Icelandic is a mountainous island nation in the north Atlantic Ocean, located between Europe and North America. Though not part of the continental mainland, the country is considered Nordic European. The name of the country—Iceland—may not be that appropriate: although 10% of Iceland is covered by glaciers, it has a surprisingly mild climate and countless geothermal hot-spots and hot springs.
Despite its name, Iceland has surprisingly mild winters for a country at that latitude owing to the warming effect of the Atlantic Gulf Stream. Iceland enjoys a maritime temperate climate and the average temperature in winter is around 0°C, although the wind chill makes it feel a lot colder. The rapidly changing weather has given rise to the local saying: 'If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes!' It's the kind of place where it's not unusual to get rained on and sunburned at the same time. The summers are cooler and more temperate than elsewhere at the same latitude and the temperature rarely exceeds 20°C.
Greenland is the world's largest non-continental island, in the far northeast of North America, largely within the Arctic. Although it is still part of the Kingdom of Denmark, it was granted self-government effective in 1979, more recently it voted for more autonomy, in effect making it a separate country with formal ties to Denmark. Some inhabitants are now projecting the eventual road to full independence. Copenhagen remains responsible for its foreign affairs and, of course, is a source of investment.
According to the Icelandic Sagas, Erik the Red chose the name "Greenland" to entice settlers from Iceland. In fact, Greenland has far more ice cover (about 84% of its surface area) than Iceland does, but the southern coasts the Vikings settled are green in summer, and were likely more so during the Medieval Warm Period.
The Faroe or Faeroe Islands are 18 islands in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of Scotland and halfway between Iceland and Norway. The Islands are a self-governing island territory of Denmark, although they politically aim for higher independence. The Islands have a population of nearly 50,000, and a language and culture of their own. When visiting the Faroes you are never more than 5km (3 miles) away from the ocean. The countryside is dominated by steep mountains and there are about 70,000 sheep and some 2 million pairs of seabirds, including the largest colony of storm petrels in the world. The Faroe Islands are undeniably beautiful: green, rugged and wind-swept. Most visitors to the islands come between early July and late August
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