"Iceland" Top 5 Page for this destination Reykjavík Region by Marionbcn
Reykjavík Region Travel Guide: 1,550 reviews and 4,068 photos
The island was settled by the Norse seafarers in the 9th century who established the world's first known republic and parliament in about 930 AD. The original seat of this democratic system may be found at Thingvellir, about an hour's drive from Reykjavik, where the original Viking settlers turned a cliff wall into a natural amphitheatre which was used as an assembly. In the mid-13th century the islanders submitted to the authority of the King of Norway, and when Norway came under the control of Denmark in 1380, Iceland did too. In 1814, Norway became independent, but Iceland remained a Danish territory. In 1840 it was granted its own constitution - effectively allowing internal self-government.
Full independence was granted in 1918, although Iceland continued to recognise the Danish monarch as head of state. It was not until 1944 that Iceland became a fully independent nation with its own head of state. Contemporary Icelandic politics display the customary Western European spectrum of political parties, although a notable feature has been the influence of women within the main parties (Independents, Progressives, Social Democrats). Iceland's most famous political figure of recent times is also a woman, Vigdis Finnbogadottir, who served four consecutive terms as president between 1980 and her resignation in 1996. The Parliament (Althing) has generally been dominated by coalition governments. These were of a broadly centre-right persuasion until the mid-1970s, when the left has dominated.
At the general election in April 1991, the Independence Party (IP) emerged as the largest grouping in the Althing and formed a coalition administration with the smaller SDP. The ex-mayor of Reykjavik, David Oddsson, who had successfully taken over the leadership of the IP, was made Prime Minister. Oddsson was re-elected at the 1995 general election, but a decline in support for the IP later forced Oddsson to form a coalition administration with the Progressive Party (PP). At the most recent poll in May 1999, the same coalition - still under Oddsson - retained overall control of the Althing. Icelandic foreign policy is dominated by two factors: fishing and relations with the Atlantic powers.
Iceland is a member of NATO, the Nordic Council and of the Council of Europe. Ties with NATO have been loosening since before the end of the Cold War - in May 1985, the Althing declared Iceland a 'nuclear-free zone' -and this process has accelerated since the reduction of the large NATO base at Keflavik. Iceland has historically eschewed membership of the European Union, partly because of its Scandinavian links. However, since Sweden, Finland and Denmark have all joined up, it is Iceland's opposition to the EU's fisheries policy of stock management by quotas that is now the decisive influence. Since both the IP and the PP oppose the Common Fisheries Policy, it seems unlikely that Iceland will apply for EU membership in the foreseeable future.
On the issue of whaling, Iceland has been among the few objecting to the International Whaling Commission's (IWC) ban: in 1992, the Government withdrew from the IWC.
Icelandic Krona (Ikr) = 100 aurar. Notes are in denominations of Ikr5000, 2000, 1000, 500 and 100. Coins are in denominations of IKr100, 50, 10, 5 and 1.
Foreign currencies can be exchanged in all major banks, some of which (such as the Landesbankí at Keflavik airport) are open 24 hours. Most hotels also provide their guests with exchange services. Exchange services are also available from The Change Group, which has offices at Keflavik airport, the Tourist Information Centre and in central Reykjavík (near the MacDonalds restaurant). ATMs are also available throughout Reykjavík.
Ive never thought ill end visiting Iceland twic within one year, going there always been my dream, and since ive done it once i've never thought i'll have the chance to return..but it happened,i was talking 2 of my friends about how great Iceland is, and they asked if you could go a trip there...i managed everyhting and we left the march 1st, until the 5th.
This time ive enjoyed much more, the fact of beeing there with my friends make things even nicer, also we got to talk to icelandics, and i didnt get much in touch with the people when i first been there, and they are definitely lovely, and open, and so talktive, much more than any other scandinavians.
Gullfoss its an impressiv waterfall about two hours driving from Reykjavík, impressive landscapes at its surroundings. more travel advice
Sirkus is a nice bar in the centre of reykjavik, nice atmosphere. more travel advice
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