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Iceland
 
I stayed three weeks in Iceland in summer 2004.











Photogalleries:
Grimsey Island
Heimaey Island

Introduction
Iceland is a large island, measuring some 100,000 square kilometers (about three times larger than The Netherlands), and a maximum length of some 500 kilometers. The northern tips of Iceland “hit” the Arctic Circle. In spite of its large size, Iceland has a population of only some 300,000. Politically, Iceland has been an independent republic since 1944. Before 1944, Iceland was part of the Kingdom of Denmark.

Climate
Iceland’s climate is, of course, not very warm, but it is warmer than in most other areas located at the same latitude; in July, the average temperature is about 11 degrees Centigrade. The average amount of rainfall is quite high in many parts of southern Iceland, whereas the north is relatively dry. There are many “micro-climates” due to the many mountains.

Landscapes
Like most isolated islands, Iceland is of volcanic origin. On many places the results of recent or even current volcanic activity are clearly visible. The spectacular landscapes include mountains and deserts in many colors, glaciers, active geysers, active volcanoes, lava fields, waterfalls and coastal cliffs.

Economy, people
The traditional sources of income are, of course, fishing and agriculture. The exports of fish and fish-related products constitute about 75% of foreign revenue. Overseas tourists are bringing in most of the other 25%.

Travel and tourism
There are numerous good websites with tourist information about Iceland. The official site of the Tourist Board is www.icetourist.is . For individualistic travelers, a good option is www.nonnitravel.is

Offshore islands
My personal hobby is “small” islands, and so I find Iceland as a whole somewhat large to explore. Fortunately, we find numerous small islands and rocks around Iceland. The photo galleries show Grimsey Island in the north and Heimaey Island in the south. Grimsey measures some 6 square kilometers, and has less than 150 inhabitants. Heimaey (the largest island of the archipelago of Vestmannaeyjar, or Westman Islands) was extended from some 10 to 12 square kilometers by a volcanic eruption of 1973, which forced most of the 5,000 islanders to temporarily leave the island!

The coasts of Iceland and its offshore islands and rocks are housing many seabird nests – just as the coasts of the Faroe Islands, and British and Irish islands.
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