Despite the name, Iceland isn't particularly cold. Warmed by the Gulf Stream and southwesterly winds, the coastal areas of Iceland are temperate all year long. In fact, the capital city of Reykjavik is typically warmer that New York City in the winter.
PeopleThe country of Iceland contains merely 317,000 residents, and they live very well. They enjoy a high standard of living (5th highest in the world), and they have the infrastructure, restaurants, shopping, and entertainment to prove it. The population is very well educated, with a 100% literacy rate, and most everyone speaks English in addition to the national language, Icelandic (like Swedish but weirder). Iceland has the highest per capita number of artists and writers in the world.
VíkVík (or Vík í Mýrdal) is the southernmost village in Iceland, famous for the beautiful rock formations of Reynisdrangar, shooting out of the water beneath the mountain Reynisfjall. The town's 300 residents have been trained to flee to the church on the hill (Vikurkirkja) in the event of flash flooding which could occur if a volcano erupts under the nearby glacier Mýrdalsjökull.
Blue Lagoon (Bláa Lónið)This geothermal pool, near Reykjavik, is said to have healing powers. According to the official story, it was opened to tourism after a worker at the nearby geothermal energy plant began bathing in it and found that his psoriasis cleared up. Even if your skin could care less about magical healing powers, the Blue Lagoon is an enchantingly beautiful place to relax in comfortably hot water, especially during the chilly winter.
GullfossThis isn't Iceland's tallest waterfall, but it is nevertheless grand and splendorously multi-faceted. To get an idea of scale, try to spot the two people on the left bank (where the land juts into the waterfall).
I'm sold!I was already thinking of going to Iceland this summer, because I have a friend studying there and because I've been reading the Icelandic Sagas. But your trip writeup has totally convinced me.
-- Danny Yee
-- David Calkins - Roboticist
Plus ca change
When I lived in Reykjavik in 1966-67, it was a very isolated place that looked and felt like a North Atlantic fishing village on the edge of the world (that's actually kinda what it was, I guess). When I visited in 1999, it had gotten a lot more cosmopolitan; the food was much better, and more people spoke English, but it still looked and felt like a North Atlantic fishing village (one of my favorite cities in the world).
-- Jacques Williams
How?I'd love to visit Iceland but I don't suppose it will ever happen. It looks as enigmatic as Bjork herself. How did you get room 314? I always get what I'm given! Was it a round room?
-- John Michael Lees
The Internet has good things too...As sometimes happens while surfing the net, that leads to this. Tonight, this turned out to be a quiz by Eve Andersson, indicating I know little about pi (score=7/25). Fortunately, she still let me see a bit of Iceland. Fantastic, Eve! Hailing from Canada's capital, I was quite jealous of their lack of snow in February. I've long been captivated with places Scandinavian, and I really enjoyed your photos.
-- Dave Strev
I've written up my two weeks in Iceland. This includes some 180 photographs and 14 000 words of travelogue.
-- Danny Yee
PhotosExtremely beautiful photos...I have been there..I'm a marine biologist-diver-researcher. I work as a scientific manager at a pharmaceutical company. I travel at all around the world at scientific expeditions and am looking for the PI in the same time. My next trip is to Pacific Ocean..I hope to find it there.. Best wishes and have a nice day... Sincerely Bu
-- Bulent Ku
Amazingly positive article!Hey Eve,
I'm amazed how positive the article is after your visit to Iceland, given that you experienced probably the worst weather during the winter of 2002-3 :-) Anyway, great pictures you got there, I sure hope you enjoyed the stay.
Gummi (formerly of Dimon Software)
-- Gummi Hafsteinsson
Finally I'm coming to IcelandHej Eva ,
Just found your page while looking for travel information to Iceland, a country I've always wanted to visit. I'm finally going in August this year 2004. Your Canon G2 Photos and information are Brilliant , giving me an idea of what to expect in Iceland when I visit. I can't wait :)
I hear there are no Railways in Iceland , but i guess i will find out when i get there. I'll have to hire a car :) If anyone knows of another great page like this, where i can get more information ,can they add a comment on this page. Thank You.
-- padraig millea
Great ArticleHi Eve, I was stationed in Reykjavik for 20 months during WW2 servicing fighter aircraft of the 33rd and 50th Fighter Squadrons. I was too busy doing that to travel around the country seeing the sights so it was wonderful enjoying your article and photos. I met my future wife, Asta Olafsdottir Benjaminsson, there and we were married in Alabama after I returned to the States and sent for her. Greatest move I ever made. We had 57 years together and I returned, with our children, in 2002 to bury her in her family plot in Reykjavik. I have many fine in-laws there today. There have been many changes in Iceland since the war. Thanks for showing them to me. Grove Murray
-- Grosvenor Murray
such a beautiful countryI would just like to say that this is a great website. I was stationed in the Navy in Iceland, for almost 2 years. I think the best thing I ever saw, besides the beautiful landscape, was the New Years fire work display. That was the greatest thing I have ever seen in my life and suggest anyone and everyone to save up some cash, and head to Iceland to start of a wonderful New Year, Icelanic style! It is expensive there, but totally worth it! jodi sheehan
-- jodi sheehan
IcelandAdele and I went there in 1973, enjoying a 3 day stopover that Loftleider provided. It's a nice peaceful place with a lot of interesting things packed into one island.
In one day you can visit a volcano and a waterfall.
We continued on to Norway, travelling from Bergen to West Spitzbergen on a coastal mail boat.
Iceland was the finest three days of the trip. The fresh-caught fish were out of this world.
William L. Orick
-- William L. Orick
IcelandAdele and I visited Iceland in 1973, taking advantage of Loftleider's generous 3 day stopover, providing lodging and food for twentyone dollars each. The meals were excellent, especially the haddock, and the hotel room very comfortable.
Where else can you see a volcano and a giant waterfall on the same day?
Everyone we met was friendly. What a lovely stopover!
Adele and Bill Orick
-- William L. Orick
MrI was there at Keflavik in 1958 and 1959. Was not allowed to leave the base for reasons I never did understand, but all I saw was a desolate, black, volcanic area with not a trace of green. It probably would have been a nice place to visit had I not been in the military. I have talked to people that have been there since and they seemed to enjoy it very much. The winter months were just horrible with all the wind and sleet.
-- Pete Gillum
I was stationed in Iceland in 57-58 (USAF0, I married an Icelandic girl by the name of Edda Maren Sigurdardottir in 58 and we are still married (2006)wecame back to the statesand in 66-68 got orders to go back to Iceland. Then in 71 I got orders to go back to Iceland, we stayed until the later part of 75. Then on t o Florida where I retired from the USAF with 24 of service. (1999) Went back for a visit to see my wife's sister. Ilove Iceland, so many things to see and do, I never tired of being there. Simply beautiful country. Volcanos, geysirs, waterfalls ,the food was out of this world. I could go on and on about Iceland, words cannot express the way I feel about Iceland. You have to see it to believe me. .
-- Fred Fortier
beautiful pics!!wow, the pics were great! im very interested in anything that has to do with iceland. my grandparents are from iceland. i have a life goal to visit iceland and to meet some more of my family. i love these web sites!
-- jody davide
About your photographsThere has been times when i think that iceland is very cold as it is very nearer to green land. I'd even think that population over there is negligible. After seeing ur comments on iceland and the photographs iam stimulated to visit Iceland. Thanks for your great work.
-- Manikandan Jayaraman
far away icelandI am JOE LUI from India , which is far away from Iceland .I am too much interested to know about the great people of Iceland,its nature want a pen pal who knows English and able to serve me more knowladge about this great country . Thank you .
-- joe lui
Tierra del Fuego's trees in IcelandHello, I'm from Mexico, there are only few type of trees that may be adaptable to Iceland and there is a little problem, even Iceland has not very cold winters like Siberia, summers are not hot enough to allow tree's growth, Siberia averages 18? C in summers (-20?C in winters) and Iceland only 10 or 11?C in summer, the most adequate choice is planting trees from Tierra del Fuego, see similarities: average coldest month; Tierra del Fuego 0?C, Iceland 0?C; average hottest month; Tierra del Fuego 9?C, Iceland 10 to 11?C. Amazing, Tierra del Fuego has coldest summers than Iceland, and even has forests. Friends from Iceland something similar happened in Faroe Islands (10?C in summers), which are natural devoid of trees and it was thought that trees couln't succeed because of cold summers and strong winds, until trees or seeds where brought from Tierra del Fuego, an expedition was made there to collect the best specimens, focusing on places from the coasts and tundra borders, As a result of it, the following species from Tierra del Fuego: Drimys winteri, Nothofagus antarctica, Nothofagus pumilio, and Nothofagus betuloides, have been succesfully introduced in Faroe. As a general rule, fueguian trees show good signs of acclimation in Faroe, while those from northern Europe and South Alaska do not show that virtue because they need more heat in summers. Even Araucaria Araucana from 40? lat S in Chile acclimatized perfectly (it produces edible nuts). Only trees from southernmost forests of Tierra del Fuego can tolerate cold from winters in Faroe (Central Chile or Argentina are not useful), e.g. In United Kingdom drimys winteri only can tolerate -10?C because provenances come probably from its northernmost natural ranges in Central Chile. While in Tierra del Fuego it tolerates -20?C or less in winters, and then we gotta be very careful from tree's provenances (the most useful are the southernmost), and that is why trees planted in Faroe are very much hardier than those in Britain.
Aleutian islands failure Aleutian islands, central coast of Alaska Instead of trees, the islands are covered with a luxuriant, dense growth of herbage, including grasses, sedges and many flowering plants. On some of the islands, such as Adak and Amaknak, there are a few coniferous trees growing, remnants of the Russian period. But these trees, some of them estimated to be two hundred years old, rarely reach a height of even ten feet, and many of them are still less than five feet tall, this is because summers are not hot enough to favor a good growth for those trees brought from Sitka (in southern Alaska), where summers reach 14 ?C, while in other parts of the world like Tierra del Fuego (which trees have not been introduced in the islands); native trees tolerate very cold temperatures in summer (9? C)
It would be very important to introduce trees in Iceland in order to protect soil from erosion by grazing and strong winds. Tierra del Fuego's trees are the salvation, i have no doubt.
Additional note: Tierra del Fuego forests develop from 450 (east) to 3000 (west) mm of rain a year
-- gamalieth salazar
About three years ago my daughter and I wanted to take a quick trip to a beautiful place. We chose Iceland. The trip was for four days only but a lot was packed into it. We bathed in mystical waters of Blue Lagoon, saw Thingvellir, looked down into a dormant volcano, went to Gullfaus (waterfall), went to the knitting mills high in the mountains (beautiful area with the morning sun glowing on the snow), saw the Icelandic horse, ate in a local restaurant in Reykeyvik, saw the volcanic stones covered in green moss, saw the geysirs, historic churches, and much more.
We had a wonderful tour guide who told us much history. The Irish blood in Iceland is from the days of the Vikings when they brought Irish wives to the island. It seems they couldn't get wives from Norway or Sweden that would go there because nothing was there at the time but a rugged settlement.
A beautiful country with very educated people, but quite expensive food.
Definitely plan on going back again.
-- doris sciremammano
iceland in winteron a whim, i booked a trip to iceland for january 2nd, 2007. i cannot tell you how peaceful that country made me feel. at the end of my week in iceland, i knew that i had to come back one day and purchase a small house there. the winter was very similar to new york in winter, but without the pollution in the air...clean and crisp, with very little sun. the lack of sun actually relaxed me, and made acclimation to the time change very easy too. i cannot express how much i loved being in iceland. the only other place i have been so peaceful has been on top of diamond head volcano, oahu, hawaii...and in rural japan, the mt. koya/takayama areas. you must go to iceland...it's more addictive that a tattoo !
-- damon fields
Lovely picturesGood quality pictures. We took a trip to Iceland last month. You can see our travel diary and gallery here: http://www.ourworldtravels.com/iceland/gallery
-- Tarmo Soodla
Stunning Photography!Like Grove Murray, my father was stationed in Reykjavik with the U.S. Army Air Corp during WW2 and was involved with installing communications facilities for what is now Keflavik Airport. He was fortunate to be able to travel, and took many (black and white) photographs of Reykjavik and the surrounding countryside. These and many amazing stories about Iceland and it?s people he shared with us while growing up. We incorporated many of them into a PowerPoint presentation for his 90th Birthday celebration this month. Thanks Eve! Your stunning color photographs completed the ?picture? we had of this truly beautiful country. My wife, who is of Danish/Norwegian background, and I have been planning a vacation trip. We are convinced that Iceland must be part of it! Best Regards?Joe & Alice.
-- Joseph Rescsanski
I suggest new crops for IcelandI know that Iceland has some problems with food supplies and there are few crops there like Potatoes, turnips grown outdoors and some other plants grown in greenhoses, I saw the commet about Trees from Tierra del Fuego which could be very satisfactory in Iceland, well Iceland could also have benefits from the southern hemisphere: It is still a hypothesis but it is worthy to try, Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) is a pseudocereal cultivated in the Andes at 4000 m height in practically the same ecoregion than potato which is cultivated in Iceland then I think that there are possibilities of success of Quinoa in Iceland, Berberis buxifolia (Calafate) is a fruit native from Patagonia down to Tierra del Fuego and it tolerates as continental as oceanic conditions and it?s cultivated in Patagonia and it?s commmerciallized, Kerguelen cabbage (Pringlea antiscorbutica) is a cabbage which was eston by sailors in Antarctic sea to prevent scurvy and is similar to common cabbage, I think that these plants could be useful in Iceland but also we have to be very careful with provenance source, then new crops should be added: a pseudocereal (are not related to cereals but produce similar edible seeds), a fruit and a vegetable (with the same characteristics than commom cabbage. Also Tierra del Fuego, Alaskan Panhandle and Aleutian Islands could have benefits from Iceland's animal breedings. It?s only a hypothesis but the example of potato in Iceland and Fueguian trees in Faroe are inspiring...
-- Marco Vendetti
some deceptioni spent five months in eastern Iceland in 2008 between november and march i enjoyed the sceneries , it`s a beautiful countrie to discover , it is quite different from what a i saw during my traveling on all continents , but , i must say that i had a problem with the weather ,it was rainy and very windy not suitable for outdoor activities , i like winter , i am from Quebec , but in iceland , not much to do during those months , while the quality of the food should make the envy of other countries , i diddn`t like their cuisine , it is pale comparing the french or italian cuisine , and also , i must say that i didn`t feel very welcome , most of the time , people do`n`t even say HI or thank you , their manners are very rough ... and also the cost of living is ridiculously high ; to end , i was suprised to see so many overwheight people who smoked very much ,since i had heard that they were very healthy peope
-- Michel Edoin
I've found your information to be of an interesting read and hopefully helpful when I go to Iceland this October. The photos are amazing and I can't wait to take some of my own this year.
Image: Australia San Francisco 2008 572.JPG
-- Kassey Colton
Amasing!Thank you Eva for this wonderful pictures and information about Iceland. I'm going to share it with my friends aboard.
-- P?na ?sgeirsd?r
Thank you for some of the best pictures I've seen from Iceland. Fortunately, I discovered them when looking for a picture of my big protest sign on the web, http://www.eveandersson.com/photo-display/large/iceland/reykjavik-protest-eftirlaunaforrettindi.html
You got it nicely translated :)
My best regards, Hjortur
I dare to correct you on one thing: Iceland has not enough natrural resourses to provide main land Europe with all the electricity it needs. Very far from that. http://www.andrimagnason.com/plays-and-films/dreamland/
-- Hj?rtur Hjartarson
KeflavikI was stationed there June 1958 - June 1959, Company A, 2nd Battalion, US Army. I would like to connect with others, such as: Gerry Koferl, Jack Young, Harry Hooks, Jim Hallinan, Jim Mills, Jerry Burkhart, Joan Breedlove, Cindy Gillihan, Gail Lee Bahr, Agnes Johansdottir, many others that do not come immediately to mind. I am Philip Wilson nickname: Whip
-- Philip Wilson