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About country Gallery Where to stay

Iceland is a country where mysterious natural powers lie. It's a place where volcanoes and lava mix with ice and water; where the ever-blowing wind forms the distinctive landscape; and whose people are known for their endurance, ingenuity and friendliness. To survive in such an inhospitable environment and still thrive economically requires some pretty special abilities.

On a planet in the midst of climate change, this wintry patch of land is becoming a symbol of ecology, freshness and unmistakable natural beauty. And, nevertheless, this is not only a country of natural beauty...

All this unique natural atmosphere rubs off on the cultural environment and the people themselves. Icelandic literary heritage is known all over the world, from medieval sagas to contemporary novelists such as the Nobel prize laureate Halldór Laxness. For those who want to feel the real Iceland, his novel The Light of the World is well worth a read.

But it's not just literature that has made Iceland well known – here, live music is played everywhere, and visual art, handicrafts and Icelandic cuisine flourish. Vegetables, fruit and many other products are imported into Iceland from abroad, and the island's own culinary heritage is associated with several foods such as fish and lamb. You can try these foods in their many various forms in local restaurants, and during the short summer season you can eat blueberries to your heart's content.

The island nation is also famous all over the world for its ecology. Electric energy is generated from renewable resources, using geothermal, wind and other ecologically friendly sources. Then the energy is processed and used in ingenious ways which minimalise the waste of energy. Iceland plans to become entirely self-sufficient on its renewable energy by the year 2050.

Visitors to the country are usually first and foremost interested in its nature, and there is so much variety here, it could make you dizzy. Birdwatchers, those wanting to see whales, volcanoes, waterfalls, icebergs, geysers and hot springs will all find something to do here. In the winter, Iceland endures long, dark months, however Northern Lights brighten up the sky. Summer is the opposite – during the short warm season the sun hangs in the sky almost permanently. During this season, crowds of tourists flock to the island, and prices of services sharply increase.

The capital Reykjavík is the northernmost capital in the world. Although inhabited by a mere 120,000 people, in the spring and winter, its cultural life spurts open like a geyser. The average temperature in the city fluctuates somewhere between 0 and 10 °C – due to the warm current from the Atlantic Ocean, the temperature rarely drops below freezing, and in July it can occasionally rise to 25 °C.

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