For those who don’t know, Iceland is a Nordic Island Country of Europe located in the North Atlantic Ocean. While most people conjure images of Vikings, the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull (try saying that ten times fast–if you can even pronounce it…we can!), or perhaps the location of some of your favorite Game of Thrones episodes, there’s a lot more to the land of Ice and Fire than you might think. Here are ten examples of what makes Iceland such a unique place.
1. The Arctic Fox
The Arctic fox is the only indigenous land mammal in Iceland and was the only land mammal prior to the arrival of humans.
The population of Iceland reached 300,000 in 2006. That’s less than a 5% of the population in New York City.
3. Iceland is Expensive
Iceland is the 4th most expensive country in the world. The cost of living is 2.14% higher than NYC.
4. It’s Eco-Friendly
Iceland is the only country in the world which obtains 100% of its energy from renewable sources. 87% of its electricity comes from hydro-power and the remaining 13% from geothermal power.
5. It’s the Safest Place on Earth
According to the Global Peace Index, Iceland is the most peaceful country in the world. There are only 1.3 murders per year.
6. Sheep’s Head is on the Menu
Sheep’s head is a very popular meal. It is also served in the form of svi∂asulta (sheep head jam) where the meat is chopped and pressed into molds. The result is sliced and served with bread and butter.
7. There’s Swimming Year Round
Iceland has more than 120 public swimming pools which are geothermally heated and used year-round.
8. Religion is big…sort of…
At birth, Icelanders are registered in the Evangelical Lutheran church, the official state religion.
9. Glaciers Abound
Vatnajökull, also known as the “Water Glacier” is the third largest glacier in Europe, covering an area of 3,127 square miles.
10. Iceland is home to the origin of “Geyser”
The English word “geyser” comes from Iceland’s Great Geysir in Haukadalur.