The Arctic Coast Way is a unique route following 900km of coastal roads close to the Arctic Circle. The Arctic Coast Way covers the entire coastline of North Iceland from Hvammstangi in the west to Bakkafjörður in the east. In this article, we will tell you about 10 must-see stops along the route.
1. The Beer Spa
In Árskógssandur, a small community on the Arctic Coast Way, you will find the Beer Spa. Here, you can soak in a tub filled with beer, hops, yeast, and water, a mixture that is soothing and healing for the skin. Next to every tub is a beer draught, and everybody over 20 can enjoy a beer during bathing. Skál!
Grímsey is an island 40km off the coast of North Iceland, touching the Arctic Circle at its northern point. The island is home to many birds, of which especially the Atlantic puffin attracts many visitors. You can take a ferry from Dalvík to get to the island, a boat ride that takes about three hours one way. You can also fly from Akureyri to Grímsey in about 30 minutes.
Hofsós is a swimming pool located on the east side of Skagafjörður fjord. The pool blends in with the landscape and offers amazing views of the fjord, mountains, and Drangey island. From time to time, you can see whales playing in the ocean while you are soaking in the warm water. There are modern changing facilities and showers on-site and coffee is served in the reception area.
Hrísey is located just off the coast of Dalvík in North Iceland. You can reach the island by ferry from Árskógssandur, and the boat ride takes about 15 minutes. On the island, you will find a swimming pool, a guesthouse, a restaurant, a campsite, a café, and a shop. You can hike around the island following marked trails. If you are looking for something different, try the sightseeing tour by tractor.
5. The Icelandic Herring Era Museum
The Icelandic Herring Era Museum is located in Siglufjörður, a lovely town located at the edge of Eyjafjörður. The Herring Era Museum has five exhibition buildings, and it is the largest maritime museum in Iceland. The museum is focused on the history of the herring industry, and has many objects and artefacts related to the fishing industry on display.
GeoSea is a modern spa in the charming fishing town of Húsavík. The baths are filled with geothermal seawater, and the minerals in the water revitalise your skin. You can completely relax in the warm water and enjoy amazing ocean views from the infinity pool. Thirsty? Swim up to the bar in the pool and order a local beer. The best way to recharge and be one with nature.
Hvítserkur is a unique rock of 15m tall in the shape of a dinosaur, dragon, or, as some people say, a giant cow. Folklore goes that Hvítserkur once used to be a troll living in Strandir in the Westfjords. One night, Hvítserkur wanted to destroy the church bells of Þingeyraklaustur monastery because the ringing bothered him. Too taken up by its task, the troll was caught by sunlight and petrified instantly.
8. Húsavík Whale Museum
The Arctic Coast Way offers several great spots to go whale watching. If you want to learn more about these huge mammals, the Húsavík Whale Museum is the place to go. The museum has eight exhibition rooms, and eleven whale skeletons are on display, including one of a 25m long blue whale.
9. Hot tubs Hauganes
On the beautiful black beach of Hauganes, you will find hot tubs placed there by the local community. And how cool, one of the hot tubs is inside a small boat! They are heated with geothermal water from the village and it is a great place to sit back and relax, no matter the weather, because the water will keep you nice and warm. The hot tub area is open from 9:00am-21:00pm every day and the admission fee is ISK 1.000,- per person.
Glaumbær is an impressive historical site containing an old turf farm and two 19th century timber houses. The farm consists of 13 buildings dating back to the mid-18th up to the 19th century, on a site that has been inhabited since the age of settlement. The last inhabitants moved out of Glaumbær in 1947, after which the site was turned into a museum.