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The whale watching capital of Iceland

Legend has it that Husavik (which translates as ‘the bay of houses’) was originally settled by Swedish explorer, Garðar Svavarsson, in 870 AD, who sheltered there over the winter several years before the Vikings arrived from Scandinavia en masse, making it the oldest recorded settlement in Iceland. 

Once a sleepy fishing port and agricultural hub relatively unknown to outsiders, Husavik – around an hour’s drive north of Akureyri – has developed a reputation over the past few decades as one of the best whale watching destinations not just in Iceland, but anywhere in the world. The nutrient-rich waters of Skjálfandi Bay are home to more than 20 species of cetacean, including Humpback whales, Minke whales, Orcas, and even Blue Whales – the largest animal on the planet. 

Husavik has also been catapulted into the international spotlight in recent years after featuring as one of the main filming locations in Netflix’s 2020 musical comedy, ‘Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga’, starring Rachel McAdams and Will Ferrell. It’s one of the highlights of the Diamond Circle route, which passes between five of northern Iceland’s must-visit attractions, and therefore an excellent base (or a pit-stop) for thrilling adventures in this wild, remote and jaw-droppingly beautiful part of the country. 

Explore our map of Husavik

Your Husavik questions, answered

It takes around three hours and 20 minutes to fly from London Gatwick to Akureyri. From there, it’s around an hour’s drive to Husavik, first via Route 1 (the Ring Road) heading east, and then Route 85 the rest of the way. It is possible to get there by bus route 79, but the quickest way is to hire a car or book a private transfer.
In winter, temperatures usually hover between zero and -5°C in Husavik. Snowfall is fairly common, but not generally as heavy as areas further inland. In the summer, meanwhile, 10-15°C is fairly typical. If you’re planning on going whale watching, be sure to wrap up warm and bring plenty of layers – it can get bitterly cold once you’re out at sea and exposed to the wind. 
As long as it’s dark enough and the sky isn’t clouded over, you’ll have a decent chance of seeing the Northern Lights in Husavik. In theory, the more hours of darkness, the better your chances, so November through to February will bring plenty of opportunities if the weather plays ball. However, the autumn and spring equinoxes are considered particularly good for strong auroral activity, meaning mid-to-late September, early October and mid-to-late March are also ideal. 
Yes. Although there’s less than three hours between sunrise and sunset around the winter solstice (21st or 22nd December), it’s by no means fully dark all day throughout the Icelandic winter. It’s generally light from mid-morning through to mid-afternoon around this time of year. Visit Husavik in the middle of summer, meanwhile, and it’s light 24/7 as the sun barely dips below the horizon at all. 
Definitely. Husavik is only a 40-minute drive from the Lake Myvatn region, which is home to the Myvatn Nature Baths and the Hverir Geothermal Area, where the barren, rust-coloured landscape is broken up by bubbling mud pots and steaming fumaroles. You can also easily take trips to Goðafoss Waterfall, Dettifoss Waterfall, and the spectacular Ásbyrgi Canyon. 
It may be fairly small and remote, but Husavik isn’t short of places to eat and drink. You’ll find several traditional Icelandic restaurants specialising in locally caught fish, as well as a handful of cosy cafes and even a sushi bar. 

Hotels in Husavik