The volcanic island of Iceland has erupted onto the world travel scene in recent years. With otherworldly landscapes of steaming turquoise geysers set among rugged snowy peaks, miles of icy black sand beaches, and the breath-taking splendor of the northern lights, one can only wonder what took so long. But what of the people who call this island home? Behind a stoic veneer lies a proud, industrious, and egalitarian people, whose straightforwardness and ability to wing it have seen them thrive in this beautiful but unforgiving environment.
Culture Smart! Iceland will take you to the heart of this plucky Nordic nation. It will equip you with a deeper understanding of your hosts and with the tools to turn your visit into a more meaningful and enriching experience, whatever your reason for traveling.
Icelandic people enjoy inviting friends over for dinner, and this is preferred to going out for a meal. Most invitations home will take place on a Friday or Saturday, as socializing is generally kept to a minimum mid-week, and Sundays are often spent with family. It is normal to arrive about half an hour after the time you were invited for—there are no prizes for being punctual, and certainly none for being early. A gift, such as a bottle of wine, will always be gladly received, but is not expected. The most important (and possibly only) point of etiquette to remember when visiting an Icelandic home takes place before you’ve even entered the building: always, without fail, take off your shoes.