A tiny nation isolated on a far away island tucked right under the arctic circle, it really is no wonder we’ve picked up some strange customs and weird habits. We’ve written down 6 weird things Icelanders do, but be warned; bring any of this up with an Icelander and they’ll probably suggest you’re the weird one!
Dress like it’s the hottest day of summer whenever the sun is even remotely visible
As soon as the sun comes out, a big part of the Icelandic nation just starts to dress like we’re in Florida. So don’t be surprised if it’s -1°C and sunny and you see a lot of people wearing shorts, T-shirts and sunglasses. Which brings me to…
Wear sunglasses at night and all through winter
This might seem like just another one of the weird things Icelanders do but we actually have a reason for this one. The sun behaves differently here, next door to the arctic circle, from what you’re probably used to. Not only does it stay up all summer and away all winter, but it also likes to hang out at the horizon, not high in the sky. That means that a lot of the time you end up staring straight at it, so sunglasses should be worn, especially when driving.
A documentary on the subject
Go out REALLY late
If you want to hit the bars on the weekends beware that Icelanders go out really late. The norm is to meet at a house party at 9 or 10 PM and go to the bars at 1 or 2 AM. Icelanders also usually party until roughly 5 AM – then we head to after-parties in private homes. So, when going out in Iceland expect a 9-12 hour drinking session.
Let their children sleep outside
Parents usually leave their infants and toddlers sleeping outside in their strollers, even outside cafés while they are having their coffee. This of course depends on the weather but don’t be alarmed if you see children sleeping outside in the spring, summer, fall or even winter. It’s perfectly safe, even recommended.
Icelanders do not use voicemail at all. That also mean that Icelanders usually always answer their phone every time it rings, even during another conversation and it’s not considered rude.
Icelanders, and a lot of other Nordic nations, sometimes speak while inhaling instead of exhaling. It’s called ingressive speech and can sound really confusing if you haven’t encountered it before, most frequently like people are shocked or startled when in fact they are just gently encouraging you to continue what you were saying. It’s hard to explain but you’ll know what I mean as soon as you speak to an Icelander.