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Comprehensive Guide: Essential Information to Know About Iceland Before Your Visit

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How's the weather in Iceland?

One of Iceland's most fascinating aspects is its diverse and unpredictable weather. The saying "If you don't like the weather in Iceland, wait five minutes" is something you'll often hear locals saying, and for a good reason!

You might experience bright sunshine on a single day, followed by a swift turn to overcast skies, a drizzle, or even a blustery snowstorm. This can occur regardless of the season, as the weather patterns in Iceland are influenced by the North Atlantic Current, which can cause swift and sudden changes.

The temperatures in Iceland typically range from -2°C (28°F) in winter to 10-13°C (50-55°F) in summer. However, due to the windy conditions, it can often feel colder than it is. The wind in Iceland can be particularly strong, and it's not unusual to experience gusts that can make walking difficult.

When planning your activities, whether renting a car for a scenic drive, embarking on a hike to explore the natural beauty, or just strolling around to sightsee, it's wise to be prepared for any weather. It is highly recommended to check the local weather forecast daily or even several times a day.

For your packing list, waterproof and windproof items are a must. Consider packing waterproof trousers and a robust windbreaker jacket with a hood to shield you from sudden rain showers or strong wind. Gloves are also essential to keep your hands warm, especially during the colder months or when you're out in the countryside.

In addition, wearing layers is the key to staying comfortable in Iceland's ever-changing weather. Start with a base layer to keep you warm, add a middle layer for extra insulation, and finish with a waterproof and windproof outer layer. Don't forget a good pair of waterproof shoes if you plan to walk or hike.

Iceland's unpredictable weather may seem daunting, but it's also part of what makes visiting the country a unique experience. It adds to the adventure and offers stunning and ever-changing landscapes that are truly unforgettable. So embrace it, be prepared, and enjoy your Icelandic journey.

Are all credit cards accepted in Iceland?

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Raveling to a new country often comes with the dilemma of handling finances - specifically, how to pay for goods and services during your stay. When it comes to Iceland, you might ask: are all credit cards accepted there?

The answer is quite comforting - in Iceland, almost all major international credit and debit cards are widely accepted, making handling payments a breeze. This includes brands like Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and more. Plastic money has become so prevalent that Iceland is considered one of the most cashless societies in the world. You can use your credit card for nearly every transaction, from your morning coffee to booking tours and excursions.

What makes this even more convenient is that even small businesses like cafes, boutique stores, and guesthouses usually accept credit cards, so you don't have to worry about carrying large amounts of cash.

However, despite this widespread acceptance of credit cards, there could be instances where having some cash might come in handy. This is particularly true for older parking meters that haven't been updated to accept credit cards or at traditional flea markets where individual vendors might operate on a cash-only basis. In such situations, having a small amount of cash can be helpful.

It's important to note that while cash transactions are not as expected, the Icelandic currency is the Króna (ISK). Currency exchange services are available at the airport and in major cities if you find yourself in need of some local currency.

Also, it's always wise to notify your bank or credit card company about your travel plans. This will prevent unexpected holds on your card due to suspected fraudulent activity.

Lastly, while most businesses in Iceland accept credit cards, it's always good practice to ask beforehand, especially if you're dealing with small, local businesses or remote establishments.

In conclusion, rest assured knowing that your credit card will be a viable payment method for most of your transactions during your stay in Iceland. Remember to spend wisely and enjoy your trip to this beautiful island nation.

Can I use my phone while in Iceland?

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Traveling to Iceland, you might wonder how you can stay connected to your world back home and whether your mobile device will work there. The good news is that using your phone in Iceland is not only possible, but it's relatively straightforward.

Iceland has a robust telecommunications network, with expansive coverage across the country, even extending into some more remote regions. This means that your smartphone should have no issues with reception in most areas you're likely to visit. Iceland primarily uses the GSM network system, similar to most of Europe. So if your phone is compatible with this system (which most smartphones are), you should have no problem connecting to the network.

One of the simplest ways to ensure you're connected is by purchasing an Icelandic sim card for your phone. These sim cards are readily available at various retail outlets, including many located conveniently at Keflavik International Airport upon your arrival. Once installed, the Icelandic sim card gives you access to Iceland's 3G and 4G networks, known for their reliability and speed. This can be an extremely helpful resource, especially if you plan to venture into the country's more remote areas where wifi might not be readily accessible.

However, if you don't want to deal with the hassle of switching sim cards and possibly losing your current one, there's another option. In Iceland, you can rent a portable WIFI device. This small, handheld gadget generates a WIFI signal to connect your phone and other devices. You can carry it wherever you go, ensuring you always have internet access. These devices can usually be rented from the same places where you can buy a sim card.

Another option is to check international roaming packages with your current service provider. This allows you to use your phone just like you would at home, but it can often be quite costly, so be sure to understand the charges before you make a decision.

Finally, remember that many hotels, restaurants, and public places in Iceland offer free WIFI, so you may not always need to use data.

Whether staying in touch with loved ones, navigating the beautiful terrain of Iceland, or simply updating your social media with stunning photos, staying connected during your trip is made easy with these options.

​How much should I tip in Iceland?

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Navigating tipping culture can be tricky when traveling, as norms vary significantly from one country to another. In the case of Iceland, it's essential to understand that tipping is not a typical practice as it is in other countries, say, the United States. The concept of tipping is rather foreign in Iceland because service charges and taxes are generally included in the bill in most establishments.

That said, the Icelandic culture is changing, especially in places frequented by tourists, and attitudes towards tipping are gradually evolving. Tipping can be a lovely way to express your gratitude if you are particularly pleased with the service provided by waitstaff, drivers, or other service professionals during your stay.

While there is no standard tipping amount in Iceland, as a guideline, consider leaving between $40-$80 if you wish to tip. This is generally seen as a nice gesture, demonstrating your appreciation for exceptional service. Anything above $80 would be considered a generous tip and would undoubtedly be appreciated by the recipient.

However, always remember that tipping in Iceland is entirely voluntary, and there's no obligation. If you decide to tip, it's a personal decision based on your satisfaction with the service provided.

Moreover, instead of focusing solely on monetary gratuity, consider non-monetary ways of showing appreciation. Writing a positive review, recommending the establishment or service provider to others, or simply expressing gratitude can also significantly impact you.

In conclusion, while tipping is not customary in Iceland, it has become more prevalent, especially in tourist areas. So, if you feel the service exceeded your expectations, a tip can be a great way to acknowledge this. It helps encourage excellent service in the future and contributes positively to the tourism industry in the country. However, remember that it's not expected or required, and you should feel comfortable whether you tip or not.

Why does the hot water in Iceland smell terrible?

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When visiting Iceland, one of the first things that might strike you as unusual is the distinctive smell of the hot water. You may find it unpleasant or even alarming if you've never encountered this. It smells of sulfur, a smell often associated with rotten eggs. This odor directly results from Iceland's geothermal heating system, which is utilized extensively nationwide for heating homes and providing hot water.

Iceland sits on a geological hotspot, a region of high geothermal activity. As a result, the country harnesses this energy, capturing steam and hot water from beneath the earth's surface. The water is heated naturally as it passes through layers of volcanic rock deep underground. During this journey, the water absorbs various minerals, including sulfur, contributing to its distinct smell.

While it might take a little getting used to, the smell of the hot water in Iceland is entirely natural and harmless. Despite its pungent odor, sulfur has various health benefits, especially for the skin, and is often a key component in skincare products.

Moreover, it's worth noting that this sulfur-rich geothermal water, despite its odor, is some of the cleanest water you can find globally. Icelandic tap water, whether hot or cold, is pure, natural, and safe to drink directly from the tap. This can be a bit of a mental leap to make when confronted with the sulfur smell, but embracing this fact can save you a significant amount of money on bottled water during your stay in Iceland, as bottled water can be quite pricey.

So, even though the hot water in Iceland might have an off-putting smell due to its sulfur content, remember that it's a testament to the country's innovative use of geothermal energy and its access to naturally pure and clean water. It's part of the unique Icelandic experience, and you'll soon get used to it. You might even grow to appreciate the sensation of bathing in water heated naturally by the earth itself.

Is it safe to drink tap water in Iceland?

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Yes, absolutely! Tap water in Iceland is among the purest and cleanest in the world. One of the unique experiences of visiting Iceland is the ability to drink directly from the tap without any concerns. This is possible because the source of Iceland's water is primarily natural glacial runoff and underground springs, untouched by pollution and rich in minerals.

When you turn on the cold water tap in Iceland, the water that comes out has often traveled directly from a nearby glacier or a ground spring, through pipelines, and straight into your glass or water bottle. It hasn't been chemically treated because it doesn't need to be. You're getting nature's own water, filtered through layers of volcanic rock, with all its inherent purity and freshness.

However, a word of caution is due to hot water straight from the tap. Iceland's hot water comes from geothermal sources and often contains sulfur, which, as previously mentioned, gives it a distinctive smell. This is perfectly safe for showering, cleaning dishes, and filling swimming pools. Still, because of the taste, it's not typically used for cooking or making drinks.

The cultural norm in Iceland is to drink cold water from the tap and use hot water for other domestic purposes. As a visitor, you are strongly encouraged to do the same. Buying bottled water is unnecessary and environmentally unfriendly in a country with such abundant and pure water resources.

So, refill your water bottle from the tap wherever you are in Iceland. The water quality is consistently excellent across the country, and you're not missing out on anything by choosing tap over bottled. Plus, you'll be participating in a sustainable practice that is integral to the Icelandic way of life.

What type of charger should I use in Iceland?

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When packing for your trip to Iceland, it's important to note that the country uses a specific type of electrical plug, the Europlug or Schuko-Plug. This design features two round prongs and is standardized across many European countries.

Before you leave for your trip, you should check the plugs of your electronic devices to see if they match this standard. If they do not, you must bring a travel adapter to use your devices in Iceland.

Remember that the voltage in Iceland, like in most of Europe, is 220-240 volts, compared to the 110-120 volts used in countries like the United States. If your devices are not dual voltage, you may also need a voltage converter to prevent your electronics from being damaged.

It's worth noting that some devices can be more problematic when adapted for use in Iceland. Hair dryers, for instance, often have high power requirements and can be challenging to use with an adapter. Given this, it may be more practical to leave your hair dryer at home and either purchase an inexpensive one locally in Iceland or inquire at your hotel to see if they can provide one.

While Iceland's breathtaking landscapes and unique culture will leave you with unforgettable memories, it's still necessary to plan for the practical details, like ensuring your electronic devices can function correctly. A travel adapter and potentially a voltage converter should be on your packing list for Iceland.

Is it true that Icelanders believe in elves?

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Regarding Icelandic culture and belief systems, one of the most intriguing elements that often spark curiosity among outsiders is the widespread folklore regarding elves or the 'hidden people' ('Huldufólk' in Icelandic). The topic, akin to discussing politics or religion in other societies, is sensitive and complex and deeply intertwined with Icelandic history, culture, and the country's unique landscape.

It is commonly said that a substantial proportion of the Icelandic population holds some belief in the existence of these mystical beings. However, the nuances of these beliefs vary considerably among individuals. For some, the belief is literal – they genuinely accept the existence of these magical creatures in the physical world. For others, it is more symbolic or metaphorical, representing a deep respect for nature's forces and the mysteries beyond human understanding.

Theories as to why such beliefs have persisted among Icelanders often point to the unique and sometimes harsh conditions of life on this isolated island. Iceland's earliest settlers had to contend with a harsh, unpredictable, and profoundly beautiful environment. Some suggest that the belief in elves was a way to personify and make sense of the powerful and often inscrutable forces of nature they encountered. Over time, these beliefs became deeply rooted in the culture, reflected in numerous folk tales and stories passed down through generations.

Interestingly, the perceived existence of elves has even influenced modern decisions and actions in Iceland. There are instances where construction projects have been altered or halted due to concerns about disturbing the homes of the 'hidden people.' Environmental protests, based in part on preserving the habitats of these mystical beings, are not uncommon and reflect the profound respect many Icelanders have for their country's natural and cultural heritage.

To sum up, it can be said that beliefs about elves in Iceland are more than mere superstition. They reflect a deep-seated cultural worldview emphasizing harmony with nature and respect for the unknown. Whether or not one interprets these beliefs literally, there is no denying their significant influence on Icelandic culture and society.

Do they speak English in Iceland?

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Iceland boasts one of the highest English proficiency rates in the world. If you're traveling to this Nordic island nation and wondering about the language barrier, you can set your mind at ease. Yes, virtually everyone in Iceland speaks English, and they speak it exceptionally well.

The local language is Icelandic, a Germanic language that has remained unchanged for centuries, retaining a form quite close to Old Norse. However, the education system in Iceland places a high emphasis on learning English, with compulsory English lessons beginning in primary school and continuing through high school. As a result, most Icelanders are bilingual, and many speak three or more languages.

Beyond merely speaking English, Icelanders are also known for their quick wit and sharp humor. The locals are known for their clever, often sarcastic remarks, catching visitors off guard with their dry, British-style humor. So while navigating through the country's stunning landscapes, don't be surprised if you find yourself engaging, humorous, and deeply insightful conversations with the locals.

The Icelandic people are also renowned for their welcoming nature and helpfulness. Whether you're lost in Reykjavik, struggling with pronouncing a place name, or simply curious about local customs, you'll find most Icelanders happy to assist and engage with you in fluent English.

So yes, rest assured, language will not be a barrier during your visit to Iceland. Instead, it could enrich your Icelandic adventure, adding to the unique charm and warmth that defines this beautiful country and its people.

Is alcohol expensive in Iceland?

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In Iceland, the cost and distribution of alcohol carry a unique story deeply intertwined with the country's history and culture. The consumption of alcohol, particularly in public spaces, has long been a sensitive subject in Iceland. The country once imposed a total prohibition on alcohol from 1915 to 1989. Although the ban has long since been lifted, the traces of this period are still evident in the country's current laws and customs.

Purchasing alcohol in Iceland is not as straightforward as in many other countries. It's not available in typical supermarkets. In grocery stores, you might come across low-alcohol beer, known as "pilsner" or "light beer," which contains no more than 2.25% alcohol.

If you're looking for spirits, wines, or full-strength beer, your primary option is the state-owned off-license chain known as Vínbúðin, which translates to "the wine shop." The number of these stores is deliberately limited, and they often have restrictive opening hours, particularly over the weekend. This can lead to Icelanders rushing to these stores after work on Fridays to stock up for the weekend.

As for the cost, yes, alcohol can be rather expensive in Iceland. This is mainly due to the high taxes imposed on it, which are part of the government's efforts to control consumption.

Regarding the cultural attitude towards alcohol, Iceland holds a somewhat paradoxical view. On the one hand, the nation is famed for its vibrant nightlife, particularly in the capital, Reykjavik, where all-night weekend parties are somewhat of a legend. On the other hand, drinking during the week is viewed with suspicion, leading to a stereotype that anyone seen doing so must be an alcoholic.

While alcohol is accessible in Iceland, the cost, limited availability, and cultural attitudes make it a somewhat unique aspect of the Icelandic travel experience. So if you plan to visit, it's worth considering these points.

Can I find big brands in Iceland?

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As a traveler, it's common to find a sense of familiarity in the global presence of big brands. The golden arches of McDonald's, the green logo of Starbucks, or the recognizable storefront of a 7-Eleven can be found in many corners of the world. However, in Iceland, this is not the case. This island nation in the North Atlantic, known for its pristine landscapes and unique culture, has largely resisted the infiltration of mainstream international brands.

There's no McDonald's serving Big Macs, no 7-Elevens for a quick snack grab, and no Starbucks for your caffeine fix. Iceland is the only Nordic country without a McDonald's outlet; the fast-food chain pulled out after the 2008 economic crash.

However, Iceland offers a vibrant, homegrown retail scene, which has its own charm. Quirky and unique businesses dominate the market, reflecting the country's commitment to local production and the sustainable use of its natural resources. From boutiques selling hand-knit 'lopapeysa' wool sweaters, and artisanal food stores offering unique Icelandic delicacies to local coffee shops brewing ethically-sourced coffee, you'll find plenty of options that offer a distinctively Icelandic experience.

That's not to say that Iceland is entirely devoid of international brands. In recent years, a few have made their way to the island. Costco, the American multinational corporation, has set up shop, offering bulk purchase items, much to the delight of many locals due to the generally high cost of living. Additionally, popular fashion retailer H&M has established a presence, catering to the style needs of locals and tourists alike. Also, you can find a Hard Rock Cafe in Reykjavik, adding an international flavor to the local dining scene.

Overall, while Iceland might not offer the usual roster of international brands you might be accustomed to, it provides a unique blend of local and selected international options that make shopping in the country a unique experience.

Is Wi-Fi free in Iceland?

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Connectivity in Iceland is remarkably impressive. Thanks to the country's advanced infrastructure, free Wi-Fi is a staple in nearly every corner of this North Atlantic island nation, making it an absolute haven for the digital age traveler.

In today's hyper-connected world, the availability of Wi-Fi has become a critical consideration for many tourists. If you fall into this category, you'll be delighted to know that Iceland does not disappoint. Whether in the bustling heart of Reykjavík, the country's capital and largest city, or in a remote rural village, the chance of finding a Wi-Fi signal is extraordinarily high.

From hotels and hostels to restaurants and cafes, practically every Iceland establishment provides customers with free Wi-Fi. Even the most unexpected places, such as remote roadside gas stations dotted along Iceland's stunningly beautiful yet often desolate highways, offer this service. It reflects Iceland's commitment to remaining globally connected, no matter the physical isolation the country might have due to its geographic location.

Another significant aspect of connectivity in Iceland is the seamless operation of digital mapping services, like Google Maps, across the country. This makes navigating Iceland's diverse landscapes easy - from urban cityscapes to rugged volcanoes, waterfalls, and glaciers. Whether driving the popular Golden Circle route, exploring the South Coast, or venturing into the Westfjords, you can rely on these digital services.

While being online isn't usually the priority when surrounded by such breathtaking natural beauty, the ease and convenience of having reliable, free Wi-Fi throughout the country make staying connected and sharing your Icelandic journey with the world effortless. So whether you're checking in at your accommodation, posting updates on social media, or using digital maps for your next adventure, rest assured that Iceland has got you covered.

How's the government in Iceland?

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Iceland is globally recognized as one of the world's most progressive nations, particularly regarding gender equality and governance. Its political structure is a parliamentary representative democratic republic, where the President is the head of state, and the Prime Minister is the head of government.

Iceland set a powerful example in 1980 when it became the first democratic nation to elect a female president, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, who served from 1980 to 1996. This landmark event signaled the country's commitment to gender equality and established Iceland as a leader in promoting equal rights.

When discussing equal rights in Iceland, it's essential to note that gender parity is deeply ingrained in the nation's cultural ethos. Icelandic society is primarily built on egalitarian principles, and men and women are seen as equal in all aspects of life. This has mitigated the need for ongoing debates about equality that are common in other societies. Instead of focusing on ensuring equal rights, Iceland's goal is to sustain them.

Political equality is further underscored by legislation. For instance, the Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights of Women and Men ensures that gender-based discrimination is unlawful. Also, the 2008 financial crisis led to a significant political shift, with women taking many leadership roles in its aftermath, further reinforcing the country's commitment to gender parity.

Is Iceland a safe country?

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Iceland, acclaimed for its awe-inspiring landscapes and natural wonders, proudly holds the title of the most peaceful country in the world, as confirmed by the Global Peace Index. This recognition is a testament to the nation's commitment to fostering a secure and tranquil environment. A striking demonstration of Iceland's safety is the heartwarming practice of leaving babies outside shops and restaurants, reflecting society's deep trust and harmony.

Visitors to Iceland are enveloped in a serene ambiance that allows them to immerse themselves in the country's breathtaking beauty fully. From majestic waterfalls to volcanic landscapes, the natural wonders of Iceland captivate with their pristine allure. The warm hospitality of the locals further enhances the sense of security, creating an inviting atmosphere for exploration and adventure.

Embracing Iceland's peaceful nature, travelers can embark on unforgettable journeys, whether venturing into the wild landscapes, marveling at the dancing Northern Lights, or simply relishing the tranquility of a quiet seaside town. With its harmonious surroundings and reputation for safety, Iceland beckons visitors to experience a peaceful escape and create cherished memories in a land that radiates serenity.

In summary, Iceland's distinction as the most peaceful country in the world is well-deserved. Its breathtaking landscapes, welcoming locals, and prevailing sense of security offer an idyllic setting for travelers seeking peace and tranquility. Explore Iceland's wonders, immerse yourself in its serene ambiance, and discover a destination that embodies the essence of peace.

Do Icelanders live longer?

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Icelanders enjoy a remarkably long life expectancy, surpassing the global average by more than ten years. This exceptional longevity can be attributed to unique cultural practices passed down through generations. One intriguing tradition is allowing Icelandic babies to nap outdoors in freezing temperatures. Today, parents in Iceland confidently embrace this tradition, knowing that their children are not at risk of infectious diseases while resting in the crisp outdoor air.

This practice of outdoor napping is deeply rooted in the belief that children experience longer and more restful naps when surrounded by the peacefulness of nature, undisturbed by the noises and distractions of indoor environments. Icelanders firmly believe in the benefits of this practice, which not only contributes to the overall health and well-being of their children but also adds to the remarkable longevity of the population.

By embracing the concept of outdoor napping, Icelanders have tapped into the harmonious connection between nature and human well-being. This unique cultural practice highlights the importance of rest, rejuvenation, and a deep appreciation for the serene beauty of Iceland's natural surroundings. It is a powerful reminder that simple traditions can profoundly impact a community's health and longevity.

In part, Icelanders' remarkable life expectancy can be attributed to the cultural practice of allowing babies to nap outside in freezing temperatures. This tradition reflects the deep connection between nature and well-being and the belief that children experience longer and better-quality naps when surrounded by the peacefulness of the outdoor environment. Embracing this unique tradition showcases the enduring bond between Icelanders and their awe-inspiring natural landscapes, contributing to a society that enjoys a long and fulfilling life.

Can Icelanders name their baby?

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Naming customs in Iceland are steeped in superstition and unique requirements. To ensure that names align with Icelandic traditions, there is an official list of approved names for newborns. However, if parents wish to give their child a name that isn't on the list, they must seek approval from the Icelandic Naming Committee. This process adds a layer of consideration and significance to naming a child in Iceland.

In line with local beliefs, revealing a baby's name before their christening is considered bad luck. As a result, it's not uncommon for a child to be referred to as a 'Baby' for the first few months of their life. This practice reflects the deep respect for tradition and the desire to protect the child from potential ill fortune.

In addition to unique naming customs, Icelandic surnames are derived from the father's name and, in rare cases, the mother's name. A suffix is added to indicate gender, with "dóttir" for a girl (meaning "daughter") and "son" for a boy. For example, if your father's name is Colin, your surname would be "Colindóttir." This distinctive naming system fosters a sense of equality and familiarity among Icelanders, as individuals typically address one another by their first names rather than using formal titles such as Mr. or Mrs.

While this naming tradition may seem unconventional to outsiders, it is deeply ingrained in Icelandic culture and contributes to the country's sense of community and egalitarian values. It reflects the importance placed on preserving heritage, adhering to customs, and creating a sense of familiarity and connectedness among individuals.

In summary, naming customs in Iceland involves an official list of approved names and the need for approval from the Icelandic Naming Committee for names not on the list. Revealing a baby's name before their christening is considered unlucky, leading to the temporary use of 'Baby' as a placeholder. Icelandic surnames are derived from the father's name, with gender-specific suffixes. This naming tradition and the prevalent use of first names foster a sense of equality and familiarity in Icelandic society. Embracing these unique customs adds to the rich tapestry of Icelandic culture and strengthens the country's sense of community and identity.

Do Icelanders like to read?

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The love for books and reading runs deep within the culture in Iceland. With a literacy rate of 100%, it's evident that Icelanders have a strong affinity for the written word. This passion for literature is beautifully captured by an old Icelandic saying that translates to "It's better to be barefoot than bookless." This sentiment reflects the immense value placed on books in Icelandic society.

Despite the cold climate, Icelanders' love for books remains unwavering. Iceland boasts the highest number of books published per capita in the world. This remarkable accomplishment showcases the country's commitment to fostering a thriving literary scene. Unsurprisingly, Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, was designated as a UNESCO City of Literature in 2011, further highlighting the cultural significance and appreciation for literature.

In addition to their love for reading, Icelanders have a vibrant music scene. It seems that virtually every Icelander is involved in music, with many individuals playing musical instruments or participating in bands. This creative outlet is a source of inspiration and expression, particularly during the long and dark winter months when the cultural scene truly comes alive.

The combination of Iceland's deep appreciation for books and its flourishing cultural scene creates a dynamic environment that celebrates the arts and encourages intellectual exploration. The literary heritage and artistic endeavors contribute to the rich cultural fabric of Iceland, making it a captivating destination for book lovers and those seeking inspiration.

Do they eat whales in Iceland?

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In Iceland, the topic of whaling is a complex and contentious one. Since 2006, commercial whaling has resumed, leading to debates and concerns from environmentalists and many people worldwide. It is important to note that whaling practices in Iceland primarily target minke whales, and the whale meat obtained from these hunts is often exported or used to cater to the curiosity of tourists.

While there are differing opinions within Icelandic society, a significant portion of the local population supports whaling. This support stems from the belief that whales compete with the fishing industry, which holds vital importance for the livelihoods of many Icelanders. The concern is that if whale populations are not managed, they may harm fish stocks, affecting the sustainability of the fishing industry.

It is worth mentioning that efforts to protect whales and promote sustainable practices also exist in Iceland. For instance, the Icelandic Whale Watching Association has launched the 'Meet Us, don't eat us' campaign. This initiative aims to raise awareness and encourage responsible whale-watching activities rather than consuming whale meat. Such campaigns highlight the importance of conservation and sustainable tourism practices in preserving marine ecosystems and the welfare of these magnificent creatures.

The whaling issue in Iceland is multifaceted, with considerations for economic factors, cultural traditions, and environmental concerns. The perspectives on whaling vary among individuals and interest groups. While commercial whaling continues in Iceland, there are also efforts to promote responsible whale-watching and conservation practices, reflecting a growing awareness of the need to protect these majestic animals for future generations.

What's the Thorrablot in Iceland?

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Thorrablot is a unique and traditional midwinter festival celebrated in Iceland. Although it was abolished during the Christianization of Iceland, it was revived in the 19th century and continues to be an important cultural event. According to the old Icelandic calendar, the festival takes place during the month of Thorri, which begins on the first Friday after January 19th, marking the 13th week of winter.

During Thorrablot, Icelanders come together to indulge in feasting, drinking, and merry-making. The festival's highlight is the traditional Icelandic food that graces the tables. This includes a variety of unusual culinary delicacies that may surprise the uninitiated. One such delicacy is rotten shark meat, known as "hákarl." This fermented shark meat has a strong and pungent aroma but is considered a traditional part of the Thorrablot feast. Another notable dish is boiled sheep's head, called "svið," prepared and enjoyed during the festival. Additionally, a unique dish known as "blóðmör" makes an appearance. It consists of congealed sheep's blood wrapped in a ram's stomach, offering a distinctive culinary experience.

Icelanders often raise a glass of Brennivin, a traditional Icelandic schnapps, to complement the festive feast. Brennivin, or "Black Death," is a potent spirit from potato flavored with caraway seeds. It adds a distinctive touch to the celebration and enhances the sense of tradition and conviviality.

Thorrablot is a culinary celebration for Icelanders to come together, share stories, and celebrate their cultural heritage. It offers a glimpse into the rich traditions and customs that have shaped Icelandic society throughout history. Participating in Thorrablot provides a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the local culture and savor the flavors and traditions that make Iceland such a captivating destination.

Is equal pay in Iceland?

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In Iceland, equal pay is a fundamental principle that is strongly upheld. The country has made significant strides in achieving gender equality, particularly regarding equal pay between men and women. On June 1st, 2017, the Icelandic Parliament, known as Alþingi, passed a groundbreaking law that solidified the commitment to equal pay for all.

This landmark legislation mandates that companies and employers with 25 or more employees must demonstrate that they pay men and women equally for the same work or work of equal value. The law requires these companies to obtain certification using the Equal Pay Standard, which ensures that they meet the requirements for equal pay. This certification process serves to verify and demonstrate the commitment to pay equity.

Implementing this law sends a clear message that Iceland is dedicated to combating wage disparities and ensuring fairness in the workplace. By requiring companies to provide evidence of equal pay, the legislation holds employers accountable and fosters a culture of transparency and fairness.

Failure to comply with the equal pay certification process can result in daily fines for employers. This stringent enforcement further emphasizes the government's commitment to promoting gender equality and eliminating wage gaps.

The introduction of this law and the rigorous certification process represent a significant step forward in achieving equal pay in Iceland. It sets a precedent for other countries and serves as a shining example of proactive measures taken to address gender disparities in the workforce.

Iceland's commitment to equal pay demonstrates its progressive stance on gender equality and its determination to create a fair and inclusive society for all. The efforts to ensure equal pay benefit women and contribute to building a stronger and more equitable workforce for the nation.

What's the emergency phone in Iceland?

Rescue squad in Iceland

In Iceland, ensuring the safety and well-being of residents and visitors is of utmost importance. In case of emergencies, the designated emergency number to call is 112. This number serves as a central point of contact for various emergency services, including the fire department, hospital, and assistance during accidents.

When you dial 112, a trained operator will receive your call and assess the nature of the emergency. They will then transfer your call to the appropriate department or service that can assist. This streamlined system ensures you receive prompt and efficient help in times of need.

You can also download the official emergency app to enhance your preparedness further. This app provides valuable information and resources to assist you during emergencies. It may include features such as real-time emergency updates, contact numbers for specific services, and guidance on what to do in different emergency situations. This app installed on your phone can be particularly helpful while traveling in Iceland, as it allows you to access important information quickly and easily.

Remember, in any emergency situation, it's crucial to stay calm and follow the instructions the emergency responders provide. They are trained to handle various situations and will guide you through the necessary steps to ensure your safety and well-being.

By being aware of the emergency number and utilizing the official emergency app, you can have peace of mind knowing that help is just a phone call away. Prioritizing your safety and having access to the appropriate resources will contribute to a secure and worry-free experience during your time in Iceland.


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