Iceland is a small island in the Atlantic ocean. It's vast and beautiful landscape includes hot springs, volcanos, glaciers and lava fields. It's a traveler's dream; a short flight from either Europe or North America takes one seeking adventure to a mystical land where active volcanoes still erupt approximately every four years and geysers spew clear water into an azure sky. Iceland was one of the last places on Earth to be inhabited by humans. The vast majority of Iceland's population lives in the capital city, Reykjavik, allowing much of the rest of the island to remain largely untouched, helping the land to uphold its pristine beauty.
The sights in Iceland are undoubtedly incredible, but one of the most alluring things about this country are the names of its people. In fact, the country has an official Icelandic Naming Committee. If a citizen of Iceland wishes to bestow a moniker on a child that has not previously been used in the country, the name must be approved by this committee before it is allowed to be used. People in Iceland don't mess around when it comes to names. This means the designations currently topping the charts in Iceland are strong, stunning, timeless and unique.
Parents searching for that perfect name may find what they are looking for in a name from this magical place where McDonalds doesn't exist and whales dot the horizon. It's a land where time slows down and those who came before are remembered and revered with names passed down with care and reverence from one generation to the next. The following 25 Icelandic names are charming enough to ease the chill of a biting winter breeze and melt the hearts of all who hear them.
Anna is a variation of the Hebrew name, Hannah and means grace. This name is beloved all over the world. It is currently the number 1 name used for girls in Austria, and the 2nd most popular choice for girls in Iceland. It presently ranks 5th in Norway and 8th in the Netherlands.
This name is sweet, simple, and elegant. It was the name given to Kristen Bell's character in the movie, Frozen. Celebrities Anna Kendrick and Anna Faris bring a hilarious charm to this classic choice. Anna is currently ranked as the 52nd most popular name in the United States. Those who love the name Anna may also appreciate the similar-sounding Icelandic names Helga, Harpa or Maria.
“There's no one on the island telling them they're not good enough, so they just go ahead and sing and paint and write.” -Eric Weiner, The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World
Ari is a diminutive of the Hebrew name, Ariel, which means lion of God. It can also be a shortening of the name Aristotle. Ari Gold is an agent extraordinaire on HBO's popular show, Entourage, and Ari Fleischer was the White House press secretary while George W. Bush was in office.
This strong-sounding name is currently the 84th most popular name for boys in Iceland, and ranks as the 355th most popular name for boys in the United States, up 28 places since 2015. Love Ari? Similar Icelandic names include Arni, Andri and Sindri. This dreamy name is a perfect fit for a strong boy born for a life of adventure.
"There is no more sagacious animal than the Icelandic horse. He is stopped by neither snow, nor storm, nor impassable roads, nor rocks, glaciers, or anything. He is courageous, sober, and surefooted." -Jules Verne, Journey to the Center of the Earth
More commonly spelled Augusta, this powerful name is the feminine version of the name Augustus and means great, magnificent. The Icelandic spelling of this moniker makes it stand out and gives it a sense of wanderlust and whimsy. Wives and daughters of Roman emperors were given the designation of Augusta as a title of honor.
Currently the 13,563rd most popular name used for girls in the United States, this rare beauty is a dignified choice parents will never regret. August and Gus are both hot names for boys right now, giving Agusta a fresh and current edge. Aggie and Gussie are two adorable shortenings of this name. Similar Icelandic girl names that may appeal to fans of the name Agusta include Asta, Agnes and Arna.
“Neither mine nor other people's prospects seem particularly pleasing just at the moment, and I have fantasies of going to Iceland, never to return." -Edward Gorey, Floating Worlds: The Letters of Edward Gorey & Peter F. Neumeyer
Names that contain the letter X are all the rage these days, giving Axel a cool edge and making it a perfect choice for parents who are fans of heavy metal, or just simply amazing names. It is means father of peace in German and divine reward in Hebrew. Will Ferrell's third son bears this name, and it's the middle name of Tiger Woods' son, Charlie.
Axel is currently the 83rd most popular choice for little men in Iceland, and has long been a favorite in Scandinavia, Germany and France. The name is currently the 193rd most popular choice for boys in the United States. Fancy the name Axel? Similar Icelandic names for boys include Atli, Arnor and Aron.
“The problem with driving around Iceland is that you’re basically confronted by a new soul-enriching, breath-taking, life-affirming natural sight every five goddamn minutes. It’s totally exhausting.” -Stephen Markley, Tales of Iceland or "Running with the Huldufólk in the Permanent Daylight"
Elin is a name of Welsh and Scandinavian origin that means light, moon. It is most often pronounced EE-lin, but may also be pronounced EY-lin, AY-lin or ELL-in. However parents choose to say this designation, it's an exquisite choice for any lucky little lady. Tiger Woods' ex-wife brought notice to this name after their public romance and break-up played out in the spotlight.
Elin is currently the 11th most popular name for little girls in Iceland, and is the 863rd most popular choice for girls in the United States. Those who love the name Elin for a little lady may also adore the Icelandic girl's names Erla, Eva, Elsa or Eyrun.
“The church trembled and the hail hammered the roof, but his words glided in the air, joyful and bright like the birds at the cliffs. They floated freely around one another without colliding and the wind carried them high up into heaven." -Fridrik Erlings
Elvar is currently the 93rd most popular choice for boys in Iceland, and hasn't been ranked in the United States since 2011, when it was near the bottom of the list as the 13,776th most popular name for little boys. The rarity of this name only makes it more of a stunner. The meaning of Elvar is unknown, but what is sure is it's a strong title that is fitting for a tiny man born to stand out.
Fun fact about Iceland: citizens of the country who believe in elves are in the majority. It could be that an unknown magic exists in this place not many have traveled to, and that those who inhabit the island know something the rest of us don't. What better way to honor this fascinating possibility than with a name that pays homage to elves? Egill, Einar and Erikur are other Icelandic boy's names that may appeal to those who like the name Elvar.
"When I'm in a place like Iceland, I allow myself to take a little more time to divert off onto other paths creatively for a while and see what comes to me." -Damien Rice
Frida is an appealing name of German origin that means peaceful or peace. It is common in Iceland, and is also a popular choice in many European countries. It is currently the 27th most popular name for girls in Denmark, and the 18th most popular name for little ladies in Norway. It currently ranks 864th in the United States, but has seen a major jump in recent years, up 221 spots since 2015.
Frida Kahlo is an inspiring Mexican artist who has helped bring clout to this charming name in recent years. Fanny, Edda and Fjola are other Icelandic girl's names that may appeal to fans of the name Frida.
"Consistently rated the most peaceable of all countries in the world by the Global Peace Index, Iceland has reduced its military expenditure to zero, has no armed forces, and has reduced the inequality gap between rich and poor." -Scilla Elworthy
Geir is a Scandinavian name that means spear. It's short, sophisticated, strong and killer cute. Guoni, Gretar and Gisli are similar Icelandic names that may appeal to those who love the name Geir.
Richard Gere is a Hollywood heartthrob best known for his role in the movie Pretty Woman. His Hollywood chops help this name feel hip. He may have been more popular in the 90's, but that's when many parents of today were watching all of his movies and dreaming of their future romances. This name is a great nod to the past for parents who grew up in the decade when Rom Coms became a thing.
This name is currently ranked as the 10,843rd most popular name for boys in the United States. It's oh-so unique without being difficult to spell or pronounce, and will go wonderfully with nearly any surname. Gear up for a future of magic if this is the name bestowed on your lucky little guy.
"There seldom is a single wave." -Icelandic Proverb
Greta is a German diminutive of the name Margarethe and means pearl. In Greek, it is a shortening of the name Margaret and means child of light. This enchanting name is infused with a touch of old-school glamour thanks to actress Greta Garbo. The highest this name ever ranked in the United States was in 1932, at the height of the actress's career, when it was the 318th most popular name for girls. Currently, Greta is the 648th most popular choice for ladies born in the U.S.
It is much more trendy in Europe right now where it ranks high in Germany, Hungary and especially Italy, where it is currently the 16th most popular choice for girls. Those who love Greta may also appreciate the more traditional-sounding Icelandic girl's names Guony, Guorun or Guoriour.
“In the bare room under the old library on the hill in the town at the tip of the small peninsula on the cold island so far from everything else, I lived among strangers and birds.” -Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby
Gunnar is currently ranked as the 4th most popular name for boys in Iceland, and presently ranks as the 426th most popular choice for boys in the United States. It is a Scandinavian version of the name Gunther and means bold warrior.
Another spelling of the name more commonly seen in North America is Gunner, currently ranked as the 272nd most popular name for boys in the United States, and up in popularity 22 places since 2015. Singer for The Killers, Brandon Flowers has a son named Gunner, and it is the name of a talented designer that appeared on a recent season of Project Runway and Project Runway Allstars. Several different characters in Norse mythology also have this title.
Garoar, Gunnlaugur and Guojon are other interesting and rarely heard Icelandic boys names that may appeal to fans of the name Gunnar.
"A wise man changes his mind, a fool never will." -Icelandic Proverb
Helena is a Latinate form of the name Helen. It is a name of Greek origin that means bright, shining light. Shakespeare used this name in not one, but two, of his brilliant plays, A Midsummer's Night Dream and All's Well That Ends Well. Quirky actress Helena Bonham Carter and gorgeous Danish model Helena Christensen help bring acclaim to this timeless name, as does a song by popular musical group, My Chemical Romance that is entitled "Helena."
Helena is currently ranked as the 67th most popular choice for Icelandic ladies, and it is the 345th most popular choice for girls in the United States at present. Those who love the name Helena may also wish to consider the Icelandic girl's names Hronn, Herdis or Halla.
"I still don't know why, exactly, but I do think people can have a spiritual connection to landscape, and I certainly did in Iceland." -Hannah Kent
Ivar is a Norse beauty that can be pronounced EE-var or EY-var and means yew wood or archer. It is currently the 75th most popular choice for boys in Iceland, and presently ranks as the 5,219th most popular name for boys in the United States. One notable fact about this manly moniker? It has risen in popularity a whopping 557 places since 2015. Ivar is definitely on the rise, however parents choose to pronounce it.
Ingi, Brynjar and Kjartan are other Icelandic boys names that may appeal to those who are loving the name Ivar for a little lad.
"I've walked a lot in the mountains in Iceland. And as you come to a new valley, as you come to a new landscape, you have a certain view. If you stand still, the landscape doesn't necessarily tell you how big it is. It doesn't really tell you what you're looking at. The moment you start to move the mountain starts to move." -Olafur Elliason
Johanna is a name of Hebrew origin that means God is gracious. It can be pronounced Yo-HAHN-ah or Joe-HANN-ah. Either way, this darling name is fitting for any lovely little girl.
Johanna is currently ranked as the 9th most popular name used for little girls in Iceland. It is also in the top 25 of Germany, Austria and Finland at present, and is well within the top 1,000 in the United States, currently ranking 538th. Johanna Spyri is the author of the children's classic, Heidi. The name appears in the dystopian novel, The Hunger Games, the dark musical, Sweeney Todd, and the Bob Dylan song,"Visions of Johanna" as well.
Other Icelandic names that may appeal to those who adore Johanna include Jonina, Brynja and Hanna. JoJo, Josie and Jo are all simply irresistible shortenings of this elegant name.
"Much happens that one expects the least." -Icelandic Proverb
Jonas is a Greek variation of the name Jonah and means dove. The dove is a bird that has long been a symbol of peace and love in Christianity, Judaism and Paganism. The Jonas brothers have definitely upped the cool factor for this Old World name.
It is a name that is well-loved in Europe right now, ranking way up there in Germany, Austria, Norway and Switzerland. Dr. Jonas Salk is the man credited with developing the anti-polio vaccine, a feat that has undoubtedly changed the world for the better. Charles Dickens used Jonas as a name for a character in one of his lesser-known works, Martin Chuzzlewit.
Currently the 45th most popular choice for boys in Iceland, Jonas is presently ranked as the 337th most popular name for boys in the United States, and is up 54 spots since 2015. Other Icelandic boy's names that may appeal to those who love the name Jonas include Johann, Johannes and Jakob.
"Every man is defenseless unless he has a friend." -Icelandic Proverb
This simply beautiful name is a sweet alternative to the more widely-used designations for girls, Laura or Lauren. It is a name of Russian origin, a diminutive of the name Larissa, and means citadel.
Lara Spencer is a co-anchor on ABC's Good Morning America. Her happy demeanor and contagious smile brighten the mornings of many viewers. The sultry Lara Croft is a video game heroine who doesn't mess around; Lara is also a state in the country of Venezuela. This name is a world traveler with roots in more than one continent.
Lara is currently the 56th most popular name used for girls in Iceland and is the 223rd most popular choice for girls born in the United States in 2016, up 11 spots since 2015. Love Lara? Other Icelandic girl's names to consider include Laufey and Linda.
"Better to be alone than in bad company." -Icelandic Proverb
This powerful and stately name is of Latin origin and means greatest or large. Magnus has a royal history in Scandinavia. It was the title of 6 kings of ancient Norway and 4 of Sweden. The hilariously lovable Will Ferrell has a son with this name, as does the equally well-loved actress, Elizabeth Banks.
Magnus is currently the 7th most popular name used for Icelandic boys and the 858th most used boy name in the United States. The name made it into the top 1,000 in the U.S. in 2013, and has been on the rise ever since. Magnus also presently ranks in the top ten names chosen for boys in both Denmark and Norway. Those who adore Magnus may also wish to consider the Icelandic boy's names Matthias, or Hannes.
"Did you know there's probably more golf played in Iceland than most places in the world? They play 24 hours a day in the summertime and the northern part is warmer than the southern part." -Jack Nicklaus
Mara is a Slavic variation of the name Martha and means lady. This delightfully simple name is unique without being difficult to spell or say, and can be sweetly shortened to Martie or Artie. Marta is the name of a Brazilian soccer star who has won the FIFA World Player of the Year award 5 consecutive times, an impressive record.
Currently the 97th most popular name used for girls in Iceland, Marta is the 1,693rd most-used name for little ladies in the United States. It is also a popular choice in Spain at present. Marta is a lovely choice for many reasons. Those who adore this name may also adore the Icelandic girl's names Maria or Margret.
"In Iceland, you can see the contours of the mountains wherever you go, and the swell of the hills, and always beyond that the horizon. And there's this strange thing: you're never sort of hidden; you always feel exposed in that landscape. But it makes it very beautiful as well." -Hannah Kent
This name is quite similar to the name Oliver, currently a favorite of parents in the United States. Olvir is a unique spin on this timeless classic that carries the appeal of being interesting and intriguing. Ollie is a shortening of this name that is sure to fit any curious and active little lad perfectly.
Fans of the name Olvir may also wish to consider the irresistible Icelandic boy's names Oskar, Omar or Orn for a little man. This name is not currently ranked in the United States, and a meaning for the name is not found, making it an unexpected choice sure to garner many compliments.
"Maybe it's just a personal thing, but I get so much grounding from Iceland because I know it's always going to be there. I have a very happy, healthy relationship with the country, so it's really easy to go everywhere because I always have Iceland to go back to." -Bjork
Rakel is the Scandinavian variation of the name Rachel. It is pronounced ra-KELL, the same way as the Spanish version of Rachel, Raquel. Rachel is a name of Hebrew origin that means ewe (female sheep). The simplicity of this name doesn't dampen it's magnificence. It's quaint and lovely, easy to spell and pronounce, and goes beautifully with a wide variety of different middle and last names. This title is as comely and unexpected as the Icelandic landscape, and a darling choice for a little girl.
Rakel is currently ranked as the 45th most popular name used for girls in Iceland, but is still mostly off-the-radar in the United States, presently ranking as the 12,341st most popular name used for girls in 2016. Other names that may appeal to those loving the name Rakel include Icelandic girl's names Rosa and Ragna.
"As the old birds sing, so do the young ones tweet." -Icelandic Proverb
This majestic-sounding name is yet another that has rarely been heard outside of Iceland. Pronounced RAY-neer, this name is identical in sound to the name Rainier, a designation of German origin that means wise army. Mount Rainier is the highest mountain in the Cascade Mountain Range of the Pacific Northwest and in Washington state, with an impressive elevation of 14,409 feet. The Icelandic spelling of this name is as fresh as a seaside breeze and as cool as a slowly-moving glacier.
Reynir is currently the 63rd most popular name used for charming chaps in Iceland, and ranked as the 11,917th most popular choice for boys in the United States in 2015 before completely falling off of the list. Those who adore this name may also wish to consider the Icelandic boy's names Ragnar, Runar or the more traditional Robert for a baby boy.
"Few people take an interest in Iceland, but in those few the interest is passionate." -W.H. Auden
Soley is a marvelous name choice that is currently ranked as the 80th most popular name used for Icelandic maidens, and climbing the charts in the United States. Presently, Soley is the 8,601st most popular name for girls in the U.S., but it has risen 6,376 places since 2015. Name of the future? We think most definitely. It is a variation of the name Solana, a title of Spanish origin that means sunshine.
The Solly Baby Wrap is a must-have for many moms these days, and is the first choice for quite a few baby-wearing mamas. Not sure if there is a connection between the name Soley's recent rise in fame and the wrap or not, but the name definitely invokes the image of a baby nestled safely and happily against Mom's chest. Fans of the name Soley may also swoon over the surprising and unique Icelandic girl's names Sigrun, Stefania or Sandra.
"Iceland is fascinating; really an amazing place to visit, and great for a film." -Russel Crowe
This name oozes debonair charm and a carries with it a dapper demeanor. It is a Greek form of the name Steven and means crown. Fans of the 90's sitcom, Family Matters may recall the transformation of the ultra-nerdy Steve Urkel into the suave and sultry Stefan. Stefan Kendal Gordy, stage name Redfoo, co-founded the band LMFAO with his nephew. Their song "Party Rock Anthem" topped the charts in 2011. Stefan is most commonly pronounced steh-FAHN, but STEH-fan is another possible pronunciation. Either one is totally dreamy.
Stefan is currently holding it's own in the top 10 in Iceland, currently ranked as the 9th most popular name for Icelandic lads, and presently ranks 644th for boys in the United States. Those who are going gaga over the name Stefan may also want to pause and consider other appealing Icelandic boy's names Sindri, Steinar or Sveinn.
"A good beginning makes a good ending." -Icelandic Proverb
Sunna is a shortening of the name Susanna. It is of German origin and means sun. It is currently the 84th most popular name used for girls in Iceland, and ranked as the 14,778th most popular choice for girls in the United States in 2014, but hasn't made the list since. Sunna Margret Thorisdottir is an ultra-cool singer, well-known in Iceland and Norway.
This bright, happy virtually unheard of name is a superb choice for a little one with a sunny disposition. It is a wonderfully happy variation of the name Sunny that is lovely and unexpected. Soffia, Steinnun and Svava are other interesting Icelandic girl's names that may hold appeal to those who think the name Sunna is exceptional.
"If I wasn't bound to Brooklyn, due to my own personal reasons like taking care of my mother and the fact that this is where the band is based, I would probably move to Iceland." -Peter Steele
This name is a German and Portuguese variation of the name Thomas, and means twin. Most commonly pronounced toe-MAHS, some parents may choose to pronounce it TOH-mas. However it's pronounced, this name puts an edgy spin on a timeless classic. Many athletic chaps carry this designation, including soccer player, Tomas Rosicky and tennis star, Tomas Berdych.
Tom or Tommy are common shortenings of this name. Tomas is currently the 43rd most popular name used for boys in Iceland, while presently ranking as the 708th most popular choice for boys in the United States. Love Tomas? Other Icelandic boy's names to possibly consider include the surprisingly fresh-sounding Trygg, Tryggvi or Pall.
"I have a deep and ongoing love of Iceland, particular the landscape, and when writing 'Burial Rites,' I was constantly trying to see whether I could distill its extraordinary and ineffable qualities into a kind of poetry." Hannah Kent
Thelma is a name of Greek origin that means nursling. What's a nursling? It's a noun for a breastfed baby. Interesting, but just one interpretation of the name's meaning. This name is also thought to be a literary invention.
Thelma is a gorgeous choice that possesses vintage charm. It's currently ranking as the 94th most popular name for girls in Iceland, and 4,486th for girls in the United States. It is up 10,491 spots in popularity in the U.S. since 2015, making this Norwegian designation yet another that seems to be on the fast-track to fame. If Thelma is sounding like a wonderful pick, other Icelandic names parents may love include Tinna, Dagny or Lilja.
Just like the Icelandic landscape, the names parents have to choose from stretch as far as the eye can see. Those on a quest for a baby name that is rich in historical depth and sounds as melodic as a wandering breeze need look no further than the names on the list above.
"Iceland, I'm in love with that country, the people are incredible." -Kit Harington