In Old Norse textsEdit
Álfheim as an abode of the Elves is mentioned only twice in Old Norse texts.
A hall for himself hath set;
And Álfheim the gods to Frey once gave
As a tooth-gift in ancient times.
A tooth-gift was a gift given to an infant on the cutting of the first tooth.
That which is called Álfheim is one, where dwell the peoples called ljósálfar [Light Elves]; but the dökkálfar [Dark Elves] dwell down in the earth, and they are unlike in appearance, but by far more unlike in nature. The Light-elves are fairer to look upon than the sun, but the Dark-elves are blacker than pitch.
The account later, in speaking of a hall in the Highest Heaven called Gimlé that shall survive when heaven and earth have died, explains:
It is said that another heaven is to the southward and upward of this one, and it is called Andlang [Andlangr 'Endlong'] but the third heaven is yet above that, and it is called Vídbláin [Vídbláinn 'Wide-blue'] and in that heaven we think this abode is. But we believe that none but Light-Elves inhabit these mansions now.
It is not indicated whether these heavens are identical to Álfheim or distinct. Some texts read Vindbláin (Vindbláinn 'Wind-blue') instead of Vídbláin.
Modern commentators speculate (or sometimes state as fact) that Álfheim was one of the nine worlds (heima) mentioned in stanza 2 of the eddic poem Völuspá.