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Discover where is the Iceland located and why visit it

Where is the Iceland located if not right at the meeting point of two tectonic plates: the North America and Eurasia plates.

Iceland is a mountainous island located in the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean right between Europe and North America.

Some people think Iceland is a city or a region of Europe or America, but this is completely wrong.

It is an independent country with its own currency and monetary policy that attracts thousands of tourists each year for its wild beauty and amazing sceneries.

Although it is not a part of the European continent, Iceland is considered part of Europe, especially from an economic perspective, the country having strong relations with European countries.

As the name suggested, a large part of the country is covered with ice (almost 15% of the total surface) and is home to the largest glacier in Europe called Vatnajokull Glacier.

Although covered in ice, the country has quite a mild climate and an impressive number of hot springs and geothermal waters perfect to relax and detox your skin.

The map of iceland located in Europe
The map of iceland located in Europe

The country is located in the middle of the ocean and it is also known as the Land of Fire and Ice because of its impressive number of volcanoes and large surface covered with ice.

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Where is the Iceland and countries near Iceland

Iceland does not have neighbors as it is an island in the middle of the ocean, and the closest countries from Iceland are Greenland, Norway, and The Faroe Islands.

The total surface of the country is about 103,500 square kilometers (about 40,000 square miles) and has a total population of about 375,000 people.

The majority of the population is located in the vicinity of the Reykjavik area (about 75%), while the rest of the country remained mostly untamed and wild.

A short history of the country

The first permanent inhabitants that settled here permanently were the Norwegian Vikings in the year 870 AD.

Most of the settlements were concentrated in the southern part of Iceland and the area where today is Thingvellir National Park played an important role.

In the year 930 AD, the Icelandic people decided to meet in the area where today is Thingvellir National Park and to establish the first parliament in the world in order to adopt laws, clear disputes, and rule the country.

Where is iceland map
Where is iceland map

In the following years, expeditions to conquer Greenland took place, and finally in 986, Erik the Red colonized Greenland.

Starting with 1000, the moment when the Icelandic people adopted Christianity a new era began and new opportunities appeared.

In the period 1380 to 1944, the country of Iceland was under Danish occupation and the Danish crown was responsible for the evolution of Iceland.

In 1944 the Icelandic people voted a referendum to cut all ties with Denmark and become an independent state, so on June 17th, the state declared its independence.

Where is the Iceland and country’s geography

Iceland, the second largest island in the world, is among the youngest territories with a total surface area of 103,500 square meters (40,000 square miles) and a total length of the coastline of almost 5,000 kilometers.

On this island, you can find a large number of active volcanoes, and the whole existence of the place is because of a large fissure in the Mid- Atlantic Ridge, the place where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet.

This is one of the most active places in the world with the last notable eruption recorded just a few years ago.

The country is wild and untamed with a very small population out of which an important number of inhabitants is located in the area around the capital city of Reykjavik.

The country is home to the largest glacier in the world, Vatnajokull Glacier, and about 13% of its entire surface is covered by ice.

All across the country, you will meet breathtaking waterfalls with interesting legends and stories behind, volcanoes, geysers, black sand beaches, and lava fields.

Magma Lava at Fagradalsfjall Volcano Iceland
Magma Lava at Fagradalsfjall Volcano Iceland

Although located south of the Arctic Circle, where is Iceland located, it has a mild climate and coastal weather influenced by the Gulf Stream and the East Greenland polar current.

The average temperatures during summertime are around 10 degrees Celsius ( 50 Degrees Fahrenheit), while winter comes with mild temperatures, around 0 degrees Celsius ( 32 degrees Fahrenheit).

What are the natural reserves where is the Iceland located

You will not find gold or diamonds on this beautiful small island, but for sure you will find fisheries, good quality water, and renewable energy.

Fisheries

The Icelandic salmon and arctic char are famous all across the world as Iceland is among the most important fish and seafood providers from Europe.

This island country is surrounded by one of the richest and most prolific waters from the North Atlantic Ocean and fishing is the main income source for an important percentage of the total population of the country.

Healthy Amazingly Tasty Salmon with vegetables in Iceland Food
Healthy Amazingly Tasty Salmon with vegetables in Iceland Food

About 40% of the export revenues are generated by the fishing industry and almost 10% of the Icelandic population work in these fisheries.

What I like about Iceland is that the country is extremely attentive to the environment and they ensure responsible fisheries and take good care of the marine ecosystem.

Water

The Icelandic water is pure and has healing properties so we strongly recommend you to drink it directly from the source when you visit Iceland.

Iceland reusable water bottle
Iceland reusable water bottle

Don’t buy bottled water as it is nothing more than tap water bottled in plastic; go directly to the source and drink for free.

Iceland has a developing industry of bottled water and the water from this country is considered to be premium quality.

Westfjords Iceland Gongummanafoss waterfall Dynjandi river
Westfjords Iceland Gongummanafoss waterfall Dynjandi river

You won’t find any additives or harmful chemicals in the Icelandic water, but for sure you will find many minerals, so drink it as it is incredible.

Renewable energy

Hydroelectric power and geothermal energy are the main sources of renewable energy that can be found in Iceland.

Almost all the entire energy consumed by the Icelandic people comes from eco-friendly sources, emission-free and sustainable natural resources.

Geothermal steam is also used on a large scale in Iceland not just in industrial processes but also in farming, most of the locals have their greenhouses where they cultivate vegetables.

This is indeed interesting!

Now let me tell you some other interesting facts about this beautiful country that I bet you don’t know!

25 interesting facts about Iceland

1. Iceland is among the youngest countries in the world and it continues to grow by 5 cm each year.

2. The country does not have an army

3. Police officers do not carry firearms

4. A significant percentage of the Icelandic population still believes in elves and other hidden creatures.

5. It is the only country in the world that hosts Gay Parade and no one protests

6. Strip clubs are banned all across the country

7. The name of the capital city Reykjavik translates in English as Smokey Bay

8. There is nothing to be afraid of when you travel across Iceland as the country does not have snakes, lions, bears, etc.

9. Don’t be surprised if you see babies sleeping in carriages outside as it is quite common for Icelanders to let their babies sleeping outside.

Kirkjufell Snaefellsjokull National Park Iceland in Europe
Kirkjufell Snaefellsjokull National Park Iceland in Europe

10. In 2018, the National Soccer team qualified at World Cup, being the smallest nation ever qualified

11. One of the most popular museums in Iceland is the Penis Museum located in the center of Reykjavik.

12. Icelandic people don’t use their family names. They take the father’s first name and add -son if they are male and -dottir if they are female.

13. There is a national committee that establishes which names are allowed and which are banned

14. Icelanders drink a lot of black licorice

15. It is illegal to pay women less than men all across the country, no matter their job.

16. Iceland is among the first countries in the world that legalized same-sex marriage.

17. The largest glacier in Europe is located in the southern part of the country and is named Vatnajokull Glacier.

18. The famous soccer player Eidur Smari Gudjohnsen that played for both Barcelona and Chelsea is Icelandic.

19. Icelanders take the longest showers in the world and because of the green energy they cost almost nothing.

Volcano continues to erupt Iceland
Volcano continues to erupt Iceland

20. Many years ago there was an army based in Iceland, but they belong to the United States.

21. Icelanders’ favorite dessert is ice cream; even if outside are 0 degrees Celsius you will see a long line at the ice cream parlor.

22. Icelandic women are very beautiful and they win four times the Miss World pageant

23. The English word Geysir comes from the Icelandic Geysir, famous all over the world.

24. In Iceland was once a political party named The Best Party

25. The oldest part of the country is the Westfjords, which appeared first after a massive eruption thousands of years ago.

Glacier Ice Cave in Iceland
Glacier Ice Cave in Iceland

Such a small country and there are so many interesting things to write about it!

If you are not convinced yet to put the Land of Fire and Ice as this country is also called on your travel list, let me tell you some reasons why you should visit this amazing island at least once in your lifetime.

10 reasons to visit Iceland

Over the years the beauty and wilderness of this country inspired many movie writers and song producers, so it is not surprising that the country continues to enjoy an increase in popularity.

I drop below a list of the 10 best reasons why Iceland should be your next travel destination:

1. Best place for the midnight sun

Where is the Iceland located makes this country one of the best places in the world for experiencing the midnight sun.

Everything started early in June and lasted until the beginning of September; the days are extremely long and there are just a few hours of darkness.

It is unusual for us to have 23 hours of light and to sleep when outside is light, but for Icelanders, this is normal life.

Iceland in Summer Midnight Sun
Iceland in Summer Midnight Sun

The sun rises around 3 o’clock in the morning and keeps shining until midnight, so you have just a few hours of semi-darkness.

There is even a festival, the Secret Solstice Festival that celebrates this unique event, as well as an Arctic Open golf tournament.

It is the best time to explore this magnificent country and we strongly recommend you to do the Ring Road road, the road that goes all around the country to enjoy the beautiful scenery and the magnificent views.

2. There are no mosquitos around

A big plus is the lack of mosquitos in Iceland and Iceland and Antarctica are the only two places in the world where these pesky blighters cannot be found.

You can walk around and sleep without any worry as you don’t have to use any insect repellent when visiting this country.

3. Be in two places at the same time

Iceland is located on the mid-Atlantic Ridge and Silfra Fissure is the best place to be if you want to touch with both of your hands at the same time two tectonic plates: the North American Plate and the Eurasian plate.

Iceland Silfra Scuba diving snorkeling tour
Iceland Silfra Scuba diving snorkeling tour

I really want to experience this so I booked a Silfra Fissure Snorkeling Tour with Underwater Photos and I can tell you for sure that it was among the best experiences I have ever had.

Silfra Fissure Snorkeling Tour with Underwater Photos Guide
Silfra Fissure Snorkeling Tour with Underwater Photos Guide

I snorkeled between the tectonic plates with a certified PADI dive guide and I swam in the turquoise waters of the river and it was incredible.

4. Explore volcanoes

As you can see on the map of Iceland, this country has an impressive number of volcanoes, some of them still active, while others dormant.

You can hike to the craters and for some volcanoes, you can even descend into the crater to get a closer look.

Volcanic Eruption in Iceland start
Volcanic Eruption in Iceland start

Book a day trip from Reykjavik to Thrihnukagigur Volcano and descend deep into its crater to experience a breathtaking natural phenomenon.

Inside the Thrihnukagigur Volcano: Day Trip from Reykjavik is a guided tour with hotel pick up and drop off included ( if you stay in Reykjavik) that leads you to the center of the Earth to see with your own eyes how the volcanic forces model the landscape.

Inside the Thrihnukagigur Volcano Day Trip from Reykjavik Guide

You will descend 120 meters into the volcano that erupted for the last time a few thousand years ago and you have about 1 hour to explore the cave.

5. Most Icelanders believe in elves

Sounds crazy, right!? But it is true and an important percentage of the total population believes in elves.

Elves are everywhere: hidden behind rocks, in glaciers, waterfalls, and even volcanoes, while their relatives, the trolls are harder to see as they appear only when outside is dark.

Svartifoss Waterfall Skaftafell National Park Iceland
Svartifoss Waterfall Skaftafell National Park Iceland

According to the most popular legends from Iceland, all the rock formations you see are actually trolls that are caught outside when the sun rose and when they have been hit by the rays of the sun they become rocks.

6. Mild climate for such a nordic country

For its location, Iceland is quite a warm country with an average temperature during winter of 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit).

Home to an impressive number of volcanoes, Iceland has more than 850 hot springs spread all across its territory so bathing in a geothermal pool while admiring the Northern Lights is definitely a must-try experience.

Iceland Highlands
Iceland Highlands

The average temperature during summer is around 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit), so expect more of early spring than summer temperatures if you explore this country in July and August.

7. There is only one native animal in Iceland

The arctic fox is the only native mammal from Iceland and any other mammals you find here were brought by people from other parts of the world (sheep, horses, etc).

Arctic Fox Iceland
Arctic Fox Iceland

I have stayed in Iceland and did the Ring Road tour but unfortunately, I was not able to see any fox.

Drop a photo with this magnificent creature in the comment below if you were lucky enough to see it.

8. One of the greenest countries in the world

After Finland, Iceland is the second environmentally friendly country in the world with an important percentage of energy coming from renewable sources.

Icelanders use geothermal energy to hit their houses and offices and to bathe in natural pools when outside are 0 degrees Celsius, and the wind power to produce electricity.

9. Take a bath in one of the best thermal pools in the world

I bet you read a lot about Blue Lagoon, the most popular thermal pool from Iceland, located within a short driving distance from Keflavik International Airport.

The place is extremely crowded but definitely worth paying a visit not just because of the experience itself but also for the healing properties of the water.

Natural Spa at Iceland Blue Lagoon
Natural Spa at Iceland Blue Lagoon

I strongly advise you to book your tickets in advance for the Blue Lagoon experience as they are likely to sell out soon.

If you are looking for a more intimate experience and you rented a car to move from one place to another, then we also recommend you to try the Secret Lagoon, located on the Golden Circle route.

Iceland Secret Lagoon Admission Ticket Guide

10. Visit the rare and impressive Blue caves

Vatnajokull National Park is the best place to go when in Iceland if you want to visit a beautiful blue ice cave.

Ice caving season in Iceland is from November to April and always go with an experienced guide as these caves might be quite dangerous.

Book your ticket South Iceland: Vatnajökull Glacier Blue Ice Cave Tour and meet with your guide at the Cafe by Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. After a short ride, you will get to the entrance of the cave.

Walk for about 15 minutes to go deep into the cave and prepare your camera for some breathtaking shots.

South Iceland Vatnajokull Glacier Blue Ice Cave Tour Guide
South Iceland Vatnajokull Glacier Blue Ice Cave Tour Guide

11. Hike the largest glacier in Europe

Vatnajokull Glacier is the largest glacier in Europe and it is located in the southern part of the country.

There is an impressive number of outdoor activities to try in the area, out of which the most popular ones are glacier hiking and ice caving.

You will walk on the millennia-old ice with crampons and hammers, and look down into the deep crevasse.

Vatnajokull Glacier: Ice Caving and Glacier Hiking is the tour that we booked when visiting Iceland and it proves to be a great choice.

We hiked the largest glacier in Europe and got deep into the heart of the glaciers, to see the hidden world of ice and snow.

Vatnajokull Glacier Ice Cave Tour Guide
Vatnajokull Glacier Ice Cave Tour Guide

Conclusion

Now you know where is the Iceland located and why you should include this amazing country in your future travel plans.

There are so many beautiful places to see and so many interesting outdoor activities to try, that you will need at least 10 days in this country.

Ice Cave on Jokulsarlon Glacier Southern Iceland
Ice Cave on Jokulsarlon Glacier Southern Iceland in the Europe

It might be among the cheapest countries in Europe, but definitely worth each cent that unique and beautiful it is.

FAQ

What country does Iceland belong to?

Iceland is an island, an independent country located on an island right between North America and Europe.

It borders Norway and Greenland and it was once a possession of Denmark who conquered the territory many centuries ago.

From a cultural perspective, Iceland is considered to be part of Europe, although it is not a member of the European Union.

Where exactly is Iceland located?

Iceland is located in the northern part of Europe right where the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans meet.

The country is split by the Mid Atlantic Ridge and is the only place where you can touch with both your hand the North American tectonic plate and the Eurasian plate.

Iceland has a total population of about 330.000 inhabitants spread on more than 100.000 square kilometers.

Most of the population live in the area around Reykjavik, the capital city of the country, the country is also known for its wild and untamed landscape.

The map of iceland located in Europe
The map of iceland located in Europe

Do people live in Iceland?

Yes, the country has a total population of about 330,000 inhabitants, most of them concentrated in the area around Reykjavik.

It has one of the smallest populations per square kilometers or mile in the world and it impresses its visitors with wild sceneries and beautiful landscapes.

What state is closest to Iceland?

The closest piece of land to Iceland is Greenland, which is located about 285 kilometers away from this country.

The Faroe Islands are about 400 kilometers away, while Scotland and Norway are more than 800 kilometers away.

Traveling by air, you will need about 3 hours to get to this island from anywhere from western Europe and about 5 hours from North America.

Where is The Iceland in Europe
Where is The Iceland in Europe

What continent is Iceland in?

From a geographic and cultural perspective, Iceland is considered to be part of Europe and the European continent, although it is located right at the meeting point of North American and Eurasian tectonic plates.

The island is located in the North Atlantic Ocean just south of the Arctic Circle, about 1000 kilometers to Norway and 800 kilometers to Scotland.

What countries are near Iceland?

Iceland does not border with any country as it is an island located in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Still, the closest countries to Iceland (countries near Iceland) are Greenland, Faroe Islands, Sweden, Norway, Scotland, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.