Iceland Akureyri and Grímsey

Akureyri and Grímsey

Fog sneaked in overnight putting paid to my plans to photograph the falls at sunset when I couldn’t even see the other side of the campsite. About an hour before my bus was due I went over to my favourite spot and watched the water again in different light. No photo can do this stunning display of nature justice. Still, I had to move, I had other plans – to see puffins in Iceland. When I got to Akureyri Backpackers Hostel I had two goals. To wash myself and my clothes. I was going to have a lazy day indoors for a change. After a long sauna (included in the room price (5000kr, linen extra) I fed the washing machine and enjoyed the little victories. Finally some typical Icelandic weather yesterday. Mountains disappeared into the clouds on a grey, overcast morning as I set out to Grímsey.


Grímsey is Iceland’s most northerly point, and contains the only part which is in the Arctic circle, which is marked by a signpost and cairn. It’s also one of the best places to see puffins in Iceland. Though some say it’s a few meters beyond this. The monument is also slap bang in the middle of Arctic Tern nesting grounds and they make their disapproval known by screeching, dive bombing and in my case pecking your head. Supposedly named after a Norse settler called Grimur around the 9th century, it’s about 40km from the mainland and only 5.5km in length at its longest point. During the winter it can have only two hours of light and in the summer the sun doesn’t set for two months. With a population of only 80, (outnumbered by birds 10,000 to one), most descended from one woman, its mainstay is fishing and now tourism. The fog rolled in from the north but visibility was good around the puffin colonies on the cliffs. The little sky clowns flap their wings furiously and stick their feet out in a rather more ungainly fashion than other birds but that’s because they are better underwater. Care should be taken near the cliffs both out of consideration for the birds and because their burrowing has made the edges unstable.

Puffins, Grímsey, Iceland

The 8.15am Strætó 78 bus gets to Dalvík at 8.50 and if you ask nicely will stop closer to the ferry than its usual stop. Provided you email in advance the 9am ferry can wait a few minutes if your bus is delayed. Saefari runs three day trips a week during the summer for 4830kr each way, returning at 4pm. In the winter it doesn’t stay. Back in Dalvík the last bus was long gone and I started hitching back to Akureyri for some horseriding the next morning.

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