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Last updated : Nov 2009
 
Iceland Travel Guide
Iceland Travel Guide and Iceland Travel Information - TravelPuppy.com
Iceland is a great island in the North Atlantic close to the Arctic Circle. The landscape is wild, rocky and colourful, with red sulphur, black lava, hot blue geysers, rivers, waterfalls and green valleys. Its coastline is richly sunken with bays and fjords. Iceland is 1 of the most volcanically active countries in the world. Hekla, in the south of Iceland, has erupted no fewer than 16 times, and was once portrayed by clergymen as the gateway to Hell. Certainly, Iceland's seething mountains donate towards this sense of otherworldliness.

Yet around the coastal regions, Iceland is a bustle of activity, mainly in the capital city, Reykjavík, where over half of Iceland's population lives in or nearby. Reykjavík is set on a large bay, surrounded by mountains, and is in an area of geothermal hot springs, creating a natural central heating system and pollution free environment. It is a hectic city combining old fashioned wooden architecture and modern buildings. Despite being a relatively small capital city, Reykjavík has managed to forge a reputation for partying, and its bars and nightclubs are regularly filled with hordes of fun loving citizens.

Nevertheless, the customary side of Iceland prevails, as does the Icelander's repute as hardy and proud. Indeed, much of the attraction surrounding Iceland resides with the Icelanders themselves. Their descendents propagated the notion of the 'Viking poet', as unveiled in their heroic sagas, an stimulating brew of brute force and sensitivity. In the mid 13th century, the islanders submitted to the authority of the King of Norway, and when Norway came under the control of Denmark in 1380, Iceland did too. In 1814, Norway became independent, however Iceland remained a Danish territory. In 1840, Iceland was granted its own constitution, effectively allowing internal self government. Full independence was granted in 1918, although Iceland continued to identify the Danish Monarch as head of state. It was not until 1944 that Iceland became a fully independent nation with its own head of state. It is therefore understandable that Icelanders now so passionately champion their heritage. Many long established foods are still chomped with relish, and much customary entertainment remains.

Perhaps, also, the Icelanders' character has been as shaped by the scenery as the scenery has been shaped by impulsive forces of earth and elements. What is better is that whether you wish to exploit such beautiful natural isolation and quietly watch for birds or whales, or whether you wish to go skiing, glacier skidooing or horse riding, Iceland amply provides for both. Although you may not go so far as to believe in magic and elves, over half of the population still do, you will positively leave believing that Iceland is magical.
Useful travel links
Iceland Iceland Tourist board
Lonely Planet Guide to Iceland from lonely planet