grimsey island in Iceland

Your Guide to Grímsey

Grímsey: Iceland's Northern Gem

Just 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of the Icelandic mainland lies the remote and rugged island of Grímsey. With its dramatic cliffs, pristine landscapes, and unique position straddling the Arctic Circle, Grímsey offers visitors a glimpse into the raw beauty and untamed wilderness of Iceland's northernmost reaches. Join us as we embark on a journey to explore the captivating charms of Grímsey.

view of Grimsey island during cloudy weather

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Geographical Wonders

Grímsey is a small island, measuring just 5.3 square kilometres (2.0 square miles) in size, but what it lacks in landmass, it more than makes up for in natural beauty. The island's rugged coastline is dominated by towering cliffs, up to 100 m high, that plunge dramatically into the icy waters below, creating a dramatic backdrop against the endless expanse of the Arctic Ocean.

One of Grímsey's most iconic landmarks is the Grímseyjarviti lighthouse, perched atop a sheer cliff on the island's northern coast. Built-in 1937, the lighthouse has guided sailors safely through the treacherous waters surrounding Grímsey for decades, its towering beacon serving as a symbol of hope and protection in this remote corner of the world.

Arctic Circle Crossing

One of Grímsey's most unique attractions is its location directly on the Arctic Circle, making it one of the few places in the world where visitors can cross this iconic geographical boundary. The Arctic Circle cuts across the island, marked by a distinctive stone monument that attracts tourists from around the world eager to straddle the line between the Arctic and the Northern temperate climatic zones.

Standing at this symbolic dividing line, visitors can experience the thrill of being in two climatic zones at once, with the Arctic Circle serving as a tangible reminder of the Earth's axial tilt and the changing seasons that define life in the far north.

Grímsey Island in Iceland

Abundant Wildlife

Despite its harsh environment and remote location, Grímsey is home to a surprisingly diverse array of wildlife. The island's cliffs provide nesting sites for seabirds such as puffins, guillemots, and razorbills, which flock to Grímsey in the summer months to breed and raise their young.

In addition to birds, Grímsey is also frequented by seals, which can often be spotted basking on rocky outcrops or swimming in the chilly waters surrounding the island. With luck, visitors may even catch a glimpse of whales, such as dolphins, passing through the nearby seas, adding to the island's allure as a haven for wildlife enthusiasts.

Outdoor Adventures

Grímsey offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor exploration and adventure, with hiking trails crisscrossing the island and providing access to its most scenic vistas. Visitors can embark on leisurely walks along the coastline, marvelling at the rugged beauty of the cliffs and the endless expanse of the Arctic Ocean stretching out before them.

For the more adventurous, kayaking and snorkelling excursions offer a chance to explore Grímsey's coastal waters up close, with experienced guides leading visitors on unforgettable journeys through kelp forests and hidden coves.

grimsey island in Iceland

Grímsey FAQ

How to Get to Grímsey Island From Reykjavik?

Getting to Grímsey Island from Reykjavik involves a multi-step journey. First, travellers need to get from Reykjavik to Akureyri, the largest town in northern Iceland. From Akureyri, travellers can then take a domestic flight or drive to the town of Dalvík, where they can catch a ferry to Grímsey Island. The ferry journey from Dalvík to Grímsey takes approximately 3 hours.

What to Do on Grímsey Island?

There are plenty of activities to enjoy on Grímsey Island. Visitors can cross the Arctic Circle and visit the iconic stone monument marking this geographical boundary. Birdwatching is a popular activity. Hiking trails provide access to scenic viewpoints and panoramic vistas of the Arctic Ocean while kayaking and snorkelling excursions offer a chance to explore the island's coastal waters up close.

Does Anyone Live on Grímsey Island?

Yes, Grímsey has been inhabited since the age of settlement, and today, it is home to a small but vibrant community of approximately 60 residents. These hardy islanders are proud to call Grímsey home and are known for their hospitality and warm welcome to visitors.

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