One of the few museums in the world solely dedicated to whales, inside lies a fantastic cross-section of the marine mammals that inhabit the Icelandic coastlines. There are 10 different whale skeletons to admire, a range of documentaries to watch and a special area for kids. Highlights at the museum include the Narwhal with its rare unicorn-like horn, a Sperm Whale jaw bone the size of a car and a cabinet exposing the intricate details of whale ear bones. To the side is a cosy library room with a wide selection of books and coffee for a donation.
Initiated by Ásbjörn Björgvinsson in 1997, The Whale Museum started simply as an exhibition in a local hotel. The following year, it moved to one of the fishermen’s baiting rooms above the harbour, then finally in 2004, it reached its current resting place, in the old slaughterhouse. In June 2000, The Whale Museum received the UN award for environmental tourism.
If you arrive off season, don´t be surprised if you see the odd elderly gentleman wandering around. Having spent their summer out on the golf course to the south of Húsavík, some of the local population migrate into the whale museum over the winter months, to drink lots of coffee and keep dry and warm. Here, they are provided for in the local community by means of a miniature golf course, the world’s most northerly putting green.
The souvenirs shop inside also forms the base for the Húsavík tourist information centre, offering free wi-fi and a small seating area.
Directly in the centre of Húsavík, The Whale Museum is in the building behind Salka restaurant on the harbour front. Difficult to miss, the building is decorated with brightly painted murals of whales and friendly hand painted signage.