6 Facts About Iceland
1. “The Land of Fire and Ice”
Iceland is known as “The Land of Fire and Ice”. Iceland is different from any other country because icy glaciers and hot volcanoes exist side-by-side. Glaciers cover about 11% of Iceland’s surface, while lava field cover about 30%. Iceland’s nature shows that opposites can co-exist in beautiful harmony!
Vikings from Norway were the first to settle Iceland in the 800’s. This makes most Icelanders decedents of Vikings, who continue to carry on some exciting Viking traditions today. Icelanders even continue to speak relatively the same language that was once spoken by their Viking ancestors.
Iceland rests on top of two tectonic plates, which cause the large island to be extremely volcanic. There are around 130 volcanoes all over the country, but only 30 volcanic systems are active.
4. Midnight Sun
As if summer couldn’t get any better, Iceland is lucky enough to have certain summer days that never end. Around the summer solstice in late June, the sun is visible for a full 24 hours. We can thank Iceland’s northern location on the earth for these fun summer days.
5. Swimming in winter
Thanks to Iceland’s hot springs, there are many naturally warm swimming pools available for warm dips on cold days. In the country’s capital, Reykjavík, there are also many man-made heated swimming pools.
6. Lack of trees
Visitors are often surprised by Iceland’s lack of trees. In the warmer months, the country is quite green, but trees, mainly birch, only grow in a few areas. Why? Iceland has a lot of volcanic activity, which makes it difficult for trees to grow and flourish. Volcanic eruptions occur too often for trees to get the chance to survive. Many of the trees were also once cut down to create room for farming. Today, Icelanders are working hard to increase the amount of trees by planting them through a program called reforestation.
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Much of Iceland’s folklore involves their mischievous elves. Stories are told of elves protecting their land by pushing rocks, breaking and stealing equipment, and causing havoc in order to halt construction on their land.
There are 23 different whale species found all around Iceland. There are many boat tours available so that visitors can get a chance to see these awesome creatures. Popular whales are the minke whale, white-beaked dolphin, sperm whale, blue whale, harbor porpoise, and humpback whale. There is also an amazing museum where you can walk underneath of life-size models of common Icelandic whales!
9. Northern Lights
The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, are a popular attraction in Iceland. Thanks to Iceland’s perfect location, the lights are easily seen for many months out of the year. There are many clear, crisp nights during Iceland’s winters when the lights will be the brightest. Many people go to Iceland for the sole purpose of catching a glimpse of these beautiful lights!
During Iceland’s summer months, it is home to a large majority of Puffins, interesting little sea birds who have bright-colored beaks and feet. Puffins spend most of their lives at sea, floating on top of the water and diving under to eat fish. Each summer, puffins return to land, where they meet up with their one life-long mate and lay one egg. Then they’ll take care of their chick for the summer and fly back to sea when the weather gets cold.
Have you travel with your kids to Iceland? is it on your bucket list? Please share with us in the comments.