Iceland Travel Guide - Welcome

Iceland, the most western country in Europe is a beautiful island found in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is actually considered the half way point between North America and mainland Europe. Rich in nature, the island provides a perfect spot for bird or whale watching, and is home to all-year round swimming due to the numerous pools and lagoons that are heated geothermally (heat from the earth). Because of Iceland's volcanic origins, the winter is spectacular as the snow glistens on the black lava. Skiing is quite popular on the outskirts of many towns.

For such a small island community, Iceland is rather modern. With the largest European internet usage, and a capital city, Reykjavík, that boasts plenty of nightlife and culture, Iceland has been known for one of the highest standards of living in the world. The people are extremely friendly toward tourists, and although Icelandic is the major language, most Icelanders generally speak English fluently. It is a safe country in which to walk the streets, and the guest houses and hotels are very clean. For those that need to stay connected via cell phone, European networks will work in Iceland, but those from North America may rent phones while staying on the island. In fact, Iceland is considered to have the highest rate of cell phone use in the world.

The landscape itself is quite spectacular, and continually changing due to the volcanic eruptions and glacier melting. Wildlife, both animal and plant, is abundant, and the raw nature of Iceland beckons tourists from around the world. Iceland is home to three national parks, Vatnajökull National Park, the largest in Europe, Thingvellir, home to species of fish found nowhere else, and Snæfellsjökull National Park, found at the foot of a volcano and glacier, and is distinct because it reaches from the seashore to the mountain tops.

In addition to the nature and modernity of the island, Iceland is full of history, art, and literature. Museums document life all the way back to the ninth century, and some are even devoted to specific themes such as fishing, coin collecting, or medicine. The National Museum of Iceland is responsible for the preservation of five turf churches which were built out of stone, wood and turf. The Viðmýri turf church in Skagafj6r6ur was submitted to UNESCO in 2001 to be listed as a World Heritage Site. Artisans' works are displayed throughout the towns and villages, and Icelanders publish a large number of books each year.

The food in Iceland will not disappoint, as the key to cooking is using ingredients that are both fresh and unpolluted. Gourmet dishes of fish, lamb, and vegetables are standard fare in most restaurants. Fast food eateries do exist, but tend to be very expensive, so dining at a nice restaurant is more enjoyable for most tourists. And when it comes to Icelandic souvenirs, the traditional woolen garments such as sweaters, gloves,scarves and blankets are highly coveted around the world.

There is no doubt that Iceland is a wonderful country to visit in Europe. And we want to share everything this magnificent island has to offer. So we welcome you to our Iceland Travel Guide.

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