Valdimarsdóttir, Bergsson, Haraldsson and Jóhannesson are just some examples of how curious  the language is here. We are in the northwest of Europe, in the Atlantic Ocean and nearer to Greenland than the Scottish mainland.

There are little more than 300,000 people together forming a nation on this island, Iceland, the country that inspires dreams, who live and work and raise their families making this island a nice place to live.

It is a country known for its volcanoes and glacial rivers,and frequent volcanic eruptions have led to spectacular scenery in the island giving breathtaking views.

It doesn´t seem like Iceland would have a temperate climate but it is more so than many would have thought before reading this article. This is thanks to the effects of the Gulf Stream.

And this island, where Icelandic is spoken and which is the second largest island in Europe, does not experience such a severe temperature to not want to come here to dream, travel or live.

Territorial organisation

Iceland, like any other country, has its own territorial organisation, and is divided into eight regions and 79 municipalities; naturally the most populous of all being its capital Reykjavik.

Iceland is unusually close to the Arctic Circle, with its characteristic winters with the darkness of night during the day. But after the winter darknessit has a summer full of light with the phenomenon of the midnight sun.

Iceland's cities

Reykjavik, the capital, is a city that offers excellent choices and variety with many things to see and do. For example, the Museum of Art consists of three buildings with some of the gems of Icelandic culture.

And you can visit hot baths and pools with temperatures reaching 44 degrees Celsius. Here, incidentally, also you find water slides and steam.

Perlan isone of the most visited places in the capital. Built on a hilltop the glass building is almost 26 metres high and has a revolving restaurant inside. You can find a great vantage point on its 4th floor viewing deck for the best views of the city. The ground floor has a huge amount of floor space, known as the Winter Garden, used for concerts and markets.

There are other cities worthy of visiting besides the capital such as Hafnarfjörour and Kópavogur.

Iceland and the European Union

Iceland is not part of the European Union but in 2011 initiated the process to accede to it. However, in March 2015 it withdrew its candidacy to join. Today its currency is the Icelandic krona.

The climate of Iceland

The climate is temperate and hasmilder winters than expected, with temperatures not dropping below - 5 ° C.

We have already said that it is the Gulf Stream which greatly influences the temperatures throughout the year in this northern part of Europe, which gives it the much milder winters.

There are also summer temperatures that fail to reach 15 degrees Celsius, although lately the temperatures have been slightly higher.

Icelandic geography

Iceland has many rivers but also glacial lakes which cover almost 15% of the country. Along its shores are fjords. In the interior of the island, we see a lot of sand and mountains.

Religion in Iceland

The majority religion in the State of Iceland is Lutheranism. Most Icelanders profess this religion. The rest of the people practice Roman Catholicism and other religions or are atheists.

Gastronomy in Iceland

The most important ingredients of Icelandic cuisine are the many marine products including all kinds of fish. Among the meats consumed are most often lamb and beef.
A typical Icelandic dish is Porramatur, consisting of meat and fish accompanied by rye bread and succulent butter. Iceland's national drink is Brennivín, an alcoholic beverage made with fermented potato pulp flavoured with cumin.

Useful Tips

  • Citizens of the European Union may come to Iceland only with their ID and passport.

  • It is important to wear the right clothes and dress warmly throughout the year, especially, naturally in winter. Iceland is used to strong winds,which make the temperature lower.

  • If you decide to rent a car, you need to be aware that in many fuel stations you can pay only bycard because many are automatic.

  • In restaurants and in catering establishment staff do not expect tips and may be offended if you left something for good service.


Editing by: Catherine Parker


Photos 1 y 4: Jacqueline Macou

Photos 2: Sharon Ang