Nature – Good to Know

Iceland has an abundance of natural phenomena, which can be found all over the 103.000 km2 (approx. 40.000 sq mi) large island. Iceland is the second largest island in Europe after Great Britain.

Around 11% of Iceland's surface is covered with glaciers. On the map you can see some of Iceland's largest glaciers, the largest being Vatnajökull (7.900 km2 or 3.500 sq mi), followed by Langjökull (900 km2 or 347 sq mi) and Hofsjökull (890 km2 or 344 sq mi). Vatnajökull is also the largest glacier in Europe.

Here you can see some of Iceland's most well known mountains. Iceland's highest mountains are Hvannadalshnjúkur (2.110 m or 6923 ft), Bárðarbunga (2.000 m or 6562 ft) and Kverkfjöll (1.920 m or 6300 ft).

There are 32 active volcanic systems in Iceland. On average, Iceland experiences a volcanic eruption every four years. Check out the Catalogue of Icelandic Volcanoes for information on the volcanoes' names, their activity level and their most recent eruption.

Here you can see some of Iceland's longest rivers, the longest being Þjórsá (230 km or 143 miles) and Jökulsá á Fjöllum (206 km or 128 miles).

The interior of Iceland (around 40% of Iceland's surface) is called the Central Highlands and is uninhabited.

Nature protection

Iceland’s main tourist attraction is nature. The Icelandic nature is vulnerable, and tourists can harm it through reckless actions (e.g. off-road driving or littering). Often, damage to nature cannot be undone or it takes a long time to repair.

To protect Iceland’s nature, it is important that tourists are considerate and behave in accordance with the Environment Agency‘s Travellers Code. Tourists should also familiarize themselves with rules concerning access and camping.

Inspired by Iceland encourages tourists to take a pledge to travel responsibly in Iceland. The Icelandic Pledge is an online agreement which tourists can sign, thereby promising to respect nature while travelling in Iceland.