Iceland is one of the most jaw-dropping places in the world, but in addition to incredible scenery and endless summer sun it’s also famous for a curious tradition: belief in elves.

The huldufólk, as the elves are known, are a very real part of Icelandic culture. They also made headlines all over the world last year during a road building project that prompted a battle over, essentially, elf habitat.

Supernatural sites abound in Iceland, and now there’s an interactive map that shows where they are all over the country (click here for the interactive version).

Screenshot 2016-03-24 22.36.14

The map was produced by Iceland’s Saga Foundation. It plots Iceland’s legends, showing both the homes of the people who told them as well as the locations mentioned in the stories themselves. In addition to elves, the map includes sites connected to trolls, ghosts, and the devil.

Everything is in Icelandic, so if you want to use it you’ll have to either take language classes or (more likely) rely on Google translate. The individual points also include only minimal information, so for curious outsiders (like me) they serve as good starting points for future research.

I did not encounter any elves during my trip to Iceland last year, but I’m certainly going back someday and when I do perhaps this map will offer some guidance. And in any case, it provides cultural insight and a sense of scope to a rich culture in one of the more beautiful corners of the world.

Related reading: Six websites about Iceland that are better than a travel book

Höfn is a slice of heaven in southeastern Iceland

The weirdest thing about visiting Iceland: 24 hours of sunlight

— Jim Dalrymple II

H/t CityLab


Written by Jim Dalrymple II

Urbanism and travel writer. Also a journalist covering the news.


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