Iceland - a country that is able to captivate the most experienced traveler. Icelanders say that "if you have not seen Iceland - you did not see anything." Travel to Iceland will open for you a world in which people lived and live in an atmosphere of unspoilt, northern nature.
Iceland - the second largest island in Europe, which is located in the North Atlantic. With a length from east to west 483 km. and from north to south - 306 km. In 865, the Norwegian Viking Flouki Vilgeldarsson, climbing one of the mountains near the northern coast, discovered by him and his companions of the island, saw the fjord scored icebergs, and named a new country Iceland (Ice country). The name stuck, and for the states that emerged on the island, bordering the Atlantic Ocean and the Greenland Sea. The area of the island of Iceland - 103 000 km 2 Capital of Iceland in Reykjavik.
Iceland offers visitors excellent opportunities for travel, a large number of routes, allowing acquainted with almost all the attractions of the island.
In Iceland, for tourism are all conditions and has all the same-thing, "Blue Lagoon" - the most popular thermal spas in the country. The most popular excursion - "Golden Ring", during which the tourists visiting the Valley of Geysers, Thingvellir National Park with a lake and waterfall Tingvallavatn Galfos. Galfos waterfall - the largest and most powerful waterfall in Europe. He rushes down the two ledges with a height of over 30 m. Tourists have the opportunity to come quite close on special trail or enjoy the view of the falls from the top of the nearest cliff.
Special attraction are the hot springs of Iceland - geysers. The most surprising is that the landscape of Iceland is still changing, and the island continues to grow. Iceland - a place where anyone can see something new and get a lot of unforgettable impressions.
Reykjavik - is the northernmost metropolis in the world, just north of the parallel of 64, located at the tales of Icelandic sagas in the place where the first permanent settler Ingolfur Arnarson built his house in the year 874. Named first settler Reykjavik or "Smoky Bay" for the eruption of geothermal vapor from its hot springs, Iceland's capital is now completely got rid of the last steam smoke. The main attractions of the city - it is a lot of natural open space, for example, the area along the banks of the river Ellidaar flowing through the eastern part of the capital and, by law, considered one of the richest Icelandic rivers, which are stocked with salmon. Reykjavik - it is also a focus of commerce, industry, government agencies, and culture. The city has many cultural attractions, especially in time of Reykjavik Arts Festival, which takes place every two years.
Reykjavik - a center for local communications by land, air or water; located in the head offices of the main shipping companies, airlines and leading exporters and importers, as well as their own thriving industrial, municipal and commercial sectors.
Reykjavik has become an independent city with a population of 302 people in 1786, but now it has a population of about 106 000 people. Reykjavik and neighboring towns account for 60% of the population of Iceland. Among the ancient buildings of Reykjavik - Parliament House (built in 1881) and the old government buildings (mid 18th century), both located in the old center of Reykjavik between the harbor and the lake. Arbersky folk museum exhibits a number of old houses in Reykjavik, renovated in the original style, the church in a traditional style with a roof covered with turf and farmers' huts nineteenth and early.
The outside area of Reykjavik population is much less dense and rigged up on the lowlands and plains and the coast with several important cities located in each of their parts. In the north of Iceland, the largest city of Akureyri - the "capital" of the region, which plays a very important role in commerce, communications, tourism, winter sports, culture and education.
In Western Fёrdah in northwestern Iceland's largest city - Isaferdur, a fishing town and a center of culture and education.
The eastern part of Iceland's much less populated than the north. The largest city, located on its coast, fjords useennom - Neskaupstadur. But the city Igilstadir located within the region is its administrative center.
South-western peninsula - the most densely populated territory of Iceland, whose center is Reykjavik. From Reykjavik city borders Kopavogur, which has grown significantly since the Second World War; a few kilometers from the city is the city Hafnarfёrdur, an old fishing and trading center, and is now a growing industrial center. Near the international airport in the south-western peninsula is the town of Keflavik, and the fishing port. And at the other end of the bay of Reykjavik is Akranes - the leading fishing port and the location of the country's only cement plant. At the fertile soil of the southern plains are four rural town, the most important of which Selfoss - the center of commerce and agricultural production with the largest dairy industry in the country.
The average temperature in August - + 10.6 C in January - 0.5 C. Thanks to the Gulf Stream the climate is much milder than might have been expected. During the summer in Reykjavik very bright night, June 21, the sun rises at 02.54 and sets at 24.02. December, in contrast to June - the darkest month. Summer in Iceland, sun almost never sets.
Iceland has no daylight saving time and lives on the main Greenwich Mean Time. Far from Moscow at 02.03 hours.
Official language - Icelandic. In hotels and airports speak in English.
Icelandic krona (IKg) equal to 100 auraram. Banknotes in circulation are 5000, 1000, 500 and 100 crowns coins - 50, 10, 5 and 1 crown, as well as 50 and 10 aurar.
C 25 March 2001 Iceland (and other Nordic countries: Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland) joined the Schengen agreement on visa-free travel. Now the Embassy of Iceland in Russia gives Schengen visas. For the issuance of entry visas to the consular fee will be charged.
Icelanders are proud of their rich cultural heritage. World renown acquired vintage Icelandic sagas, which reflect the ancient and medieval history of this small nation.
Religion: Iceland operates Evangelical Lutheran Church. Many Lutheran churches. Reykjavik is the Catholic Church, as well as several churches of other denominations, with the following distribution of the congregation: Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland - 92.2%, other Lutheran - 3.1%, Roman Catholic - 0.9%, other 3.8% - .
January 1 - New Year.
Mid-April - Easter, Holy Thursday and Good Friday.
May 1 - Labor Day.
the end of May - beginning of June - Ascension.
first half of June - Whit Monday.
Mid-June - Trinity.
June 17 - Independence Day.
August 7 - Banking Day.
December 24 - Christmas Eve (starts at noon).
December 25 - Christmas Day.
December 26 - Christmas time.
December 31 - New Year's Eve (starts at noon).
The most famous and popular in the country the national celebrations are held in accordance with various historical and religious (often having pagan roots) events, and therefore their conduct often results in a real demonstration of folk traditions and rituals.
Holiday "Trettaundinn" ("The Thirteenth day after Christmas," usually January 6) marks go to the mountains the last of the many local Santa Clauses. On this day, on the outskirts of cities and specially prepared sites harness giant bonfires and debris from last year's launch fireworks. Beer Day (March), held in honor of the adoption of the "Law on strong beer", to lift the ban on the manufacture and use of this drink, which operated in Iceland for 75 years. In the days of the festival is held almost a national beer festival, as well as snowmobile races and a festival of snow sculptures. "Sumardagurinn Firtsi" (the third Thursday in April) is a real carnival, "the first day of summer" (to this day really ends long polar night). In the capital every two years, held a traditional folk festival of the Arts.
Holiday "Somannadagurinn" (first week of June) is dedicated to the Mariners and is accompanied by various competitions FINA and military-historical dramatizations, dedicated to a particular geographical event (preferred, of course, though, the "discovery" of the island by the Vikings in 874). Independence Day (June 17) runs the largest national festival, accompanied by colorful parades, street performances of music and dance performances, theater shows and general merriment. Midsummer "Midsummer" (June 24) is considered the day of magical powers and healing from disease. Festival "Pyodhatio Vestmannayar" (August), followed by "fiery fun" in huge bonfires, all exits and all the bosom of nature, as well as numerous dance and song performances. Almost parallel to the celebrated "Verslunarmannahelgi" - a holiday family reunion, followed by numerous concerts, shows, and general merriment. Stand out numerous community celebrations end of the fishing season (the dates are different in different localities of the country), when virtually the entire population celebrates the end of the fishing season (though in fact he did not end there - the fish are caught here year-round). Such fun is not surprising - in the fishing season in the sea out almost everything - from the mayor and the teachers to the sexton and a policeman. Therefore, the end of it legitimately becomes a general holiday, the final heavy "harvest."
Christmas in Iceland has its own, very unusual features - here still believe in the existence of trolls, gnomes and elves that the New Year leaving their "hidden world" and can meet people. Even "Youlasveynn" (Santa Claus in Icelandic, all of them are here account for as much as 13 pieces!) And he is a descendant of mountain trolls. "Santas" live in the mountains and begin to come to human housing 13 days before Christmas Eve, Santa one for each day, bringing in pre-cooked red boots gifts. Therefore, Christmas Icelanders begin to celebrate for 13 days before the New Year, and continue to celebrate it as much again after. On the slopes of an extinct volcano near the capital Esja before Christmas passes "Congress" Icelandic pagans, accompanied by numerous festivities.
Traditional cuisine Iceland
In Iceland, presented different cuisines of the world - Italian, French, Eastern and others. Due to competition in the restaurant business in Iceland the highest ratings of restaurant kitchen and service.
Traditional Icelandic cuisine is based, which is not surprising, in fish and seafood. In traditional recipes, numerous highly original, though not always edible for unaccustomed to such "delicacies" of the stomach, food, extant since the time of the distant Middle Ages. The basis of the diet is fish of all kinds of cooking, especially cod, herring and salmon in all forms. Very popular are the famous marinated salmon "gravlax" marinated herring with spices - "Sealed", a variety of fish sandwiches, fried or dried fish "hardfiskur" and certainly offered to tourists as the local exotic fish "gamy" "hakarl" or meat marine mammals.
Also, "from time immemorial" came dishes of meat, mostly - lamb. In this case, traditional recipes are also very old, and therefore quite unusual. The most exotic whole pickled or boiled sheep's head, "We Meet Again", minced sheep's pluck "slatur" roast "to coal" meat "bleykya", a kind of skewers of lamb, smoked lamb "hangikot" and others. The most commonly used dairy dish - "Skira", reminiscent of yogurt and cottage cheese at the same time. In recent years, more and more widespread various vegetable dishes, previously almost never occur in the diet of Icelanders.
Of the most popular coffee drinks. Unlike the majority of Nordic beer is not so much extended (mostly due to their rather high prices). Icelandic traditional drink is "brennivin" (a cross between vodka and whiskey), but all have a large selection of European wines and spirits.
Political system Iceland
Iceland - a republic with a presidential form of government. The executive power in the country is in the hands of the President and the Government. Legislative power is vested in the President and a unicameral parliament - the Althingi (63 deputies elected as president for a term of four years). Administrative-territorial division of the country - 23 districts (Sisley), including 124 rural communities and cities.
290.570 people. National composition is homogeneous - about 99% of the total population are Icelanders. Live as a person of foreign origin - mostly Danes, Germans and Norwegians. Over 70% of the population lives in cities. Largest of them: Reykjavik (81.5 thousand. People .; 40% of the population of Iceland), Koupavogur (11.2 thousand. Pers.), Akureyri (10.7 thousand. Pax). The population density in Iceland is the smallest in Europe, with an average of 2.7 inhabitants per 1 km 2. Nearly four fifths of the country uninhabitable, the population is mainly concentrated on the narrow coast, in the valleys and lowlands of the south and south-west. Life expectancy for men is 74 and for women - 80 years, which is one of the highest rates in the world.
Without payment of duty may be imported: 200 cigarettes or 250 grams of tobacco (age limit - 16 years); 1 liter of alcohol, or 1 liter of wine (alcohol content of less than 21%) or 12 bottles of beer, or a combination of these two types of products (age limit - 21 years). All equipment, including waders and rubber boots should be disinfected and get a certificate from an official veterinarian department, which must be presented upon arrival. The import of: drugs, firearms, raw meat.
Medical aid Iceland
Private health care services, and is quite expensive, is based on the basis of insurance. Emergency medical care is free, all the other medical, dental, hospitalization and care are paid on the basis of the accounts of the medical institutions. Insurance is recommended.
Working hours Iceland
Shopping hours: from 10.00 to 18.00, Monday to Friday; Saturday - from 10.00 to 14.00. Kiosks are open from 10.00 to 18.30 Monday to Thursday, from 10.00 to 19.00 on Friday, from 10.00 to 16.00 hours on Saturday and from 13.00 to 16.00 hours on Sunday.
Scandinavian airline "SAS" and Icelandic "Icelandair" fly to the capital of the Scandinavian and some European countries. Copenhagen, Stockholm and Amsterdam are convenient transfer point. There are no railroads.
Movement sided. In the winter and in the off-season conditions for driving are complex - many of the roads, especially in the intermountain basins, continuously sweeps the snow, and constant wind requires special attention in the open areas. Penalty for violation of traffic rules, and especially - for drunk driving, is large enough. Parking in Reykjavik is quite simple - in a few multi-level parking lots, and lots of parking ground that a relatively small number of vehicles allows to park almost anywhere and at any time of the day. Payment for parking by the hour (in the parking lots - from 50 to 100 kroner, on the ground level parking - from 80 to 150 CZK) and produced through special machines at the entrance or through the employee parking lot.
In Reykjavik, extensive and modern bus network connecting as parts of this, in general - is small, the capital, and provides convenient and affordable connections to the suburbs. 1 ticket for the trip costs 200 CZK for adults and 50 CZK for the child and must be purchased from the driver. Discounted tickets for adults, adolescents and children aged 12-18 are sold at the box office bus terminals. For a trip with transfers are required to purchase a transit ticket ("skiptimidi", valid for a period of 35-40 minutes after the purchase) in the first bus along the route. More convenient way fare is "Reykjavik Tourist Card Myuzeum End" (1000 CZK per 1 day, CZK 1,500 - 2 days, CZK 2,000 - 3 days), which guarantees unlimited travel on public transport, as well as a visit to 7 thermal pools, zoo, ice palace, a family theme park, and a number of museums, as well as discounts in some shops and restaurants. To travel on the ring highway encircling the island, you need to buy a special ticket (about $ 100), acting on an unlimited number of transplants within the track (only in summer).
Coastal Shipping is used almost exclusively for freight traffic, but on the lines between Reykjavik and Arkanesom, as well as the islands of the southern coast and the northern ports and Chrisi Grimsey, passenger intense enough. International maritime transport are carried out by "Fareze humbled Line", which has a regular summer schedule to all destinations in the ports of Norway and the British Isles. Tickets for all flights purchased in offices at ports or specialized travel agency.
Operates several state-owned companies Taxis, working around the clock. Taxi fare of about 100 kroner per kilometer, at night and on public holidays the rate is increased by 10-15%. Book a taxi by phone (free of charge) for specialized parked or stopped on the street.
Potable water Iceland
Water from the tap is considered to be the purest, can drink it. Any water, whether it is running or standing (lakes), potable water if it is clear and fresh.
Voltage - 220 V, 50 Hz, and plugs have two round pins.
In Iceland, the maintenance cost is included in the price of the product. Tipping in Iceland is usually given only to the doormen in restaurants and hotels.
Fluffy, painted in earthy color Lopi, wool blankets and coats, jackets, hats and mittens are sold everywhere. Several craft workshops manually paint them in natural colors.
Helpful information Iceland
Tourist Office of Reykjavik (Free provides all the information on tours, accommodation, road and weather conditions, and so on. D.) - (354) 562-3045.
Background urban bus network - (354) 540-2700.
A single emergency number - 112.
Main Police Office - (354) 569-9020, 569-9025.
Medical Center emergency room (Reykjavik) - (354) 525-1000.