Because it’s close, it’s easy, it's exotic!
Iceland is closer than you think – and more fun than you’ve ever dreamt of. This mid-Atlantic island is the USA’s closest European neighbor. With a flight time from New York only a jet lag-free 4.5 hours, you’re ready for action as soon as you arrive. And no matter the season, there’s always more than enough waiting for you to do.
The chilliest thing about Iceland is its name! In January, the average temperature in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, is higher than that in New York. And Iceland’s welcome for tourists is always warm. Almost everyone speaks fluent English and Icelanders aren’t really given to formalities. After all, even the telephone directory lists people by their first name.
Reykjavik is a city where you’ll feel safe to walk the streets. Cozy, charming, a “village feel” and friendly people. But as much entertainment, action and things to do as a metropolis of millions. And with all the modern conveniences, a high quality of life and world-class services.
Even so, it’s still only a 15-minute cab ride between downtown and wild nature, where you’ll feel you’re the only person on Earth.
Iceland is the ideal place for taking a break and setting foot on a European outpost with an exciting, lively, and ancient – but living culture all of its own. You’ll feel at home – free to walk around, shop, admire, explore. It’s a place you could go on discovering forever.
Facts About Iceland
Iceland is an island of almost 40,000 square miles, equal to that of Ohio. Iceland's highest peak, Hvannadalshnukur, is 6,500 ft. Iceland has the largest glaciers in Europe - in fact, 11% of the country is covered by glaciers. The coastline is dotted with more than one hundred fjords - and green, fertile valleys extend from them. Iceland also has more than 10,000 waterfalls and countless hot springs.
Situated on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Iceland is a hot spot of geothermal activity. Thirty post-glacial volcanoes have erupted in the past two centuries, and natural hot water supplies much of the population with cheap, pollution-free heating. Rivers, too, are harnessed to provide inexpensive hydroelectric power. The electrical current is 220 volts, 50 Hz.
The Icelanders still speak the language of the Vikings (Old Norse). When new words are needed, they simply coin words that are combinations or modifications of old words. Iceland is alone in upholding another Norse tradition: the custom of using patronyms rather than surnames. If, for example, Einar has a son named "Petur", the son's name is Petur Einarsson (Peter Einar's Son). If Einar has a daughter whom he names "Margret", she becomes Margret Einarsdottir (Margaret Einar's Daughter). Members of the same family can therefore have different "last names", which often causes confusion to foreigners. If you are looking for someone in the phone directory, you look them up by their first name.
Of a population numbering just over 288,000, more than half lives in the Greater Reykjavik Area. The native language is Icelandic but most Icelanders speak fluent English.
In spite of its mid-Atlantic location, Iceland is on Greenwich Mean Time all year round.
The first permanent settler of Iceland was Ingolfur Arnarson, a Norwegian Viking who in 874 AD made his home where Reykjavik now stands. In 930 AD, the Viking settlers of Iceland founded one of the world's first republican governments. They established a constitution based on individual freedom, land ownership, and sophisticated inheritance laws. In the year 1000, Icelandic-born Leifur Eiriksson (Leif Eriksson, sometimes called "Leif the Lucky") became the first European to set foot in North America. On another Viking expedition a couple of years later, Icelander Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir had a son, Snorri, who became the first child of European descent to be born in America. The Old Commonwealth Age, described in the classic Icelandic Sagas, lasted until 1262, when Iceland lost its independence. In 1918 it regained independence and in 1944 the present republic was founded. The country is governed by the Althing (Parliament), whose 63 members are elected every four years. Elections every four years are also held for the presidency; President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson was elected in June 2000 for the second time.
The economy is heavily dependent upon fisheries, which are the nation's greatest resource. 72% of all exports are made up of seafood products. Yet only a small proportion of the workforce is active in this sector (4.4% in fishing and 5.6% in fish processing). About 66% of the workforce is employed in services. Icelanders enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world.
Five Stars of Scandinavia
Iceland Spa & Northern Lights
10 days / 9 nights, Reykjavik - Blue Lagoon - Mt. Hekla - Şingvellir National Park - Gullfoss - Geysir - Akureyri - Lake Mıvatn - Mıvatn Nature Baths - Laugar Spa - Reykjavik | Five Stars of Scandinavia' s exclusive Iceland Spa and Northern Lights small group tour encompasses Iceland's most fabulous Spa Resorts, Spa Hotels and famous Sites. From the unique Blue Lagoon, where guests relax in warm geothermal seawater, to the Laugar Spa, a five star Health & Spa resort in Reykjavík, to Lake Mıvatn and the Mıvatn Nature Baths. Our private, escorted tour will take you on the Golden Circle to Şingvellir National Park, the ancient site of the Viking Parliament, the Geyser Hot Springs area and Gullfoss Waterfall. Overnight in hotels with new and most modern Spa and fitnessd facilities.
Our route takes us north to Akureyri and Lake Mıvatn, where the magic and mystery of the Northern Lights are legendary! A northern Spa highlight are the Mıvatn Nature Baths with its unique blend of minerals, silicates and geo-thermal micro-organisms, their warm, soothing waters benefiting both skin and spirit alike. Back to Reykjavik, we visit the new Grand Hotel Spa and return to the Blue Lagoon, which is proud to have received an award as the best destination in the mineral spa category from the Spa Finder magazine!
Reykjavík Grand Excursion
Experience the best of the city, art and culture, history and presence. This tour is a 2,5 hour tour highlights the best of Reykjavik city. The tour involves moderate walking, through the city center.
GLACIERS, GEYSERS & WATERFALLS
Scenic Southern Iceland is a wonderland of nature’s beauty.A tour of the beautiful South coast, where we will explore some of Iceland’s most interesting and beautiful locations. This is a guided jeep tour and you need to add nights in Reykjavik before and after the tour.
For more information about tours and cruises to Scandinavia, visit us on the web at www.SeaEurope.com
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