31 dreamy and breathtaking pictures and facts from Iceland
Iceland is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the Western world. Lying in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the island can boast some quite breathtaking scenery that has thankfully yet to suffer the ill effects of industry and human development. The volcanic landscape is characterized by towering mountains interspersed with bubbling geysers and wide valleys — Iceland has a true rugged charm. Wherever you happen to go, the island's stunning natural beauty is ever-present. Here are some of the best snaps captured there. We've also thrown in some facts so that you can get to know the island better!
Polls show that approximately 80% of Icelanders believe in elves.
That's why the government has its own commissioner for elf affairs.
Icelandic cuisine mainly consists of lamb and fish-based dishes.
On average, there's a volcanic eruption every four years on Iceland. However, they're not always as spectacular as the one at Eyjafjallajökull in 2010.
Snow and glaciers cover about 13% of Iceland's land surface.
You won't find many forests here though.
60% of Icelanders live in the capital, Reykjavik.
Iceland has the highest per capita consumption of Coca Cola worldwide.
There are no McDonald's restaurants. In 2009, all outlets closed due to the financial crisis.
But you can still see the last burger that was ever sold. It was first stored in a garage before being moved to a museum. It's currently housed in a hostel and even has its own webcam.
Iceland doesn't have a military.
And why would they need one? The country is hard to get to and there are hardly any crimes. The police don't even carry weapons.
In summer, there are days when the sun doesn't go down.
Handball is the national sport in Iceland.
Iceland is one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe.
There are about 350,000 people living in Iceland, about the same number of people who live in Tampa.
The unemployment rate in Iceland is 2.3%.
Icelanders attend school for 14 years.
Boxing was banned in Iceland until 2002.
There has been democracy in Iceland since 930 A.D. A record!
The population density is five inhabitants per square mile.
As a comparison, the population density in the United States is 91 inhabitants per square mile. Monaco's is over 20,000!
The coach of the national football team is actually a dentist.
The Icelandic alphabet has 32 letters.
The Icelandic language has barely changed in over 1,000 years.
That's why Icelanders can understand ancient texts relatively easily.
Iceland has only one Nobel prize winner, the writer Halldór Laxness. But ...
... Icelanders have the most Nobel prize winners per capita due to the low population!
There aren't any strip clubs here.
Statistically speaking, Iceland has the worst terrorists in the world. There has never been a terrorist attack here.
Every year, there are four times as many tourists as there are Icelanders in the country.
What an incredible country! We hope it stays that way. :-)