Here you can find information on how best to travel in and around Iceland. Please take a few minutes to read it over and enjoy a few entertaining videos.
FACTS ABOUT ICELAND
Population: approx. 350.000
Capital city: Reykjavík (126.000)
Government: Parliamentary consultitutional republic.
Currency: The Icelandic króna -ISK
Time: Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) all year.
Size: 103.000 sq. km. (40.000 sq. miles)
Glaciers: Glaciers cover about 11.922 sq. km. of Iceland’s surface. Vatnajökull is Europe’s largest glacier.
Highest peak: Hvannadalshnjúkur is Iceland’s highest peak rising 2.110 m. over sea level.
Natural resources: Iceland has a wealth of natural resources including: Fish, hydropower, and geothermal energy.
Natural hazards: Volcanic activity, earthquakes, avalanches, glacial outburst floods.
Iceland is home to many of the most active volcanoes in the world and one of the distinctive features of the country are endless lava fields in different life stages. It is also home to magnificent glaciers that have shaped the landscape, creating the glacier cut fjords all around the coastline. In geological terms Iceland is a relatively young country, the oldest parts of the island are about 16-17 million years old and are found on the most western and eastern parts of the island, in fact this small island in the north Atlantic is still in formation.
Iceland is a geological hotspot and wonder, an island that rises from the Mid-Atlantic ridge which splits the Eurasian and North-American tectonic plates apart, and most likely the only place in the world where you can witness the effects of this interaction above sea level. These effects can be seen with ease at Thingvellir (Þingvellir) national park. Iceland is growing about 2cm (0,79 inches) per year because the two plates are drifting apart. It has its own hotspot or mantle plume that drives the island’s volcanic activity and many of the most active volcanoes on earth can be found in Iceland.
The frequency of earthquakes in Iceland is on average around 500 quakes per week. On this link (http://en.vedur.is/earthquakes-and-volcanism/earthquakes/) you can see a map of locations and magnitude of earthquakes that have hit in the last 78 hours Iceland’s landscape has been shaped in a very dramatic way by the forces of volcanoes, rivers, glaciers, and the sea.
Icelanders are extremely proud of their Viking heritage. The country was settled by Vikings in the late 9th century and due to the isolation of the country the language has, for the most part, kept its originality and is the closest to what the Vikings used to speak. Harsh conditions here meant that people had to fight for survival and have caused the ruling mentality of ambitiousness and hard work. These harsh conditions have also led to some pretty weird culinary traditions. Food either had to be salted or buried and every part of the animal was used. So, don´t be startled to see sheep heads, sheep testicles and rotten shark at the local grocery store. Many of these traditional meals have an acquired taste but we do recommend trying some, especially the dried fish (Harðfiskur) which has great nutritional benefits.
DRIVING IN ICELANDIC CONDITIONS
Driving around Iceland is one of the best ways to experience the wonders it has to offer. Driving conditions are usually very good from April to November but as winter settles the conditions can often be less than favorable. If you intend to drive in the highlands we strongly recommend the use of four wheel driven (4×4) vehicles, but keep in mind that all off-road driving is strictly prohibited as it can cause damage to fragile vegetation and can lead to hefty fines. Due to unpredictable weather, the road conditions can change abruptly so please visit www.road.is to check out road conditions before departing. For more detailed information on driving in Iceland please visit www.safetravel.is.
The weather in Iceland can be fickle to say the least. You may experience sun, rain, snow and strong wind currents in just one summer afternoon. It is therefore important to wear appropriate clothing and be well prepared. This can create hazardous travel conditions so we recommend keeping a close eye on the weather forecast (www.en.vedur.is). Weather alerts and warnings can also be found at www.safetravel.is. You can also get the weather app from the