Iceland is considered 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 interesting Iceland facts to give you some insights about this amazing country.
These pieces of information about Iceland country are mainly connected with the culture and geography of Iceland. Hopefully, they will be useful not only for travelers visiting Iceland but also for everyone who is interested in getting to know new facts about the world.
Current time in Iceland:
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.
There are many theories on why the names of these two regions are so confusing. One thing is certain- it’s one of the Iceland facts that are worth knowing.
Iceland Has One Of The Most Beautiful Natures In The World
It’s very easy to find a travel guide to Iceland on the internet. No wonder why: this country is considered one of the most beautiful in the world. It’s called the land of ice and fire. With so many points of interest in Iceland, the scenery is absolutely breathtaking.
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 points of interest in Iceland) is a Blue Lagoon.
One of the interesting facts about Iceland, there are almost no forests over there!
The most beautiful natural phenomenon that you can see in this country is Aurora Borealis (Iceland Northern Lights). It can be seen in the sky for almost 75% time of the year!
If you’re heading to Iceland with kids, make sure they are ready to play outside while experiencing something unique!
It Was The First Country In The World That Elected The Woman President
One of the Iceland facts that you should know about is that the first female president in the world was elected in this country 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 90 years old now but she still serves the people as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.
Icelanders Are Surprisingly Outdoorsy
Taking a toddler to the outdoor thermal pools when it’s freezing outside? Kids having fun on the playgrounds that are covered with snow? Leaving the swimming pool in the middle of the winter with wet hair?
It’s all quite common in Iceland. While spending time outdoors is very healthy, Icelanders took it to a whole new level. No matter what temperature it is, it doesn’t stop them from having fun outside. That includes infants, toddlers, and kids.
Iceland Is 3rd Most Expensive Countries In The World
Another of the interesting facts about Iceland is that this country is really expensive. Just to give you an idea, the entrance fee for one of the most famous tourist attractions in the country, The Blue Lagoon in 80 euro per person!
Switzerland has been ranked as the most expensive country in the world, with Norway as a runner-up.
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 symbolizes the active volcanos,
- white: the snow and ice,
- blue: the Atlantic Ocean on which the island is located
Is it one of the best fun facts about Iceland?
Iceland Is The Most Peaceful Country In The World
Iceland is ranked number #1 in the Global Peace Index almost every year. The factors that are taking into consideration in the rank include safety, militarisations, ongoing conflicts, and security.
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.
One of the interesting facts about Iceland and Reykjavik, it’s that it’s one of the few European capitals that have NO Starbucks or McDonald’s!
It’s worth knowing that the northernmost inhabited town of the world is Longyearbyen in Norway.
Icelandic Food Is Very Unique
Iceland is an island, so the main ingredients of the country’s cuisine are fish and seafood.
Some of the traditional Icelandic food is very shocking for foreigners. Let’s take Hákarl as an example: it’s a fermented shark that (supposedly) tastes the best if you bury it in the ground and then urinate on it.
Sounds pretty disgusting, huh? If you’re traveling in Iceland with kids, you might have to prepare them for these unusual meals.
See also: Eating fried insects in Thailand
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’s name would be Jonsdottir.
If you want to read more about Icelandic names, check out this post.
Icelanders Are One Of The Most Healthiest People In The World
Over 80% declare themselves as healthy. Iceland has been ranked as 3rd most healthy country in the world, right after Spain and Italy.
There Is No Army In Iceland
Iceland is among 22 countries in the world that don’t have armed forces.
It has, however, a 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.
There Are Almost No People With Down Syndrome In Iceland
It’s one of the most controversial Iceland facts. Most Icelandic woman that find out about extra chromosome of their child, decide on abortion.
On average, one child with down syndrome is being born in Iceland every year. More about it here.
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.
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).
The Weather Fluctuates A Lot In Iceland
Traveling in Iceland is always a different experience depending on the season/month you’re going. Let’s see how it can fluctuate in terms of sunshine and weather.
- Iceland in January is cold but not as cold as we could imagine. You can expect a temperature of around -10 degrees. Going in January guarantees the highest possibilities to admire the northern lights.
- Iceland in February is a great option to see the northern lights, but you can expect temperatures around -2 degrees.
- Iceland in March is also good timing to admire the northern lights.
- In April, Iceland offers spring weather which is better for outdoor activities. You could also be lucky enough to spot the northern lights if you’re planning to visit Iceland in April.
- Iceland in May means cheaper travels! It’s not too cold, not too warm and is a wise choice if you’re traveling on a budget.
- Iceland in June means that it’s the beginning of the summer, but it’s not at its warmest point yet.
- Iceland in August is a good idea when you decide to visit Iceland. Did you know that in August, Iceland weather is considered warm? You can expect an average of 20 degrees, but a short sunshine period during the day (5-6 hours).
- Iceland in September is the beginning of the northern lights season. Not too cold, it’s a great period to see the magical sky.
- Iceland in October is also great timing to see the northern lights.
- Iceland in November promises to be a lot colder with an average of 4 degrees.
- Iceland in December is really cold but still great to visit, especially during Christmas time.
Iceland Is The Least Densely Populated Country In Europe
It’s also the 9th least densely populated country in the world (Greenland is number 1). The population density in Iceland is 9 people per square meter.
There are a little over 360,000 Icelanders which is a similar number to the population of the following cities:
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Did you know these facts about Iceland? Do you know one interesting fact about Iceland that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!
This is so cool! I’d love to visit Iceland now. What gorgeous scenery it has.
Believe it or not I’ve ALWAYS wanted to visit Iceland. I’ll admit I didn’t know much about it before reading this post, but now that I know a lot more about it, it makes me want to go even more! So interesting that people there don’t have surnames!!
It is very interesting!
Wow. I’m a sucker for travel, so this post is so awesome for me. Thanks!
I would love to visit Iceland. I talk to my husband about visiting all the time because he is a part-time nature photographer and it would be a dream to shoot the scenery!
Iceland is definitely one of the most picturesque countries in the world. Your hubby will love it.
oh one of the places I would love to visit someday. It would be a dream come true to visit Iceland.
OMG! I am going to bookmark this one because ever since I had to learn countries and their capitals when I was in the 5th grade, I have always wanted to go to Reykjavik. Thanks for sharing these cool tips!
Oh wow I didn’t know many of these facts and it’s a top country on my visit list! So neat they elected the first woman president!
Iceland seems like such an interesting country. I never knew any of these facts about the country before.
Stunning nature .LI’ve the Iceland snapshot you provided .The surname thing us pretty interesting
I remember learning about the Ice and Greenland thing at school always stuck with me as well. I would absolutely love to go and see the northern lights one day fingers crossed
Thanks for sharing these amazing cool facts about Iceland! Though their traditional food Hákarl sounds quite gross! I can never eat that!
Haha, yeah! We won’t be able to eat it either ;)
I love that they are progressive enough to be open to having a female president. Kudos to them!
Ooooo I had no idea about pretty much all of this!!! Glad I now know a few things about Iceland!
This is very interesting. I had no idea.
what about Golda Meir? she was the prime minister of Israel in 1969 and was democratically elected. She was the leader of Israel at that time, so Iceland female president Vigdís Finnbogadóttir is not the first female leader in the world.
Thanks for your comment! Golda Meir was indeed a great woman but she was never a president of Israel. She was a prime minister. Here’s the list of Isreal’s presidents:
Absolutely stunning! Thank you on a detailed impressive guide!