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Húsavík is undeniably Iceland’s premier destination for seafaring adventures. This Northern Icelandic fishing village is indisputably the whale watching capital of Iceland and according to some, all of Europe. Stay a few hours longer and you’ll discover the charms of this quaint town with a gorgeous harbour dotted with, scrumptiously delicious sea food, bright and colorful wooden buildings, and local museums. Find out five awesome things you can’t miss on your next visit to to Húsavík, Iceland!
Visit Húsavík, Iceland
Climb aboard a traditional Icelandic oak vessel for a relaxed journey or get your adrenaline pumping with a high speed zodiac boat. Bring your binoculars and keep an eagle eye out for the gentle beasts that live underwater. While whale sightings are not guaranteed, operators try their best to ensure a positive experience and know the areas well. There is a high likelihood of sighting humpback whales and blue whales. In the summer operators will seek out puffins, dolphins and seals as well!
Húsavík Whale Museum
The Húsavík Whale Museum is conveniently located by the harbour in a former slaughterhouse. The unique museum provides an educational and enjoyable overview of the 23 different species of whales of Iceland. Look up to view authentic whale skeletons hang from the ceiling. Its an ideal place and setting to whet your appetite before setting foot on your water vessel. Expect to have a whale of a time ;). Warm up with the free coffee available in the library.
The picturesque harbour is replete with handsome wooden boats and sturdy metal sea vessels. Across the bay snow-capped mountains rise elegantly above the water. Verdant undulating hills in the backdrop complement the urban landscape of the town.
Húsavík Hot Tubs
It’s no secret that almost every Icelandic person can swim and just about every town or village in Iceland has a swimming complex. If you’re lucky you may even find the secret hot pot to relax in!
When visiting Húsavík, Iceland get off the beaten track and go find the hidden hot tubs of Ostakarið. Situated on a hill overlooking the bay, the hot tubs are a fantastic way to relax after your whale watching excursion or on a rainy, windy day (which is often the norm in Iceland). There is a basic enclosed container as a changing room with an honesty collection box asking for 500isk. Make sure to shower before entering the hot tub!
Ostakarið hot tubs are approximately 1.6km North from Húsavíkurkirkja or a 5 minute drive.
Head North from the church on Héðinsbraut then turn left onto Laugarbrekka
Than turn right onto Höfðavegur for 500m.
Turn right on the non signed road and follow the path until you reach the hot tubs. Have fun!
Feel free to download or print the map directions here!
How to drive to Húsavík, Iceland
- Akureyri to Húsavík: Route 1 and 85 are paved, well maintained roads. Total driving time will be 1 hour and 14 mins and distance covered is 93.6km.
- Myvatn Lake to Húsavík: Route 87 is predominately paved with short stretches of unpaved road. The drive will take 54.5km in 45 mins.
- Route 864 to : It will take at least 45 mins or 31.9km from Route 1 to the Dettifoss parking lot and then only another 32 mins or 26.2km to connect with paved route 85. Expect at least an hour and 15 mins to complete route 864 South to North or vice versa. Driving time will vary depending on how comfortable you feel on the pothole riddled road and the speed with which you drive.
- Route 862 connects the Ring road to Route 85. The road is paved up until the Dettifoss parking lot. Further North the road is unpaved, very rough and not recommended for 2WD.
If you have enough time why not take the incredibly scenic route 85 off of Route 1 and explore the far reaches of the Northeast fjords on your way to Husavik? This was one of our favourite road trip days in our whole trip. Beautiful weather, fantastic ocean views and lonely roads. Google maps estimates 272km or 3h 16mins to reach Husavik with this route.
It’s not necessary to rent a GPS from your vehicle rental company if you download the map above or utilize the app Maps.Me, an excellent offline map and navigation tool which we use frequently.
Accommodation in Húsavík, Iceland
If you decide to stay a night in Húsavík here are some recommendations:
Húsavík Campground – Simple campsite of walking distance to all amenities in town. Cooking facilities, showers, laundry and free wifi included.
If you’re interested in staying with the locals check out AirBnB. You can sign up with a new account at Airbnb and get a $30EURO or $35USD discount on your first stay!
Planning a Trip To Húsavík, Iceland?
We never leave home without emergency medical and trip protection cover. We utilize travel insurance from World Nomads for short trips abroad. Protect yourself and your wallet from unexpected injury, sickness & theft abroad.
Iceland Travel Guide
The Lonely Planet Iceland book travelled with us the entire time we were in Iceland. We found it to be a comprehensive and useful book for both pre-planning our trip to Iceland and during the journey itself. 2015 Edition
We also own a Iceland National Geographic Adventure Map. At night during our spare time we would ink in the roads we’d driven on our road trip in Iceland!
Another excellent book to pick up is the Frommer’s Easy Guide to Iceland, a great resource for hiking and outdoor adventures.
Finally, if you’re interested in garnering a better understanding of contemporary Iceland, pick up a copy of Alda Sigmundsdottir’s entertaining and readable “The Little Book of Tourists in Iceland“.
Dress Appropriately for the Weather
Iceland is notorious for its unpredictable and versatile climate. It’s not uncommon for the weather to change in the blink of an eye. Be prepared for sun, rain, hail, and wind.
We recommend waterproof jackets and boots, quick drying pants, warm layers to take on and off depending on the weather. Shop our favourite Iceland travel essentials to keep you warm, dry and comfortable all day!
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Have you gone whale watching before and if so where did you go? What activities would you do if you went to Húsavík? Let us know in the comments below!