Iceland, officially the Republic of Iceland is a country in northern Europe, comprising the island of Iceland and its outlying islets in the North Atlantic Ocean between the rest of Europe and Greenland. It is the least populous of the Nordic countries and the second smallest; it has a population of about 316,000 (April 1, 2008 estimate) and a total area of 103,000 km². Its capital and largest city is Reykjavík.
Located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Iceland is volcanically and geologically active on a large scale; this defines the landscape in various ways. The interior mainly consists of a plateau characterized by sand fields, mountains and glaciers, while many big glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Warmed by the Gulf Stream, Iceland has a temperate climate relative to its latitude and provides a habitable environment and nature.
As of 2007, Iceland is the most developed country in the world with fellow Nordic country Norway according to the Human Development Index and one of the most egalitarian, according to the calculation provided by the Gini coefficient. Based upon a mixed economy where service, finance, fishing and various industries are the main sectors, it is also the fourth most productive country per capita. Icelanders have a rich culture and heritage. Iceland is a member of the UN, NATO, EFTA, EEA and OECD, but not of the European Union. The country is a candidate for a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council.
Despite its name, Iceland is very mild for a country at that latitude owing to the warming effect of the Atlantic Gulf Stream. The weather is often compared with that of New England (though the winter winds can be bitter). However the rapidly changing weather has given rise to the local saying: ‘If you don’t like the weather, wait fifteen minutes’! It’s the kind of place where it’s not unusual to get rained on and sunburnt at the same time – some Icelandic people also believe that if the winter is hard and long then the summer will be good and warm.
Iceland offers many hotels, guest houses and other places to stay. Enjoy your stay in Iceland !