Iceland has been getting a lot of attention lately due to its exponentially increasing popularity as a tourism destination and its showing at the 2018 World Cup. But how much do people actually know about this tiny Nordic nation? Is it a part of Europe? Where is Iceland on the map? (Hint: Yes and it’s just east of Greenland). Let’s dive in and learn some crazy facts about Iceland. Maybe you are planning a trip to Iceland or are simply curious about your fellow human beings. Either way, let’s explore this small island in the North Atlantic.
Crazy facts about Iceland:
- Beer was banned in Iceland until 1989.
2. It’s true. Icelanders really did descend from Vikings. The island was settled by Viking tribes from Norway in the late 9th century.
3. The phone book is organized by first names rather than last names.
4. Iceland is the smallest country, population-wise, to ever compete in the World Cup.
5. A large percentage of the country believes in elves.
6. Iceland has 30 active volcanoes, and there’s a volcanic eruption approximately every four years. Eyjafjallajökull volcano even shut down European airspace for a week back in 2010 because of its clouds of ash and smoke.
7. It’s illegal to own a snake, a lizard, or a turtle as a pet.
8. Iceland is known as the Land of Fire and Ice. The country’s aforementioned volcanoes along with glaciers and a land covered in ice and snow provide a stark contrast that gives this country its nickname.
9. There is an Icelandic Naming Committee that decides which names are legally allowed and the committee must approve all names that have never been used before. No wonder you see so many Sveinns, Gunnars, Arons, and Magnuses running around!
10. In addition to Spain and Croatia, Iceland is a filming location for Game of Thrones. Scenes north of the Wall, as well as Grjótagjá cave where Jon Snow and Ygritte fell in love, were shot in Iceland. There are even Game of Thrones tours in Iceland.
11. There are no mosquitoes in Iceland.
12. Iceland is home to the world’s worst food. Hákarl, which is rotten shark or fermented shark, is an Icelandic delicacy eaten at Christmas.
13. Icelandic police don’t need to carry guns.
14. Iceland is one of the best countries to view the Northern Lights. Its proximity to the Arctic Circle makes viewing conditions ideal from mid-September to mid-March.
15. Iceland is also home to the Midnight Sun. Like many Scandinavian countries, the sun never sets during parts of the summer in Iceland.
16. You can leave your baby outside cafés in Iceland, and many parents do.
17. Iceland is home to the world’s oldest parliament. Iceland’s Althingi started as a gathering of chieftains back in 930 AD at Thingvellir National Park. It has since moved to the country’s capital, Reykjavik.
18. Raw puffin heart and raw whale are considered delicacies.
19. Iceland’s was the first country to directly democratically elect a female president. Iceland has had a total of three female presidents or prime ministers, one of whom was openly gay.
19 Crazy Facts About Iceland
So there you have it! Iceland is an unusual, quirky and very special place. Did you learn anything new or surprising?