Iceland interesting facts – 10 fun facts you didn’t know about!
Iceland is considered as one of the most beautiful countries in the entire world. It’s an island isolated from the other parts of Europe, famous from the amazing nature, awesome landscapes and (since recently) a place where the Game of Thrones was filmed. In this post we have gathered Iceland interesting facts to give you some insights about this amazing country.
These informations are mainly connected with the culture and geography of Iceland. Hopefully, they will be useful not only for the travellers visiting Iceland but also for everyone who is interested in getting to know new facts about the world.
Iceland interesting facts #1
Iceland should be named Greenland…
… and Greenland should be named Iceland. Due to the strong influence of the Atlantic Ocean, the climate in Iceland is quite mild. Only about 11% of its total area is covered in ice.
Iceland interesting facts #2
Iceland has one of the most beautiful nature in the world
It’s very easy to find a travel guide to Iceland in the internet. No wonder why: this country is considered as one of the most beautiful in the world. It’s called the land of ice and fire.
You already know about the ice, so let’s talk about the fire! Iceland has many volcanos: Grímsvötn is the most active of them. The other result of the heat inside the earth are the hot springs. The most famous geothermal spa (and also the most often visited place in Iceland) is a Blue Lagoon.
What’s interesting, there are almost no forests in Iceland!
The most beautiful natural phenomenon that you can see in this country is Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). It can be seen on the sky for almost 75% time of the year!
Iceland interesting facts #3
It was the first country in the world that elected the woman president
The first female president in the world was elected in Iceland in 1980. Even though women were the leaders of some countries (Argentina, Bolivia and China) in the past, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir was the first one that won in the democratic elections.
She is more than 80 years old now but she still serves the people as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.
Iceland interesting facts #4
There’s a story behind Iceland’s flag
Everything that you need to know about Icelandic nature is hidden in the flag of this country. Red color symbolises the active volcanos, white: the snow and ice, blue: Atlantic Ocean on which the island is located.
Iceland interesting facts #5
Reykjavik is the northernmost capital of the world
There are no other capitals north of Reykjavik. This relatively small city located in Western Iceland, is home to almost 40% of the Icelandic population.
What’s interesting, it’s one of the few European capitals that has NO Starbucks or McDonald’s!
Iceland interesting facts #6
Icelandic food is very unique
Iceland is an island, so the main ingredients of the country’s cuisine are fish and sea food.
Some of the traditional Icelandic food is very shocking for the foreigners. Let’s take Hákarl as an example: it’s a fermented shark that (supposedly) taste the best if you bury it in the ground and then urinate on it. Sounds pretty disgusting, huh?
See also: Eating fried insects in Thailand
Iceland interesting facts #7
Icelanders don’t have surnames
That’s probably the craziest fact about Iceland- people don’t have family names in this country!
The last name of every boy is the name of his father + son. The last name of every girl is the name of his father + dottir.
Let’s take Jon as an example. His son’s surname would be Jonsson and his daughter name would be Jonsdottir.
If you want to read more about Icelandic names, check out this post.
Iceland interesting facts #8
There is no army in Iceland
Iceland is among 22 countries in the world that don’t have armed forces. It has, however, non-police military force and is a member of NATO. It also has an agreement with United States that is supposed to support Iceland when needed.
Iceland interesting facts #9
There are no trains in Iceland
Iceland is a very small land with great road infrastructure. Most people travel there by cars, that is why there are no trains in this country!
What’s interesting, there are more countries in the world with no railway. Some of them are Malta, Cyprus, Qatar, Yemen and Mauritius.
Iceland interesting facts #10
Poles are the largest minority group in Iceland
Last but not least- the minority groups. The second biggest population in Iceland is Polish. We were born and raised in Poland, that’s why this fact is the most interesting for us.
Iceland currently has 325,000 residents. 302,000 are Icelanders and 23,000 are citizens of other countries including Poland (~10,000), Lithuania (~1,700), Denmark (~900), Germany (~900), Latvia (~700), UK (~600), US (~600), Philippines (~550), Thailand (~550), Portugal (~500).