When I first visited Húsavík in 2016 Northern Iceland felt like the edge of the world to me. Coming from a densely populated area in Germany—the city I grew up in had twice as many inhabitants as Iceland’s entire population—I had never experienced such remoteness. Looking back, this sounds like a ridiculously biased view on things, but at the time I couldn’t help but express this awe to my partner when we were standing on the beach and he pointed out to me that if the weather was really good, we would be able to see a tiny strip of Greenlandic shores in the distance. Of course, I learned quickly that the people living in the North are just as connected to the modern world as everyone else, but what remained is a deep appreciation for the quiet you can experience in the area.
Húsavík’s reputation as the “Whale Watching Capital” of Iceland is perhaps the most significant incentive for tourists to make the six-hour drive from Reykjavík. Yet, the charming area has a lot more to offer for those who get seasick at the mere thought of being on a boat. There are many hiking trails, with popular ones leading around Botnsvatn Lake and to the top of Húsavíkurfjall, which is covered in lupine in summer and rewards hikers with a breathtaking view of Skjálfandi Bay from its peak. There is an option to drive up the mountain, something I would however not recommend trying in winter—it was the first time I legitimately thought I was going to die. Learn from my wisdom and please don’t be that tourist.
Treat yourself to some cake
A short drive from town, a dirt road leads down to a lovely little guesthouse called Tungulending, which translates to “tongue landing” and refers to the shape of the landscape where fishing boats would come ashore. The property lies in a secluded bay and the German owners serve great cakes and hot drinks. I love this place, not because it’s run by people that speak my language, but because it truly gives you the feeling that you’re very far away from the rest of the world. Walking along the shore and marvelling at the mountains and the sea always takes me back to those first days of wonder in Iceland.
Soak it off
Just recently, Húsavík added a new gem to its attractions. Geosea is a pool filled with a mixture of seawater and geothermal water that occurs naturally in a nearby well. Although my wallet certainly isn’t approving of it, I treat myself to a dip once a year. From the infinity pool you look once more out over the bay and the snow-covered mountains across the water, which become especially magical as the sun sets—Húsavík really is all about this view.
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