Fast Facts

Population:
295,000
Capital:
Reykjavík; 184,000
Area:
103,000 square kilometers (39,769 square miles)
Language:
Icelandic, English, Nordic languages, German
Religion:
Evangelical Lutheran
Currency:
Icelandic krona
Life Expectancy:
80
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $30,200
Literacy Percent:
100
Flag: Iceland
Map: Iceland

A volcanic island, Iceland is Europe's westernmost country and home to the world's northernmost capital city, Reykjavík. Although glaciers cover more than a tenth of the island, the Gulf Stream and warm southwesterly winds moderate the climate—most residents occupy the country's southwest. Established in 930, the national assembly, or Althingi, is the world's oldest continuous parliament. Under the Danish crown for more than 500 years, the country became a republic in 1944. Almost all of Iceland's electricity and heating come from hydroelectric power and geothermal water reserves. Explosive geysers, relaxing geothermal spas, glacier-fed waterfalls like Gullfoss (Golden Falls), and whale watching attract more than 270,000 visitors a year.

ECONOMY

  • Industry: Fish processing, aluminum, smelting, ferrosilicon production, geothermal power
  • Agriculture: Potatoes, green vegetables, chicken, pork; fish
  • Exports: Fish and fish products, animal products, aluminum, diatomite, ferrosilicon

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

Related Features

Take a Nat Geo Trip

Select a destination or trip type to find a trip:

See All Trips »

2015 Traveler Photo Contest

  • Picture of a tree under night stars in Deadvlei, Namibia

    See the Winners

    Explore the top photos, share your favorites, and browse all entries.


Take a Nat Geo Trip

Select a destination or trip type to find a trip:

See All Trips »




Get Social With Nat Geo Travel