The most western country in Europe, Iceland is the second largest island in the North Atlantic and is home to just under three hundred thousand inhabitants. It is the most sparsely populated country on the continent with an average of three inhabitants per square kilometre and most of these are to be found in the south and southwest.
The first settlers came to Iceland from Norway and Ireland in the ninth century and while the country’s language and the majority of its traditions have been inherited from the Norse arrivals, there are traces of the Celtic presence which also remain to the present day. Once these new arrivals got established in the country they set up their own legislative assembly which became known as Althingi or the Althing which is currently the world’s oldest functioning government.
While the reminders of the ancient settlers are fascinating, it is the country’s geological attractions which have turned it into such a unique and popular tourist destination. From its lakes, mountains and fjords to its glaciers, volcanoes and hot springs it offers an array of natural attractions like nowhere else on earth. As well as this it provides its visitors with twenty-four hours of sunshine per day during the summer months and the best views of the Northern Lights that you are ever likely to see.
So, if you’re looking for somewhere out of the ordinary to spend even a couple of days, then Iceland comes highly recommended. The only drawback with a stay here is that due to an exceptionally high standard of living, costs are very high but if you plan and budget carefully you can enjoy the experience of a lifetime whether it’s hiking or horse riding through the volcanoes and glaciers or taking a night cruise in and out between the icebergs.