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About Húsavík

View from Húsavík mountain to Húsavík and Skjálfandi Bay © Gaukur Hjartarson
View from Húsavík mountain to Húsavík and Skjálfandi Bay © Gaukur Hjartarson

Húsavík is the largest town in Þingeyjarsýsla, a prosperous community by the eastern side of Skjálfandi bay in the Northeast of Iceland. It was here that the Swedish explorer Garðar Svavarsson spent the winter of 870. As Garðar departed Iceland the following spring, three people stayed behind; a man called Náttfari along with an unnamed serf and a bondmaid. Despite the sagas’ account of Náttfari’s settlement, first in Náttfaravík across the bay from Húsavík and then in Reykjadalur, history books usually credit Ingólfur Arnarson, who settled in Reykjavík four years later, as Iceland’s first settler.

Húsavík started forming as a village in late 19th century, and from the first, its main industries have been fisheries, the processing of agricultural products and trade.

Whale Capital of Iceland

Slider Fluke of a Humpback whale in Skjálfandi Bay © Gaukur Hjartarson
Fluke of a Humpback whale in Skjálfandi Bay © Gaukur Hjartarson

In the recent years tourism has increased considerably with a large number of visitors every year. There are many good reasons why Húsavík is such a popular place to visit: an attractive and scenic natural environment, diverse recreation options and proximity to the most highly regarded nature pearls of the region.

The town of Húsavík is globally recognized as one of the best locations in the world from which to watch whales. In fact, there is a higher chance of seeing whales in Húsavík than any other place in Iceland. So, if you’re ever considering where to go whale-watching, our town is without a doubt, second to none. Different companies offer whale watching tours either on traditional oak boats or RIB speedboats.

whale capital

The first scheduled whale-watching tours in the whole of Iceland started here, in the mid-90s, following requests by passing tourists. Since then, the industry has boomed and made Húsavík a household name, often branded ‘The Whale Capital of Iceland’.

Húsavík is a clean and tidy town whose heart beats around the harbour with its remarkable whale museum that has a live-size Blue whale skeleton. The church, built in 1907, stands beside the main street and is regarded as an emblem of the town. Up the street is the cultural house with its museum collections inside: there is a regional collection, district archives, natural history collection, maritime collection and photograph and film archives.

Vacation Destination

Grenjaðarstaður turf farmhouse © Ari Páll Pálsson
Grenjaðarstaður turf farmhouse © Ari Páll Pálsson

Húsavík provides the visitor with all the basic services and much more: hotel, guesthouses, shops, restaurants, a camping site, a park, museums, a swimming pool, a geothermal sea bath, a golf course and numerous pleasant walking routes. One of the most popular routes, is a walk around the lake Botnsvatn, just above the town.

The summit of Húsavíkurfjall mountain offers a panoramic view of the surroundings. On a clear day it is possible to see as far south as Vatnajökull glacier.

Lundey, also known as Puffin Island, is just a few kilometers north of town and home to 200,000 puffins during the breeding season.They can be seen on guided tours.

Húsavík lies along the Arctic Coast Way and is part of the Diamond Circle. The town is very close to the Vatnajökull National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site.

Welcome to Húsavík!

Visit Húsavík logo © Húsavíkurstofa