Iceland is a European nation located in the north Atlantic Sea. With a population of less than 500,000, it is one of Europe's smaller countries. Most of the island of Iceland is sparsely inhabited, and not merely because of the low population numbers; two-thirds of all residents live in the areas surrounding the capital city of Reykjavik.
Contrary to its name, Iceland has a temperate climate even though it is near the Arctic Circle. Many people attribute this to the active volcanoes on the island, but in truth, Iceland's pleasant climate comes from the warmth it receives from Gulf Stream currents. The south coast of Iceland tends to be both warmer and wetter than the north edge of the island; it also receives more wind. In contrast, snowfall is more likely in the north. The coldest part of the island is located in the central highlands.
Biodiversity and the natural environment are two key reasons why visitors come to Iceland. Holiday vacation rentals in Iceland allow tourists not only to marvel at the active geology of the island, but also to see unique varieties of domesticated animals that do not live elsewhere, such as the Icelandic sheep, horse, and sheepdog. Wild animals on Iceland include such exotic species as mink, reindeer, and the Arctic fox. Polar bears can also be seen at times, particularly when icebergs from Greenland are floating past the coast. Seabirds on the island include puffins as well as kittiwakes, which make their nests on sea cliffs.