Iceland is known for its striking natural beauty. Its seaside towns and fishing villages look like something straight out of a postcard. With a population of approximately 1,400 inhabitants, Dalvík is the quintessential small Icelandic harbor town. The small municipality, whose name means “valley bay”, is the perfect stop while traveling in Dalvíkurbyggð in northern Iceland. We decided to compile a short list of the best things to do in Dalvík to help you get the most out of your trip. Keep reading to find out just what makes this little corner of the world so special.
Gísli, Eiríkur, Helgi Café – One of Dalvik’s Best Spots
This coffee shop (kaffihús in Icelandic) is a favorite in town. The owners Heiður and Bjarni are extremely hospitable hosts and will make you feel right at home. They own the hostel across the street, so they know how it’s done. They and their children are a fixture on the local scene and Bjarni is famous for his storytelling. The quirky decor and stunning views of the sea from upstairs make this a rustic find that captures the feeling of traveling in Iceland. You can get the Icelandic coffeehouse staples of coffee, tea and beer or even take the chill off while sipping a cup of hot chocolate. Our recommendation from the menu is its tasty, warming fish soup. It comes with a choice of three different homemade breads and is probably some of the best food in Iceland. Sounds yummy, right?
Byggðasafnið Hvoll Folk Museum – Learn Iceland’s History
Learn about the culture and heritage of Dalvík by visiting this unusual collection of objects and artifacts. Many items in Dalvík’s folk museum will surprise you; is that a stuffed polar bear over there? Nevertheless, you’ll find it fascinating to see odds and ends from Iceland’s cultural patrimony. Of special note are the rooms which tell the story of Jóhann K. Pétursson. He was known as The Icelandic Giant and was Iceland’s Tallest Man. Measuring 2.34m (7ft 8in), you can see why much shorter Icelanders were fascinated by him.
Winter Activities – Skiing and Snowboarding in Dalvík
Located in northern Iceland’s Svarfadardalur Valley, Dalvík is a prime destination for skiers, snowboarders and other winter sports enthusiasts. The Dalvík Ski Area on Böggvisstaðafjall mountain has top-rate facilities and is considered one of the best skiing areas in the country. There are 5km (3mi) of slopes available, including a 1,200m (3,937ft) floodlit run. You’ll also find bunny slopes for the less seasoned skiers in the family. The new snow production system also keeps the fresh powder coming. You couldn’t ask for better snow conditions. Here’s another bonus: the ski resort is within walking distance of the town. It’s easy to see why one of the best things to do in Dalvík are winter activities.
Outdoor Activities – Bird Watching and Hiking in Dalvík
Proximity to the mountains makes hiking and bird watching extremely popular. One of the best things to do in Dalvík is packing a lunch from the Samkaup-Úrval (the town’s central supermarket) and head for the hills. In late May and June, all the migrant birds have arrived and this is prime time for birding. You can even shout the famous Icelandic phrase “Lóan er komin!” (the Golden Plover has arrived!) and really impress people with your knowledge of Icelandic bird species. The saying is also used to convey that winter is over and all is well in the world.
Outdoor Activities – Whale Watching in Dalvík
The diversity of Iceland’s flora and fauna is one of the first things that will catch your attention when you are traveling here. As an island nation, the country’s plethora of marine life is especially striking. The Atlantic puffins who return to land to form breeding colonies are a favorite for spectators. Icelandic waters are home to seven species of dolphins, including the beautiful black and white orca. And yes, that’s no typo. Killer whales are actually dolphins.
But one of the best things to do in Dalvík is to look for the ocean’s largest mammals submerged beneath the surface of the icy waters. Dalvík’s location on the eastern part of the Tröllaskagi Peninsula makes it the perfect departure point for a whale watching excursion. Imagine seeing one of these magnificent creatures jumping out of the Norwegian sea and splashing down! Were you able to tell if it was a blue whale, a humpback whale or a minke whale?
Summer Activities – Dalvík’s Fiskidagurinn Mikli Fish Festival
All the fish you can eat for free? Yes, please! This daylong summer festival features a free seafood buffet and everyone is invited. The local fishing industry sponsors this day by the harbor in order to enjoy the fare Iceland is so well known for. If you happen to find yourself traveling around northern Iceland’s Tröllaskagi Peninsula during the 1st or 2nd weekend in August, check the festival calendar. It’s definitely one of the highlights of the summer.
Whatever time of year you decide to visit, you’ll find lots of activities awaiting you in Dalvík. The seaside town is located only a 35-minute drive from Iceland’s second largest city, Akureyri. It makes a great stop off on your trip around North Iceland. And remember to pack well! Iceland’s climate requires planning and you want to make sure you have the trip of a lifetime, regardless of when you go.
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