20 INTERESTING OR WEIRD FACTS ABOUT ICELAND

Here are 20 interesting facts I learned about Iceland.

  • A relatively high number of Icelandic people still believe in elves, or at least the possibility they exist. While people may not openly state they believe in elves, many will not deny their existence either. Around the island there are a number of sites of significance in the elvish realm and they are generally well respected. 
  • McDonald’s failed in Iceland. If you want to enjoy a Big Mac while you are visiting, you are out of luck. There are no McDonald’s restaurants on the island. Before it shut its doors, a burger and fries was purchased by an Icelandic man, Hjörtur Smárason. It is now kept on a shelf with a live stream available here. It is not very entertaining viewing.
  • The fast food choice in Iceland is the hotdog. They are no different from hotdogs in any other country. A bread roll filled with tubular, miscellaneous meat and covered in mustard and ketchup with onions to jazz it up a little. They are not special. Expect no grandure. 
  • There are no family names in Iceland. Instead the naming system is generally patronymic, meaning you take your father’s name and add ~son to it for boys or ~dóttir for girls. This literally means "son of" or "daughter of". On top of that, all new first names must be approved by the Icelandic Naming Committee. It is an excellent method of avoiding twelve different spellings of Catherine, most of which are just a little bit silly. The phone book lists people by their first names. 
  • There is a penis museum in Reykjavik. You can see all kinds of penises and penis paraphernalia. Peniailia. Dick pics are probably not welcome there either. 
  • Icelandic people do not put up warning signs unless they really mean it. If you're the sort of person who thinks warning signs don't apply to you, there's a fairly decent chance you will die in Iceland. Your death will be used as an example for others, so it won't be a complete waste.
  • One of the most annoying things you can do is stop on the side of the road for stupid reasons, such as trying to feed the horses, or taking selfies with the horses, or trying to pat the horses. There are plenty of safe places you can park your car without endangering everyone else on the road. Also, horses are food (see below).
  • In many restaurants there are dishes on the menu that may offend some people. Try to avoid being a complete dick about it. It isn't hard to find restaurants serving whale or puffin. Yes, you can eat those cute little toucan penguins. In fact, raw puffin hearts are a delicacy. You can also eat horse, which is delicious. Try it. Or don't.
  • People in Iceland are generally a friendly group of people. Just remember for most of them, English is a second language. If you try to joke around with them too much, you might end up sounding like an idiot. 
  • The word 'foss' means waterfall in Icelandic. Just so you know. You don't need to call it Seljalandsfoss waterfall. It sounds silly, like ATM Machine, or AUT University. This is how many Icelandic words are made. Several words are combined to create a new one.
  • Modern Icelandic is very close to the original Norse, so ancient texts can still be read relatively easily. I imagine there is more substance to their writing that selfies and travel stories. 
  • Icelandic people are extremely well read and well published. They also watch more movies than anyone else. This may have something to do with the weather during winter. With 
  • Take your swim wear. Icelandic people love hot tubs. It is a national pastime. It is a great way to spend cold evenings, even if you are outside in the snow. 
  • Be careful when you open your car door. The most common damage to vehicles happens when the wind catches doors and folds them backwards. The wind is strong. Strong enough to pick up the volcanic gravel and strip the paint off a car apparently. I didn't witness this happening though.
  • While Iceland is considered a part of Europe, half of it is technically American, as it sits on the American tectonic plate. The American plate is slowly pulling away from Europe. Soon it will build a wall and make Europe pay for it.
  • There is very little crime in Iceland, and almost no violent crime. The police do not carry guns. It has been listed as the safest place to travel in the world for several years running. 
  • There are no mosquitoes in Iceland. That doesn't matter though as there are midges. If you don't know, midges are also tiny flying assholes that bite people. 
  • Like New Zealand, Iceland has no snakes and it is illegal to own one as a pet. 
  • Iceland has a volcanic eruption roughly every 4 years. Some are small and barely noticed. Others are larger and cause widespread disruptions to air travel across Europe, while also forcing news readers to try pronounce words like Eyjafjallajökull.
  • There are very few trees on Iceland. There are records showing Iceland was forested at one point, but it has likely been deforested for timber and firewood. Iceland is not a warm country in winter and firewood would have been scarce.