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Did You Know? – Random Facts About Iceland

Did You Know? – Random Facts About Iceland

When we arrived in Iceland, we didn’t know too much about the country, its history or its traditions and understandably so. Reykjavik sits over 10,000 miles away from our home in Melbourne and has always been an exotic destination for many Australians.

But thanks to our various tour guides possessing extensive knowledge of their homeland, we compiled a long list of interesting facts about the island located between Europe and North America.

23 Random Facts About Iceland

Before the Global Financial Crisis, Iceland was one of the richest countries in the world with 1 Euro = 80 Icelandic Krona. Today, 1 Euro = 158 Icelandic Krona.

Iceland is warmer than most European capital cities in Winter with an average temperature of zero degrees celsius.

The longest day in Iceland happens in June where the sun rises before 3am and sets at midnight – over 21 hours of daylight!

The shortest day in Iceland is December 21st with the country only receiving 3-4 hours of sunlight.

There are 200 volcanoes in Iceland, 120 of which are still active. All of them rest of tectonic plates.

There is a volcanic eruption every 4 years on average.

One of many lava fields in Iceland

One of many lava fields in Iceland

Lava covers 11% of Iceland which is one-third of all lava in the world.

Reykjavik is the only capital city in the world that has a salmon river running right through it.

There are no mosquitoes in Iceland!

There is no pollution in Iceland and you can drink water straight from the tap. It’s honestly better than bottled water!

There are 5000 different species of moss growing in Iceland.

You will find the best sheep’s head in Reykjavik at the BSI Bus Terminal. We can’t confirm whether this is true but will take our tour guide’s word for it.

Coca-Cola in Iceland

Coca-Cola in Iceland

Icelanders drink more Coca-Cola per capita than any other nation.

Iceland is the second biggest island in Europe.

Icelanders still believe in hidden people (elves and trolls). They even build roads around rocks believed to be inhabited by elves instead of destroying them which is why some of their roads are windy.

11% of Iceland consists of glaciers. 20% is farming and 8% is housing.

Iceland runs on nearly 100% sustainable green energy. Approximately 75% of the nation’s electricity is generated by hydroelectric power and 25% comes from geothermal energy. Just 0.1% comes from fossil fuels.

The average monthly household electricity bill in Iceland is $20 – $30. This includes heating and water.

The majority of Icelandic houses are heated by geothermal water.

Iceland’s streets are heated by geothermal water so they do not become slippery in winter.

Icelanders pay 37-46% income tax. However they do not have to pay for things such as healthcare and education.

The average work week in Iceland is 46 hours.

Iceland’s parliament was formed in 930 AD, making it the oldest parliament in the world.

Which of these facts did you find the most interesting?

17 Comments

  1. Posted November 15, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    They drink more Coke than Americans? Crazy! I love that they hardly use any fossil fuels. Great post, I want to go to Iceland so much!

    • Posted November 15, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      Obviously not in volume but per capita, yes they do! It’s not even that cheap there which makes it even more surprising.

      Hope you can make it to Iceland soon – Iceland Express have flights from Berlin and Frankfurt so that you can make it happen! :)

  2. Jennifer Adams
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    Hope you don’t mind if I share… If anyone is looking for a little Iceland motivation I highly recommend the photographer Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir! http://www.flickr.com/photos/rebba/sets/1260435/

    • Posted November 16, 2011 at 1:59 am | Permalink

      Not a problem at all… feel free to share anything to inspire people to travel either via the comments or on our Facebook page. Beautiful pictures! :)

  3. Posted November 16, 2011 at 3:56 am | Permalink

    I’m with Ali on the Coke bit. Lol. Curazy!

    • Posted November 16, 2011 at 6:44 am | Permalink

      It surprised us too – think it’s even in the Guinness Book of World Records!

  4. Posted November 16, 2011 at 4:44 am | Permalink

    I’m really hoping to stop off in Iceland next summer either on my way to or from the UK. It looks and sounds so great!

    I love that they still believe in elves and trolls and such. That is awesome.

    And their love of Coca Cola? Sounds like my sort of place!
    Amanda recently posted..Photo of the Day: Cadillac Ranch, Texas

    • Posted November 16, 2011 at 6:49 am | Permalink

      You really need to stop off in Iceland – the extra cost won’t even be that much and we guarantee you’ll have the adventure of a lifetime.

      It’s pretty amazing that their belief in elves is so high that they go as far as protecting their ‘habitats’.

    • Posted November 16, 2011 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      I’ve actually been told that if you fly Iceland Air (which does fly from the US to the UK!), you can build in a stopover in Iceland for free! I haven’t officially inquired about this, but it sure does make it tempting…

    • Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      Yep, heard that too! Not sure how long the stopover is for but definitely look into that (although it may be cheaper to fly Iceland Express on two one-way flights).

      We’ve still got some exciting posts to come that will hopefully be enough to convince you to visit Iceland. :)

  5. Posted November 16, 2011 at 4:50 am | Permalink

    I’m going to have to go with the trolls and elves…but am most impressed with the heated streets! Very interesting!
    NLM recently posted..Rock ‘n Roll is Here to Stay

    • Posted November 16, 2011 at 6:49 am | Permalink

      The heated streets really surprised us too – but an excellent idea! I know a few cities that would benefit from that kind of innovation!

  6. Posted November 16, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Iceland just keeps popping up everywhere, maybe I should take it as a sign to visit. I love that they use geothermal heat on their streets in the winter. I wish we did that in Canada.
    Alouise recently posted..Fear, Celebrations, Love Learning, Environment, One Perfect Day, Feast, and Meaningful Connections,

    • Posted November 16, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      Definitely Alouise! We can see Iceland booming as a tourism destination very soon!

  7. Matthew Cheyne
    Posted November 16, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    What’s the food like in Iceland? Do they eat normal western fare like burgers and fries? I heard they used to have a McDonald’s in Iceland before the global financial crisis and they had to shut it down because the imported ingredients from Germany became to expensive. So how have you guys been eating during your time in Iceland?

    • Posted November 16, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

      Western fare is definitely increasing over there – the most affordable options were always burgers/fries and pizza. There were a lot of Italian restaurants too.

      Our hotel had a free breakfast so we stacked up on food there and mixed it up between prepackaged sandwiches, pasta and the food already mentioned. Hamborgarbúllan is probably our favorite place to eat – the burgers here are excellent and aren’t too expensive.

  8. Posted November 17, 2011 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Yikes, that’s a lot of tax. I thought the ~30% we pay here in Sweden was high…

    Iceland is an amazing country, and I’m so happy my parents took me there when i was a little kid. Nature is just stunning…
    Tobias recently posted..Eating Balut

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