Learn everything you need to know about the history of Iceland at the National Museum.
An island located in the North Atlantic Ocean, Iceland is one of the most beautiful—yet most misunderstood—countries in the world. Despite its name, Iceland is not a place of endless ice. While the country does experience chilly winters, it also has a fairly temperate climate, and in the summertime, lush green rolling hills and cascading waterfalls offer a very un-icy vacation. Visitors to Iceland will be met with rich culture, intriguing history, breathtaking landscapes and friendly people.
Government: Representative parliamentary democracy
Did you know?
- Northern Iceland is one of the most popular places in the world to experience the midnight sun, a phenomenon where the sun shines for a full 24-hour day.
- 11% of the country is covered by glaciers.
- Icelanders have a life expectancy of 81.8 years, the third highest in the world.
- The country is known as the land of fire and ice because of its mix of glaciers and volcanoes.
- The world’s first openly gay leader was Johanna Sigurdardottir, who became Iceland’s prime minister on February 1, 2009.
Iceland’s climate is relatively mild when compared to other countries at the same latitude. This is due to the country being warmed by the gulf stream, a warm ocean current that runs across the Atlantic Ocean.
- Spring: March, April, May
- Summer: June, July, August
- Fall: September, October, November
- Winter: December, January, February
The first settlers of Iceland were all exiles from their neighbour to the North, Norway, seeking refuge from the Norse King Harald Haarfagri. Upon arriving on the island, the new inhabitants set up a parliamentary system in 930 CE called Althing, which remains today as the oldest institution still in existence. Iceland enjoyed a ‘Golden age’ until the late 12th to early 13th century, when the country entered into a period of civil warfare. Iceland, along with Norway, eventually became part of the Crown of Denmark until the early 19th century when it regained its independence. Iceland became a member of the United Nations in 1946.
This waterfall deserves its title as being the most popular in all of Iceland.
Perhaps the most popular spa in Iceland, the Blue Lagoon boasts of almost 400,000 visitors on an annual basis.
Located at Nautholsvik Bay in Reykjavik, this thermal beach is part natural, part man made.
Located in South Iceland, Thingvellir National Park is the country’s most historic and scenic site.
From magical waterfalls to mythical trolls, Iceland’s hikes offer an otherworldly experience. Here are the best places to hit the trails in this adventure-lover’s destination.
Headed to Iceland? Base yourself in Reykjavik and hit the road to experience one of these three incredible Icelandic adventures.
On a trip to Iceland, a descendant of Viking legend Leif Erikkson inspires Waheeda Harris with his tale of sailing a recreated Viking ship from Iceland to Canada.
Massimo judges the prestigious Food and Fun Festival in Iceland and cooks one on one with the most popular chef in Iceland-Siggi Hall.
Regardless of how hard its must-see places are to pronounce, this is one country you … must … see.