Iceland is a geologically young landscape due to its location on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. The island is therefore highly volcanically and geologically active.
Iceland has some unique natural features such as ice cap mountains, volcanoes, hot springs, waterfalls, glaciers, geysers and ancient cooled lava flows.
Around 11% of Iceland is covered in glacial ice.
Iceland is home to around 200 volcanoes and it has a third of all lava flows found on Earth. 10% of the total land is covered by either cooled lava beds or glaciers.
The official language of Iceland is Icelandic which has changed little over the centuries. It is a North Germanic language derived from Old Norse.
Iceland has a population of around 347,000 people as of July 2023.
The first people to live on Iceland are thought to have been Irish monks around the year AD 800. In the 9th century, Norsemen arrived in Iceland.
The capital city of Iceland is Reykjavík which is the most northern capital city in the world. The city was founded by a Norse chieftain, Ingólfur Arnarson in AD874.
Iceland became part of Norway in 1262. 400 years later it was a part of Denmark before becoming independent in 1918 and a full republic in 1944.
In 1980, Iceland became the first country to elect a women president. Vigdís Finnbogadóttir was president until 1996.
The currency of Iceland is the Icelandic króna.
Around 85% of Iceland's electricity and heating comes from hydroelectric power and geothermal water.
The Arctic fox is the only mammal that is indigenous in Iceland.
Per capita Iceland has the highest number of book and magazine publications and 10% of the country's population will publish a book in their lifetimes.
Due to its unique geography, many films are shot in Iceland. These include "Batman Begins", "Prometheus", "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", "Interstellar" and more.
Drivers use the right-hand side of the road in Iceland.
Some Icelandic people still believe in elves, trolls, and other mythical characters.
A traditional sport in Iceland is Glíma, which is a type of wrestling.
Handball is the main traditional sport of Iceland. Other popular sports include football (soccer), basketball, swimming and horseback riding.
The three colors of Iceland's flag represent elements that make up the island. Red represents the island's volcanic fires. White is for the snow and ice fields and blue the ocean.
For more information, check out maps of Iceland or take a closer look at the Icelandic flag.