These incredible Iceland photos are just in from Jon, one of our photographers in Northern Europe.

Iceland is situated in the Atlantic Ocean, very close to the Arctic Circle. So close, in fact, that in June and July the sun does not rise or set, creating the famous “midnight sun”.

Thanks to Iceland’s rugged landscape and extreme isolation, visiting adventurers can still find untouched nature.

Here’s a few things we discovered about Iceland that may surprise you:

  • Iceland is a pioneer in the use of renewable energy. When energy costs rose sharply as a result of the worldwide energy crisis of the 1970s, the government of Iceland invested heavily into the research and development of renewable energy sources.
  • When the energy crisis receded, many other countries returned to traditional energy production but Iceland continued to use and develop alternative energy sources.
  • Today, it uses the geothermal energy from its 120 volcanos to generate around 25% of its total electricity production, while geothermal water heats more than 90% of Iceland’s homes.
  • Iceland’s General Assembly (Althingi) is over 1,000 years old, making it the oldest surviving parliament in the world.
  • It was originally established in 930 at Thingvellir, one of the most important cultural heritage sites in the country, and continued meeting regularly until 1799 (more than 850 years).
  • Thingvellir became a National Park in the 1930s and in 2004 it was placed on the World Heritage List.
  • The vast majority of Icelanders don’t have surnames. Instead, the country uses a traditional naming system that was formerly common in all of Scandinavia.
  • Icelandic folklore is still very much alive and you shouldn’t be surprised if locals tell you that they share their land with elves. Not the pointy-eared, green creatures we read about in fairytales, but kindred spirits who hide in natural formations and look just like you and me.