Planning a trip to Iceland? Here are 25 random facts about the country that might surprise – and/or help – you mentally prepare you for your trip. Also make sure to checkout our destination page for more insight on one of our favorite country’s in the world.
1. Beer was outlawed until 1989.
2. Tourism is relatively new to the country. Before the year 2000, hardly anyone visited the island.
3. Want a Big Mac? Too bad, there isn’t one McDonald’s in the entire country.
4. The puffin might be the cutest bird in Scandinavia, but its heart is also a popular delicacy. Eat up!
5. If you’re looking for polar bears, try Canada. They’re not native to Iceland.
6. The national animal of the country is a falcon.
7. In terms of crime, it’s one of the safest destinations in the world for travel.
8. It’s also one of the most dangerous in terms of natural disasters and accidents.
9. Iceland was a Danish territory until 1918.
10. More than 50-percent of the population believes elves, trolls and other magical creatures are real.
11. There are more than 125 volcanic mountains, some of which remain active.
12. The most popular food in the country is a hot dog.
13. The country’s total population is only around 335,000; more people live in the city of Cleveland.
14. Credit and debit card is the preferred method of payment. Not cash.
15. First names not previously used in Iceland must be approved by the Icelandic Naming Committee.
16. So long, Peaches! In 2010, Iceland banned strip clubs.
17. The language remains unchanged from ancient Norse.
18. Iceland is the only NATO country without its own military. Instead, they have horse.
19. Parents often leave their napping babies outside in strollers.
20. Zika who? There are no mosquitoes in Iceland.
21. The country’s national sport is handball.
22. Around 100-percent of the population has Internet access.
23. The Blue Lagoon is actually man-made and uses waste water from a nearby geothermal power plant.
24. There are no surnames or family names in Iceland.
25. Nearly 5% of Icelanders still practice Ásatrú, the traditional Norse religion.