What’s the first word that comes to your mind if I say “Iceland”? It should definitely be “outdoor”. Or “splendid”. For a country that is not that big, Iceland has a lot to offer to all its visitors. Famous for its glaciers, the Blue Lagoon, Geyser, and more, Iceland is perfect both for adrenaline rush lovers and for those who just want to have unforgettable travels, admiring beautiful landscapes, and having fun in a more relaxed way.
One thing to know: when you’ll do your research regarding the country (culture, history, etc.), you’ll discover many interesting facts. Some that might even be considered odd by some – depending on the place you come from and how different your culture is from this one. So, before presenting you five great, not-to-miss activities in Iceland, here are some interesting facts about the country.
10 fun facts about Iceland
Iceland has no army, air or navy force.
Policemen don’t carry guns. (The country also has a low rate of violent crime, so there is no need for weapons.)
There are no mosquitoes in Iceland. (Yes, a huge plus! Yes, this means it’s cold here. )
Until March 1st, 1989, beer was illegal in Iceland.
Around 80% of the population believes in supernatural beings – especially elves (hidden people) and trolls. (Many countries lost their connection to such beings, though at some point they had it – let’s look at the fairytales around the globe.)
Approximately 85% of Iceland’s electricity and heating comes from hydroelectric power and geothermal water. (This is truly impressive!)
It is against the law in Iceland to own a pet snake, lizard or turtle.
The telephone directories in this country list Icelanders by first name alphabetically. (Keep in mind that they use the Nordic naming system so there are no surnames or family names in Iceland.)
There is no McDonald’s (anymore) in the country.
The country has the highest number of book and magazine publications per capita (and it is expected that around 10% of the population will publish a book in their lifetime.)
These can be considered fun/unusual/weird even (some) facts regarding Iceland. But, in the end, what is common for someone might be unusual/odd for another person. And each country has its oddities.
I also heard that it is said that the country has the biggest banana plantation in Europe, but I found out that that is not true. The country is rich enough though in hot springs, volcanoes, geysers, ancient cooled lava flows, mountains, glaciers, and waterfalls, so it has many things available to impress its visitors.
Top 5 not-to-miss activities in Iceland
Iceland is a paradise for outdoor lovers. It is a great destination to observe the Northern Lights, for snorkeling, go with a snowmobile, and more. Depending on your tastes and preferences, you can choose from a wide variety of activities in Iceland. Here are five great activities to consider for your next visit in the country!
Snorkel between two tectonic plates
One of the must see places in Iceland is the Thingvellir National Park. Apart from the amazing beauty, you will have the unique opportunity to see the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet. More than that, you can walk, snorkel and dive in between these plates (and the water is so clear that the visibility is more than 100 meters). You can go snorkeling all year long – isn’t this amazing?
Go dog sledding
Iceland is a country that offers dog sledding opportunities throughout the year. However, you should take in consideration dog sledding during the summer as this is the only season when dogs and sleighs can be based on top of a glacier. In other seasons the tours are mainly around Reykjavík. True, this is definitely not a bad thing and the experience, regardless of the season, will be great as the dogs are terrific and dog sledding is a not-to-miss activity while in the country (small children, 2-3 years old, are accepted!)
Take a snowmobile ride on a glacier
The list of amazing adventures to have continues with snowmobiling on a glacier in Iceland! Each tour that you’ll find offers a special, unforgettable experience and mesmerizing views. You don’t have to be experienced – you just have to desire to have an adventure to remember for years to come!
photo from the Iceland Tourism
Snowmobiling on a glacier is something you can do almost all year round in Iceland and, as 11% of the country’s surface is covered by glaciers, you’ll definitely have where to choose from! You only have to have a driver’s license and to be in a mood for fun!
See how a volcano looks on the inside
Volcanoes lure people from across the globe to Iceland. They are impressive, there’s no doubt about it. But while many volcanoes from across the globe can be admired only from the exterior, Iceland is home to a special volcano that lets you explore the “magma chamber”!
Seeing how a volcano looks on the inside is something to include on your itinerary. You have to be able to do a hike to get to the crater of the Thrihnjukagigur volcano and to be courageous enough to descend 120 meters (in an open cable lift, not by yourself!). And to be prepared to be amazed by the rock formations, colours and the opportunity itself.
Ride an Icelandic horse
Riding a horse, being able to establish a connection with this impressive animal is a memorable experience in itself. Add to the ride the fact that Iceland has a unique breed of horses – smaller, but famous for their strength and intelligence and two extra gaits – and you will have a special ride. Ask the instructor to present you ‘tölt’ – something in between the famous trot and canter, but very comfortable.
As you can see there are many things to do in Iceland so, in the end, the only choices you have to make is when to visit the country, how long your stay will be, and what activities will make your final list! No matter what you choose, you will be happy you decided to visit Iceland!