The Diamond Circle route is considered to be the jewel of northeast Iceland. This 162 mi (260 km) circuit is jam-packed with natural attractions, some of the country’s most famous and stunning waterfalls, and geothermal areas that look like something from another planet. So what does the best of a Diamond Circle itinerary have to offer? From whale watching in Húsavík to the turquoise waters of Lake Mývatn, let’s begin exploring activities in this unique corner of the world. First stop: things to do in Húsavík.
First Stop on the Diamond Circle: Things to Do in Húsavík
Húsavík is a small coastal town in Northern Iceland home to around 2,100 residents. This tiny municipality, which overlooks the Skjálfandi bay, has several points of interest that visitors should consider stopping by. The town’s most famous landmark is a beautiful, traditional white church built in 1907. The Húsavíkurkirkja is made out of imported Norwegian wood and features reddish ochre trim and a distinctive pointed green roof with a cross on top. It has a quaint, charming, Icelandic feel to it.
Close to the harbor lies another popular site: the Húsavík Whale Museum. The large number of species that swim in and out of the bay has earned the town the designation of the whale watching capital of Iceland. Learn more about these fascinating and graceful creatures through educational exhibitions before or after taking a tour.
There are two other museums of note in Húsavík. The Exploration Museum charts the history of human exploration. Apollo astronauts trained close to here in the 1960s, and there is a monument to them outside of the museum. The other museum that you want to check out is the Húsavík museum. This building was created to house several different collections from the surrounding area. The result is an eclectic mix of exhibits and miscellany. Perhaps the most striking item on display is the Arctic polar bear that got lost and floated towards Grímsey Island on an iceberg.
Whale Watching in Húsavík
Iceland is famous for many things, and one of its most exciting outdoor activities is to go on a whale watching excursion for the day. You won’t be disappointed when you see these gentle beasts poking their head above the frigid Arctic waters. Whether you feel the mist on your face from a column of spouting seawater or witness the majesty of a whale emerging from the ocean and breaching in a crashing splash, Going on a whale watching tour is one of the best ways to spend your time in Húsavík. Be sure to book in advance as this is an extremely popular activity. Like many things in Iceland, people make the reservations far ahead of time and if you wait till the last minute, it’s likely everything will be full.
Other Things to See and Do in Húsavík
If you’re still looking for something to do in Húsavík, we suggest checking out the town’s lighthouse, scaling its tiny mountain, or just soaking in one of the town’s well-known hot pots. Hiking the cliffs at Hofði will bring you to the lighthouse and trekking up Húsavíkurfjall mountain will give you amazing views of the town’s bay. For those dreading making the trek, don’t worry. It’s only 417 meters to the top (about a quarter of a mile to reach its peak). Lastly, throwing on your swimsuit and partaking in Iceland’s bathing culture will have you feeling practically like a local.
Exploring Iceland’s Diamond Circle Route: Things to Do in Húsavík
Húsavík is just one of several stops on the Diamond Circle route. It’s the beginning of what will hopefully be a memorable trip around this exceptional zone in northeast Iceland. Here’s a full list of attractions on the Diamond Circle circuit heading counterclockwise in case you want to learn more or plan your itinerary. Happy travels.