Húsavík is an amazing town in the northern part of Iceland that packs quite the punch considering its small size. Here you can walk the streets that were used in the Netflix movie “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga”, almost be guaranteed to see a whale in a whale watching tour or hit the ski slopes in the winter.
A sleepy little town with colourful houses and amazing nature. That is how Húsavík was before it became so popular. Nowadays, it is teeming with tourists for various reasons, and it is the starting point of one of Iceland’s famous round trips. This mysterious town is known to the world for a specific reason, and well known in Iceland for many others. In this article, we explore this little town of Húsavík.
Speaking of Icelandic cities, Húsavík is not one of them. If you don’t count the masses of tourists that flock here in the summer months, the Húsavík population almost reaches 2,500 inhabitants.
What does Húsavík mean, though? It basically translates to “the House Bay” and is called so after the Swedish Viking who accidentally ended up there and is assumed to be the first person to have built a house in Iceland. He built a house to stay in for the winter and the name Húsavík stuck as a reminder of it.
Where is Húsavík?
After hearing the story about that Viking, most people would assume that Húsavík is on the south coast, but it isn’t. The little town is located on the northern coast of Iceland and is thus very remote. This little town is so remote that it has its own airport, making it comfortably accessible for anyone who wants to enjoy what this town has to offer. Húsavík airport only caters to domestic flights, though, so you can’t get there with a direct international flight.
It is located just east of Akureyri and the distance from Reykjavik to Húsavík is roughly 420 kilometres along the Ring Road 1 and another 45 kilometres north along Road 85.
What to do in Húsavík
Even though Húsavík lies remotely, it offers a lot of activities and entertainment. It is most famous for two very distinct things: whales and the Oscar-nominated song from “Eurovision Song contest: The Story of Fire Saga”.
The Whale Capital of Iceland
In Iceland, Húsavík is known as the whale capital of Iceland. This is one of the few places where you are almost guaranteed to spot a whale when going out on one of the tours.
For the last couple of years, 98% of all Húsavík whale watching tours have had whale sightings and that shot the town to fame. It is now, undoubtedly, one of the best places for whale watching in Iceland. So if this activity is on your bucket-list, you already know where to go!
The most recent and international attention this town has gotten is from the song “Húsavík, my Hometown”. It even went so far as to get a nomination for an Oscar, which made the entire town have a Húsavík Oscars craze. The mayor recorded a couple of videos regarding this, which got attention in international media. It even went so far that a long red carpet was rolled out in town and the only adult named Óskar cut the ribbon for the carpet in 2021.
After the release of the movie, there was a little bit of hype around the “Eurovision Húsavík”-phenomenon, which has been great for their tourism.
One of the smaller ring routes you can take when visiting Húsavík is the Diamond Circle. This little route will take you on a round trip from Húsavík to Ásbyrgi, then to the most powerful waterfall in Iceland: Dettifoss, then onward to Mývatn, then Goðafoss, and lastly back to Húsavík or onward to Akureyri.
Ásbyrgi is a stunning canyon that is fabled to be the result of Odin riding over Iceland on his eight-legged horse, Sleipnir. One of the strides resulted in the horseshoe-shaped landscape that we all can enjoy.
In Mývatn, you can easily stay for a day or two just to take a lap around the lake and marvel at the black beaches. Or you can enjoy the relaxing hot springs at Myvatn Nature Baths. Both Dettifoss and Goðafoss are incredibly impressive waterfalls that are well worth a visit on your way around the Diamond Circle.
There isn’t any shortage of things to do inside Húsavík either and you could easily spend a couple of days enjoying this lovely town.
Being the whale capital of Iceland, you should definitely check out the Húsavík whale museum. Inside they have 11 whale skeletons, including a full-sized skeleton of a 25m long female blue whale. Seeing these bones up close really makes you realise just how large whales really are.
When you’re done at the museum, you could plop down in the heated saltwater pool on the edge of the Northern Atlantic or visit the Húsavík Culture House to see what life was like here 200 years ago.
Other than that, Húsavík has plenty of restaurants and hotels, as well as a camping area, golf course and ski slopes outside of town.
When to Visit Húsavík
Depending on what you want to do on your visit, Húsavík is best visited either in the summer or in the winter. The shoulder seasons are short and are mostly riddled with poor weather, so it’s better to stick to the main seasons when the Húsavík weather is better.
In the summer, you will be able to enjoy most of the Húsavík whale watching, since that is the time when the greatest number of whales are in the area. You will also be able to experience the Diamond circle without drawbacks and see the sights without blowing away or having to wade through snow.
Húsavík in the winter is best if you want to experience the winter wonderland and hit the skiing slopes. Other than that, the town will be a bit slower in the winter, making it better suited if you want to have a relaxing getaway rather than an exciting adventure.
Where to Stay Around Húsavík
It doesn’t matter if you prefer staying in a campervan, RV, tent, hotel, boat, or farmhouse, Húsavík and the surrounding area will cater to your every need.
We prefer to get into a car and explore as much of Iceland as we possibly can. No adventure will come to you if you stay still, so choose the right car for your adventure and have the best Iceland holiday you can have!