Húsavík means "The House Bay" and is a town in northern Iceland, located on the eastern shore of Skjálfandi Bay. It was first settled in 870 AD by a Swedish Viking, Garðar Svavarsson. According to the Book of Settlement, he circumnavigated Iceland and was the first one to discover it is an island. Garðar spent one winter in Húsavík before returning to Sweden, leaving one of his men, Náttfari, behind. He stayed in Iceland until he died and is therefore considered to be the first Nordic settler in Iceland. The name Húsavík is indeed one of Iceland’s oldest local names.
Like many other towns on the coast, the fishing industry has played a vital part for Húsavík’s local development. The first sources of fishing and fish processing are from the late 19th century. Agriculture and farming have also been important for the inhabitants. Moreover, Iceland’s first co-op was founded in Húsavík in 1882.
In recent years, yet another trade has grown in Húsavík – the tourism industry. It is the fastest growing sector of the economy. The biggest visitor attraction is whale watching and Húsavík has in fact become known as the Whale Watching Capital of Europe. Thousands of tourists visit Húsavík annually in the hope of seeing the gentle giants of the ocean.
The church, built in 1907, is one of the main symbols of Húsavík, located in the heart of the town. With a total population of 2,191 (2016), Húsavík is rich with culture and activities. One of the major events in Húsavík is Mærudagar (Candy Days), a local festival held every summer.
Welcome to Húsavík!
Flatey Island (30 min)
Flatey Island is situated in Skjálfandi Bay, only 14,7 nautical miles from Húsavík. The island is about 2,5 km long and 1,7 km wide, and is low-lying. The highest peak only rises about 22 m above sea level. Which is why it is called Flat Island.
Read more about Flatey Island.
Ásbyrgi Canyon (40 min)
A natural marvel, Ásbyrgi is surrounded by 90 to 100 m cliffs. According to legend, Ásbyrgi is a hoof print made by Sleipnir, the horse of Óðinn, the greatest of all Nordic gods. Ásbyrgi is a part of the Vatnajökull National Park and is an ideal territory for walking and hiking. In fact it cannot be explored to the full extent except by foot.
Dettifoss Waterfall (65 min)
Dettifoss is considered the most impressive waterfall in Europe. It is 45 m high and 100 m wide. Below it in the Jökulsá river is Hafragilsfoss (27 m) and above it is Selfoss (10 m). These waterfalls form a unity unparalleled in the world. There is a marked walking path from Dettifoss to Hafragilsfoss.
Goðafoss Waterfall (30 min)
Literally, waterfall of the gods! Waterfall on the river Skjálfandafljót, not far from the main road at Fosshóll in Bárðardalur Valley. The waterfall can be viewed from several places, and the river enters a chasm beneath it.
Lake Mývatn (40 min)
Lake Mývatn is a unique source of endless discoveries and no visitor to Iceland should leave without having spent a day here. It is the fourth-largest lake in Iceland, measuring 37,3 km2. Frequent lava flows have left the lake very irregular in shape, and it is dotted with many islets and rock formations.