The Húsavík Whale Museum
In Húsavík, you can’t escape the whales. Known as being one of the best places in the world to go whale-watching, Húsavík is a former whaling town turned fishing town turned tourist town that, come summer, fills up each morning with visitors (don’t worry, most don’t stay the night) who’ve come to get up close to whales on the open water. Before or after your whale-watching excursion, be sure to stop by the Húsavík Whale Museum.
The museum contains information on dozens of types of whales, from the minkes most commonly spotted in the bay to orcas, grey whales, blue whales and the prehistoric-looking narwhal. The exhibits are well done, if not terribly modern looking (the focal point of most is an illustration of the featured whale), offering lots of facts and trivia to help visitors learn more about whales and the whaling industry in Iceland. There’s also a video display on the history of the whaling industry here. But the main attractions can be found on the second floor, where several full sets of whale skeletons are on display.
If you had any question as to just how massive (and intricate) the bones of a whale are, they’ll be answered here. While I breezed through most of the rest of the small museum, I spent a good 15-20 minutes in awe of the size of the whale skeletons. If you’re fascinated by whales, are traveling with kids, or just want to learn more about these amazing creatures and their impact on life in Iceland, a visit the museum is a must.
The Whale Museum is open from 9am to 7pm in June, July and August, and from 10am to 5pm in May and September (winter visits can also be arranged in advance). The admission cost is steep at 1000 ISK (about $10 US) but worth it.