Local Folklore

The Hidden People of Iceland Borgarfj÷r­ur eystri is home to a very large population of elves, according to the regional folklore. Elves are often called

Local Folklore

The Hidden People of Iceland
Borgarfjörður eystri is home to a very large population of elves, according to the regional folklore. Elves are often called the ‘hidden people’ because of how difficult it is to see them. Nowadays you might find Icelanders, who distinguish between hidden people and elves, but in 19th century folklore these two terms are synonymous.

álfaborgThe fjord actually derives its name from the residency of the Icelandic elf-queen. Álfaborg (Elf Rock, Elf Hill) is a rocky hill right next to Bakkagerði. An easy path leads to the top, which has a panoramic viewpoint. Álfaborg is a reserved area, and an interesting place to visit, especially if you believe in the hidden people. They don’t mind passers-by as long as one respects their residence: the rocks.

In the folklore, the elves are often described as similar to humans, but taller, fairer and more beautiful. Their residences (inside the rocks) are similar to those of 19th century Iceland, just a bit nicer. They often help humans out, especially those bullied by their fellow humans.

kirkjusteinnBorgarfjörður has numerous places other than Álfaborg connected to elves. One example is the church of elves, Kirkjusteinn, which is a huge rock in Kækjudalur valley. The elfin bishop lives in the beautiful Blábjörg, on the other hand. Christening of the hidden people is prominent motif in the folklore. A couple of folk tales relating to trolls also occur in the area.

The stories about the elves are fascinating, especially for the younger ones. It is ideal for families to take an elfin-walk around the village  and try to get in contact with the enigmatic hidden people.


Until 1949, when a road was graded, all traffic through the scree between Njarðvík and Borgarfjörður was on foot or horseback. A monster called Naddi, like an animal below the waist and a human above, inhabited a cave in the scree. Finally, a farmer from Borgarfjörður pushed him into the sea and erected a cross which has remained at the site, stating in Latin: Whoever goes by should bend down and honour this sign of Christ. In the year 1306. Travellers often pray here about their journey.




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