Five Things to Do in Húsavík

Húsavík is a small town that looks out over Skjálfandi Bay on Iceland’s northern coast. It has gained international fame as one of the world's best places to see whales.

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The town is home to just 2,182 people, but the numbers swell greatly in summer — if you count the very large visitors in the water, that is. Here are five of the best things to do in Húsavík; the first two are, of course, whale related.

Go whale watching in Skjálfandi Bay

Húsavík couldn’t legitimately claim to be Iceland’s whale capital without offering guests the best odds of seeing whales.

Humpback and minke whales are among the most common visitors to the area, with white-beaked dolphins frequently stealing the whales’ thunder. All these animals are excellent attractions in their own right, with the humpback a particular favorite among whale watchers due to its playful nature.

For many whale watchers, though, the opportunity to see the biggest living being that ever existed on the planet, the blue whale, is the main attraction. Blue whales are an endangered species, with only 10,000 to 25,000 in the ocean today, so being able to see one in Húsavík is a real privilege.

Visit the Whale Museum

Naturally, the whale capital needs a whale museum. The museum seeks to be the educational component of the town’s whale-watching experience. If you’d like to understand more about what you’ve seen, or are looking for some inspiration, the Whale Museum is a great first stop.

Check out the Exploration Museum

The Exploration Museum focuses on human achievements in world discovery, such as the activities of the Vikings, and people who furthered our knowledge of the Arctic.

The main focal point of the museum, however, is the exhibit on the Apollo space missions, whose astronauts trained in Húsavík. Iceland is renowned for its geology and landscapes, similar to those of the moon, so these astronauts visited in 1965 and 1967 to prepare for their expeditions.

Have a meal at the Gamli Baukur Restaurant

Located at Húsavík’s harbor front, the Gamli Baukur offers a mixture of local and international cuisine, coupled with an excellent view of Skjálfandi Bay and the mountains in the distance. The restaurant was rebuilt from locally sourced driftwood after a fire in 1960 destroyed the original building, first built in 1884.

Go swimming

If you want to swim in a local swimming pool, or you’re seeking something more natural, there are various options in and around Húsavík. Both the town’s swimming pool and Kaldbakur pond are heated by geothermal energy. An oddity of the Kaldbakur pond is the presence of goldfish. The temperature is appropriate for the species, and many townspeople have chosen to release their former pets into these waters.

Whether you choose to spend your time with the biggest creatures in the ocean, or with some tiny goldfish in a geothermal pond, you’re sure to have a whale of a time in Húsavík.

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