Húsavík is an easy day trip from Akureyri and offers several attractions that make it well worth the visit. The town itself is a charming little fishing village of 2,500 people. Often called Iceland’s whale-watching capital, the most popular reason to visit Húsavík is to take a whale-watching cruise. In addition, the town has a beautiful old wooden church, built in 1907, a surprising number of excellent museums considering its size, and, of course, gained fame for the Oscar-nominated song of the same name from Will Ferrell’s Netflix film lampooning the Eurovision Song Contest.
Watch the Whales
Although you can go whale watching in most large towns in Iceland, Húsavík has the benefit of being only a short sailing time away from the open sea, where more species of whales reside rather than in fjords and bays. You can see blue whales, the largest mammals on earth, mainly in the ocean north of the country. Add to this the possibility of going puffin watching and the rich birdlife, and you will see why Húsavík is many a nature lover’s idea of paradise.
Entertaining and Educational
In addition to wildlife, the town has many fascinating museums. The Whale Museum is a 1,600 m2 hall that houses whaling and marine ecosystems exhibitions featuring real whale skeletons. A stone’s throw away is the Húsavík Folk Museum, whose presentation on the region’s culture, nature and animals gives a rare glimpse into life in the north in days gone by. The Folk Museum is unusual in its display and curation, arranging the natural (including stuffed birds, a fox and a polar bear) and historical specimens (including tools, clothes and kitchenware) together thematically and aesthetically.
For a quirkier look at Icelandic culture, stop by the Exploration Museum. Its exhibitions tackle everything from astronauts visiting Iceland to prepare for the moon landing to the early explorers who discovered Iceland and settled there.
After a long day of watching whales and exploring museums, taking a dip in the GeoSea Geothermal Sea Baths on the outskirts of town is a refreshing luxury. The sea baths have an incomparable view of the mountains and Skjálfandi bay.
Húsavík has a great selection of bars and restaurants. For the Eurovision Song Contest fans making a pilgrimage to Húsavík, a stop at the Jaja Dingdong bar is a must.
It’s easy to spend a whole day taking in the atmosphere at Húsavík and wandering down to the harbour to enjoy one of the excellent local restaurants. If you want to make more of your day, you might consider detouring to Goðafoss waterfall en route. Another option is to drive to Aðaldalur Valley, where you can visit Grenjaðarstaður Folk Museum, which resides in a traditional Icelandic turf house dating back to 1865.
Last updated on 9 May 2023.