Mr Nordic

Out in the wilderness on the remote Icelandic island of Grímsey

The island of Grímsey, which calls itself the “pearl of the polar circle”, is the northernmost part of Iceland and is located about 40 kilometers from the coast. Only a hundred people live there, mainly living from fishing. There is a port and a runway, making Grimsey easily accessible as a day trip from Akureyri or Dalvik.

Grímsey, with an area of 5.3 km², is a small island about 40 kilometers north of Iceland. The island is intersected by the polar circle. There is only 1 road on the island of 3 kilometers in length. This runs along the western coast from the lighthouse to the airport. The island is a paradise for birdwatchers, there are more than 60 species of seabirds here, of which about 36 species also breed here. The island can be reached by ferry from and to Dalvík. From Akureyri you can also go to the island by plane.

The coastline of the island of Grímsey consists of steep rock faces where many bird species build their nests
The coastline of the island of Grímsey consists of steep rock faces where many bird species build their nests

Dark and light

Grímsey is the only place in Iceland where the polar circle intersects. According to legend, the polar circle ran exactly over the middle of the bed of a peasant couple, which is impossible because the imaginary line shifts a few meters each year. At the northernmost tip of the island is a monument where you can take a photo and get a certificate that proves that you have passed the polar circle. From the beginning of June to the end of July the sun hardly sets. Between 20 and 24 June, when the sun remains in the sky for 24 hours, the Midnight Sun is celebrated here. Half a year later it is exactly the other way around and the island is only enveloped in darkness. But you can stand eye to eye with the beautiful green glow of the mystical polar lights.

Bird watching as an attraction

Along with crossing the Arctic Circle, bird watching is the main tourist reason for traveling to Grímsey. In the summer there are a million noisy seabirds on this island. Grímsey has the largest population of puffins that nestle on the cliffs of the island. The Nordland Air airline offers a day trip in the summer, which will take you to Grímsey in half an hour and then walk along the polar circle for 2.5 hours and watch the birds before the aircraft turns around again.

The puffin is a remarkable bird, almost penguin-like. The beak consists of bright colors of yellow, red and blue gray.
The puffin is a remarkable bird, almost penguin-like. The beak consists of bright colors of yellow, red and blue gray.

Meet the locals

If you want to stay longer, choose a visit from the locals. For 2500 krona (approx. 16 euros) per person you will learn everything about the special way of life on the island in an hour and a half. A snack and drink are included. Mail at the latest 24 hours in advance with [email protected] and the residents will then receive you with open arms at their home. For longer visits than a day trip, the island houses two guesthouses, a supermarket, a restaurant and even a swimming pool.

How do you get there?

By boat: three times a week a ferry leaves from the port of Dalvik, which takes 3 hours.
By plane: from Akureyri, Norlandair flies to Grímsey in 30 minutes. Daily from mid-June to mid-August. Outside of that three times a week.

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Mr Nordic

Mr Nordic is always looking for the most beautiful places and the best experiences in the Nordic countries. He enjoys traveling, outdoor, writing and is based in Sweden.

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