10 Quick Facts About Iceland

What do you do if you get lost in the woodlands in Iceland?

If you’ve been to Iceland, you’ve heard this joke multiple times. It’s a favourite among tour guides, meaning it must be a pretty big hit with tourists, despite its overuse.

If you haven’t heard it, and you can’t hazard a guess, you can always stick around ’til the end of the post.

1. Iceland is the most environmentally friendly countries in Europe. It’s also one of the happiest and has the lowest population density.

2. The most famous restaurant in the country is a hot dog stand.

3. Dior imports Icelandic water to use in its creams. The tap water is pure and filtered naturally, with nothing added.

4. One in ten Icelanders is a published author. Reykjavik has won an award for the most cultural city in Europe due to have the most writers and books published per capita.

5. Iceland’s first day of summer is the first Thursday after April 18. It is a public holiday and a day to be nice to children. If you fail to treat children well on this day, you have a bad summer ahead of you.

6. Icelanders use their land’s geothermal properties to their advantage. Aside from geothermal pools, they use the hot water to heat homes. In downtown Reykjavik, hot water pipes below the streets heat up the road and melt the snow in the winter. Who needs snow clearing?

7. The houses in Iceland are built to withstand earthquakes, especially in areas that straddle both tectonic plates. Built from cement and steel, the US Army considers the houses to be bomb shelters.

8. Icelanders are proud of their horses, which have been bred in the country for 1000 years and are incredibly pure. They are the only horses that can run through lava fields. If a horse leaves the country, it’s not allowed back in. Seriously.

9. Icelanders actually have Celtic ancestry in addition to their Nordic genetics. Why? Vikings would stop over at the British Isles on their way to Iceland and pick up the best-looking women they could find to bring with them.

10. On average there is one murder in the country per year. Crime rate is low, but there are still criminals. Each year, around 139 men and six women go to prison long term.

So, what do you do if you get lost in the woodlands in Iceland?

Stand up.

Originally published at marieaway.com on May 14, 2015.