These past few weeks the internet has been blowing up with lists sharing Top Travel Destinations for 2016. And do you know what place is on almost all of these list, besides Cuba???
My beloved Iceland!
Now in my opinion Iceland totally deserves to be on all of these lists, I mean this country is gorgeous! And apparently many of you agree from all of the messages I have been receiving lately with people planning a trip to Iceland this year!
With Iceland’s increasing popularity among travelers (and my family and friends back home!) I am constantly getting questions about things people have heard about this unique country. Some of the things people ask me about, well they are a bit out there and most definitely false. But other things people ask me about Iceland, well they are a bit out there too, but they are true.
So to get the facts straight about this place I call home here is my Iceland version of myth busters!
Iceland is green and Greenland is covered in ice
This is the most common question I get about Iceland, and really all I knew about Iceland as well before I met my Viking. While you will still find ice covering parts of Iceland (like one of the largest glaciers in Europe!) the country for the most part is covered in gorgeous green landscape that makes for fairy-tale road trips. Well, in the summer time it is green, winter is a different story.
We live in igloos
Sorry to squash your idea that Iceland is the land of Eskimos and igloos but you won’t find anyone inside an ice house here. I may love my Viking but not enough to live in an igloo so I am more than happy that there are no igloos in sight. Instead the houses you will find are charming colorful ones in a range of colors, even neon green and purple.
The winter is completely dark
My first winter in Iceland everyone kept warning me about the long dark days ahead. In my mind this meant that I wouldn’t see the sun for weeks and the days would be like one long never ending night. Thankfully I was totally wrong about this, and while the nights are certainly much longer we are still treated to at least 4 hours of daylight on the shortest days.
You have to get naked and shower before entering any of the popular swimming pools
You won’t find any nude beaches here in Iceland but you will find everyone stripping down before getting into the popular swimming pools and hot springs. In fact, it is required that everyone takes a shower before putting on their bathing suit and entering the pools, even at the famous Blue Lagoon. Many first time visitors find this uncomfortable and people often ask me if they really have to strip and shower. My answer, yes, if you don’t Icelanders will find it gross and disrespectful, I mean who wants to swim in dirty water right? But don’t worry, everyone is doing it, so strip down, rinse off, and then head out to enjoy a relaxing swim in the hot pools.
There are polar bears roaming around Iceland
I assume people think that there must be polar bears in Iceland since Iceland is an island in the Arctic, but don’t plan on seeing any on your trip here. But there are ridiculously cute Icelandic horses roaming about everywhere! And I think the Icelandic horses are a bit friendlier than if you ran into a polar bear.
All Icelanders believe in elves and trolls
Or a myth, depending on who you ask.
It is often said that more than half of Icelanders believe in elves. It is up for debate as to how many Icelanders actually believe in elves, but you often hear stories of roads not being built somewhere because it would disrupt the elves, so maybe they believe more than they think. I have yet to decide which side of the debate I am on, but after visiting the elf church (pictured above) hidden in the lava fields I may be turning into a believer.
There is an tunnel from Iceland to Greenland
Okay, not going to lie, when I first heard this I at first thought, “wow that is awesome”! I have a good reason for at first believing this. There is an underwater tunnel that goes from Reykjavik to a city across the peninsula, so you know anything is possible right. But sadly no, there is not a tunnel to Greenland, if that was true I would be visiting Greenland all the time! Instead you will have to save up and purchase the very expensive plane ticket over to Greenland from Iceland, I am keeping my fingers crossed that one day I get to make the trip over there.
Family names are not common in Iceland
While some people do have family names, for the majority of Iceland’s there is no family name. That Viking of mine, he has no family last name that I would take if we were to get married. Instead the Icelandic last names are their fathers first name, plus either son or dottir at the end depending on if your male or female. For example, if my dad’s name is Jón (a popular Icelandic male name) than my last name would be Jónsdóttir. Interesting right!
And now you can go impress your friends with all your Icelandic knowledge!
Want to learn more about this unique country I call home? Check out my Iceland page , it won’t take long before you will be dreaming up your own Icelandic adventure! Interested in what it is like to be a foreigner living in Iceland? Well if your me it tends to be full of embarrassing moments, but always an adventure.
Question of the Day?
Have you heard any myths about Iceland? What about your own country?
*A version of this post was originally shared over at the lovely Helene’s site