Iceland’s Nautical North
Iceland’s northern shores are dominated by seafaring activities. The largest city, Akureyi, is a bustling port, with gigantic cruise ships rolling in & out of its beautiful bay daily. Akureyi sits at the mouth of two narrow peninsulas, poking out into the Arctic Ocean, creating a stunning setting. The town itself is basically one main street, a block back from the highway that hugs the coast. Its quiet & quirky, & you would never believe it is the country’s second largest city! There isn’t much to do in Akureyi itself, but its a great base for other activities in the north.
After a night in Akureyi we headed to Husavik, Iceland’s oldest settlement & premier whale watching spot. Husavik is a quaint fishing town, again situated in a large bay that opens into the expanse of the Arctic.
For $60 each (yeah, Iceland’s expensive!) we got tickets for a 3 hour whale watching tour, heading out across the bay in search of the gentle giants. During summer months you are almost guaranteed to see at least one whale, the most common being humpback whales. We were lucky enough to see three humpbacks up close, & several others a distance away while cruising the frigid waters.
On returning to Husavik we visited the must-see whale museum, set up inside an old whaling slaughter house. The museum boasts tonnes of skeletons, pictures & information on every species of whale for an entry fee of $10. Its an expensive day, but it was the only excursion we paid for all trip!!
On the 40 minute drive back to Akureyi we stopped off at Godafoss, an impressive waterfall 100 meters from the road. The story behind the falls is that the tribe leader of the region threw his pagan god statues into the water, in a symbolic show of his conversion to christianity… hence the name Godafoss, Waterfall of the Gods.
DO NOT skip out on Iceland’s north!! It offers you a view at a more traditional Icelandic lifestyle… & it’s flippin’ beautiful!!!