If you are a landmass who is attracted by the distance and you cannot choose between available Europe or distant America, Iceland is the right place to go. The island lies in the middle of two tectonic plates right on the border of the Arctic Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, so it can be said that it is exactly in the middle. And that is the real compromise.
May to September
The capital of Iceland
The wild and volcanically active nature will captivate you upon arrival in the capital Reykjavík. Before landing the plane, looking at the smoldering geysers, desolate plains and apocalyptic-looking landscape, you will think that you are at the end of the world. But the opposite is true, because in Iceland you will definitely experience more than less adventures and experiences that you would hardly come across anywhere else.
Reykjavík has a population of 129,000 and is the largest and most populous city on the island. Up to two thirds of the entire population of the island live here. Due to the location of the island, you can enjoy continuous light in the summer months, while in winter it is only four hours of light a day. Thanks to the bright summer days, the island is famous for its nightlife, it also has a special word for these alcoholic nights: RUNTUR.
Flag of Iceland
Red, white lined cross, on blue canvas - this is the flag of the island. The blue color is supposed to symbolize the sea and the sky, while white is intended to symbolize geysers, glaciers and snow. Iceland’s relationship to the other Scandinavian countries, especially Denmark, which Iceland has ruled since the 14th century, is illustrated by a red cross.
Population of Iceland
The inhabitants of the land of fire and ice are descendants of Norwegian settlers and Celts, and at first they may seem like grumblers, but in the end you will fall in love with the Icelandic nature, because the people here are peaceful and kind. Maybe that’s why Icelanders live to a very old age (81.1 years). An old Icelandic proverb says that: “Everyone wants to live long, but no one wants to be old!” And this is exactly the definition that he honors at any age in his quiet life, and we Europeans should learn this skill from them.
In 2020, 364,000 people live in Iceland, up to 93% of whom are descendants of Norwegian and Celtic settlers.
Holidays in Iceland
As with us, January 1 falls on a day of rest after the New Year’s celebrations.
During February, Icelanders celebrate Porrablót - in earlier times, people met for dinner and recited poems in honor of the god Porr. Even today, people gather for dinner, but they discuss all the news from their lives.
The end of February to the beginning of March are the holidays that precede the Easter fast, divided into three days:
- Monday is Bolludagur - the holiday is mainly enjoyed by children. According to tradition, they receive a so-called bollur from their parents, which is such a donut, only * slightly larger and filled with jam or caramel icecream.
- Sprengidagur - carnival. Icelanders consume large amounts of mutton and as a side dish of peas.
- And the last one is öskudagur - it comes out on Ash Wednesday, when children go from house to house, singing and caroling.
March - April - Easter Páskar - locals enjoy mainly working holidays and spend time with their families.
The first Thursday after April 18 - the first summer day of Sumardagurinn fyrsti. The old Nordic calendar used to modify only two seasons. Even on this day, the locals enjoy the holidays. They meet in squares and centers and celebrate. They mainly consume ice cream, because the weather is nice.
The first weekend in June - Sjómannadagurinn sailors' days. Various events take place, mainly in ports, as the sea is celebrated, providing livelihoods for many people. Exhibitions, boat trips, sailing races, seafood tastings.
June 17 - Independence Day, celebration of the birth of Jon Sigurðsson (representative of the independence movement) - Great holiday, huge national celebrations. The shop windows are decorated with Icelandic colors and Ionian portraits. Parades, concerts and streets come to life.
Icelanders use sunrise and sunset tracking mainly on the longest day of the year, and that is June 21st. The sun rises on this day at 2:54 and sets after midnight at 00:04. An ideal day for trips to nature and observation of this natural phenomenon.
Merchant’s Day - the first weekend in August and Monday (Verslunarmannahelgi) - the holiday was originally for employees in the service, they had to rest. Today, everyone has time off and it is the salesmen who have to go to work so that people can buy. This holiday is very often associated with camping, nature trips and especially drinking alcohol. It is most actively celebrated especially on the islands of Vestmannaeyjar.
The third weekend in August - Menningarnótt (Reykjavik Culture Night) - a very nicely designed holiday, when the streets of the capital is open to concerts, as well as bars and cafes. Some locals even hold open days at home and invite passers-by for cocoa and something good. It all ends with a large fireworks display and then drinks until morning.
December 1 - Independence Day - an official holiday, however, people work and do not celebrate so much.
December 21st - the shortest day - in Reykjavík the sun rises at 11:22, sets at 15:30 - it is already cold, people prefer to stay inside and they also have a lot of work to do before Christmas.
December 23 - Day of the celebration of St. láorlák, Þorláksmessa - Porlák was an island saint, a bishop, who 23.12. 1193 died. Pre-Christmas preparations are in full swing, with shops open until almost midnight.
December 24 - Christmas, Jól - Christmas time looks like Iceland in our country. Icelanders gather for dinner, hand out presents, and then hold Christmas Masses. The day after Christmas, it is usual to visit family.
December 31 - New Year’s Eve, Gamlárskvöld - very similar to ours. In addition to the large amount of alcohol that is drunk this evening, people also try a variety of pyrotechnics, which they detonate in large quantities at midnight.
The sign of Iceland
The coat of arms of Iceland shows us the Icelandic flag, surrounded by untraditionally four (usually only two) shield bearers. These are mythological figures - bull=protector of the southwest, eagle or griffin = protector of the northwest, dragon = protector of the northeast and giant = protector of the southeast This emblem has been used since the date of the proclamation of the republic, which was 1944
Currency of Iceland
On the island you can pay in Icelandic crowns - króna (ISK).
- The value of coins - 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 ISK
- Banknote value - 500, 1000, 2000, 5000
The most expensive in the country is alcohol. Other prices are comparable to other Scandinavian countries.
You can exchange money at banks, you will not find classic exchange offices in Iceland, or we can get money from an ATM. The card payment almost anywherepossible.
Prices in Iceland
Prices usually vary depending on whether you are shopping in the capital or on the outskirts. Look for most things, from food to medicines to drugstore goods, in supermarkets. The most famous are Bónus, Krónan, Samkaup or Nettó. Small businesses such as bakeries are only in larger cities and there are not many of them. However, if you leave the capital, you will only be dependent on petrol stations. You can buy alcohol mainly in the state store Vínbuðin. The shops normally open until around 11 am and close early, as early as 6 pm. Which, given the long day, can be confusing at times.
Approximate prices of products in Iceland:
- Beer in the shop (can) - 300-364 ISK / 1,8-2,2 GBP
- Beer in the restaurant 0,5l - 800-990 ISK / 4,8-6 GBP
- Coffee in a cafe - 350-450 ISK / 2,1-2,7 GBP
- Better lunch in the restaurant - 3 290-4 900 ISK / 20-30 GBP
- Ham slices - 360 ISK / 2,2 GBP
- Bagette 185 ISK / 1 GBP
Interesting facts about Iceland
In this land of contrasts, there is no shortage of adrenaline experiences, romantic impressions and cultural events. Romantic souls will enjoy watching the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, named after the Roman goddess of dawn. It is necessary to set aside at least a week for this solar phenomenon. The night must be clear and the sun’s activity strong enough, but this extraordinary experience surpassed even the wildest imaginations of experienced travelers, who described the glow as the strongest moment of their lives. This phenomenon, most often caused by solar activity and the earth’s magnetic field, can be observed in the northern part of the island.
There are many more experiences for adventurers in Iceland. The most popular are rafting and kayaking downhill around Iceland. Where else can you see all the stages of the planet’s development in one day. As a result of the changeable weather, you will find yourself in a completely different landscape after each awakening than the one you went to bed the day before. The ubiquitous smell of sulfur also contributes to the adrenaline experience, reminding you that after a strenuous descent, a hot natural geyser awaits you, which will relax your muscles again and give you a little of the longevity of the inhabitants. Along with countless waterfalls, hot geysers are another unique phenomenon from which you will not take your eyes off. Strokkir Geyser spews a stream of water up to a height of 30 meters, but if you are looking for a real giant among geysers, visit the Great Geyser, which has named all the geysers in the world and can reach its gushing stream of water up to 80 meters.
Once you have full of adrenaline, leave the steering of the boat more experienced and sail further into the open sea. The reward will definitely be a small whale, which lazily surrounds your boat several times and with waves tail fins goodbye. Yes, we are talking about whales and their observation in the wild. You can cross out another experience that you never thought could happen to you.
Where to call in case of emergency in Iceland?
Emergency line: 112 (police, firefighters, medical care)
First aid: + 354-525-1000
Fire brigade: 112
The telephone area code for Iceland is +354.
Contacts at The British Embassy in Reykjavik, Iceland :
Michael Nevin British Embassy Reykjavik Laufásvegur 31 101 Reykjavík Iceland
Phone: +354 550 5100
Further contacts can be found on the website