Elves Are So Real in Iceland They Even Have Their Own Homes

Iceland’s otherworldly landscape makes a natural habitat for elves – or at least people who believe in them.

Image credit: Round the World We Go

Elves in Iceland are called the Huldufólk, which means Hidden People. Belief in elves is still going strong in the country today, certainly more so than in most other parts of the world.

It is thought that the mysterious landscape and the island’s isolation have both made stories of elves to flourish over the years.

Álfaborg (Elf Rock) is believed to be home to the queen of the Icelandic Elves and one of the most active elf areas in Iceland. Following widespread protest by locals, many planned roads in the country have been diverted to avoid such ‘sacred’ places. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

In Iceland, Old Norse religion lingered longer than in most other parts of Northern Europe. Even after the country’s conversion to Christianity, Icelandic society remained much more accommodating to old beliefs than other parts of Europe.

A 1998 survey by the Dagblaðið Vísir newspaper found that 54.4% of Icelanders interviewed claimed to believe in elves.

Icelandic cat plays on elf houses. Image Credit: Jennifer Boyer/Flickr (CC)

Hence, elves are a ‘living’ part of Icelandic culture. They are especially believed to live in rocks. Major motorways have been diverted to avoid disturbing elves residing in mountainsides. People will go out of their way to avoid stepping on rocks or hills in which elves are thought to reside.

And there is even an elf school in the country (besides the many elf chapels and churches)!

An elf chapel. Image source: Secular Chaplain

When trekking in the Icelandic countryside, you’ll see tiny elf houses (‘álfhól’ in Icelandic) springing up all around. In some cases this is to alert passersby that elves are present so as not to disturb them. They may also be simple a way to acknowledge their otherworldly presence.

In any case, they add yet another – tiny but beautiful – dimension to Iceland’s otherworldy look.

An elf house by a human house. Image credit: Trayflow
Some elves even have a pool. Image credit: LoveIceland
Would you notice this elf dwelling? Image source: Paperblog
Elf home with a view. Image source: @ten80events



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