Iceland is a large island in the North Atlantic close to the Arctic Circle.
The landscape is wild, rugged and colourful, with black lava, red sulphur, hot blue geysers, rivers, waterfalls and green valleys. Its coastline is richly indented with bays and fjords.
Iceland is one of the most volcanically active countries in the world. Hekla, in the south of Iceland, has erupted no fewer than 16 times, and was once described by clergymen as the gateway to Hell. Certainly, Iceland's seething mountains contribute towards this sense of otherworldliness.
Yet around the coastal regions, Iceland is a bustle of activity, particularly in the capital city, Reykjavík, where more than half of Iceland's population lives. Reykjavík is set on a broad bay, surrounded by mountains, and is in an area of geothermal hot springs, creating a natural central heating system and pollution-free environment. It is a busy city combining old-fashioned wooden architecture and modern buildings.
Despite being a relatively small capital city, Reykjavík has managed to forge a reputation for partying, and its nightclubs and bars are regularly filled with hordes of fun-loving citizens.