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  • Writer's pictureEinar Páll Svavarsson

Húsavík the whale-watching town in the Northern Region

Updated: Mar 26, 2023


Húsavík harbour
Harbor at Húsavík town in northern region in Iceland

Húsavík town, a part of the Norðurþing multiplicity with a population of 2.400 as of January 2022, is a beautiful fishing town in the Northern Region of Iceland. Húsavík ranks number one on my list of the most interesting towns and villages in Iceland. It is located near the most beautiful and interesting tourist attractions and natural wonders in Iceland Jökulsárgljúfur canyon. It is the home to many natural wonders and breathtaking places such as Dettifoss waterfall, Hólmatungur, and Hafragilsfoss waterfall. It is also close to Ásbyrgi, and Mývatn. Historically it is also a place of great importance, and it is an old town. One could argue that Húsavík (the bay of houses) is the first place that was inhabited by people of Iceland. The second Viking Explorer, who arrived in Iceland during the second half of the 9th century, built the first house by the bay and stayed there for one winter. Garðar Svavarsson named the island Garðarshólmi after himself, but the name didn't work. Historically, Húsavík has been an important place in Iceland ever since the Vikings started to settle there.


Húsavík has a long history of trading

Church in Húsavík
The old church in Húsavík town

Interestingly, Húsavík has been a place for trading for ages and has taken advantage of the fishing grounds in Skjálfandi bay throughout centuries. First, it was a trading place in the Middle Ages. Later, the notorious Danish-Icelandic Trade Monopoly carried out an operation in Húsavík. After the monopoly was abolished, Húsavík dominated trading in the annex trading period and continued to maintain its role when independent trading and Cooperative Societies finally took over most of the trading in Iceland including towns and villages around the country.


A fishing town with tourist attraction

Camping in Húsavík town
Húsavík town has a great camping site

Currently, fishing and fish processing are the primary sources of income for most residents in Húsavík. The first motorboats reached Húsavík in the first decade of the 20th century. This development made a huge difference as it did in most towns and villages around the shoreline in Iceland. After two decades, a permanent harbor was built that cleared the way for further development in fishing on a larger scale. In 2018, a silicon metal factory opened and started operation; PCC Bakki Silicon providing an essential base to the Húsavík economy. In recent years, Húsavík has made an impressive entry into the tourist industry while at the same time, fishing and fish processing is on a decline.


The initiative of offering whale-watching tours to Skjálfandi bay years ago has resulted in the label "Whale-Watching capital" of the world when people refer to Húsavík. The place provides the most interesting whale watching tours in Iceland. For the people who are particularly interested in whale watching, it is strongly recommended that they take the tour with Norðursigling in Húsavík.


An attractive town all year long

Theater in Húsavík
The small theater in Húsavík part of rich art and culture

Húsavík has always been considered a pleasant town to live in with good service for the residents. From early on, education was a priority like most towns and villages in Iceland. The first school was built at the end of the 19th century. Currently, there are quality schools from kindergarten to high school. The town has a gorgeous swimming pool, a sports center, great sports faculties, a community center, and a theater. It also includes a hospital, health care, and good care for the elderly. The Church in Húsavík is a timber building that was built in 1906 and consecrated in 1907. It is a beautiful building and has served the whole community of Húsavík for years.


A small creek and garden in Húsavík
A beautiful and quiet place in the middle of Húsavík, ideal for walking around the town

Most of the homes in Húsavík are single-family houses. However, the town has a few old houses. Here you also find a good selection of accommodation and an impressive small town center with excellent restaurants and cafés. Húsavík is a green area; heated with hot water from a geothermal plant and is thus part of the green energy revolution that started in Iceland more than a century ago.





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