Picture by Brian Gratwicke

Grimsey

Some dozens of toughened fishermen, millions of seabirds, rocks, cliffs, grass, sea and wind. This is what awaits you in Grimsey, the only piece of Iceland which is crossed by the Arctic Circle. 40km from the mainland, this island of 5,3 square kilometers has one single settlement, Sandvík, placed on the southwestern shores.

The forces of nature are here unpredictable and often hit Grimsey at full power. Fog, storms and frosts comes and goes. Rain, hail and snow suddenly start and likewise suddenly stop. The wind can be so strong to seem to be able to wipe out the entire island at any moment. The ocean easily gets rough, the waves reach up to 15 meters in height and strikingly break on the steep cliffs. But weather can be mild and fair as well. After a storm Grimsey feels like the most peaceful place on Earth, on those moments temperature overcomes Reykjavík’s highest, the sea shines like a glittering mirror and the coasts of the mainland appear in the horizon.

Picture by Kevin Lockwood

Most of people come here in summer by the ferry leaving from Dalvík and stay only few hours. Enough time to visit the very small town, check out the surroundings and the harbor where there are the 20 fishing boats which provide the main revenues thanks to the 3.000 tons of cod catched every year. Enough time to get the unmissable Arctic Circle certificate of course. But longer stays give the unique chance to experience the mighty nature and the seductive loneliness of one of the most isolated land of Iceland.

About that, the first place is up to Kolbeinsey, an uninhabited basalt islet about 75 kilometers North-West from Grimsey and 105km from the mainland. Kolbeinsey was created by a submarine eruption in 1372 and is subject to rapid wave erosion and is expected to disappear.

How to get there and around:
There are 2 ways to get to Grimsey. Either by plane or by ferry. The ferry leaves every Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from Dalvík and return here the same day in the late afternoon. The flights depart daily in the summer months from Akureyri in early morning and return the same day in late morning. In the winter months departures are on Sunday, Tuesday and Friday early afternoons and return is in mid afternoon.
Akureyri is 386km away from Reykjavík. Coming from the East (Húsavík, Mývatn,…) you need to get on road n.1 and drive towards West. Akureyri is 52km after Goðafoss and the airport is 2km South of the city. From Akureyri you can continue on road n.1 for 10km, towards North-West, until the junction with road n.82. Drive 32km direction North and you get to Dalvík.
Another option to reach Grimsey is by joining a sailing boat tour from Húsavík.

 

Text by Francesco Perini
Heading picture by Brian Gratwicke
Mid text picture by Kevin Lockwood

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