• Chronological pictures show the secret cycle of the stunning Northern Lights in Iceland - which built up year-on-year to a spectacular climax in 2012 (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
From Björk to BBQs, here are the reasons Iceland has it going on...
Jeremy Cassar

16 Jun 2016 - 12:42 PM  UPDATED 16 Jun 2016 - 4:00 PM

Iceland is the new black. Forget Berlin and Prague, Reykjavík is where it’s at.

At least, that’s what people tell me. I’ve never been, but after watching SBS’s new discovery Trapped, I can see why Iceland is such a fascinating place.

While the country’s geography has its own set of problems and the Icelandic people are known for bizarre practices like leaving babies outside to nap, it’s a place that boasts a bunch of quality aspects that would make any Aussie green with envy. Get a load of…


No mosquitos

Although usually put down to Iceland’s cold weather, scientists still aren’t completely sure why mozzies haven’t made it to their fair land. Some believe the chemical composition of Iceland’s soil isn’t conducive to the laying of eggs, some believe they haven’t managed to penetrate the Icelandic wind and some, well, believe it might be a case of good luck.


Geothermal swimming

Not only is an Icelandic household more likely to own a decent-sized hot tub, which obviously equals riotous fun for all the family, but to compensate for the questionable weather, Iceland boasts not only natural or man-made hot springs, but geothermal swimming centres, too.

Geothermal swimming is a dream for anyone sensitive to temperature, but perhaps the most fantastic aspect of these centres is that every single swimmer is to take a thorough shower prior to entering the water, a logical rule that many an Aussie public pool could afford to implement.


Every day is BBQ day

Australia might wear the badge of "country most synonymous with barbeques", but Iceland’s year-round celebration of the backyard barbie puts us Aussies to shame.

If your patriotic muscle is bulging, let me ask you this: how many times have you planned, or been a part of the plan for, a BBQ-type event, only for said event not to proceed due to cold weather?

That cold weather is probably muggy for Iceland, and no temperature is too low for a good ol’ fashion whale on the barbie.


Nudity isn’t weird

Remember when I mentioned geothermal pools and the fantastic rule of showering prior to entering the water?  Well, I failed to mention that those showers are usually public, and both men and women gleefully share the space in the nuddy. Actually, they have no choice.

Public nudity is nothing but a matter of hygiene to the Icelandic. They move under the belief that it’s impossible to clean yourself off if wearing a single garment.

Iceland was also one of the more vocal adopters of the #freethenipple campaign.


Elves are also totally normal

According to polls, more Icelandic people believe in elves than don’t. As the terrain is so otherworldly, it’s hard not to imagine an elfin creature living within its rainbow-lit rocky nooks and crannies.

Believers consider elves to have magical powers that are wielded for evil if their homes are threatened. Stories of construction machinery malfunctioning and cameras failing when approaching these rocks are rife, and even certain blessed folk are brought in to negotiate from a distance.

Whether this belief is more spiritual than fantastical is still up in the air. Pro- and anti-elf truthers divide the country.



Could Björk actually be an undercover elf? It’d sure explain her entirely unique aura and musical abilities. Though she’s not as short as I’d imagine an elf would be. Regardless of whether Miss Guðmundsdóttir is elvish or not, we Aussies thank Iceland for her existence.


The entire series of Trapped is available on SBS On Demand. Watch the first episode right here: