Picture by Alessandro Casagrande

Húsavík

The main town of the Diamond Circle and of all northeastern Iceland, Húsavík is the location of the first settlement on the island and counts now about 2.300 inhabitants, squeezed in the tiny plot of land between Húsavíkurfjall, Húsavík mountain, in the back, and the waters of the Arctic Sea, in the front. A scenic position on the eastern shore of Skjálfandi Flói which makes Húsavík the most beautiful town you will visit in all Iceland.

The picturesque harbor is and has ever been the heart of the town. For decades the major industry has been fishing and fish processing. Now, although several fishing boats still make waves in this sea, Húsavík is renowned for being the whale-watching Capital of Iceland and one of the best spots in the world. Every day from April to November different kinds of vessels leave the harbor looking for whales. From charming traditional sailing boats where you would step back in time and feel like an old seaman, to high-tech RIB boats that would make you fly on the water and mess up your hair with their supersonic speed. Never forgetting the classic and trustworthy oak boats of course, with their wheelhouse, simply the most famous whale-watching ships. The chances to spot the giants of the sea are extremely high, an average of 98% of successful trip has been recorded year after year.

Picture by Örjan Mattsson

But Húsavík is much more than only whale-watching. Three museums and an art centre are in town. The Whale Museum is a true institution being the only museum fully dedicated to whales in all Europe, tons of info about these animals can be found here together with real skeletons. The Exploration Museum is a rather new museum, the exhibit ranges from Vikings to astronauts making it unique and attractive. The Culture House is a great museum where to easily spend a full day with two to three different shows, the main ones being the anthropological and the maritime sections.  Fjúk Arts Centre is always full of exhibitions, workshops and events going on, a perfect place where to nurture creative thinking.

And there are many other attractions all around the town and at its edges. The beautiful wooden church for instance or the gardens, where to relax and stroll, or the lighthouse, a perfect location to experience the midnight sun in an arctic summer night, the hot-pots with healing waters, or lake Botsvatn below Húsavíkurfjall and the mountain itself from the top of which an astonishing view would reveal all the beauty of the area in a 360° panorama. And then a golf course, short trekking trails, opportunities for horseback riding and a vibrant night life with frequent events and concerts. In the winter months the electric atmosphere is replaced by the peacefulness of the snow and the northern lights magically shine over the white town while you hear the dull creaking of your own footsteps on the icy ground.

How to get here:
If you’re coming from Reykjahlíð on lake Mývatn take road n.87 and drive 46km North until the junction with road n.85. From here turn right, direction North, and drive 9km until you reach the town.
If you’re coming from Ásbyrgi simply follow road n.85, first direction North-West and then South-West, for 64 km.
If you’re coming from Akureyri drive 48km on road n.1, direction East. At the junction with road n.85 turn left and 45km later you’ll reach Húsavík. Alternately drive 14km more on road n.1 until the junction with road n.845 where you turn left and drive 37km North to the town. In this way you’ll have the chance to stop and take your time at Goðafoss.
If you’re crossing the island from the South through Sprengisandur you need to reach road n.1 and from the junction you can choose if driving East of West for few kilometers. In the first case you’ll take road n.845 and in the second case road n.85 to drive to Húsavík.

 

Text by Francesco Perini
Heading picture by Alessandro Casagrande
Mid text picture by Örjan Mattsson

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