Klifatindur (71)

Iceland194 photos

Description

Iceland is a Nordic island country of Europe located in the North Atlantic Ocean. It has a population of 332,529 and an area of 103,000 km², making it the most sparsely populated country in Europe. The capital and largest city is Reykjavík. Reykjavík and the surrounding areas in the southwest of the country are home to over two-thirds of the population.

Iceland is volcanically and geologically active. The interior consists of a plateau characterised by sand and lava fields, mountains, and glaciers, while many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate, despite a high latitude just outside the Arctic Circle. Its high latitude and marine influence keep summers chilly, with most of the archipelago having a tundra climate.

According to the ancient manuscript Landnámabók, the settlement of Iceland began in 874 AD when the Norwegian chieftain Ingólfr Arnarson became the first permanent settler on the island. In the following centuries, Norwegians, and to a lesser extent other Scandinavians, emigrated to Iceland, bringing with them thralls (i.e., slaves or serfs) of Gaelic origin. The island was governed as an independent commonwealth under the Althing, one of the world’s oldest functioning legislative assemblies. Following a period of civil strife, Iceland acceded to Norwegian rule in the 13th century.

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The establishment of the Kalmar Union in 1397 united the kingdoms of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. Iceland thus followed Norway’s integration to that union and came under Danish rule, after Sweden’s secession from that union in 1523. Although the Danish kingdom introduced Lutheranism forcefully in 1550, Iceland remained a distant semi-colonial territory in which Danish institutions and infrastructures were conspicuous by their absence.

In the wake of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, Iceland’s struggle for independence took form and culminated in independence in 1918 and the founding of a republic in 1944.

Until the 20th century, Iceland relied largely on subsistence fishing and agriculture, and was among the poorest countries in Europe. Industrialisation of the fisheries and Marshall Plan aid following World War II brought prosperity, and Iceland became one of the wealthiest and most developed nations in the world. In 1994, it became a part of the European Economic Area, which further diversified the economy into sectors such as finance, biotechnology, and manufacturing.

Icelandic culture is founded upon the nation’s Scandinavian heritage. Most Icelanders are descendants of Norse and Gaelic settlers. Icelandic, a North Germanic language, is descended from Old West Norse and is closely related to Faroese and West Norwegian dialects.

List of sights

Breiðamerkursandur17 photos

Breiðamerkursandur (341)
BreiðamerkursandurIceland

Coordinates: 64° 2′ 41″ N, 16° 10′ 24″ W

Breiðamerkursandur (also called Diamond Beach for the pieces of glacial ice washed up on the beach) is a sandur (a glacial outwash plain) in southeast Iceland. Sandur is the Icelandic word for sand and the whole area is mostly sand, although some… [Read more]

Dyrhólaey7 photos

Dyrhólaey (111)
DyrhólaeyIceland

Coordinates: 63° 23′ 57″ N, 19° 7′ 39″ W

The small peninsula, or promontory, Dyrhólaey (120 m) (formerly known as “Cape Portland” by seamen) is located on the south coast of Iceland, not far from the village Vík í Mýrdal. It was formerly an island of volcanic origin, which is also known… [Read more]

East Fjords (Iceland)6 photos

East fjords (4)
East Fjords (Iceland)Iceland

Coordinates: 64° 43′ 55″ N, 13° 59′ 27″ W

Eastern Region (Austurland, also known as Austfirðir: “East Fjords”) is a region in eastern Iceland. Its area is 22,721 square kilometres and in 2007 its population was 15,300. The largest town in the region is Egilsstaðir, with a population of… [Read more]

Eystrahorn4 photos

Eystrahorn (91)
EystrahornIceland

Coordinates: 64° 24′ 11″ N, 14° 32′ 29″ W

Part of the Krossanesfjall is the famous rock outcrop Eystrahorn (also called Austurhorn), on the other side of the wide bay of Lón the Vestrahorn (757 m). The Eystrahorn is also called Hvalnesfjall, because of the now abandoned farm Hvalnes at his… [Read more]

Goðafoss8 photos

Goðafoss (119)
GoðafossIceland

Coordinates: 65° 40′ 58″ N, 17° 33′ 2″ W

The Goðafoss (“waterfall of the gods” or “waterfall of the goði”) is a waterfall in Iceland. It is located in the Bárðardalur district of Northeastern Region at the beginning of the Sprengisandur highland road. The water of the river Skjálfandafljót[Read more]

Gullfoss10 photos

Gullfoss (11)
GullfossIceland

Coordinates: 64° 19′ 37″ N, 20° 7′ 11″ W

Gullfoss (“Golden Falls”) is a waterfall located in the canyon of Hvítá river in southwest Iceland. The wide Hvítá river rushes southward, and about a kilometre above the falls it turns sharply to the right and flows down into a wide curved… [Read more]

Hverarönd29 photos

Hverarönd (97)
HveraröndIceland

Coordinates: 65° 38′ 29″ N, 16° 48′ 33″ W

Hverarönd, literally meaning “hot springs of the ducks”, also called by Námafjall metonymy of the name of the mountain at the foot of which it is located, is a hydrothermal site of Iceland presenting hot springs, fumaroles, mud puddles and… [Read more]

Hvítserkur7 photos

Hvítserkur (76)
HvítserkurIceland

Coordinates: 65° 36′ 23″ N, 20° 38′ 7″ W

Hvítserkur is a 15 m high basalt stack along the eastern shore of the Vatnsnes peninsula, in northwest Iceland. The rock has two holes at the base, which give it the appearance of a dragon who is drinking. Several species of birds, such as gulls[Read more]

Icelandic Horses4 photos

Icelandic Horses (48)
Icelandic HorsesIceland

Coordinates: 64° 16′ 18″ N, 20° 26′ 58″ W

The Icelandic horse is a breed of horse developed in Iceland. Although the horses are small, at times pony-sized, most registries for the Icelandic refer to it as a horse. Icelandic horses weigh between 330 and 380 kg and stand an average of 13 and… [Read more]

Icelandic Landscapes3 photos

Icelandic Landscapes (99)
Icelandic LandscapesIceland

Coordinates: 64° 15′ 23″ N, 15° 35′ 45″ W

Iceland has extensive volcanic and geothermal activity. The rift associated with the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which marks the division between the Eurasian Plate and North American tectonic plates, runs across Iceland from the southwest to the… [Read more]

Jökulsárlón28 photos

Jökulsárlón (234)
JökulsárlónIceland

Coordinates: 64° 4′ 29″ N, 16° 11′ 25″ W

Jökulsárlón, literally “glacial river lagoon”, is a large glacial lake in southeast Iceland, on the edge of Vatnajökull National Park. Situated at the head of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, it developed into a lake after the glacier started… [Read more]

Kirkjufell5 photos

Kirkjufell (43)
KirkjufellIceland

Coordinates: 64° 56′ 17″ N, 23° 18′ 16″ W

Mount Kirkjufell (463 m) is located in the west of Iceland, near the town of Grundarfjörður on the western shore of the fjord Grundarfjörður in the north of the Snæfellsnes peninsula. [Read more]

Klifatindur16 photos

Klifatindur (71)
KlifatindurIceland

Coordinates: 64° 16′ 6″ N, 14° 58′ 25″ W

The mountain Klifatindur is located in southern Iceland and is 889 m high. An important part of this mountain range is the Vestrahorn (757 m). In front of him is the pointed Brunnhorn. The Klifatindur originated in the ice age. The massif consists… [Read more]

Mývatn5 photos

Lake Mývatn (5)
MývatnIceland

Coordinates: 65° 36′ 1″ N, 17° 0′ 2″ W

Mývatn is a shallow eutrophic lake situated in an area of active volcanism in the north of Iceland, not far from Krafla volcano. The lake and its surrounding wetlands have an exceptionally rich fauna of waterbirds, especially ducks. The lake was… [Read more]

Reynisfjara20 photos

Reynisfjara (105)
ReynisfjaraIceland

Coordinates: 63° 24′ 10″ N, 19° 2′ 33″ W

Reynisdrangar are basalt sea stacks situated under the mountain Reynisfjall near the village Vík í Mýrdal, southern Iceland which is framed by a black sand beach. Legend says that the stacks originated when two trolls dragged a three-masted ship to… [Read more]

Skógafoss5 photos

Skógafoss (27)
SkógafossIceland

Coordinates: 63° 31′ 52″ N, 19° 30′ 44″ W

Skógafoss is a waterfall situated on the Skógá River in the south of Iceland at the cliffs of the former coastline. After the coastline had receded seaward (it is now at a distance of about 5 km from Skógar), the former sea cliffs remained,… [Read more]

Vatnajökull ice caves9 photos

Ice caves (26) Vatnajökull
Vatnajökull ice cavesIceland

Coordinates: 64° 5′ 21″ N, 16° 22′ 11″ W

Glacier caves are caves formed within the ice of a glacier and are often called ice caves. The glacier caves are started by water running through or under the glacier. This water originates on the glacier’s surface through melting, entering the ice… [Read more]

Map

See also

Countries visited34,616 photos

Neuschwanstein Castle (160)
Neuschwanstein CastleBavaria - Germany

List of countries visited worldwide. [Read more]

Austria …16 photosBelgium …277 photosBhutan …255 photosCambodia …265 photosChina …284 photosFrance …2,568 photosGermany …4,302 photosGreece …1,630 photosIceland …194 photosIndia …3,871 photosItaly …14,018 photosJordan …184 photosKazakhstan …371 photosLaos …1,145 photosMyanmar …308 photosNepal …954 photosNetherlands …1,819 photosNorway …138 photosPeru …1,307 photosRussia …10 photosSuriname …35 photosUnited States …62 photosVatican City137 photosVietnam …240 photosYemen …226 photos
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