Hrísey, colloquially known as the pearl of Eyjafjörður, is known for its beautiful nature, diverse birdlife, and pleasant paths and trails – complete with informative signs along the way. A good way to get to know the island is to hike across it, enjoying the sights with nothing but the sounds of the seagulls to keep you company.
The culture that develops on the islands off the coast of Iceland is fascinating. Close-knit and close to nature, surviving off the land and the sea has given the communities unique opportunities as well as challenges. You can learn about the history of the inhabitants of Hrísey by visiting the island’s recently revamped exhibition on shark fishing at the House of Shark Jörundur. While the adventures of the shark fishers are exciting, Hrísey also has a museum documenting the more domestic side of life. Holt, the memorial museum of Hrísey resident Alda Halldórsdóttir, showcases a typical Icelandic home in the 20th century, where the old and new ways of life meet.
Hrísey is the second-largest island off the coast of Iceland, and it has been continuously inhabited since Iceland’s settlement in the 9th century. It has some options for accommodation, so you can spend a night or two on the island to really immerse yourself in the culture, restaurants serving fresh and delicious food, and there’s a lovely swimming pool. For the real heroes, take the steps down to the beach and bathe directly in the North Atlantic! The island’s famous for being a birdwatcher’s heaven; since there are no natural predators on the island, it’s become a bird sanctuary with forty native species of birds, including ptarmigan, arctic tern, and eider duck. The ptarmigan, a bird in the grouse family, is common there. Its snow-white winter colouring is particularly impressive, as are its feathered legs: a rare characteristic for birds. To get to Hrísey, you can take a 15-minute ferry ride from Árskógssandur (35 km, 22 mi from Akureyri), which leaves every two hours. For more information, check out www.hrisey.is