% of foreigners visiting Iceland, garner the admiration of the locals who will instantly want to be your friends, and the envy of your fellow travelers. Read on. You’ll make friends faster that way, become a traveler instead of simply being a tourist, and also enjoy your travels a lot more.
Settled by Norwegian and Celtic (Scottish and Irish) immigrants during the late 9th and 10th centuries A.D., Iceland boasts the world’s oldest functioning legislative assembly, the Althing, established in 930.
Independent for over 300 years, Iceland was subsequently ruled by Norway and Denmark. Fallout from the Askja volcano of 1875 devastated the Icelandic economy and caused widespread famine. Over the next quarter century, 20% of the island’s population emigrated, mostly to Canada and the US. Denmark granted limited home rule in 1874 and complete independence in 1944.
The second half of the 20th century saw substantial economic growth driven primarily by the fishing industry. The economy diversified greatly after the country joined the European Economic Area in 1994, but Iceland was especially hard hit by the global financial crisis in the years following 2008. Literacy, longevity, and social cohesion are first rate by world standards.
Today, 300 thousand or so Icelanders live in a country of 100,000 square kilometers. Two thirds of them live in the capital.
That was it. I promised one minute.
For other condensed info check also my other posts on local culture (don’t make the mistakes I made), local food or local drinks. And when you call your friends to tell them you were by far the most knowledgeable at the party, do that with confidence that you’ll not get hit with a 6.99 per minute bill. You’ll also pick the local food from the tray, and order a local drink with confidence.
- Cultural Mistakes To Avoid in Iceland
- Does my current phone work in Iceland ? Tips to cell phone usage in Iceland
- Local food you should try in Iceland and No miss drinks in Iceland
- Hotels. hostels, farms, camps and AirBnB in Iceland
Now, cheers to the most Iceland aware person at the cocktail party. Before you go, some more info.
Iceland (Icelandic: Ísland) is located between Europe and North America in the north Atlantic Ocean. Though not part of the continental mainland, this mountainous island country is considered Nordic European. The name of the country may not be that appropriate: although 10% of Iceland is covered by glaciers, it has a surprisingly mild climate and countless geothermal hot-spots and hot springs.
Capital: Reykjavik, is the northernmost capital in the world
Government: Constitutional republic
Currency: Icelandic króna (ISK). Exchange rate approximate is 100 ISK to 1 USD. 10 USD = 1,042 kronas at the time of writing
Area: 103,000km² or 40,000 square miles (about the size of Kentucky, or 90% of Ohio)
Population: 330,000 people (half of the population of Vermont).
Language: Icelandic; English widely spoken
Religion: Lutheran is the official religion with over 80.7% of the population practicing, followed by Protestant and Roman Catholic
Electricity: 220V, 50Hz (European plug)
Country code: 354
Internet Domains: .is; Most popular local site is http://www.visir.is/
Time Zone: UTC (5 hours ahead of Eastern Time – New York City, 8 hours ahead of Los Angeles)
Best places to see in Iceland
- The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa and the most famous sight in Iceland.
- The Gullfoss waterfall is quite spectacular.
- Geysir, the namesake of all geysers, and its neighbour Strokkur which erupts every five minutes or so.
- Þingvellir National Park, a beautiful landscape of water-cut lava fields, which is historically important as the site of Iceland’s parliament from 930 AD.
- Vatnajökull glacier is in Southeast Iceland and is Europe’s largest glacier.
- Jökulsárlón, the largest glacier lake in Iceland, is located off Route 1 and part of Vatnajökull glacier.
- Hofn is knows as the langoustine world capital, and it has several spectacular restaurants to prove it.