Your guide to being an expatriate in Iceland

Caffeinate Your Iceland Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today!

Welcome to Iceland, land of fire and ice! Located in the North Atlantic, Iceland is a volcanic island kingdom with a rich heritage and a modern identity. Its rugged terrain, dotted with glaciers, geysers, and waterfalls, offers a breathtaking contrast against its vibrant urban centers, which blend contemporary design with traditional Icelandic aesthetics. Known worldwide for its geothermal energy, natural hot springs, and the Northern Lights, which light up the winter sky, Iceland is a land of wonders that will leave you spellbound. As a melting pot of cultures that includes Scandinavian, Celtic, and Gaelic traditions, Iceland is a country that offers a unique perspective on everything from cuisine to music and language. With its small population, Iceland is the perfect choice for those seeking a laid-back lifestyle in a close-knit community. Whether you're a nature lover or an urban adventurer, Iceland's rugged landscapes, geological wonders, and vibrant urban culture make it a must-visit destination for expats


Expat destinations in Iceland

Demographics of Iceland:

Ethnic groups

Icelandic (93.5%), Other (6.5%)


Icelandic (95%), Others (5%)

Religion Overview

Iceland's predominant religion is Lutheran Christianity, with over 90% of the population affiliated with the Icelandic Evangelical Lutheran Church. Christian traditions have deep roots in Icelandic culture, and many attend church regularly. The church also plays a significant role in Icelandic society, inspiring architecture, music, and art, and serving as a cornerstone of local communities. However, in recent times, the influence of Christianity on Icelandic culture has become less pronounced, and many young Icelanders are leaving the church for secular lifestyles

Major Religions


Iceland experiences a subarctic climate characterized by long, cold winters and mild, wet summers. The average annual temperature in Reykjavík is 5.4 °C (41.7 °F), while the average winter temperature is 0.6 °C (33.1 °F) and the average summer temperature is 11.4 °C (52.5 °F). Iceland is mostly covered with rugged and pristine landscapes, including glaciers, geysers, and volcanic fields. However, with warming winters due to climate change, the glaciers have been melting at an unprecedented rate, posing a significant threat to the country's environment and infrastructure

Economy Overview

Iceland's economy is characterized by a combination of natural resources, such as fisheries, geothermal power, and renewable energy, and a highly developed service sector. Iceland's economy has emerged as a success story in recent decades, with a high standard of living and low unemployment rates (2.6% in 2021). Iceland's main exports are seafood, aluminum, and processed foods, and imports constitute a significant share of the nation's GDP. The country's thriving tourism industry has attracted visitors from around the world, lured by Iceland's natural wonders, including glaciers, volcanic landscapes, and the Northern Lights. However, the island nation relies heavily on imported goods and oil due to its isolation and lack of natural resources. The country has also faced significant volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and floods, which have disrupted its economy in the past

Key Industries

  • Fishery
  • Geothermal power and renewable energy
  • Tourism
  • Aluminum
  • Shipping
  • IT

Major Companies

  • Arctic Trucks
  • Prometeia AS
  • Íslandsbanki
  • Icelandair
  • Gislavísir hf
  • Síminn hf

Culture and Language Overview

Iceland has a unique cultural heritage, with a blend of Norse, Celtic, and Gaelic traditions. Its language, Icelandic, is a direct descendant of Old Norse, and despite its small size and isolation, it has managed to preserve its rich cultural heritage. Iceland's traditional cuisine features seafood, beef, and lamb, while its modern cuisine has fused Nordic, international, and native flavors. Icelandic music encompasses both traditional and modern genres, such as traditional Baltic choral music, folk songs, and modern pop. With a growing expat community and a thriving arts and culture scene, Iceland offers a captivating cultural experience for those seeking new horizons

Cultural Highlights

  • Icelandic sagas
  • Skaftafell National Park
  • Viking festivals
  • Northern Lights
  • Icelandic hot springs
  • Reykjavík Arts Festival
  • Icelandic Christmas Food Festival
  • Icelandic Bookworm of the Year
  • The Golden Circle

Geography and Landmarks Overview

Iceland is a geologically active island nation spread over an area of 103,000 sq. Km. Its rugged terrain is characterized by glaciers, geysers, fjords, and volcanic fields, which make for a stunning backdrop of natural wonders. Its eastern coast is dotted with glaciers, while in the west, steep cliffs and waterfalls greet travelers. The capital city, Reykjavík, nestles in the southwestern part of the island and is home to cultural and historic landmarks, such as the Perlan museum, Hallgrímsk Church, and Harpa concert hall. With its rich geological heritage, Iceland offers a unique perspective on the power of nature and its splendor

Notable Landmarks

  • The Blue Lagoon
  • Þingvellir National Park
  • Glacier Lagoon
  • Vatnajökull National Park
  • Hallgrímsk Church
  • Perlan Museum
  • The Northern Lights
  • Hverir Geothermal Area
  • Reykjavík
  • The Iceland volcano

National Holidays

  • New Year's Day (January 1)
  • Epiphany (Homkomsti) (January 6)
  • Good Friday (Maur Angela)
  • Easter Sunday (VakaÚti)
  • Easter Monday (Annachsonar Vakaúti)
  • Labor Day (Fríarandi)
  • Whit Monday (Pentecost)
  • National Holiday (Landsmálið)

Political Stability

Iceland enjoys high political stability, with a unique blend of traditional and modern governance practices. The Icelandic Constitution, adopted in 1874, enshrines a democratic and parliamentary system of government, which includes elected representatives in the Althingi general assembly. The President of Iceland serves as head of state, while the Prime Minister serves as head of government. Iceland is a member of several international organizations, including the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Nordic Council, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). While the nation has faced its own share of political challenges, including economic crises, its resilient and closely-knit society has ensured that the country remains a stable and attractive destination for foreigners looking to settle down in the north Atlantic

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