Iceland is a Nordic Island nation located between Europe and North America. It is defined by its dramatic landscape with glaciers, volcanoes, geysers, hot springs and lava fields. It is a country of sharp contrasts where fire and ice co-exist and where dark winters are offset by the summer’s midnight sun. Despite its name, the climate is surprisingly mild, thanks to the warming effect of the Atlantic Gulf Stream. However, the rapidly changing weather has given rise to the local saying, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute!”
Iceland was the last country to be settled in Europe when immigrants from Scandinavia and the British Isles first came to live on the island in the 9th and 10th century. It remains the most sparsely populated country in the continent. The entire population of Iceland is just over 330,000 people, with most of the population living in the capital, Reykjavik, which runs on geothermal power and is home to the National and Saga museums, tracing Iceland’s Viking history. The cornerstone of Icelandic culture is the Icelandic language, but English is widely spoken and understood.
Iceland’s unique environment is equally matched by its distinctive folklore which is rich in tales of aquatic monsters, ghosts, spirits, elves, and trolls. Since the dawn of history, Icelanders have told fantastic tales of their strange encounters with the many peculiar supernatural beings with which they share the land.