*This is a guest post. The opinions expressed are that of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect my own.
Iceland, located between North America and Europe, is one of the most fantastic places you’ll ever visit. With 11% of the land surface covered with ice and another 30% being lava fields, here’s a country with extremely contrasting fire and ice cohabit forces. It is still very active volcanically, and there’s usually an eruption once in four years, thankfully not where people live. There are many good things to note about this small island with largely homogenous people, but there are also some Icelandic facts that make it a travel hotspot and are bound to surprise you. Here are 6 of them.
- There are no mosquitoes in Iceland.
Iceland is the only country in the world where there are no mosquitoes. These little creatures are known to breed in almost all kinds of environments, including cold climatic conditions and hot, humid climates. Antarctica – the earth’s coldest place – has mosquitoes. However, you can’t find any in Iceland. It is said that the harsh oceanic climate with the cold and windiness keeps mosquitoes away. There’s also a theory that the soil and water’s chemical composition in Iceland isn’t survivable for mosquitoes. Whatever it is, evading those little creatures might mean a trip to Iceland.
- Elves and trolls exist.
This is the belief of many of the Icelandic people. With Iceland being a very natural place apart from the absence of trees, it is not hard to imagine why many believe in the existence of trolls and elves. The presence of a giant stone means there’s an elf in there, and removing the stone would destroy its house. This is why many roads in Iceland go around big stones rather than just cut straight through them. The trolls are also said to live in the mountains. If you’re lost and become surrounded by fog, and you start to hear the voice of a woman singing (if you’re male) or a baby crying (if you’re female), then a troll is setting a trap for you. Many people believe this to be true because they raised them with many of these folktales about elves and trolls and legends from Vikings.
- Beer was illegal until 1989
Funny as this sounds, if they catch you drinking beer before 1989 in Iceland, you would have been considered unpatriotic. This is because beer was largely linked with the Danes and Iceland lifestyle and was locked in a fight for Denmark’s independence for a long time. So drinking beer was acknowledging Danish culture and was unpatriotic to Icelandic people. Thankfully, they have abolished that law, and there’s now a national beer day on March 1 to celebrate repealing this act.
- Babies are left alone to nap outside in Iceland.
You would probably need to get used to seeing a baby stroller just left outside on its own while the baby continues to take their nap undisturbed and unbothered in Iceland. You could be taking coffee at a coffee shop, and a baby is just outside the shop in a stroller napping while the mother is somewhere around – probably taking coffee as well. You would see something like this at least once every day irrespective of the time or season – even in very freezing temperatures. The mothers are usually not far away, though, but seeing babies in front of houses, shops, and in public generally is a regular occurrence in Iceland. After all, some fresh air isn’t bad for the body.
- Icelandic people don’t have family names or surnames.
The Icelandic people don’t use the typical naming system popularly adopted in different parts of the world. They use the Nordic naming system, which is more traditional, so there are no family names or surnames. They have the last name from the first name of their father (or mother) with a son (or daughter) added to it. It is worth noting that the Icelandic language didn’t change from the ancient Norse. So, it is possible to read texts that are thousands of years old easily.
- Iceland’s water is the cleanest in the world.
Already, there are many positive things to note about Iceland on arrival. However, one fact that stands out is the cleanliness of the water in Iceland. Water from almost all streams or tap in Iceland is drinkable. Perhaps surprisingly (or not), it is harder to come by cold water than hot water. This is because of the large bodies of volcanoes lying just underground. Interestingly, the soil in Iceland hasn’t been spoiled by industrial activities, and the air isn’t polluted. So, it’s safe to say that Iceland has one of the most natural and pure environments in the world.
Iceland is a fascinating place to be with a host of happy and hospitable people. Before you travel, you should at least know some basic facts about Iceland.
Lauren Adley is a writer and editor at BrillAssignment. She is dedicated to her family, work, and friends. She is keen on reading, playing the guitar, and traveling. She is interested in educational, marketing, and blogging issues.