Exploring Iceland: A Comprehensive Guide


Positioned in the heart of Northern Europe, Iceland stands as a unique blend of natural wonders and vibrant culture, nestled between the Greenland Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. Its location, northwest of the United Kingdom, offers a gateway to some of the most breathtaking landscapes on earth. This comprehensive guide delves into the essence of Iceland, covering its geography, climate, economy, and more, painting a detailed picture of this mesmerizing country.

Geography and Climate

Iceland spans over an area of 103,000 sq km, with 100,250 sq km of land and 2,750 sq km of water, making it an island with no land borders. The coastline stretches for 4,970 km, adorned with deeply indented bays and fjords that outline the land. Iceland’s terrain is predominantly a plateau interspersed with mountain peaks and icefields, offering landscapes that are as diverse as they are majestic.

Terrain and Elevation

The Icelandic landscape is defined by a mostly plateau terrain, peppered with mountain peaks and dramatic icefields. The highest point is Hvannadalshnukur, reaching 2,110 meters (at Vatnajokull Glacier), while the lowest point is at sea level with the Atlantic Ocean.


The climate in Iceland is temperate, moderated by the North Atlantic Current. Winters are mild and windy, while summers are cool and damp, creating an environment that is as unpredictable as it is enchanting.

Natural Resources and Land Use

Iceland is rich in natural resources, including fish, hydropower, geothermal power, and diatomite. The country’s reliance on renewable energy sources, particularly hydropower and geothermal energy, sets a global standard for sustainable living.

About 18.70% of Iceland is agricultural land, with a mere 0.30% covered by forests. This land supports the cultivation of potatoes, carrots, green vegetables, tomatoes, and cucumbers, alongside livestock farming producing mutton, chicken, pork, beef, and dairy products.

Economy and Industry

The economic landscape of Iceland is diverse, with tourism leading as a primary industry followed by fish processing, aluminum smelting, and the production of medical/pharmaceutical products. Hydropower and geothermal power play significant roles in Iceland’s energy sector, contributing to both domestic supply and industrial use.

Agricultural and Export Products

The country’s vast coastline and rich marine life make fish and fish products its largest export, constituting 42% of its total exports. Aluminum and agricultural products also contribute significantly to Iceland’s economy, alongside medicinal and medical products.

Trade Partners

Iceland’s main export partners include the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States, France, and Norway. Its import partners consist of Germany, Norway, China, the Netherlands, the US, Denmark, the UK, and Sweden, importing machinery and equipment, petroleum products, foodstuffs, and textiles.

Population and Urbanization

As of July 2020, Iceland’s estimated population stood at 350,734, with a staggering 93.90% classified as urban. The population is almost entirely urbanized, with half residing in and around Reykjavik, the capital and largest city. Other population clusters are found along the coast, primarily in the north and west.

Culture and Language

Icelandic culture is rich and diverse, with deep roots in Norse mythology and a strong sense of national identity. The official language is Icelandic, a North Germanic language derived from Old Norse. Despite its small population, Iceland boasts a vibrant cultural scene, with literature, music, and art playing integral roles in society.


Iceland, a land of ice and fire, stands as a testament to the beauty and power of nature. From its rugged landscapes and geothermal wonders to its rich culture and innovative economy, Iceland offers a unique experience that captivates all who visit or study its shores. With a commitment to sustainability and a lifestyle in harmony with the environment, Iceland not only marvels but also provides lessons on living responsibly with our planet.

Country data

Country Code IC
Region Europe
Surface 103000 sq km
Land Surface 100250 sq km
Water Surface 2750 sq km
Agricultural Surface 18.70%
Forest Surface 0.30%
Lowest Elevation Point Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Highest Elevation Point Hvannadalshnukur (at Vatnajokull Glacier) 2,110 m
GDP / capita $52,200 (2017 est.)