Iceland - Country & Culture


Known as the 'Land of Fire and Ice', both elements have helped to shape the dramatic landscape of this Nordic country, which straddles the mid-Atlantic Ridge. The Eurasian and North American tectonic plates divide the country and account for the fissures, craggy mountains, black sand beaches, ice fields and lava-scarred tundra. Where else could you find 800 hot springs, 10,000 waterfalls, 15 active volcanoes and 4,500 square miles of glaciers all within a country roughly the same size as the US state of Kentucky?


With its multi-faceted heritage, customs and traditions, and its position as a leader in contemporary living, there is much to discover in Iceland. It is home to just 320,00 people, two thirds of whom live in the capital city of Reykjavik. It boasts a 99.9% literacy rate, one of the highest in the world, and enjoys the longest life expectancy in Europe. The local language is Icelandic, a Viking derivative, but most also speak English. Though small in size, Reykjavik is surprisingly cosmopolitan with a vibrant culinary scene and legendary nightlife.

Why you should plan ahead

Iceland is a small country with no mass capacity, which just adds to its appeal. Frontiers needs to know your plans early...

From a fishing point of view, each river has a Government allocated number of rods, usually between 6 and 10, so the capacity at fishing lodges is small. Compounding this is the fact that each river only has a 90-day season of which only perhaps 3 or 4 weeks are considered prime time. Combine these facts with the high rate of repeat guests and it means that space is often at a premium. Space for 1 or 2 rods is usually possible but planning for 4 or 6 is a much bigger project. The same applies to hotels and lodges for general travel outside Reykjavik which itself only has a couple of larger capacity hotels.

The key therefore is to plan early. If you want prime salmon fishing, let us know in August so we are poised with a waiting list when the booking sheets open for the next year. For some trout fishing, it is the same, for the more varied trout and char options, before Christmas is best. For general travel, before Christmas or earlier is best to secure some of the best places to stay, contact us for a chat.

10 Reasons to go to Iceland

One of our newest staff members visited Iceland for the first time in June. This is his top 10.

Landscape and light
Expansive lava fields
Hot springs
10,000 Waterfalls
Space and freedom
People - so friendly, so hospitable
Artisan beers
Icelandic lamb and lobster tails

...and of course the salmon and trout fishing

Getting to Iceland

Iceland’s central location between Europe and North America allows for convenient access to one of the world’s most unique destinations, with flying times of just three hours from the UK and five hours from east coast US cities.

Icelandair is Frontiers’ preferred airline for travel to Iceland.  With their recently expanded route network, Iceland’s national carrier now offers non-stop flight service to Keflavik International Airport from 25 European and 14 North American gateways.  International flights are operated with modern Boeing 757 aircraft featuring Economy, Economy Comfort, and Saga (business) Class service, providing a comfortable travel experience at every price level.  Internal flights within Iceland are operated from Reykjavik’s domestic airport by Air Iceland and Eagle Air.
Frontiers has access to special discounted fares on flights from Icelandair’s North American gateways and on service to select cities within Iceland.  The experts in our airline department are standing by to assist with your air travel arrangements to Iceland, so contact us today for further details.

Example Iceland Air routes to Iceland

Iceland Facts

Fire and Ice

11% of Iceland's surface is covered in glaciers and 30% covered by lava fields

Literary Focus

Iceland has a 99.9% literacy rate – the highest in Europe and Reykjavik is a UNESCO City of Literature.

Europe's only desert

The interior is so barren and rugged, the Apollo 11 astronauts did some of their training there for landing on the moon. The area is classified as Europe's only desert.

Geothermal efficiency

Geothermal energy meets the heating and hot water needs of 87% of all buildings in Iceland. Hot water is pumped into most houses straight up from the ground.

Influencing language

The English word 'geyser' comes from Iceland's Great Geysir in Haukadalur.

Names come first

The last name of Icelanders is derived from their father's first name instead of family surnames with different forms for sons and daughters.

Myth and legend

In spite of their obsession with modern technology, a survey confirmed that 80% of Icelanders believe in the existence of elves and/or trolls.

Female Presidency

Iceland had the first democratically elected female president in the world.

Lethal drinks

The traditional local alcoholic drink is Brennivn meaning 'burnt wine'. Nicknamed 'black death', it is made from fermented potato pulp and flavoured with caraway.

Midnight golf

The Akureyri Golf Club is one of the most northern 18-hole courses in the world; in the summer time, you can tee off at midnight and play under the Midnight Sun.

The Arctic Circle

The Arctic Circle (66 degrees North) does not pass through the main land mass of the country itself - only through the tiny green northern island of Grimsey.

Icelandic colours

The colours of the Icelandic flag are symbolic: red for the volcanic fires, white for the snow and glaciers and blue for the mountains in the distance.

Tourism on the increase

Tourism to Iceland increased 27% between 2013 and 2014.

Smoke Cove

Steam from hot springs inspired the capital city, Reykjavik's name, which loosely translates to Smoke Cove (the city is often referred to as Bay of Smoke).

Silver Screen

Since the 1920s, Iceland has provided the dramatic backdrop to many a film, television drama and advert, including James Bond and most recently Game of Thrones.

Mobile Phone Reception

Iceland has the world's highest per capita number of mobile phones, and coverage is reliable in 95% of the country. The 'Ring Road' circling Iceland is entirely covered.