Húsavík (Iceland) is known to be one of the best places to book whale watching boat trips and is often described as the “whale watching capital of Europe”. Until 2011, it was home to two unique museums: the Whale Museum and the Phallological Museum. Yeah, the latter is pretty unconventional (but moved back in Reykjavik in 2011)!
Although I liked visiting that small and cute fishing village, if I come back, I would probably not stay overnight because there are not a lot of things to do (unless you book a whale watching boat trip, or unless you have to spend the night because of bus schedules).
Thankfully, the Whale Museum is still located in Húsavík. I visited that museum in June 2010 and I really liked it, even though I’m not really into museums usually. I learned a lot on whales, the expositions were really interesting and complete. And I was very impressed by the whale skeletons hanging from the ceiling!
After visiting the museum, I walked in Husavik’s harbour and I stopped at Gamli Baukur, where I ate a delicious mushroom cream sauce spaghetti with a salad and bread (2,150 ISK in June 2010). Note: the restaurant is closed until May, 1st, 2017 for renovations.
Other restaurants in the village:
– Naustið (located on Ásgarðsvegur 1): seafood restaurant
– Hvalbakur Grill & Cafe (located in the harbour)
After dinner, I wandered into town, made a detour to see Husavik Church, walked back in the harbour, and followed a tiny path near the water (I found it randomly, it wasn’t indicated in my travel books, see below the map of the city to know where it is). I had a magnificent view on a chain of snow-capped mountains located on the other shore, the ocean, and beautiful Icelandic horses!
While I was walking, I was attacked by Arctic Terns. At first, I was really scared because they dive bombed me, squawked at me and tried to peck the top of my head… I couldn’t avoid them, because I needed to go ahead to go back to my guesthouse. Apparently these birds are fiercely defensive of their nests. I’ve seen that! I pulled up my hood, put my hiking pole on my head and continued my walk. And then I was excited and grateful because I’ve experienced another adventure, which I’ve read about in my travel book when I planned my trip.
The day after, I visited the Icelandic Phallological Museum (600 ISK in June 2010). I was a little uncomfortable, because I visited the museum alone and the only person there was the owner of that huge collection of penises. But it was fun and interesting. Each penis and related organs (testicles and pelvic bones) were numbered (so we could know from which animal it was sampled), with the date of discovery or acquisition, as well as the circumstances of discovery. And size really does not matter here; there were tiny specimens of mices and rats and gigantic specimens of whales!! On my way out of the museum, I saw some letters of donation signed by men willing to give part of their body to the museum at their death. And there was even a molding of their penises! I recommend that museum, because it’s interesting, even though it’s unconventional, and the owner put a great amount of work to build its collection and its museum.
***The museum first opened in Reykjavík in August 1997. In the spring of 2004 the museum moved to Húsavík. It moved back to Reykjavik in the autumn of 2011.
Here’s a map of the city and the places I’ve visited:
Where I stayed: Guesthouse Baldursbrekka (Baldursbrekka 20, Husavik). In June 2010, a private room with shared bathroom cost me 3,000 ISK for a night. I did not book my room at the guesthouse in advance; when the bus dropped me in Husavik, I went to the tourist office to call and check if they still had rooms available. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s possible to book online. The room was clean and spacious enough, the hosts were pleasant. However, I hated the shower in the basement!
Here are similar and cheap options in Husavik (I did not try them, but they look fine to me):
- Árból Guesthouse (Ásgarðsvegi 2, Husavik): free WiFi, breakfast included and served betwen 8:00 am and 10:00 am.
- Prices from June 1st to September 15th 2017:
- Single room with shared facilities, including breakfast: 12,200 ISK/night
- Double/Twin room with shared facilities, including breakfast: 20,900 ISK/night
- Prices from September 16th to May 31st 2017:
- Single room with shared facilities, including breakfast: 10,400 ISK/night
- Double/Twin room with shared facilities, including breakfast: 16,400 ISK/night
- Prices from June 1st to September 15th 2017:
- Husavik Hostel (Vallholtsvegur 640, Húsavík – good location): free internet and shared kitchen. No breakfast included. Prices for 2017:
- Single room with shared facilities: 12,672 ISK/night (16,800 ISK to get private facilities)
- Double Room With Shared Facilities: 15,840 ISK/night (21,000 ISK to get private facilities)
- Bed in 6-bed dorm with shared facilities: 6,600 ISK/night