The town of Husavik in the North of Iceland will probably show up early in your Google search of interesting places in Iceland. This is due to two things especially; enterprising locals and closeness to the open ocean.
You see, the town itself is really not that beautiful. But due to a number of interesting trips on offer here most people make a stop. Those that do won´t be disappointed.
Husavik bills itself as the whale watching capital of Iceland. For this the place is ideally located far North and only minutes from the open sea. This means greater likelihood of seeing the beautiful animals in shorter amount of time than many other locations offer. But always keep in mind whale watching is pretty much 50/50 enterprise anywhere.
This also used to be the home of the most unusual and popular museums in Iceland. The Phallalogical Musum, now located in Reykjavik, was originally built here. But although the locals love tourist dollars they could never see anything positive about such a museum and in effect drove the owners to relocate to Reykjavik where it fascinates thousands every year.
The locals have been active in preserving and rebuilding nice old buildings and the local church is by many considered the most beautiful religious building in the country. Husavik church is the town symbol and it is usually open for visits and mass is held here regularly.
Husavik is also a bit unique in that is actually has something resembling a town center around the harbor area. Bars, restaurants and community center are all by the harbor along with the tour companies and souvenir sellers. This creates a sense of the town being larger than it actually is.[blockquote type=”blockquote_line” align=”right”]It actually has something resembling a town center around the harbor area[/blockquote]
This place boasts it is the whale watching capital of Iceland and perhaps rightly so. The industry might not be as big as in Reykjavik but it is closer to open ocean and thus the trips out to sea are shorter. This is important since sea sickness is a regular feature on such trips.
Two tour companies offer trips from here most days of the year. North Sailing and Gentle Giants offers three and four hour trips daily and these are truly worth it although a bit expensive. By the harbor there is a Whale museum of sorts where you can get detailed info on these magnificent creatures. A wise move to take this in before heading out on a whale-watching trip.
Apart from wandering around town and taking a whale-watching cruise there is not too much else worthy of your time here. Husavik Museum is a local folk museum and quite okay but not gonna get your pulse racing much. Two old farms outside of town are part of this place and it can be enlightening to witness how locals got by in years past at Grenjastadir and Snartastadir farms. Those are only open in summertime. A recent addition to the Husavik flora is the Exploration Museum which is amazingly good museum dedicated to explorers throughout history. Worth checking out.
Another great feature of Husavik is its golf course. This has long been a rather closely guarded secret but the course is both extremely demanding and magnificent fun. Don´t worry, everyone can play and it is pretty cheap too.
For staying you have loads of options. Team Total Iceland recommends staying in guesthouses as these are more often than not in older houses many of which are filled with soul. Husavik Guesthouse and Sigtun Guesthouse are places in point. However, prices here are a bit on the steep side. Should more traditional things be your thing you can lay you head down in Fosshotel in the center of town close to some life or Hotel Cape a tiny bit away from the center where you´ll get more view but less life. Also available are guesthouses in the nearby countryside but for this you will need your own wheels.
The campsite is in the North of the town about five minute walk to the harbor center. It is modern with amenities.
One great drawback for this place is the constant demand of the locals for heavy industry to create more jobs. At the time of writing there are plans afoot to build an aluminum smelter in the area. How this can coexist beside whale watching and promoting nature is yet to be seen. Such smelters have already ruined the attraction of a number of local towns.[reveal title=”De facto” ]For whale-watching this is indeed one of the very best places for such excursions[/reveal] [reveal title=”Getting here” ]From the Ring Road turn to road 85 either coming from west or east. The most stunning road though is road number 845 also from the Ring Road. Not in great condition but goes right by Dettifoss waterfall and Jokulsargljufur canyon both of which are unmissable.[/reveal] [reveal title=”Our humble opinion” ]A fairly nice town and the people relaxed and cheerful. A great stop for whale stuff and surrounding area is nice but it is a bit off the Ring Road if time is limited.[/reveal]
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