A day from Akureyri: Húsavík and beyond

Húsavík is an easy day-trip from Akureyri, and offers a number of attractions that make it well worth the visit. The town itself is a charming little fishing village of less than 2.500 people, it has a beautiful old wooden church, surprisingly many great museums considering the small size of the town, not to mention the fact that it’s one of the best places in the country to go whale watching.

The reason why it’s a particularly good place for whale watching, is that from Húsavík it takes a very short while to sail out to the open sea, where you can see blue whales, the largest mammals on earth, and who live mostly in the ocean north of the country. Add to this the possibility to go Puffin Watching, and a variety of other birdlife, and you will see why Húsavík is many a nature lover’s idea of paradise.

In addition to the wildlife the town offers many interesting museums. The one most obviously connected to the whale watching is the Whale Museum, a 1.600 m2 (17.222 ft2) hall which houses exhibitions on whaling and marine ecosystems, several full size whale models as well as real whale skeletons and many other things. A stone’s throw away you can find the Húsavík Folk Museum, the Maritime Museum and an impressive Photographic Collection, all in the same building. The Folk Museum is unusual in its display and curation – a result of a collaboration with a number of artists and theater set designers, it is a far cry from the “academic,” chronological arrangement of most museums, opting instead to arrange the natural specimens, (including stuffed birds, fox and polar bear), historical (including tools, clothes and kitchenware) together in a thematic and aesthetic way. The Maritime Museum documents this most important local industry in great detail, preserving amongst other things several full-sized boats.

In addition to all this, one of the most easily recognizable landmarks in town is the beautiful old wooden church, built in 1907, with its distinctive woodwork and green-thatched spire.

It’s an easy way to spend a whole day taking all this in and wandering down to the harbour to enjoy one of the excellent local restaurants, but if you want to make more of your day, you might consider detouring to Goðafoss waterfall en route, drive to Aðaldalur Valley where you can visit Grenjaðarstaður folk museum, which resides in a traditional Icelandic turf-house which dates all the way back to 1865.

Day Tours, Activities and Adventures