The Iceland Guide

Companion websites

The Globe Travel Bookshop
This site gives access to numerous online bookshops around the world that sell travel books. There are also links to second-hand bookshops and to publishers

The Globe Travel Shop
Accommodation and transport around the globe. And lots more interesting things!

The Globe Travel Guide
Illustrated travel articles about various countries, including France, Iceland, Scotland and the USA.

The Scotland Guide
Illustrated encyclopaedia articles on Scotland. At present there are over 200 articles about Glasgow, the country`s biggest city. The articles are based on the guidebook The Glasgow Guide.



Books by David Williams
These include travel guides to Iceland and Scotland.

The land and the people

The land: On the edge of Europe

As the American and European continents drift slowly apart over the Earth's surface, the void that opens up between them is filled by a great new volcanic mountain chain — the North Atlantic Ridge. Most of the Ridge lies deep beneath the Atlantic, but on occasions it protrudes from the sea, and one such place is Iceland; it is this that makes Iceland so important today as an accessible place in which to study the evolution of planet Earth. The central portion of Iceland is the newest region and to the east and the west of the country are the older land masses that have moved away from the central ridge.

Iceland is Europe's second largest island (Britain is the largest), measuring about 500km from west to east and about 350km from north to south. It sits at the junction of the North Atlantic Ridge and another submarine ridge that runs from Scotland to eastern Greenland via the Faroes. The seas around Iceland have a depth of about 600m towards Greenland and 400–600m towards the Faroes while on both sides of the submarine ridge there are deep troughs of 2,000m or more.

Iceland lies 290km south–east of Greenland (its nearest neighbour) and, with the exception of the island of Grímsey and a few small rocks, lies completely south of the Arctic Circle. With an area of some 103,000km², it has an average altitude of 500m. Only one–quarter of the country lies below 200m.

It is, geologically speaking, a young country. The oldest rocks, which are basalt, are only about sixteen million years old — much younger than the oldest basalts of Greenland and the Faroes — but the most striking example of the country's youth is that one–tenth of its area is covered by lava less than ten thousand years old. The youngest area lies along the extension of the North Atlantic Ridge which runs from Reykjanes (in the south–west) north–east to Askja, and then northwards through Mývatn. The rocks here are complex and are often composed of different varieties of basalt and debris from volcanoes. In this region there are many prominent fractures, such as Almannagjá (at Thingvallavatn), that run parallel to the direction of the Ridge.

What`s in the website ?


The land and the people

The first explorers
The Age of the Settlement
The conversion to Christianity
The discovery of Greenland and America
The collapse of the Commonwealth
The Dark Ages
The nineteenth century
The twentieth century
Culture in the Icelandic environment
Old Icelandic literature
Eddic and skaldic poetry
The Sagas
Later literature
Modern literature
Painting, sculpture and music
The Icelanders
Traditional living conditions
The seasons
Changes in the modern world
Independent minds
Superstition, morality and the media
The land
On the edge of Europe
The shape of the land
The volcanoes
The glaciers
The natural world
The climate
The economy and infrastructure
Industry and energy