10 Interesting Facts About Iceland

10 Interesting Facts About Iceland

In recent years, Iceland’s gained a reputation among backpackers, hikers and travelers seeking a little bit more adventure. From the outside, it can be hard to understand the attraction: what’s so great about this island in the North Atlantic, battered by rough seas and inhabited by fewer than 350,000 people? Talk to anyone who’s been to Iceland, though, and you’ll discover an entirely new perspective: Iceland is one of the most unique experiences available to travelers precisely because of its small population, harsh climate and northerly latitudes. These 10 interesting facts will help you get to know Iceland a little better.

10. A Land of Extremes

Perhaps the first thing anyone will note about Iceland is its harsh climate. The island lies in the North Atlantic, off the coast of Greenland. The island is battered by rough seas and the northerly clime make Iceland less than forgiving. The island was formed by a volcanic hotspot beneath the ocean, and, due to its age, most of the volcanoes are still active. Glaciers also cover much of the island; visitors flock to see some of the more famous ones. Iceland also has fjords and some of the most powerful waterfalls in Europe, as well as geysers. In the south, rocky basalt formations and black sand beaches appeal to tourists. The northern lights are visible during the long winter nights and in the summer the sun sets for just a few hours. The small population means much of the landscape is still wild, making for great hiking and camping.

Iceland waterfall

9. Powered from the Inside Out

Icelanders have had to make do with their surroundings since they arrived on the island over a millennia ago. Often, that has meant being relatively resourceful. One of the things Iceland is abundant in is geothermal heat, as evidenced by continued volcanic activity on the island. Since the island sits over an ocean hotspot, there’s plenty of energy to be harnessed. These days, pretty much the entire island is run on geothermal energy (although hydroelectricity is also generated from some of the island’s waterfalls). A full 85% of Iceland’s energy is renewable and the country is also the world’s largest energy per-capita producer. Iceland is also one of few nations that has hydrogen filling stations for cars powered by fuel cells, lessening the transportation industry’s reliance on imported fossil fuels. Iceland’s energy sector could continue to expand, as many resources have yet to be developed.

Iceland Volcano
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