Iceland Quick Facts

This erupting geyser in Iceland's Haukadalur Valley is the oldest known geyser in the world.

This erupting geyser in Iceland’s Haukadalur Valley is the oldest known geyser in the world.

Country: Iceland is an island of 103,000 square kilometres, about one-third larger than Scotland or Ireland. More than 11 per cent of the country is covered by glaciers, including Vatnajökull, the largest in Europe.

Capital city: Reykjavík. Keflavík International Airport is located about 50 kilometres from the capital.

Population: 319,000 (Jan 2011). An estimated eight per cent (25,500) is of foreign-born nationality. Median age is 35.6 years.

Language: The official language is Icelandic, a North Germanic language derived from Old Norse. English is widely spoken and understood.

Government: Iceland is a parliamentary constitutional republic. The president is elected by direct popular vote for a term of four years, with no term limit.

Economy: GDP = $13-billion. Unemployment rate: seven per cent.

Currency: The Icelandic monetary unit is the króna (plural krónur) – ISK. CDN$1.00 = 117.53 Icelandic króna.

Time: Iceland is on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) throughout the year, and does not go on daylight saving time.

Energy: A hot spot of volcanic and geothermal activity, 30 post-glacial volcanoes have erupted in the past two centuries and natural hot water supplies much of the population with cheap, pollution-free heating.

Spa culture: One of the nation’s favourite pastimes is chilling out in the more than 170 geothermal pools dotted across the island’s townships.

Health: Life expectancy, at 81.3 years for women and 76.4 for men, is one of the highest in the world.