Located on an ever-active geologic border between North America and Europe, Iceland has earned its nickname “The Land of Fire and Ice” due to its opposing nature that includes both simmering volcanoes and sparkling glaciers. Well hidden in the Atlantic Ocean the country might be humble in its geographical size of 102,775 m2, though the force of this smaller country is everything but. With an almost otherworldly landscape that includes shimmering northern light, hot geysers, and majestic waterfalls this country never sleeps.
Iceland became an independent republic in 1944 and with its population of 355,425 it ranges as the most sparsely populated country in Europe. The heritage is rooted in the ancient Vikings which trails back to the Norwegian chieftain Ingólfr Arnarson that according to the ancient manuscript Landnámabók, became the first permanent settler of the Island back in 874 AD. The language still bears close ties to the Old Norse language, which was spoken by the early Viking settlers. The capital Reykjavik shows off the deeply rooted culture with its many galleries, bookstores, and theatres.