Iceland is a country of extreme geological contrasts. Widely known as “The Land of Fire And Ice” Iceland is home to some of the largest glaciers in Europe, and some of the World’s most active volcanoes. Iceland is also the land if light and darkness. Long summer days with near 24-hours of sunshine are offset by short winter days with only a few hours of daylight.
Weather, Climate and Geography
With almost 80% of the country uninhabited, much of Iceland's terrain consists of plateaux, mountain peaks, and fertile lowlands. There are many long, deep fjords and glaciers, including Europe's largest, Vatnajökull. The landscape is characterized by waterfalls, geysers, volcanoes, black sand beaches, and otherworldly steaming lava fields. Iceland's highest peak is Hvannadalshnjúkur, standing 2,119 m (6,852 ft) above sea level. More than 11% of the country is covered by glaciers. Its landmass comprises glaciers (12,000 km2), lava (11,000 km2), sand (4,000 km2), water (3,000 km2), and pasture (1,000 km2).
Formed about 25 million years ago, Iceland is one of the youngest landmasses on the planet, and consequently home to some of the world's most active volcanoes. The island owes its existence to a volcanic hotspot created by a fissure in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the Eurasian and American tectonic plates meet.
The landmass is still growing by about 5 cm per year, as it splits wider at the points where the two tectonic plates meet. The last volcanoes to erupt were Eyjafjallajökull in 2010 and Grímsvötn in 2011. Iceland even has the world's newest island, Surtsey, formed in a volcanic eruption in 1963.
Heavy clothing throughout the year. Waterproofing is recommended.