Don't Bother Learning These 11 Icelandic Phrases

Iceland is a land of unique linguistic tradition
Iceland is a land of unique linguistic tradition | 12019 / 10279 images / Pixabay
Camille Buckley

Iceland is a unique place with a unique language. There are some practical phrases you’ll want to learn before visiting, however there are also some phrases you definitely won’t need – either because they don’t exist or because they don’t apply to life in Iceland. Let’s take a look.

A North Germanic language spoken by 330,000 native speakers, it’s notoriously difficult to grasp and rather strange-sounding. However, Icelandic (and some of the intricacies discussed below) are a source of national pride, and Icelanders take great care in ensuring that their language is sustained through the generations. Here are some things you probably won’t need to say while in Iceland.

Was it fun drinking beer in Iceland before 1989?

The trend for brewing and drinking craft beer is picking up momentum in Iceland. Beer-drinking was traditionally seen as unpatriotic during the early 20th century because of its roots in Danish culture and was in fact banned in Iceland until 1989.

Actually, the Icelandic pony is the only horse breed existing in Iceland due to risks of disease in exporting and importing. The Icelandic pony is actually a horse, despite its smaller size.

Can I have regular water in my shower?

Since Icelandic water is geothermally sourced, the pleasant sulfur aroma that accompanies your shower is there to stay.

Do you have hot water all day?

Iceland has an abundant supply of geothermal springs, which means you can enjoy a never-ending hot shower without running your water bill too high.

Where does the line start?

Icelanders are notoriously bad at line queues, whether it’s at the grocery store or in a bar. Perhaps this is due to centuries of living on such a sparsely populated expanse of land.

Where is the alcohol?

If you’re shopping and looking to stock up on alcohol that’s cheaper than what’s on offer in bars, you won’t have any luck at the local grocery store. Alcohol is only sold in state-run liquor shops.

What is the standard tipping rate?

There is actually no tipping culture in Iceland, as the tip is included in the bill.

Is that your best price?

There is absolutely no haggling over prices in Iceland.

How will the weather be tonight?

The weather is notoriously volatile in Iceland and you can never really know how it’s going to change from one hour to the next. It’s best to be prepared for anything and everything!

Where is the closest train station?

As of 2017, Iceland’s only means of public transportation is the bus. Rumors are in the air, however, of a train connecting Keflavík Airport and downtown Reykjavik in the coming years.

Where is the closest McDonald’s?

There are no McDonald’s fast-food chains in Iceland. They existed once, but they were not as popular as the local burger joints and quickly went out of business.

landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

X
Edit article