Mini Guide to Iceland

Safety and Health

When you take into consideration that Iceland ranks first on the Global Peace Index, you can safely assume the chances of getting robbed or facing violence are near zero. Still, it’s always worth it to have common sense, particularly in Reykjavik if going out in the evening.

The biggest danger for travelers are actually the natural ones as many visitors get hurt annually as they unsafely approach glaciers, geysers, and waterfalls. Iceland also holds a peculiar record as being the country with the highest number of people with chlamydia in Europe, so make sure you use protection!

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Despite having a subarctic climate, Iceland enjoys milder temperatures due to the warm waters of the Atlantic Gulf Stream if compared to other countries at the same latitude. So even during the winter, the island’s coasts remain ice-free.

The average temperature during the winter is zero degrees Celsius (though the lowest recorded was minus 38 degrees) and around 20 in the summer (with the highest recorded being 30.5 degrees). As the weather changes constantly, locals tend to say, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes!”

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Food and Drinks

Iceland’s national dish is the hakarl, which is basically fermented shark smelling of ammonia and it’s as bad as it sounds — it’s not widely eaten by locals, but it’s an experience in itself. What you’ll find everywhere is skyr, the yogurt-like dairy product, which has been consumed for thousands of years. The alcoholic beverage most locals drink is beer and brennivin, a spirit made from unsweetened schnapps meaning “Black Death.” And don’t worry about coffee, Icelanders are the world’s fourth-largest consumers.

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