Plan & Background facts

Plan

The plan is to travel “Þjóðvegur 1”  or Hringvegur; the Ring Road of Iceland, with some extensions. We will stop 2-3 nights at many places and tour around to see waterfall, glaciers, old villages, lava fields and more of Iceland’s spectacular nature.

The first 6 days we are in Quarantine due to Covid-19.

Itinerary

DayRegionPlanned activityStay in
1-6Hvolsvöllur, South CoastQuarantineEyvindarholt Hill House
7Golden CircleSeljalandsfoss, Gullfoss waterfall,
Geysir & Strokkur
Eyvindarholt – Hill House
8Golden CircleLandmannalaugar, Sigoldufoss waterfall, SigödugljúfurEyvindarholt – Hill House
9South CoastGluggafoss Waterfall,
Nauthúsagil Ravine
Eyvindarholt – Hill House
10South CoastHike around Skógafoss, Reynisdrangar,
Fjaðrárgljúfur
Kirkjugolf
11South CoastHike Skaftafell Nature Reserve, within Vatnajökull National Park, SvartifossKirkjugolf
12East CoastJökulsárlón glacier lagoon, Diamond BeachHöfn
13East CoastDjupivogur, Stuðlagil Canyon, Hengifoss, Litlanesfoss Husavik
14North CoastGodafoss waterfall, Hike Öxnadalur, MývatnHusavik
15North CoastSaurbæjarkirkja turf church, Gatanöf, Husavik
16North CoastGrafarkirkja, AldeyjarfossHvammstangi
17SnæfellsnesHornstrandirStykkis-hólmur
18SnæfellsnesRauðasandur, Stykkis-hólmur
19SnæfellsnesStykkishólmur, Snæfellsjökull glacier, Dritvík cove, DjúpalónssandurStykkis-hólmur
20SnæfellsnesSnaefellsjokull National Park, Steðji-Staupasteinn, Hraunfossar, BarnafossStykkis-hólmur
21ReyjavikReyjavik, HallgrímskirkjaReyjavik
22Keflavik AirportFlight home

Background facts

Source from Wikipedia.com

Iceland is a country of extreme geological contrasts. Widely known as “The Land of Fire and Ice” Iceland is home to some of the largest glaciers in Europe, and some of the world’s most active volcanoes. Iceland is also the land of light and darkness.

Weather

The average July temperature in the southern part of the island is 10–13 °C . Warm summer days can reach 20–25 °C. The highest temperature ever recorded was 30.5 °C  in the Eastern fjords in 1939.

Climate data for Reykjavík, 1961–1990
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Average high °C (°F)1.9
(35.4)
2.8
(37.0)
3.2
(37.8)
5.7
(42.3)
9.4
(48.9)
11.7
(53.1)
13.3
(55.9)
13.0
(55.4)
10.1
(50.2)
6.8
(44.2)
3.4
(38.1)
2.2
(36.0)
7.0
(44.6)
Average low °C (°F)−3.0
(26.6)
−2.1
(28.2)
−2.0
(28.4)
0.4
(32.7)
3.6
(38.5)
6.7
(44.1)
8.3
(46.9)
7.9
(46.2)
5.0
(41.0)
2.2
(36.0)
−1.3
(29.7)
−2.8
(27.0)
1.9
(35.4)

History

First settlement

Iceland was possibly discovered as early as the 8th century by Irish hermits, who had temporary settlements there.

Naddod  was a Viking who is credited with the discovery of Iceland. He was sailing from Norway to the Faroe Islands around 840, but got lost and drifted to the east coast of Iceland. Naddod is supposed to call the island Snæland (Snowland). The Swedish Viking explorer Garðar Svavarsson circled Iceland around 860 and establish that it was an island. One of his men, Náttfari settled, in what is now known as Náttfaravík, and he and his slaves became the first known permanent residents of Iceland. Flóki Vilgerðarson was the first Norseman to intentionally sail to Iceland, in 868. He named the island “Island” – the land of Ice – and after some trips to his homeland he settled to live here to his death.

A note regarding naming of islands
Eiríkr rauði Þorvaldsson aka Erik the Red was another Viking explorer and was the one who discovered Greenland and named it in a hoax to make people think it was a good move to settle there; “It´s a beautiful and green island, come here and stay with me!”. The island was then 85% covered by ice! Erik probably wanted some company / working force I think.

þjóðveldið (the Icelandic Commonwealth) was the state existing in Iceland between the establishment of the Alþingi in 930 and 1262 when it became under Norwegian law (due to war of course).

In 1814, following the Napoleonic Wars, Denmark-Norway was broken up into two separate kingdoms via the Treaty of Kiel, but Iceland remained a Danish dependency.

The Danish–Icelandic Act of Union, an agreement with Denmark signed on 1 December 1918 and valid for 25 years, recognised Iceland as a fully sovereign and independent state in a personal union with Denmark. Iceland formally became a republic on 17 June 1944.

Forests

When the island was first settled, it was extensively forested, with around 25-40 % of the land covered in trees (mostly birch), compared to 1% in the present day. A cooling climate (the little ice age) is sometimes cited as a possible cause for woodland decline. The forests have also been heavily exploited for firewood and timber and reduced. The planting of new forests has increased the number of trees, but the result does not compare to the original forests. See Skogur.is for more interesting facts.

Population

The original population of Iceland was of Nordic and Gaelic origin. The Black Death swept Iceland twice, first in 1402–1404 and again in 1494–1495. The former outbreak killed 50-60% of the population, and the latter 30-50%. The first census was carried out in 1703 and then the population was then 50,358. The population of the island is believed to have varied from about 60,000 in 1850 to 320,000 in 2008.

Throughout the 19th century, the country’s climate continued to grow colder, resulting in mass emigration to the new North American continent, particularly to the region of Gimli, Manitoba in Canada, which was sometimes referred to as New Iceland. About 15,000 people emigrated, out of a total population of 70,000.

Today it is around 370 000 inhabitants (89% Icelandic, 5% Polish, 1% Lithuanians, 5% other) living on 102,775 km2, 3.5 / km2. Note that Netherlands has 521 / km2. Many living in Iceland had been born abroad, around 15%. Polish people are the largest minority group, and still form the bulk of the foreign workforce.

Religion

Iceland is a very secular country; as with other Nordic nations, church attendance is relatively low. Around 67 % are members of the Church of Iceland, a Lutheran church. One odd thing is that Heathenism or contemporary Germanic Paganism has more followers (1.19%) than Islam and Buddhism. Týr, Odin, Thor, Frigg and Freyja is in their arsenal of worshipping. Wikipedia

Economics

Until the 20th century, Iceland was a fairly poor country. The immediate post-war period was followed by substantial economic growth, driven by industrialisation of the fishing industry and the US Marshall Plan.

Iceland is now one of the most developed countries in the world. Strong economic growth had led Iceland to be ranked first in the United Nations’ Human Development Index report for 2007/2008, although in 2011 its HDI rating had fallen to 14th place as a result of the economic crisis.

Iceland had been hit especially hard by the Great Recession that began in December 2007 and a bank collapse 2008. By 2014, the Icelandic economy has made a significant recovery from, in large part due to a surge in tourism. Gross domestic product (GDP nominal) per capita is higher than Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and many other European countries.

About 85 percent of total energy supply in Iceland is made from renewable energy sources like hydroelectric and geothermal power.

The Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Station services the Capital Region’s hot water and electricity needs.

Historically, Iceland’s economy depended heavily on fishing and today employs 7% of the work force. Iceland still relies heavily on fishing, but its importance is diminishing from an export share of 90% in the 1960s to 40% in 2006.

Tourism

The tourism sector is expanding, especially in ecotourism and whale-watching. On average, Iceland receives around 1.1 million visitors annually, which is more than three times the native population.

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