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    19 Cool Iceland Facts Most People Go Their Whole Life Without Knowing

    It's so much more than just the land of ice and fire.

    1. You won't find a single McDonald's in the whole country.

    A McDonald's sign against a gray sky with a superimposed red "no" symbol over it

    2. Baby names have to come from the official register of approved names. Parents who want to choose a different name must request permission from the "Naming Committee" first.

    A white baby with blue eyes looks into the camera with a confused face

    3. There are virtually no family names — in the traditional sense, anyway.

    A family of four poses for a selfie on an Icelandic black beach with text explaining they all have different last names

    4. There's an Elf School in Reykjavík where you can learn all about elves and the Icelanders who have supposedly interacted with them.

    Tiny red houses stick out of the ground in a field with text explaining "where Iceland's hidden people live"

    5. Reykjavík once had a comedian as its mayor.

    Jón Gnarr in a Jedi outfit stands next to Yoko Ono and Lady Gaga in a press photo

    6. Buying books as gifts is a Christmas tradition. It's called Jólabókaflóð, which means "Christmas book flood."

    A woman sits on a bench overlooking Reykjavík next to a statue of an Icelandic poet

    7. Speaking of holidays, Icelandic children get presents on the nights leading up to Christmas from 13 "Yule Lads."

    Drawings of all 13 Yule Lads ranging from kooky Santa Claus–like to evil-looking

    8. Parents often let their babies sleep outside, even in freezing temperatures.

    A baby bundled up in warm clothes and blanket sleeps inside of a stroller outside

    9. One of the best foods to get while in Iceland? A hot dog.

    A hand holds a hot dog covered in mayo, ketchup, and fried onions

    10. Someone once invented an app to make sure you're not related to your date (awkward!).

    A female hand holds a phone open to a dating app with text "brb, gotta check if we're cousins real quick"

    11. It's home to Europe's largest banana plantation...sort of.

    Green bananas grow on a tree in a greenhouse with added text "grown via geothermal energy!"

    12. Icelanders love their ice cream so much, they have a word for "ice cream road trip."

    A Black woman with curly hair and sunglasses leans out of a blue van and smiles with an ice cream. Text above reads "get in, we're going on an Ísbíltúr"

    13. Reykjavík has a museum all about penises — no, seriously.

    A wide view of the inside of the museum showcasing penis specimens and a superimposed shocked emoji

    14. Designed in 1906, the country's flag colors supposedly represent Iceland's geography: mountains, ice, and fire.

    The Iceland flag with added text explaining the red represents fire, blue represents mountains, and white represents ice

    15. In 1980, the country elected the first female head of state — ever.

    Vigdís Finnbogadóttir in a dated photo walks along a field of grass next to the water wearing a long cardigan and sunglasses

    16. There are around 130 volcanoes in Iceland, and roughly 30 of those categorized as currently active.

    A volcano bubbled red-hot lava across an open field

    17. You could drive around the entire country in 17 hours (theoretically).

    A map of Iceland shows a red route running along the coast with an arrow naming it as "the Ring Road"

    18. In one town, you can find heart-shaped traffic lights.

    A stoplight against a blue sky with its yellow light and red light, the latter of which is shaped like a heart, lit up

    19. And finally, Iceland is the only place in the world where you can swim between two tectonic plates.

    A diver floats between two cliff walls underwater with text describing the left as the North American Plate and the right as the Eurasian Plate

    Know another cool fact about Iceland? Share it in the comments below!

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    illustrated city skyline