© Credits to istock / GiovanniCaruso
© Credits to istock / GiovanniCaruso

Húsavík: the whale watching capital of Iceland

2 minutes to read

It's not easy to describe the feeling of seeing a blue whale, the largest animal ever known to have lived on Earth, from ten meters distance. Some people scream, some can't say a word, and some even cry of happiness. The best way to check how your reaction would be, is to go to Húsavík - a perfect place for a "rendezvous" with this impressive creature. This small town, with its picturesque harbour and 2300 inhabitants, is the oldest settlement in the country and one of the obligatory stops along the Diamond route, besides the Dettifoss, the Ásbyrgi canyon, the Hverfjall volcano, and lastly, the Lake Myvatn

Lake Mývatn
Lake Mývatn
Mývatn, Islande
Dettifoss
Dettifoss
Dettifoss, Islande
© Credits to istock / Dendron
© Credits to istock / Dendron

I was lucky to have seen whales in many different locations, such as the Azores, Canary Islands, Sardinia, but I must say that there is something special about freezing out there just by the border of the Artic Circle at 66° N, and waiting for some members of more than 20 species of cetacean to show up. Of course, everyone is hoping "the one", the blue whale, is going to appear. Only scenario better than that would be if it would bring a baby along. As this is their home, it's very likely they will properly welcome you!

© Credits to istock / bluejayphoto
© Credits to istock / bluejayphoto

For many years, the town lived thanks to the whaling, and only more recently whale watching has become more popular. Today, Húsavík is renowned for being the whale watching capital of Iceland and, some say, one of the best spots for it in the entire world. The activities start from the first spring days and end only in November. Meanwhile, whales are still being killed in Iceland, and even those endangered ones. Nowadays, Iceland is the only country in the world to hunt the endangered finback whale, for example. Most of the Icelanders say they do not eat whale meat, but seems like it's really popular with tourists.

© Credits to istock / daniloforcellini
© Credits to istock / daniloforcellini

Once you are here, don't miss the famous museum dedicated to, you got it right, educating the public about whales in the wild. It features a jaw-dropping life-size blue whale skeleton, among others. The entrance fee is around 15 euros, but it's totally worth it, both as a warm up before the whale watching tour, or as a wrap-up after it. 

Other interesting places to visit are Húsavíkurkirkja wooden church, built in 1907 and a small yet informative "Exploration Museum", especially if you are passionate about exploration of land, sea, air and space. 

The best moment to visit Húsavík is on the last weekend in July, with the Húsavík town "Candy Days festival" happening, offering numerous concerts, events, games etc. 

Húsavík Whale Museum
Húsavík Whale Museum
Hafnarstétt 1, Húsavík, Islande
Ásbyrgi Canyon
Ásbyrgi Canyon
Ásbyrgi, Islande
Husavikurkirkja
Husavikurkirkja
Iceland
The Exploration Museum
The Exploration Museum
Héðinsbraut 3a, 640 Húsavík

The author

Natacha Costa

Natacha Costa

Hello, I will tell you about the south of France, the Azores, Iceland, among other places, here on itinari. Traveling has taught me more than any school, and I am excited to be sharing this passion of mine with you!

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