Elves and vikings
Elfs and Hidden Worlds
Hafnarfjördur is famous for having one of Iceland's largest settlements of elves, dwarves and other mystical beings, which (translating from the Icelandic) are collectively called ‘Hidden Folk.' Centuries-old folklore has it that whole clans of such beings reside in the rocks that make up part of the town's centre. We do not doubt this at all.
Though elves are visible only to those with second sight, a great many Icelanders believe in their existence. Indeed, there is much evidence to support this belief, as stories abound of instances where new roads or housing developments were under construction and strange happenings took place.
Hidden Folk enjoy a certain regard, and nowhere more so than in Hafnarfjördur. There is even a Hidden Worlds tour that takes you to their home sites, stopping at places like Hellisgerdi Park and the base of the cliff Hamarinn, which is said to be home to the Royal Family of the Hidden Folk. Along the way, the guide relates ancient folk tales of the magical hidden worlds and describes how the town grew and developed in harmony with the Hidden Folk.
Tuesdays and Fridays at 14:30 during the summer months.
At other times by request.
Duration 1 ½ hours.
Information and bookings: Tel: +354 694 2785
Join Sigurbjörg Karlsdóttir the guide of the Hidden Worlds tour on a SmartGuided Iphone Tour on
The Elf Garden
Hellisgerði Park is a small beautiful lava park in Hafnarfjörður. It is a magical place, known for its nature beings; elves, huldufolk (hidden people) and dwarfs. The Elf Garden is run by a local family who knows these beings and offers “Elf walks” around the park where the elves are visited and introduced. The Little Elf House isa small information center in the park with “elf theme“ art works and handicrafts and you can try “Elf coffee” and other beverages from the hidden world. The elves welcome you for a unique experience. More
information at www.elfgarden.is
or call (+354) 694 3153
Viking culture is alive and well and has taken root again in Hafnarfjordur. For more than a decade, interested visitors and modern day Vikings have enjoyed the International Vikings Festival in June. However at Fjörukráin, the Viking atmosphere is year-round and there is always fun at the restaurant´s Viking feasts.
In a beautiful carved timber replica of a Viking hall, groups at Fjörukráin are served tasty traditional foods by waiters and waitresses dressed as real Vikings.
From Fjörukráin´s website, www.fjorukrain.is
The Viking period, which dates from the ninth century to the middle of the eleventh, is the most famous period in Scandinavian history. During this time Norwegen seafarer´s explored the N- & V European sea, the rivers running E- & S- in Russia and even sailed to the Mediterranean sea. The reasons for the Viking journey's were prosperity, growing population and better navigational skills. The Keel, or the spine of the Knarr boat was invented and further exploration was possible. The Viking journeys brought prosperity to the costal regions of Norway. This is the period the Kingdoms of Norway, Denmark and Sweden were created and this new sailing route connected Scandinavia with the rest of Europe. The settlement of Iceland was during this period of time, that is from the ninth century. When a Viking goes on a Viking journey, it is called in Icelandic „að fara í Víking” or to plunder. In those trips the Vikings usually went to England and Ireland and looted what they could, stole people for slavery and sometimes took some women with them. This often led to bloody battles which the Vikings are famous for. But the journeys were also exploration trips made to find new settlement, as in the case of Iceland. In Iceland the plundering eventually stopped with the overflow of slaves and less wood for boat making.
During the 11th century the Viking age came to an end. The Vikings adopted Christianity. Merchants and Settlers had become absorbed into the local population or established new societies, like in Iceland. The three northern Christian kingdoms of Norway, Sweden and Denmark were formed and the famous and feared Viking raids found an end, not without leaving traces of their culture and their blood all over Europe.
The Viking Festival in Hafnarfjordur is usually held in Mid June and ends on the 17th of June.
June 14 – 17, 2012
The Viking Market in Hafnarfjörður is the oldest, largest and most important event of its kind in Iceland. Since 1995 Hafnarfjörður has been a playground of Vikings demonstrating trough the year most aspects of Viking culture, ships, cuisine, handcraft, storytelling, archery, games, music and battle demonstrations. Many artists have come from far and wide, from Europe and America to join us in celebrating the memory of our ancestors. Sometimes there have been opportunities to bring forth unexpected things, anachronism to underline even further how the Vikings of old and modern times can coexist and make a strong union.
From the beginning the emphasis has been on authenticity, so as the guests at the Festival seem to find as they have been taken a thousand years back and are as for some kind of a miracle at an ancient summer market. Ships form foreign lands have come ashore and merchants have taken out their goods and started to trade. The atmosphere is festive, music, jesters and dancing girls, good food and drink. But when everything seems to be peaceful, a battle breaks out and in kindness and joy men fight and kill each other.