Magical Iceland: Underground Rivers, Fires, and Elves

I just arrived in Iceland, and as far as I can tell, this place is magical. Have you ever seen a waterfall where the water flows out of an underground river?Subterranean River

What about water that comes out of the ground boiling and gets piped in to heat people’s homes?

What about an expansive ocean and sky that are so big and blue that you can barely tell them apart?

Water and SkySagasEven the local people here believe in magic. I’m still learning, but it seems that there are all sorts of myths to discover, from the stories told back in the 13th century by people like Snorri Sturluson to the elves which watch over the people today. Apparently, nobody can build in the capital city unless the elves give approval! The majority of Icelandic people believe in elves, who seem to be hidden people who can be small enough to fit into these tiny houses on the side of the road.

Elf Houses

I’m starting to believe in magic myself. You’ll never guess where our tour’s first stop was after leaving the airport? We went to the Café Loki, of course! My little mascot that I’ve been bringing on trips is named Loki (and to be honest, I chose the name somewhat randomly several years ago), but he is also a Norse God who is famous in Icelandic legends. We had breakfast under a giant mural telling the tales of Loki. I’ll try to learn more myself, so that I can share it with you!

There are so many more mysteries, in everything I hear and see. Why is the Icelandic language so funny to my ears?


Why do people paint pictures of themselves on the outside of their homes?


Right now, I have more questions than answers, but I will try to find out as much as I can to share with all of you at home. There’s no doubt that there are going to be many more magical things to see in the upcoming days. Stay tuned…

How cool would it be to live here?!

How cool would it be to live here?! Doesn’t it look like a fairy tale?

Categories: Iceland

20 replies »

  1. Wow, Iceland sounds beautiful and amazing!
    It’s very resourceful of the people in Iceland to use the hot springs as a heat source.
    I love the story of the elves. 🙂 I have a question about the small houses on the side of the road though. Are they houses that the elves built themselves? Or did people build the houses as a gift to the elves?
    It’s very cool that Loki shares a name with a god! Who is he the god of? Does he take the form of an animal or a human? What is his story?
    I hope you’re enjoying your time in Iceland with your family!
    ~ Anna

  2. I think the boiling water that goes to people’s houses is a very cleaver idea ! I also started to wonder why Iceland believes in the elves but I do think that the little houses are cute!

  3. To answer your question Loki is the brother of Thor. The lightening God. I think Loki is the god of illusions and magic. I thought the water pipe idea was cool. Iceland looks very pretty. Enjoy your stay

  4. I would like to point out that a very minority of Icelanders believe in elfs. Most of whom do are considered crazy if they are not very old. I am an Icelander myself and i see this to often that we believe in magical creatures and power it is only our folk tales.

    • Hi Viktor! Thanks for writing in. That’s good to know. Our guide said that most Icelanders either believe or would say “maybe they are real” but I’m sure there are plenty of people who know that it is only folk tales too 🙂 It’s great to hear from an actual Icelander. Maybe others will comment too!

  5. No! I have never seen a waterfall come out of an underground river! It looks so pretty! And I did not know that boiling hot water gets piped into peoples houses to heat their homes. The water looks pretty hot! The land does look magical. Has any body actually said that they have seen elves? How do people build anything in the capital city? Does someone tell them it is okay or do they build themselves without an answer or do they have a dream that an elf has told them it is okay ?

  6. It’s so weird that they send boiling hot water through peoples houses. Also why would people draw pictures of themselves outside their house of them kissing? It is cool how those small houses fit people in them. That waterfall! I never knew they could run from an underground river. Iceland is weird, but interesting.

  7. That mural was simply magnificent! I wonder who painted it? Also how did the little houses get there ? Did the people just wake up one day and see them? More importantly who are the people on the houses?

  8. Did the elves make the tiny houses on the road, or did the people make them as gifts? It was very smart of the people to use the hot water! 🙂

  9. Wow! I had no idea that you could heat an entire house with hot water. I think that that was very smart of them to use their natural resources as an advantage. And I am also very surprised that people believe that elves are real. The picture of that waterfall looked like the water was coming out of nowhere it looked so…magical.

  10. WOW that seemed like a pretty awsome trip to me and thats amazing how they heat a hole house with heated water! That water fall was butyful and so mysteriouse. overall that looked like and sounded like an awsome adventure!

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