Why Are There No McDonald's Restaurants in Iceland?

| Photo by Jurij Kenda on Unsplash
Camille Buckley

Iceland is a peculiar place with a number of successful titles under Icelanders’ belts, including global Strongman contests, Nobel prizes, and Miss World titles – impressive for such a small population. Now it’s also known as one of the few countries in the world where there are no McDonald’s places to eat in. Here’s why.

Iceland has changed a lot, especially since the end of the 1980s. People say it used to resemble Eastern Europe much more than Scandinavia. There was little political meddling; prices were either too high or wages were too low and never both. This also started to change in the late 1990s. Until 2000, tourism virtually didn’t exist.

After the financial crash of 2008, the one McDonald’s restaurant in Reykjavik left town. It was not very established in the first place as the local burger chain, Hambórgarabúllan, was so popular that people basically boycotted the foreign chain. Now there are a number of great places to get a burger in Iceland. Check out our guide of the best burger joints in Reykjavik here.

Big Mac, McDonalds

Not only is there no McDonald’s food but there is also no Starbucks, no casinos and no army. However, Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and TGIF’s have managed to stay somehow. This is only one example of Iceland’s oddities. Consider that beer was banned in Iceland until 1989. And that until the early 1980s, there was no television on Thursdays nor during the whole month of July because the government thought everyone should do something besides watch television during this time.

Culture Trips 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. 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 places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

Culture Trip Summer Sale

Save up to $1,665 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

X
close-ad
Edit article