Facts tourists find bizarre about Icelanders

It’s a small, secluded place, so we’re bound to be at least a little weird, right?

Tourism in Iceland has rapidly grown over the last few years, so of course, many outsiders take some adjusting to certain customs, but can’t help but find the eccentricity a bit fascinating. Here are some facts that visitors have found be obsvervational and, to be honest, bizarre.


The Icelandic alphabet has 32 characters, and also a lot of vowels: a, á, e, é, i, í, o, ó, u, ú, y, ý, æ and ö


Beer was illegal here for 73 years but became legal again on the 1st of March 1989.


In 2010 Iceland banned strip clubs.


According to surveys, the majority of the population does truly believe in elves.


Hot dogs (“pulsa”) are everywhere! At gas stations, restaurants, supermarkets, name it.


There are (mostly) no surnames or family names in Iceland – Icelanders use the traditional Nordic naming system, which includes a last name that is comprised from their father’s (or mother’s) first name with the addition of -dóttir (-daughter) or -son.


Reykjavík has an actual penis museum. It’s exactly what you think it is – and more.


Dogs were banned in Reykjavík until the year 1984. The laws were changed but dogs were only allowed in certain parts, and not until 2006 was the ban lifted altogether.


There is an Icelandic anti-incest app to prevent relatives from accidentally sleeping with each other. Naturally.


While showering before swimming is a normal exercise around the world, few places insist you do it naked and, in some cases, publicly. This is because most of the pools in Iceland are not chlorinated, so fellow bathers and swimmers need to be confident that the waters they will be entering are clean.


There are more swimming pools per capita than any other place in the world.


Consumption of Coca–Cola per capita is higher than in any other country.


Iceland has more writers per capita than any other country.


Icelanders watch more movies than any other nation.


it’s not AS cold as some people believe… except during high winter.


There are no forests in Iceland.

At 43.5 hours per week, they have the longest work week in Europe.


Delicacies in Iceland is truly something to discuss. The locals have a particular affection for Puffin, dried fish, fermented shark, sheep’s head and even pickled ram’s testicles. The even weirder part is that some of these dishes can be found in just about any kind of restaurant og market in the city.


Babies in Iceland are routinely left outside to nap.


There is little crime in Iceland, and virtually no violent crime. The country does not have a standing army, and its police officers do not carry guns.

Owning a pet snake, lizard or turtle is against the law.


There are no mosqutoes. None.


Icelanders eat potatoes with almost everything – cooked, barbecued, oven baked, gratinated and pan fried. Icelanders also often grow in their back yards rhubarb, strawberries and other berries, carrots, lettuce and other types of veggies.
Icelanders coat all of their food in sauce. Gravy, dipping sauces, condiments… Basically, there is a unique sauce for everything.


A single Santa Claus is out of the question. The Yule lads are thirteen in Iceland, and they are all pretty mischievous and rotten, originally at least.