As Icelander, I have heard many things about my country and about us, most of them have a deep truth but have been exaggerated over the years. I will go through the most known or famous facts and clarify what is true and false facts about Iceland or Icelanders.
It is a really cold country
That is what most people think about as facts about Iceland, as its name suggests, but nothing could be further from the truth. The Gulf Stream helps temperatures to be mild, much more than in other Nordic countries. Minimum temperatures during winter are about -3°C while maximums point about 3°C. The weather is not cold at all if we compare them with temperature in some areas of the United states for example, which can be around -13°C.
It is a really dark country
Sometimes when we think about Nordic countries, the idea of endless winters comes to our mind. However, even in the shorter days of the year, there are always some sunlight hours. On the other hand, summers are bright with the longest days you can imagine:about 20 hours of sunlight a day!
This one is probably the most difficult point of this list to verify, as many Icelanders affirm elves exist and live below big rocks. Even if you believe or not, you should respect this faith, as the Government do: they even stopped the construction of a highway because the route was passing through an elves house. These Facts about Iceland can be both true or false!
You can enjoy the Northern lights any night and any where
I am sorry to disappoint you, but that is completely false. The Northern lights are a natural phenomenon and so it needs certain conditions to take place. Also, they are not visible all year round, as darkness is essential for them to show. Therefor the best time to see the Northern Lights in Iceland is from November until March.
We do not have Santa, but 13 of them
Actually they are not Santas, but trolls. They come one by one each night until Christmas day leaving little presents, sweets, oranges… but also rotten potatoes!
Icelanders are all family
That might sound a bit as overstatement, but it is real. Our country has only 330.000 habitants which are about the population of Nottingham in UK. Most of these people live in the capital, Reykjavik. Isolation, war and adverse metrological conditions has kept the island habitants apart from any foreign impact. That is the reason why Iceland is the only country in the world who have a complete genealogical tree since its settlement, 1.200 years ago. We even have an App – Íslendingabók – to check our degree of kinship with other people we meet– mostly used in pubs when trying to flirt with someone. Amazing facts about Iceland, uh?
Iceland is really expensive
That is a fact. Iceland is indeed really expensive compared with other European countries. The cost of living is about 102% higher than in Spain, for example. To give you an example, a meal in McDonalds can be around 12€ and 12 eggs are 4,8€!
We love books
Are These True or False Facts About Iceland or Icelanders?
Indeed we love writing and reading. Our country has more writers, more books published and more books read, per capita, than anywhere else in the world. This fact might be in supported by the Icelandic weather or our character as we spend many long nights at home. There is even a tradition of giving books as gift during Christmas.
Water is free at home
Due to the powerful geothermal energy in the country, the hot water in all the Icelandic houses is free. We don’t have water heaters at home! The downside is the sulphur smell each time you open the tab of hot water, but you will get used to it!