interesting facts about Iceland

22 Interesting Facts About Iceland

Want to learn a little more about the countries of the world and increase your chances of winning the next geography quiz? Take a look at these fun facts about Iceland!

1. Where is Iceland?

Iceland is a Nordic island located in north west Europe.

Its nearest countries are Greenland to the north west, Norway to the east and the Faroe Islands, Ireland and the United Kingdom to the south east.

2. It’s pretty tiny!

It has an area of 39,769 square miles (103,001 square kilometers).

3. Want to find it on a compass?

The coordinates for this chilly country are 65.0000° N, 18.0000°

Flag of Iceland
Flag of Iceland

4. Very few people actually live in Iceland.

Iceland’s population was 382,003 in 2022.

5. What’s the capital of Iceland?

Reykjavik is the capital city; it has an area of 106 square miles (274.5 square kilometers) and a population of 122,853 (2016).

6. It’s a beautiful country.

The terrain here is mostly flat with stunning mountain peaks and icefields, surrounded by a coastline scattered with bays, incredible black sand beaches and fjords. Trust us, it’s absolutely stunning!

7. Getting around can be tricky!

Amazingly, there is no public railway system in Iceland!

8. The name ‘Iceland’ doesn’t lie.

If you lived here, you’d enjoy a temperate climate with mild, windy winters and damp, cool summers. Expect to experience average lows of -3°C and highs of 13°C, however, it has been known to reach as cold as -39.7°C and as warm as 30.5°C!

9. Iceland’s political system is a record setter.

Having been founded in 930 AD, Iceland’s parliament is the oldest extant parliamentary institution in the world! We don’t know about you, but we certainly wouldn’t have guessed this!

Skogafoss Waterfall, Iceland
Skogafoss Waterfall, Iceland

10. There is plenty of hot stuff in Iceland if you look for it!

Whilst visiting Iceland you will probably want to experience their incredible naturally hot springs, but be warned, it is customary to shower in the open before you go in to the springs, and swimming costumes are not allowed! Crikey!

11. What’s the national sport of Iceland?

Handball is considered the national sport of Iceland and can be a very fast paced and oftentimes brutal sport!

12. Here’s an unthinkable drinkable fact…

Amazingly, beer was banned here until 1989!

interesting facts about iceland

13. Iceland’s lifespan averages are fantastic.

The average life expectancy here is a healthy 83,12 years (2021).

14. Skyr yogurts generally aren’t the same.

Skyr is eaten regularly in Iceland but it’s relatively unheard of outside of this stunning country. It’s a low fat, high protein soft cheese which is very similar to yogurt and can be eaten as a snack or as a side dish.

15. Look up to the skies and see…

Iceland is one of the best places to visit if you want to see the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis.

Northern Lights, Thórsmörk, Iceland
Northern Lights, Thórsmörk, Iceland

16. Iceland’s familial connections are surprising.

On your ventures across the world-wide-web, you can visit the Islendingabok (the book of Icelanders) to see how Icelanders are related to each other (because apparently everyone is related somehow)!

17. Iceland makes the most of its blazing peaks.

Being a country plagued with volcanic activity, Iceland has found an eco-friendly way to turn this natural energy into a highly prized commodity – geothermal energy makes up more than half of the country’s renewable energy and is used to both heat water and generate electricity. Top marks, Iceland!

18. What can you spend in Iceland?

The currency of Iceland is the Icelandic Krona.

A little chapel In Iceland

19. Tee-off after hours!

During the months of June and July, the Sun never fully sets in Iceland, so residents take full advantage of this by, wait for it… playing midnight golf! As you do!

20. What do people speak in Iceland?

Iceland’s official languages are Icelandic, a North German language derived from Old Norse, and English!

21. Iceland grows and exports lots of interesting things.

They grow potatoes and green vegetables, rear chicken, pigs, cattle and sheep, catch fish and produce dairy products here.

The country’s industry consists of fish processing (rather unsurprisingly, given the location!), aluminum smelting, ferrosilicon production, geothermal power, hydropower and tourism.

Iceland exports fish and fish products, aluminum, animal products, ferrosilicon and diatomite.

Downtown, Reykjavík
Downtown, Reykjavík

22. Keep in touch with your Icelandic friends!

Want to call family or friends in Iceland? You’ll need to use the international dialing code +354.

FAQs about Iceland

Do people speak English in Iceland?

Yes - in fact, it’s generally taught as the second language after Icelandic in schools.

Is there anything negative about Iceland that travelers should know about?

Iceland has lots and lots of positives for tourists to enjoy, however, it can be quite expensive to visit here as a result!

Is Iceland a safe country?

Yes, in actual fact, Iceland has been named the safest country in the world for at least 13 years (at the time of writing - 2021)!

Do you know any fun facts about Iceland?  Share them in the comments below!

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This page was last modified on June 6, 2024. Suggest an edit