Iceland is a country of extreme contrasts. Widely known as “The Land of Fire and Ice”.
Iceland is home to some of the largest glaciers in Europe, and some of the world’s most active volcanoes. Iceland is also the land of light and darkness. Long summer days with nearly 24-hours of sunshine are offset by short winter days with only few hours of daylight.
Iceland is the youngest landmass in Europe, forged in eruptions 18 million years ago. It is also where the continent’s first parliament was formed in 930 AD. Þingvellir, the site of said parliament, is a designated UNESCO world heritage site; as much for its geological history as for its political history. Commonly said to be located at the juncture between the North American and Eurasian continental plates.
From the moss covered lava fields in the southwest, through the barren highlands in the center, to the soaring fjords in the northwest, a drive around Iceland will attest to the great diversity of landscape, which changes with every turn in the road, and of course with every changing season, each with its own charm.
Shaped by the unrelenting forces of nature, Iceland’s harsh natural environment has bred a resilient nation that has learned to exist under extreme conditions, and harness the natural resources for its own prosperity.
The cornerstone of Icelandic culture is the Icelandic language, which has spawned a literary tradition that dates back to the ancient Icelandic Sagas. Violent tales of blood feuds, traditions, family and character.
A strong literary tradition still thrives in modern Iceland. Icelandic authors publish more books per capita than in any other country in the world. Iceland also prides itself of a prospering music scene, a burgeoning film industry, and Icelandic design that is coming of age.