Fun, strange and interesting facts about Iceland

After the 10 fun facts about Costa Rica, we compiled a list of fun facts about Iceland. Iceland was our favourite destination of 2019. With its coldness and windiness, and all its volcanos, it is one of the place on earth where you can truly feel the power of nature!

More than 10% of Iceland is covered by glaciers. Vatnajökull is the largest of them all, also the largest in Europe. Over 1000m of ice separates the surface of the glacier from its bottom at is deepest point. You can climb on glacier or visit ice caves all over Iceland.

More than 10% of Iceland is covered by glaciers - Vatnajökull
More than 10% of Iceland is covered by glaciers – Vatnajökull

Iceland produces more than 99% of their electricity from renewable energy. Iceland is filled with volcanos, geysers and hot springs due to a very high geothermal activity. 75% of the electricity is produced from hydropower plants, and 25% from geothermal. 87% of all buildings in Iceland are also heated by geothermal heaters. Due to all of this, Iceland is one of the world model for Green Energy, as its tropical brother Costa Rica.

Vaðlaheiðarvegavinnuverkfærageymsluskúraútidyralyklakippuhringur. The longer word in Icelandic – It means “A keychain ring for the outdoor key of road workers shed in a moor called Vaðlaheiði”. Icelandic has often been rated one of the hardest language to learn: the words are as long as they are difficult to pronounce. Nonetheless, it is spoken by 300,000 people in Iceland, 5,000 in the United-States and 8,000 in Denmark. Icelandic language did not evole a lot: Text in Norse from over 1000 years old are still easily readable by fluent speakers of Icelandic.

Iceland horses are the purest breed in the world. Once an Iceland horse leaves the country, it is never allowed to return. This restriction is in place to protect their specie from sickness that are not present in Iceland as horses have not developed any immunity. On top of that, Icelandic horses are also the only breed which masters five gaits. Besides this, Icelandic horses are also extremely cute and photogenic. They will love taking photos by your side.

Icelandic horses casually posing
Icelandic horses casually posing

Geyser. Talking about word once again! Geyser word origins from the most famous Icelandic geyser: Geysir. Geysir was named after the Icelandic word “gjósa“, translated by “erupt” in English. If you visit Iceland, Geysir and its close-by friend Strokkur are part of the Golden Circle, one of the most visited areas of Iceland.

Icelanders love football. In 2016 – Iceland got qualified for the quarter final of the European Championship, eliminating United-Kingdom. 33,000 Icelanders were present in France to assist to their last match in the competition, representing 10% of Iceland population. Out of the 23,000 footballers in Iceland, only 100 are professional: a professional football player in Iceland has 1 chance out of 4 to be part of the national team! Even though they love football, the national sport of Iceland is body-wrestling.

The Alþingi, the parliament of Iceland, is the world oldest surviving parliament. It was founded in 930 and has only be interrupted once – from 1799 to 1844.

Iceland, the land of fire and ice, could also be called the land of fire and ice and books. Icelanders are the most prolific writers in the world: one in ten people will publish a book. One of the most famous author is Snorri Sturluson (1179-1241), writer of Prose Edda one of the most exhaustive compilation of Norse mythology. We do not know many of the modern Icelandic books – if you know any – do not hesitate to recommend them in the comments!

“They all laughed, except Tyr; he lost his hand

― Snorri Sturluson, The Prose Edda

Beer remained illegal in Iceland until the 1st of March 1989. All alcohol were forbidden in 1915, but from 1922 wine and in 1935 any other alcoholic beverages but beer were legalised. Since then, the 1st of March is also known as “Beer Day”. Beer is now the most consumed alcohol beverage in Iceland.

There is not any McDonald’s Restaurants in Iceland. The first Mac Donald opened in 1995, but closed in 2008 during the financial crisis. Since then, no Mac Donald ever opened again on the island. Apparently, you can even look at the last Mac Donald sold in Iceland behind glass in Snorta House hostel in southern Iceland.

Fifty-four percent of Icelanders either believe in Elves or say it’s possible they exist, according to National Geographic. They protect them from car accidents, bring treats to children. On New Year Eve, elves move to new locations and Icelanders put candles out in order to guide them! If you are a believer yourself, or interested by Icelandic culture, they also have an Elves museum in Iceland!

Icelandic is one of the most photogenic country in the world, according to Virevolte – but that’s not a fact, only our opinion! Let us know if you disagree…

Iceland - Game of Thrones beach (Vik)
Iceland – Game of Thrones beach (Vik)

Did we forget any fun facts about Iceland? Do not hesitate to leave a comment for our readers!

  • Reply
    Under Flowery Sky
    May 7, 2020 at 7:32 pm

    Wow, fantastic Iceland. I could not imagine they produce so much
    electricity of renewable sources. Good for McDonalds.. I should really
    visit it..

  • Reply
    Ana C.
    May 9, 2020 at 9:22 am

    Awww that looks so beautiful everywhere, all the pics.
    I had to crack up about McDonald’s.
    Ana C, xox

  • Reply
    May 11, 2020 at 2:22 pm

    Iceland has been on my bucket list for so long! It’s super photogenic, like you said. I didn’t know that their horses can’t come back after they’ve left, but it makes sense. They’re very cute! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Clarissa Cabbage
    May 12, 2020 at 3:04 am

    Great read! I knew about the renewable energy and the published authors, but not the rest. I have also heard that there’s is a committee of 3 people that must approve every baby name, in order to preserve their language. If the committee does not approve the parents name choice, they have no option but to name the baby something else!

    • Reply
      May 14, 2020 at 2:08 pm

      Thank you Clarissa – that’s a very interesting fact indeed, we were not aware of that.
      Probably better than not checking, in France we had babies named Nutella – maybe parents should not be allowed everything 🙂

  • Reply
    May 12, 2020 at 7:58 am

    Some really interesting facts, so funny that they kept the last burger for over 10 years! I’m planning a trip to Iceland so I’ll have a read of your other posts too 🙂

    • Reply
      May 14, 2020 at 2:06 pm

      Hi Tessa! Glad to read you are planning to visit Iceland.
      We will post our full itinerary in the next few weeks – stay tuned!

  • Reply
    Kevin Leitch
    May 12, 2020 at 6:10 pm

    the more I see and read on this magical place… the more I am shocked that we haven’t been!! The McDonalds fact is hilarious – I didn’t know that!

    • Reply
      May 14, 2020 at 2:05 pm

      You definitely should go 🙂 Just make sure you pack your burger with you 😀

  • Reply
    Jenny in Neverland
    May 13, 2020 at 10:54 am

    This was so interesting! Especially about the horses. I’d love to visit Iceland!

    • Reply
      May 14, 2020 at 2:04 pm

      Thank you Jenny! They are lovely indeed 🙂 Do not hesitate to visit!

  • Reply
    Lannie travels
    May 16, 2020 at 10:01 am

    Love these fun facts about Iceland! It’s a great country and I’d love to visit again!

    • Reply
      May 18, 2020 at 8:03 pm

      Iceland is very interesting and special! We would love to visit again as well 🙂 Thank you!

  • Reply
    May 19, 2020 at 10:51 am

    That’s why they love to go mad on Fridays. Isn’t it called the runter. Because beer was illegal till 1989. Never was a better reason to drink than prohibition. Great facts, I’d known quite a few myself from my visit. But not the beer one.

  • Reply
    June 27, 2020 at 1:47 am

    Like!! Thank you for publishing this awesome article.

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