Traveling Luck for Iceland. Iceland, Europe

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Iceland is located in Northern Europe, island between the Greenland Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of the UK.

Land in Iceland is mostly plateau interspersed with mountain peaks, icefields; coast deeply indented by bays and fiords.

Icelandic land covers an area of 103000 square kilometers which is slightly smaller than Kentucky

Icelandic flag Icelandic national flag (Flag of Iceland)

As for the Icelandic climate; temperate; moderated by North Atlantic Current; mild, windy winters; damp, cool summers.

Icelander(s) speak Icelandic, English, Nordic languages, German widely spoken.

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Places of note in Iceland

Icelandic Map Icelandic map

Regions of Iceland

Settled by Norwegian and Celtic (Scottish and Irish) immigrants during the late 9th and 10th centuries A.D., Iceland boasts the world's oldest functioning legislative assembly, the Althing, established in 930. Independent for over 300 years, Iceland was subsequently ruled by Norway and Denmark. Fallout from the Askja volcano of 1875 devastated the Icelandic economy and caused widespread famine. Over the next quarter century, 20% of the island's population emigrated, mostly to Canada and the US. Limited home rule from Denmark was granted in 1874 and complete independence attained in 1944. Literacy, longevity, income, and social cohesion are first-rate by world standards.

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Country Profile for Iceland

Iceland's Scandinavian-type economy is basically capitalistic, yet with an extensive welfare system (including generous housing subsidies), low unemployment, and remarkably even distribution of income. In the absence of other natural resources (except for abundant geothermal power), the economy depends heavily on the fishing industry, which provides 70% of export earnings and employs 4% of the work force. The economy remains sensitive to declining fish stocks as well as to fluctuations in world prices for its main exports: fish and fish products, aluminum, and ferrosilicon. Government policies include reducing the current account deficit, limiting foreign borrowing, containing inflation, revising agricultural and fishing policies, and diversifying the economy. The government remains opposed to EU membership, primarily because of Icelanders' concern about losing control over their fishing resources. Iceland's economy has been diversifying into manufacturing and service industries in the last decade, and new developments in software production, biotechnology, and financial services are taking place. The tourism sector is also expanding, with the recent trends in ecotourism and whale watching. Growth had been remarkably steady in 1996-2001 at 3%-5%, but could not be sustained in 2002 in an environment of global recession. Growth resumed in 2003, and estimates call for strong growth until 2007, slowly dropping until the end of the decade.

Icelandic natural resources include fish, hydropower, geothermal power, diatomite

strategic location between Greenland and Europe; westernmost European country; Reykjavik is the northernmost national capital in the world; more land covered by glaciers than in all of continental Europe

Icelandic religion is Lutheran Church of Iceland 85.5%, Reykjavik Free Church 2.1%, Roman Catholic Church 2%, Hafnarfjorour Free Church 1.5%, other Christian 2.7%, other or unspecified 3.8%, unaffiliated 2.4% (2004).

Natural hazards in Iceland include earthquakes and volcanic activity.

Travel Advice for Iceland

Iceland

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with amendments to the Summary, Travel & Road Safety section and General section.  The overall level of the advice has not changed.

SUMMARY

  • The threat from terrorism in Iceland is low but you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be against civilian targets.

  • Around 70,000 British tourists visit Iceland every year.  Most visits to Iceland are trouble-free.  The main type of incident for which British nationals require consular assistance in Iceland is for replacing lost and stolen passports.  Petty crime does occur but at a low level compared to other European countries.

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling and, if appropriate, that this includes cover for adventure activities.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see:  Travel Insurance


SAFETY AND SECURITY

EU Aviation Regulations
The revised EU-wide security measures that came into effect for all passengers departing from UK airports in November 2006 are also being implemented in Iceland.  For more details about this please see:  DfT - Airline Security Update.
Summer visitors should bring plenty of insect repellent as mosquitoes and midges can be a problem.
Money
Iceland is very expensive – be prepared to spend plenty of money, especially if you intend to eat and drink in restaurants and bars.  Credit cards are widely used.  Hotel accommodation in Iceland is very limited and is mostly fully booked for the summer period. I f you visit on flight-only tickets you should ensure that all your accommodation has been reserved before departure.  The British Embassy cannot assist in finding accommodation for those without bookings.