Much has been written about the curious belief that many Icelanders hold: that of the existence of elves, trolls and hidden people. Now you might just be of the opinion, along with many other foreigners, that this is nothing more than silly superstition, seen only in Disney movies and in the kitschy gardens of old people. Well, that might be true for you, but here in Iceland things are a tad different, in case you haven’t noticed.


Like it or not, it will be just a matter of time before you are compelled to confront the issue once and for all.  Eventually you come face to face with entirely sober and seemingly lucid Icelanders who recount their personal experiences of the elf phenomenon.

Surveys taken over the years reveal that Icelandic opinions of whether elves exist have not changed very much. The most recent survey from 2006 found that only 13.5% of the sample population believed that this is all basically a bunch of hooey. With only 8% of the sample unwilling to commit to any opinion either for or against, that leaves 78% of the population as either firm elf believers or at least open to the possibility of their existence.

Even a very famous geothermal lagoon has an elf story and reports of elves interfering with plans to expand this particular popular tourist destination, soon surfaced. 

Apparently, during the excavation of the site, the machinery suddenly came to a complete halt. Suspecting ‘elf involvement’, management finally called in a medium to find out what the problem was. The elves explained that they were upset because they had not been consulted. They wanted to inspect the building’s blueprints and asked that the plans be downloaded to a USB stick, put into a box in a hole in the rocks and they would get back to management after they had discussed the matter.

The elves eventually accepted the plans and agreed that construction should go ahead. 

If you are in Iceland, or are planning a visit, come with an open mind and suspend your own beliefs at least for the time being. Then, should you happen to run into an Icelander who is convinced of the existence of these beings (which is very likely), you might gain a new Icelandic friend.

Just try not to laugh. They take these matters seriously.