Last updated: April 2, 2019
Looking for facts about Iceland? It’s a Nordic country, which is also known as the land of fire and ice, thanks to its diverse landscape and nature. It is a relatively young nation since it was first inhabited by Vikings from Norway in the late 800s.
Traveling to Iceland is a dream for many and Iceland’s nature is truly magical.
The climate is relatively mild thanks to the Gulf Stream. However, the weather conditions change rapidly and it is not unusual to experience different types of weather only a few hours.
A well-known Icelandic adage is that “if you do not like the weather, just wait 5 minutes”.
Here are 25 interesting facts about Iceland along with some general information that may be useful to know.
1. Hot dogs are sold almost everywhere
Hot dogs are the most popular food in Iceland and there are hot dog stands in almost all cities. Sausage is called “pylsa” in Icelandic.
2. Virtually all energy comes from renewable energy sources
Icelanders get basically all its electricity and heat from geothermal water sources and hydro-electricity.
3. Icelandic family names are unique
In Iceland, the common surname will be determined by the father’s name combined with the suffix “son” if you are a guy or “-dóttir” if you’re a girl. If one’s father is called Eirik, would thus his son be named Eirikson and the daughter would be named Eiríksdóttir.
In other countries, you usually inherit the surname of the family.
4. There are no mosquitoes in Iceland
Thanks to Iceland’s climate, there are no mosquitoes. A fun fact about Iceland that has led many to believe that it’s an insect-free place on earth.
Unfortunately for those people, there are other kinds of insects that can bite and cause rash, although these are not mosquitoes.
5. Home to Europe’s first parliament
Already in 930, the first parliament was gathered in Thingvellir National Park, which is now included in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites.
6. About 60% of Icelanders live in Reykjavik
Iceland is a large country if you compare how few people actually live here. It is not uncommon with cities that have less than 3000 inhabitants. But in terms of real size, it’s a small country, at the same size as the US State of Ohio.
It takes just about 1 day to circumnavigate the island. Reykjavik is the most populated city with about 60% of Iceland’s population.
7. Until 1989, beer was banned
Nowadays, however, there’s a fairly wide selection of microbreweries and beer is of strong interest among many Icelanders. It is easier to find unique beers than the more traditional drink that Vikings drank, also known as mead.
8. There are no Mcdonalds in Iceland
However, one can find both KFC and Subway, as well as a couple of Icelandic fast food outlets. A rather interesting fact about Iceland, since Mcdonalds is virtually everywhere in the world, + Icelanders have one of the highest consuming of Coca-Cola.
9. A volcanic eruption about every four years on average
When you consider that Iceland’s nickname is often referred to as the “land of fire and ice”, it is perhaps not surprising that there are relatively frequent eruptions in Iceland.
In fact, on average, there’s at least one eruption every four years.
10. The Icelandic language is almost unchanged
Icelandic is the language that is most similar to the language of the Vikings. In fact, very little of the language has been changed and therefore it is still quite easy to read ancient writings.
11. Sheep’s head is a traditional Icelandic dish
Are you ready for the Icelandic cuisine? One of the most traditional foods in Iceland is the dish made with a Sheep’s head.
One of many interesting facts about Iceland!
12. One of few countries who still practice and allow commercial whaling
Even though more and more people see it as a controversial practice, it is still not illegal with commercial whaling.
13. You can walk on Glaciers
There are many glaciers in Iceland, and one of the most accessible is the one in Svinafellsjökull. There are guided tours where you can walk down into Ice crevasses, ice caves as well as walking on top of the mighty Icelandic glaciers!
14. Extremely low crime levels
Iceland is one of the countries in the world that has the lowest crime levels along with countries such as Japan and South Korea. It is very unlikely that you will encounter any crime at all.
15. You can experience the Northern lights here
Iceland is one of the best places in the world to see Northern Lights, which are usually available from sometime in September until March/April.
5 x Fun facts about Icelanders
- Some Icelanders still believe in Elves and Trolls
- Consumption of Coca–Cola per capita is higher than in any other country
- Some Icelanders have taken back the old Norse gods
- Icelanders watch more movies than any other nation
- Some of the most famous Vikings were born on Iceland
5 x Iceland facts for kids
- The Icelandic horse is one of many unique animals
- Iceland was one of the last places on earth to be settled by humans
- It was settled by Vikings from Norway
- The national sport is handball
- You can see puffins in Iceland
General facts about Iceland
|Total area||103 492 km2|
|Ice and glacier area||10 500 km2|
|Lakes||2 656 km2|
|Area without ice||92 692 km2|
|Farmland, vegetable, and fruit plantations||1 290 km2|
|Forest||1 907 km2|
|Largest lake||Thingvallavatn 82 km2|
|Coastline||6 088 km|
|Highest point||Hvannadalshnúkur 2 110 m|
|Average temperature||Around 0 degrees during winter and 10 during summer|
More facts about Iceland
|Population||333 690 inhabitants|
|Women and men||About the same number of women and men are born each year|
|Average age||36.3 year|
|National day||17 June (independence day 1944)|
|Parliament||Alltinget or Alþingi|
|Membership in EU||No|
|Membership in EES||Since 1 January 1994|
|Membership in Nato||Since 4 April 1949|
|Currency||Icelandic krona (ISK)|
|Country code number||+354|
How many of these facts about Iceland did you know? Leave a comment below!