It has been at least a couple of years since I’ve wanted to travel to Iceland and this year, I got the chance! Iceland is a very special country, one with lots of stories, fun facts and simply unique; these are some interesting and unique facts that you should be know before visiting.
1. It is a Schengen country, but not EU. What does this mean? You can travel with a Schengen visa but the currency is not euros. They have Icelandic Kronas. If you don’t want to change money, it’s ok! In Iceland you can pay pretty much EVERYTHING with your credit card. I paid for public restrooms with my card!
2. There is a volcanic eruption around every 4 years; this is not surprising if you know that there are over 100 volcanoes.3. The population of Iceland is around 350,000, so if you calculate things “per capita” they are high on several rankings like for example:
a. Highest Coca Cola consumption per capita
b. 4th country with the highest consumption of coffee
c. Most Nobel prize winners per capita (1 winner)
d. Highest literacy rate in the world per capita: 99.9%
e. Most authors in the world per capita
4. Babies in Iceland are normally left outside to sleep. This is very much associated to the fact that Iceland is the safest place on the planet.
5. The police are famous on Instagram. Click here for the link.
6. The police don’t have guns, except for 1 that is locked up in a box somewhere and almost no one has access to it.
7. The Viking SWAT are the only ones who have guns and again, being so peaceful, they only have had one incident where a man was shooting at them and they had no option but to shoot back and killed the gunman. After this, they apologized to the man’s family. Here is the link to the story.
8. Being a small country, they have a website called The Book of Icelanders for people to see if they are somehow related. Guess what day has the most visitors? Sundays!
9. Christmas is a big thing in Iceland, they have 13 days of Christmas, ending January 6 with 13 Santa’s or Trolls or Yule Lads. There are 3 important characters during Christmas:
a. Grýla: is an ogress that lives in the mountains, part troll part animal and mother of 3 boys (the Yule Lads) and has a black cat. Every Christmas Grýla and her sons come down from the mountains. Grýla is in search of naughty children and her sons of mischief.
b. The Yule Lads: Icelandic children put a shoe in their bedroom window every night during the 13 Christmas days. Every night one Yule lad visits and leaves sweets and small presents or rotten potatoes if the child has been naughty the day before.
c. The Christmas Cat: stories say that every Icelander should receive a new piece of clothing for Christmas or they will be in mortal danger. A black cat prowls Iceland on Christmas eve and eats anyone who doesn’t follow this rule.
10. Elves are a big thing in Iceland, there are a lot of people who believe in Elves (also known as “hidden people”) so be respectful about this. There are lots of stories on elves and there is an Elf school if you want to learn more about them. There are elf negotiators that are called when a construction will need the elf to relocate its home. Check out a couple of these news articles related to elves.
After reading this post, I’m sure that you will keep digging for more information on this country, and be sure that it will not cease to surprise you. Stay posted for my post on the trip itself!