Icelanders have long enjoyed one of the highest life expectancies in the world. There is no definitive explanation for this, but a clean environment and a healthy diet and lifestyle probably have something to do with it.
The Icelandic diet is rich in quality raw materials, farmed, bred and caught in an unpolluted environment, and produced with the utmost care.
The air quality in Iceland is good due to the island’s North Atlantic oceanic climate and steady winds. Furthermore, most of the electricity needs are met with renewable energy sources. Geothermal energy, a much cleaner alternative to fossil fuels, is used to heat more than ninety percent of Iceland’s buildings and most of the swimming pools.
In addition to recreational pools, Icelanders enjoy natural hot springs and geothermal lagoons, such as the famous Blue Lagoon and Mývatn Nature Baths, whose high levels of silicates and other minerals have an especially rejuvenating effect on the skin.
The quality of the drinking water in Iceland is also exceptionally good due to a wealth of fresh water rivers that stream down from the mountains and glaciers. In fact, it’s perfectly safe and highly recommended to drink this water straight from the source. Otherwise, it’s still just a pipe away to your tap.
Iceland remains largely uninhabited, with more than half of its 320,000 inhabitants living in the capital city. In fact, a mere twenty-minute drive from Reykjavík center takes you out of the hubbub of city life and into the seclusion of Iceland’s spectacular landscapes, which inspire adventures from its shores to its mountaintops.
But the landscape is not just for gaping at; Iceland’s rivers are perfect for rafting, fishing, diving and snorkeling; its mountains, volcanoes and glaciers are good for hiking, climbing, dog-sledding, and snowmobiling; its snowy hills for skiing and snowboarding; its waves for surfing; its caves for exploring; and its barren highlands for jeep safaris.
Sharing Icelandic nature with its natural inhabitants is just as rewarding. Whether you are on board one of the many whale watching boats around the country, taking in the bird life, or trekking around the country on an Icelandic horse, the riveting beauty of the rugged landscape will never cease to amaze you.
Whatever you do, don’t forget to pack a swimsuit and a towel. The geothermal energy under your feet is used to heat more than 170 public swimming pools around the country, and nothing says awesome like pulling over on the side of a gravel road to find one of Iceland’s natural hot springs tucked away just out of sight.
Located in the middle of the North Atlantic, Iceland was settled by emigrants from Scandinavia and the British Isles in the tenth century. Due to Iceland’s geographical location, it was mostly outside the influence of contemporary culture in Europe and America, until the late nineteenth century.
Icelandic culture has been shaped by isolation and the extreme forces of nature. These conditions have created a resilient people, where family ties are close, the sense of tradition is strong, and the bond with nature is tight. While strongly rooted in customs and traditions, today’s Icelandic society is both modern and progressive.
A small country by most measures, Iceland has a high standard of living, extensive political freedom, and has taken an active role in sustainable development and commitment to the environment.
Through the centuries, Iceland has developed a unique tradition for storytelling and literature, beginning with the esteemed Icelandic Sagas of the tenth and eleventh century. In this fertile environment, Iceland has produced a number of talented writers including Nobel Prize laureate, Halldór Laxness (1955). It is no accident that Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík, was the first non-English speaking city in the world to be named a UNESCO City of Literature in 2011.
Museums around the country celebrate Iceland’s rich cultural heritage and tradition.