Icelandic legends and folklore are filled with stories about hidden creatures like huldufólk and skrimsli. Keep reading to learn more about these fantastical creatures.
Icelandic legends and folklore: Huldufólk
Many Icelandic legends and folklore say that the huldufólk – hidden people or elves – live in the wild terrain of this ancient land. In fact, the huldufólk will make a nuisance if disturbed in any way. Icelanders say that elves and trolls are the cause of many strange happenings over the years. Folklore dictates that they can be quite troublesome if annoyed.
As you travel around the countryside, keep your eyes peeled for “álfhól.” These are the tiny, colorful wooden houses which locals have built respectfully for the elves and hidden people. What’s more, if you look carefully, you may also spot the occasional elf church.
During the winter season, when the nights close in, the activities of the huldufólk seem to increase. In fact, sightings are more frequent around Christmas and New Year. What’s more, some people report that they see tiny bonfires in the countryside during seasonal celebrations. Icelanders always show great respect for the hidden people. In fact, they often leave a gift of food for them at Christmas time.
Christmas at Hotel Rangá
- Blog: Rangá’s yearly Christmas Buffet
- Blog: Story of the 13 Yule Lads
- Recipe: Christmas Started, Citrus Cured Salmon
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The secret to spotting elves, trolls and monsters in Iceland lies in respecting mother nature.
Icelandic folklore and legends: the trolls of Reynisdrangar
If you venture to the beautiful black beaches of the South Coast, a visit to the historic town of Vik is essential. Icelandic legends and folklore suggest that the magnificent Reynisdrangar rock formations are actually the silhouettes of ancient trolls caught by an early sunrise as they tried to haul ships ashore.
Iceland’s enchanting folklore tales don’t stop at elves and trolls. Generations of fishermen and their families have maintained a healthy respect for the great Atlantic Ocean. For hundreds of years, Icelanders have been recording sightings of sea monsters and terrifying creatures known as “skrimsli.” What’s more, many visitors to Iceland report a sighting of some unidentifiable sea creature.
- The folk tale about the trolls at Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach is one of many folk tales featured in Hotel Rangá’s Coloring Book.
Of course, the secret to spotting elves, trolls and monsters in Iceland lies in respecting mother nature. Take time to enjoy the tranquillity of the countryside, soak up the atmosphere of this unspoiled natural environment and allow the sights and sounds of Iceland’s wild terrain to quiet your mind. The ancient lava fields, powerful waterfalls, craggy mountains, and volcanic beaches are all alive with their unique inherent natural wonders. Some are clearly visible to the naked eye, but others are the stuff of Icelandic legends and folklore.