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Top 5 Things To Do in Húsavík

Iceland’s Famous & Historic Northern Town

|September 14, 2023
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Heading to Húsavík on an exciting adventure? Find out about the best things to do and see in the whale-watching capital of Iceland.


Húsavík is a town in the north of Iceland that is best known for its whale-watching tours and its role in Will Ferrell's Netflix comedy 'Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga'. Though much smaller than Reykjavík to the south and even nearby Akureyri, Húsavík is a popular tourist destination, and it’s not difficult to see why.

Whether you find yourself with a day or two to explore the entire town, or maybe it’s just a stop on a self-drive tour of Iceland, Húsavík is worth a visit. Don’t forget to wander the charming streets and enjoy tasty local seafood in between attractions!

Well within reach of Iceland’s rugged natural landscapes, Húsavík also has lots to do for the whole family without going too far. Wildlife fans, history buffs, or lovers of Eurovision will all find plenty to enjoy. Let’s take a look at the top 5 things to do in Húsavík.

1. DISCOVER THE TRADITIONAL TURF HOUSES

Traditional Icelandic houses with turfed roofs in a row.

Traditional turf houses of Iceland

Belonging to The Culture House of Húsavík, these turf-covered houses are an excellent and more off-the-beaten-track feature of local history. Dating back to Iceland’s settlement over 1,000 years ago, the site of Grenjaðarstaður farm was once one of the chief’s farms. Since 1958, the structure has been used as a heritage museum, displaying hundreds of donated items that paint a picture of how past Húsavík residents might have lived. There are picnic tables behind the sloping turf roofs and cafe facilities for warm drinks on site.

2. VISIT THE HÚSAVÍK WHALE MUSEUM

The most popular things to do in Húsavík are related to the giant inhabitants that thrive in the waters surrounding the town. It’s these fascinating creatures that have made Húsavík the most iconic whale-watching destination in Iceland, yet you don't have to head out onto the water to understand the creatures.

The Húsavík Whale Museum is unique in that it's one of just a few museums in the world dedicated to whales. With more than 8 exhibition rooms, you'll find out all about the types of whales you might stand a chance of spotting off Iceland's shores. There are 11 whale skeletons displayed across the museum, and all (apart from 1 which died of natural causes) were a gift from neighboring Greenland.

On your visit, you can discover the country's relationship with whaling over the years, as well as the rest of the world. You don't want to miss the museum's newest attraction, the 25 m (82 ft) Blue Whale skeleton - the only complete Blue Whale skeleton in Iceland.

3. TRY HORSEBACK RIDING

Beautiful Icelandic horses in different colors

Beautiful Icelandic horses in different colors

Whales are not the only animals special to Húsavík, and to Iceland in general. Icelandic horses are gorgeous, intelligent, and strong creatures, many of which live on farms across the country. There are many unique qualities of Icelandic horses, one of which is their 5 gaits (compared to just 4 of other horse species).

Even if horseback riding is not a regular hobby for you, exploring the stunning black sand beaches, coastlines, and rocky outcrops around the town feels particularly special on the back of such a graceful animal. Luckily, Húsavík is home to many Icelandic horse farms, so there’s no shortage of horses to find here.

4. SWIM IN GEOSEA GEOTHERMAL BATHS

Aerial shot on geothermal pools overlooking the water in Húsavík, Iceland

Geosea geothermal baths in Húsavík, Iceland

Upon discovering hot water underground that was too rich in minerals to heat houses, residents of Húsavík have enjoyed the relaxing benefits of the Geosea geothermal baths for years. Geosea sits on the cliffside overlooking Skjálfandi Bay, allowing a view of the ocean for optimistic whale-watchers. Enjoy temperatures of 38 - 39℃ (100 -102°F)  - perfect for soaking sore muscles, stimulating circulation, and gently treating skin conditions, such as psoriasis. What’s more, you can top your experience off with a refreshing drink from the swim-up bar.

5. GO WHALE WATCHING

Whale tail diving into the water with a person taking a photo on their phone

Whale tail spotted during the whale watching tour by boat in Iceland

As you might have guessed, this list would not be complete without Húsavík’s incredible whale-watching tours. The town’s ideal position in Northern Iceland means that all year round there are whales feeding in the waters close by. They are attracted by the nutrients provided by nearby currents. Húsavík is highly regarded, not only in Iceland but also across Europe, as a top whale-watching destination, so this is an absolutely unmissable thing to do if you find yourself in the area.

Looking for something more exciting? Arctic Adventures can help. Our day tours are designed to be the perfect addition to a self-drive tour and help you make the most of your time in Iceland. Explore our day tours in the north of Iceland and get to know the area even better with our knowledgeable guides.

 

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