Are There Elves in Iceland? Half of the Country Thinks So!

Elves are so real in the country of Iceland that they even have their own tiny homes

Do you believe in elves? According to a report published by National Geographic in 2017, over 50 percent of Icelanders do!

Considering the country’s mystical landscape, with its lava fields and mist-covered peaks, not to mention the Northern Lights, it’s not hard to understand why the Icelandic people would assume creatures like elves are present. What many visitors are surprised to see, though, is the extent of Icelanders’ beliefs.

Residence next to a fjord in North Iceland

Explained below is some background on the folklore surrounding elves in Iceland, along with a breakdown of the places where, according to the locals, elves are most likely to dwell.

Elves vs Huldufólk

In Iceland, elves are known as álfafólk. They are similar to, but not synonymous with, Huldufólk (or Hidden People).

The term “elf” refers to a creature that resembles a Christmas elf. Elves are tiny beings that wear pointed shoes, dress in colorful clothing, and have bells that hang from their hats.

The term “Huldufólk,” on the other hand, refers to a specific type of elf. Huldufólk resembles human beings, but they are said to be taller, thinner, and more beautiful.

According to ancient lore, Huldufólk originated when Mother Eve hid some of her children when she learned that God was coming to visit. She hid the children because they were unwashed. God couldn’t be deceived and rebuked Eve for her dishonesty.

When Eve wouldn’t admit that she wasn’t being truthful, God cursed the hidden children, saying they would now be “hidden from all” because she had hidden them from him.

Where to Find Elves and Huldufólk

If the typical tourist asks an Icelander where they can find an elf or search for the Huldufólk, they’ll receive a more detailed answer than they might have originally expected. There are lots of places throughout the country where elves and Huldufólk are said to reside, including the following:

●     Hafnarfjörður: Hafnarfjörður is considered one of the country’s most enchanted places. It’s built in a lava field and is home to a wide range of rocks that are believed to serve as elven homes.

●     Ásbyrgi Canyon: This huge, horseshoe-shaped rock wall is full of hiding spots for elves.

Ásbyrgi Canyon
Ásbyrgi Canyon in Iceland – Photo: Visit North Iceland

●     Borgarfjörður Eystri: This beautiful and quiet fjord is home to a little more than 100 people and is known as a hotbed for elven activity.

Borgarfjörður Eystri in Iceland – Wikimedia Commons / Rohit Saxena

●     Bjartmarssteinn: This spot is considered one of the country’s most enchanted, and it’s believed to be the place where elves hold their market.

Even if they don’t find any elves, exploring these magical locations in Iceland is still a worthwhile adventure for any world traveler.