Iceland is a Nordic island country located in the North Atlantic Ocean and serves as home to some 330,000 people. It has active volcanoes, lava fields, mountains, glaciers and rivers in its tundra climate, and even in the summers it stays fairly chilly outside.
What you might not know about this magical place is that its people have some fairly bizarre traditions and customs, and the land is almost fairytale-like in nature.
If you’re planning a trip to Iceland, you ought to know these 10 bizarre facts about the island nation:
Most of the people who live in Iceland are pretty sure that elves exist
According to The Atlantic, one resident said “elves can range wildly in size, from a few centimeters to three meters in height. They may live in houses, sometimes with multiple floors, and, if you leave them alone, they’ll generally mind their own business.”
Iceland is one of the only places in the world to have a penis museum: The Icelandic Phallological Museum
If you hate mosquitoes, head to Iceland--Mosquitoes do not exist on the Nordic island nation**
If you see babies sleeping soundly outside when temperatures are freezing, don’t worry, it’s normal
Iceland only just recently allowed its citizens to drink beer, starting in 1989
Iceland is cold, but not as cold as many think--Average temperatures in the winter months sit around 35°F
Iceland’s national dish is Hákarl, or rotten shark. It is a delicacy for the Icelandic people
A majority of Icelandic people do not have surnames (last names) as we know them
Instead, their last names are usually derived from their father’s first name, followed by “-son” for boys and “-dóttir” for girls.
The country does not have a standing army to call its own
The Iceland Defense Force (IDF) was created at the request of NATO after the United States agreed to provide protection for the country in 1951. This military command of the United States Armed Forces ceased in 2006.
Although rotten shark is the country’s national dish, its people’s favorite food is hot dogs
Hot dogs can be found almost everywhere in Iceland--restaurants, gas stations, and even roadside rest areas.