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Iceland on World Map: Where is it and How was it Created?

Updated: Aug 17, 2022

Situated in the isolated North Atlantic, Iceland on the world map is a geological wonder and the perfect mix for northern marine life. Even though it isn’t close to any other large landmass, it doesn’t take too long to get there. You do, unfortunately, run the risk of getting jet-lagged since it is almost alone in its own time zone.

We have all heard about the breathtaking nature of Iceland and all the amazing things you can experience on this mystical Island. Home to hundreds of volcanoes and a glacier that is larger than Luxembourg, Iceland is a must on any adventurer’s bucket list. But where does all of this fit if you look at Iceland on the world map?

Iceland on World Map

Geographical Location

If you look at Iceland on the world map, it is located in the northern hemisphere just south of the arctic circle (66°N). This means that it has a relatively cold climate compared to most other populated areas on the globe.

Seeing Iceland on the world map, you will quickly notice that it is somewhat isolated in the North Atlantic. Greenland is the closest nation at a meager distance of 280 kilometers. After that, we have the Faroe Islands, which are 400 kilometers away, Scotland 800 kilometers away, Norway 980 kilometers away, and the nearest coast in North America is roughly 1,600 kilometers away. If you are traveling from New York, you will travel roughly 4,300 kilometers via plane.

Since it is water locked, you can only reach Iceland via boat or plane. Going by plane will take you a handful of hours from most nearby airports, which is the most convenient way to get here. You can fly to Iceland from almost anywhere in the western world. It doesn’t matter if you are in the close, small town of Kulusuk in Greenland, or all the way over in Anchorage in Alaska, flying is an option.

If you rather want to go via boat, you can count on taking a couple of days just for the travel. Your best option then would be to get on the ferry from Denmark, which would take you 2 days during the summer months and just a little more than 3 days during the winter months. From New York, a trip to Reykjavik will take roughly 13 days by boat.

Iceland’s time zone

Iceland is in the UTC+0 time zone, which makes it an hour or two later than most European countries and about 4 hours before New York, time-wise. This is important to keep in mind when traveling there since it is the reason for jet lag, which could easily make you sluggish on the first day or two.

Seeing Iceland on a Europe map will make you realize that even though it is large, it is only the second largest island in Europe. If you put in the time and effort to start measuring islands, you could also look at Iceland on a world map and see that it is the 18th largest island in the world.

Iceland on a map: time zones

Base Facts

Iceland is roughly 103,000km2 large and stretches roughly 300km from north to south and 500km east to west. Iceland has roughly 370,000 inhabitants and is the least densely populated country in Europe.

Iceland has roughly 6,000 kilometers of coastline, which might seem like a bit much for its size, but if you take a look at the many fjords, you will realize that it isn’t so far-fetched. Some of these fjords are easily accessible from the Ring Road 1, in which you can spot anything from the mighty blue whale to the elusive little arctic fox. Many of these fjords are also home to some bird life, like the colorful puffin.

Seeing Iceland on a Europe map will make you realize that even though it is large, it is only the second largest island in Europe. If you put in the time and effort to start measuring islands, you could also look at Iceland on a world map and see that it is the 18th largest island in the world.

The Weather

Because of its geographical location, Iceland is subject to extreme weather. Locals often say that you can experience all 4 seasons in one day here. And it can become quite windy. It’s not strange to experience 16+ kilometer an hour winds regularly and it can go up to 25+ kilometers an hour!

This can make sightseeing challenging and driving tough, so please ensure that you check the weather forecast before setting out.

Plate Tectonics

If you would watch Iceland on a world map for tectonic plates, you would see that it is just between the North American and the Eurasian tectonic plates. These two are moving away from each other, which is the reason for the many volcanic eruptions on the island. This is also the very reason why Iceland exists in the first place.

Iceland on World Map: Tectonic plates

The two plates moved apart far enough and quickly enough to create a series of underwater volcanoes that eventually spewed out enough lava that cooled down and created the large landmass that is there today. That was about 60 million years ago, and ever since then, Iceland has expanded slowly but surely until it reached its current size.

Today, however, Iceland expands about as fast as it erodes. With this in mind, seeing Iceland on the world map throughout the last years will show you that the island’s coastline is expanding about 2 centimeters per year. This doesn’t mean that it is a good investment in terms of land, though, since the expanding parts are mostly volcanoes, and thus not very hospitable.

As a result of this activity, you have the unique possibility to dive in between these two plates in the Thingvellir National Park. In the Silfra fissure, you can dive down into crystal clear water and swim between the plates, and even touch both of them at the same time in certain places. This is one of the many day trips you can easily take from Reykjavik.

The Ocean

As we said earlier, Iceland is pretty isolated in the North Atlantic. Strangely enough, it is so isolated that along a large portion of the south coast, there is nothing between Iceland and Antarctica. This is a distance of almost 16,500 kilometers of water from the black beaches of Iceland straight south to the penguin-rich ice caps.

Iceland sits at the end station of the Gulf Stream, which pushes some warm waters north and heats up this otherwise cold part of the Atlantic. Due to Iceland's location on the globe, this means that the cold arctic waters meet the warmer Gulf Stream and create a great environment for various types of krill and zooplankton.

Iceland on world map: Gulf Stream

This, in turn, is what most of the whales and other marine life love to chow down on, which is why Iceland on world map is a great place for whale watching, fishing, and seeing lots of sea birds.

How to Best See Iceland

Now you have seen Iceland on the world map, it’s time to see Iceland in real life. This is a land of natural wonders and should be seen as such. No wonders will come to you if you sit still, so we suggest you grab a campervan and start missioning around the island and fully take in these amazing sights.


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