Interresting places in the north of Iceland.
Akureyri, with its 17,000 inhabitants, is known locally as the capital of the north and is situated on the west side of Eyjafjordur, the largest fjord in Iceland. At the innermost section of the fjord, the “Akureyri Puddle” or “The Puddle” is, by nature, one of the best harbours in the country. Certainly, above all else Akureyri owes its thanks to the good harbour for its existence. It is the largest town outside of the capital area, Reykjavik, and the fourth largest in the country. It lies about 100 km south of the Arctic Circle. Akureyri is an important centre of the fishing industry, and about 10% of the town’s residents take their livelihoods from deep-sea fishing and fish processing.
It is uncertain when settlement and commerce began in Akureyri, but the main trading centre of the north, which was at Gásar 14 km north of the town, has existed since at least 1400. The settlement has, little by little, moved farther up to the head of fjord. One cannot speak of a permanent settlement before the middle of the eighteenth-century. Initially, it was established as a trading centre: there is still a lot of trading done there as it is close to a large country population.
Akureyri is now the largest industrial trading town in the country, but there is also a great interest in gardening there. Gardens decorate the town and, alongside tall trees (by Icelandic standards), they give a beautiful appearance to the town in summer.
Akureyri is sometimes called “the school town”, and educational and cultural life has long been strong there. It has two secondary schools, MA and VMA, a college of art, a music school, and a university, and there is also a study centre for women. There is an active theatre, various choral groups and a symphony orchestra. It is safe to say that the cultural and artistic life of the town is in bloom.
Sporting life is varied: two football clubs are run in the town, Þór and KA, as well as swimming, ice-skating, and golf clubs to name but a few. Furthermore, Akureyri is the best skiing centre in the country. Not far from Akureyri is Mývatn, one of Iceland’s most famous natural pearls. There it’s possible to go trekking, bask in the geothermal spa, study lava formations, go horse-riding, go fishing in the lake, and a host of other things. On the way to Mývatn, you can stop at one of the country’s well-known waterfalls: Goðafoss, or Waterfall of the gods. To the north there’s the sea town of Húsavík, famous for its whale watching tours.
Blonduos is situated at the eastern side of Hunafloi and lies on both sides of the Blanda river. Upstream from the bridge over Blanda is Hrutey island, a park that was protected in 1975. Services for travellers have been growing in recent years. Handcraft museum, the only one of a kind in Iceland, is to be found in Blönduós. You will also find a Sea Ice Exhibition Centre in the old part of the town and The Icelandic Textile Center in the old Woman’s handcrafts college in Blönduós. The church in Blönduós is new and with an organ just made by the only icelandic organbuilder, Björgvin Tómasson.
There are several options a tourist can take in Dalvíkurbyggð when it comes to accommodation depending on they’re lifestyle. Below there is a list of the accommodations available in Dalvíkurbyggð which vary from hotels and guesthouses to camping places.
Farmhouse holidays and other tourist services play a growing role in the rural areas of Dalvíkurbyggð. There are also several of leisure and outdoor activities for tourists that are passing through Dalvíkurbyggð.
In August, usually the second (or first, depending on the calendar year) weekend of the month, is “The great fish day” held by the harbor of Dalvík. At this festival people are invited to a real fish feast where the people of Dalvíkurbyggð hand out free food and drinks as well as entertainment are provided. Most definitely a day no one should miss!
– A pearl on the Arctic Circle north of Icleand –
Flying to Grimsey
Grimsey Island – far away in the north: the home of one hundred people – and one million seabids. Courageous fishermen live there with thei families. The island stands alone far out on the horizon, a blue cliff, sourrounded by the wide Arctic Oean, about 40 km off the north coast of Iceland; it is about 5 square kilometers in area. The islanders live in a small village by the harbour – a prosperous and fertile community with many children.
Hofsos is a small village on the eastern shore of Skagafjordur fjord. At one time it was the region’s main trading centre, and is one of the oldest still in existence. It is believed that trading started there in the 16th century. Pakkhusid, an old warehouse dating back to the days of the Danish trade monopoly, has been restored and now houses the Skagafjordur Regional Folk Museum. In addition, a local museum named The Icelandic Emigration Centre, has been opened, where the emigration of Icelanders to North America is illustrated and recounted.
Holar is one of Iceland’s best-known historical sites. From 1106 -1801 it was an episcopal see, as well as being the main regional centre. The current cathedral at Holar was consecrated in 1763, and has since been restored to its original state. It is made of red sandstone that was transported from the mountain Holabyrda above the village. A turf farmhouse dates from 1854, and was still occupied until the middle of the 20th century. The University at Holar has been operated since 1882.
The island Hrisey is a pearl of nature lying out in the middle of the Eyjafjordur Fjord. In Hrisey there is a small fishing village with services such as an outdoor swimming pool, a small guesthouse, restaurant, camping site, café and shop. From the village there are several hiking paths around the island with rich bird life. “Things to do” on the island are: a tractor-driven sightseeing trip around the island, a visit to the local shark museum where you will find information about shark fishing as well as the local history. After that, there is a real treat in store; a chance to taste the island’s speciality, the blue mussel. To reach Hrisey, drive towards Dalvik, then turn off to Arskogssandur, where there are scheduled ferry crossings to and from Hrisey. The boat trip takes about 15 minutes.
Húsavík, Iceland’s whale-watching capital, is a picturesque harbour town that has become a firm favourite on travellers’ itineraries. With its colourful houses tumbling down to the water and the snowcapped peaks of Viknafjöll across the bay, it’s the prettiest fishing town on the northeast coast. Húsavík is also home to several interesting museums: the award-winning Whale Museum, and a better-than-average local-history museum. The town also has a good selection of accommodation and restaurants and a lively but relaxed atmosphere, making it a perfect base to explore the area.