How Big Is Iceland?

Iceland is a small Nordic country with a very sparse population. Home to about 60% of the Icelandic population, its biggest city and capital, Reykjavik, is about 273 km2 (27,300 hectares).

But how big is Iceland itself?

Iceland has an area of about 103,000 km2 (10.3 million hectares) and is a relatively small country. Comparatively, Iceland is about 7 times smaller than Texas.

As of 2021, about 372,295 people live in this island nation, most of whom reside in its capital.

Without a doubt, Iceland is one of the smallest Nordic countries.

Still, it has a wealth of culture that belies its small size. Read on to understand more about this country, its people, and its culture.

Also, see What Is the Blue Lagoon in Iceland? to learn more.

Iceland Country Profile

Iceland is Europe’s westernmost country and has quite an intriguing profile. 

It experiences frequent volcanic eruptions because of its location and is right on top of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge [1], a “hotspot.”

In geological terms, a hotspot denotes an area with an enormous amount of hot mantle material coming from the earth’s interior.

In other words, Icelandic people often have to deal with volcanic eruptions.

On average, a volcano erupts every 4 years. With time, loss of life to these eruptions has become very rare.

However, the eruptions are still disruptive, particularly to air travel.

The most recent occurrence—Fagradaisfjall 2021— proves that these eruptions are still relatively frequent and happen to this day. Some of its most active volcanoes include the following: 

  • Eldgjá
  • Hekla 
  • Eldfell
  • Herðubreið

Interestingly, because of the high amount of geothermal power, Iceland’s residents have access to hot water that doesn’t cost much. They also get “cheap” heating and electricity.

This island country is located in the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans.

Its latitudes are between 63 and 68°N, and its longitudes are between 25 and 13°W.

Hvannadalshnúkur, which is located on the northwestern rim of the Öræfajökull volcano in Vatnajökull National Park, Iceland, is the country’s highest point with an elevation level of 6920 ft (2,109 meters). [2]

Unsurprisingly, this location is a famous climbing spot.

However, only the most experienced climbers are advised to attempt it.

While volcanoes are the most geologically crucial part of the landscape, there are other important parts of this country.

Iceland consists of beautiful plateaus, geysers, valleys, cliffs, glaciers, and fertile lowlands.

Iceland is officially a relatively new country that became a republic on June 17, 1944.

However, this island country has been around in some form for more than 1,000 years since the Vikings were in the age of exploration. 

Iceland’s People and Culture

Iceland is geographically, culturally, and socially considered a Scandinavian country. Like all other Scandinavians, Icelanders are typically tall, blonde, and light-skinned with broad bodies.

Icelanders and people outside Iceland fondly call Iceland the land of fire and ice. Its geological features are the primary reason for this.

The “fire” refers to the amount of magma poured onto its surface. Conversely, “ice” refers to glaciers, which comprise about 10% of the country.

As expected, the people of Iceland have strong ancestral ties to Vikings.

Not only do Icelanders acknowledge this, but they’re also proud of their heritage.

As such, they identify strongly with Viking traditions and customs and have a very similar language to the old Norse language. 

Icelanders also have a fantastic literature and arts culture.

Reykjavik, their capital, has scores of art galleries, bookstores, restaurants, and even a symphony orchestra. 

Interestingly, these Islanders don’t have much biological diversity between them.

While this means they contract the same hereditary diseases, scientists have a much easier time finding answers to these diseases.

Icelandic people are mostly friendly and accommodating and have a high tolerance for others.

Additionally, they have low crime rates. Rather than partaking in theft, burglary, and violence, Icelanders choose to focus on building and maintaining families and communities.

What Do Icelanders Eat?

As Iceland is an island nation, much of its local wildlife is aquatic. Naturally, Iceland’s food consists majorly of seafood and fish dishes.

Occasionally, some cuisines are made from lamb and other livestock. 

Still, this should not detract from the taste of their food.

While seafood does make up a large part of their diet, the variety of preparation methods on offer is nothing to scoff at. 

Among their highly respected foods is Hákarl, which is a fermented shark.

Although Icelanders and other people at home and abroad rarely eat it nowadays, it remains a significant food in their heritage.

It’s prepared by removing the guts and head of the shark and allowing it to ferment before cleaning and cutting up into smaller, edible pieces. [3] 

Some other notable foods tourists frequently try out include:

  • Reykjavik’s hot dogs
  • Skyr
  • Rye bread

Is Iceland a Good Country To Live?

Iceland is an interesting and beautiful country. It’s surrounded by so much beautiful landscape that’s a delight for tourists to explore.

In addition to this, it’s a beautiful place to live. The people who live in Iceland are generally tolerant of new immigrants and have highly accommodating personalities.

Iceland has a relatively high cost of living compared to the rest of the world.

However, this island nation makes up for it with its diverse job opportunities and high literacy level.

They also emulate the culture of blue zone [4] regions; Iceland actively promotes healthy work-life balances and provides affordable healthcare for all economic classes in their workforce.

Is Iceland Bigger Than The UK? 

Iceland is not bigger than the UK. When comparing size, Iceland is only about 42.28% the size of the UK.

In other words, this Nordic country is about 2.3 times smaller than the United Kingdom. 

As mentioned earlier, Iceland’s area size is roughly 103,000 km2 (10.3 million hectares).

In contrast, the UK covers an area of about 243,610 km2 (24.36 million hectares).

Unsurprisingly, the UK is home to many more people than Iceland. 65.8 million people currently live in the UK, while only about 372,295 people live in Iceland as of 2021. 

While it’s significantly smaller than the UK, it’s twice the size of Denmark and roughly the same size as Kentucky, a US state.

[1] Source
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Christian Christensen

Christian started Scandinavia Facts to explore his family heritage, raise awareness of one of his academic interests as a professor, and civilly promote the region. Please see the About page for details.

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