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23 Strange, Fun and Weird Facts About Iceland

Iceland seems to have landed on the travel wish list for almost everyone in the last few years. I’m no different and have had Iceland on my “Travel To Do List” for the last year. I visited for the first time in June of this year and I’m already hoping for a return visit in winter.

I happened to visit Iceland on the longest day of the year and got to experience almost 24 hours of sunlight and I’d love to head back and experience the Northern Lights and the country during days of total darkness.

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Reykjavík iceland downtown

On my recent trip, I took the Golden Circle Tour, and our guide filled us in on so many historical, fun, and odd facts about Iceland, I was compelled to do a little more digging. Below you will find many strange, weird and fun facts about Iceland.

23 Strange, Fun and Weird Facts About Iceland

  1. Iceland sits on two continents; North America and Europe.
  2. Iceland was formed by two phenomena: volcanoes and glaciers.
  3. There are 340,000 people that live in Iceland and 2/3 live in Reykjavík.
  4. Iceland is expensive, in fact, a small pizza can set you back $30 and one beer will average you $12.
  5. There is no weather in Iceland, only examples of weather.
  6. Yoko Ono visits Iceland every year on the anniversary of John Lennon’s birthday and stays until the day of his death.
  7. The first settlers landed in Iceland in 874.
  8. Most people who originally came to Iceland were fleeing Norway.
  9. Beer was prohibited in Iceland until 1989.
  10. Icelandic people drink more Coca–Cola than any other country.
  11. The name Reykjavík means Smoke Bay.
  12. The main Christmas gift given in Iceland are books.
  13. For a small country, Iceland has produced some great bands including Björk and Sigur Rós.
  14. Althing, in the Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park, is the world’s first parliament and was established in the year 930.
  15. Trees DO grow in Iceland.
  16. The majority of present-day Icelanders (more than 50%) believe in the existence of fantastical beings such as elves and trolls.
  17. There are no McDonald’s restaurants in Iceland.
  18. Iceland is located very close to the Arctic Circle.
  19. Iceland experiences almost 24 hours of darkness in December and almost 24 hours of daylight in June.
  20. Even though Iceland was settled in the 9th century, it didn’t become independent until 1944. 
  21. Mosquitoes do not exist in Iceland.
  22. There are no Starbucks in Iceland.
  23. Don’t worry, you can still get a fast food fix at Subway, Dominos, KFC, and Taco Bell in Reykjavik.

Know a strange fact about Iceland? Please leave it in the comments!

If you enjoyed this article about 23 Strange, Fun and Weird Facts About Iceland, you’ll also love How to Book Cheap Flights to Iceland with WOW Air.

Traveling To Iceland Soon? Here are a few tips:

How to get there: Iceland is just a 4-hour flight from the East Coast of the US, an 8-hour flight from the West Coast of the US and about 3 hours from the UK. There are multiple airlines that fly there, with Iceland Air and WOW Air being two of the most popular (and often the most affordable). I recommend WOW Air as I have flown with them to both Iceland and Ireland.

Where to stay: Reykjavik is a great base for an Iceland vacation. I recommend Hotel Odinsve, it’s a great location in the city center, but located on a very quiet street. The hotel rate includes a wonderful breakfast as well. I suggest checking HotelsCombined for the best Iceland hotel rates.

Travel insurance: I’m a fan of World Nomads for short-term trips. Protect yourself from possible injury & theft abroad. Read more about why you should always carry travel insurance here.

What to pack: The temperatures each season vary greatly, but even in summer it can be cold. I visited in June and the high was 68 °(20 °C ). Heading out of Reykjavik for the Golden Circle Tour, it was must cooler. I was very happy I brought along fleece lined leggings, a light down jacket, warm socks (I love Ice Breaker), a waterproof outer layer and rain jacket, and some hiking boots (I love Keen). If you are visiting in Winter, you’ll want to bring heavy duty layers.

Save Big on Your Iceland Vacation

Check out the Top Tours & Day Trips from Iceland

Read Reviews of the Best Hotels in Iceland on TripAdvisor 

Indispensable Items to Pack for Iceland

Pick up the Lonely Planet guide to Iceland or the Lonely Planet Pocket Guide to Reykjavik.

Get a good quality mirrorless camera for getting amazing photos of the many beautiful sites in Iceland. I use the Sony Alpha a6000 .

Weather is unpredictable, so bring a lightweight umbrella and rain jacket (even in summer you may find areas chilly and rainy).

Waterproof hiking boots are a must. I love Keen because they are lightweight and super comfortable.

A great cross body travel bag. Cross body bags prevent theft and are much easier to access.

Day Trips from Iceland Top Tours

I love to do a combination of exploring on my own as well as a few organized tours when I travel. I love to learn about the history and culture in a new location and tours with local experts is a great way to do this. I recommend Get Your Guide because you can cancel most bookings for free up to 24 hours before they start and their customer service is available 24/7 in multiple languages. 

A few Top Tours in Iceland


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23 Strange, Fun and Weird Facts About Iceland. How can such a small country have so many strange, weird and fun facts? Read on!

Read More About Iceland

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  1. The lack of mosquitos has convinced I need to visit. 😉 But seriously, I love how quirky this list is. It really helps you learn about the country and what makes Iceland unique in the world.

  2. A land without mosquitos and McDonald’s?! Sign me up! I really need to visit sometime, thanks for sharing!

  3. So many interesting facts! There are no McDonalds but I saw a KFC and Subway. Well, we ate at gas stations some days because we couldn’t afford anything else.

  4. What do you mean by “There is no weather in Iceland, only examples of weather.”? Isn’t that still a kind of weather – just not as predictable? 😀

    I think we missed our best chance to go and really enjoy it. From all I hear and read Iceland is now over-advertised and too popular. The best time to go ended some 7-10 years ago…

  5. Replying to your statment that “Iceland in Dec experiences almost 24 hours of darkness in Dec”. Its like youve never been to Iceland before. We just returned from our Winter/Dec trip and we got 4 1/2 to 5 hours of daylight with extended twillight everyday and accomplished quite a bit during our 7 day stay. Your comment is misleading and a little dramatic just saying.

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