A Flawless Pearl
Spend a Perfect Day in this Idyllic World of Hrísey
The island of Hrísey has been called the Pearl of Eyjafjörður. This wonderful untouched island has been organically certified and the beautifully renovated old houses are relics from another era. Indeed, stepping off the boat is like going back in time into a clean, self-sustaining world where man and animals live together in harmony.
Hrísey is just a stone’s throw away from Akureyri. The little village of Árskógsandur is only some 35 km from Akureyri and a ferry leaves every 2 hours from there to the island. The ride is comfortable and takes just fifteen minutes to get a traveller safely to this idyllic world.
No cars are necessary on the island. It’s much more fun to get around by Tractor Taxi. Sitting in an old hay wagon towed by an elderly tractor will provide the ideal pace to enjoy all the sights and stop at exactly the right spots. The tractor takes about 40 minutes, round trip, exploring the village and surroundings.
The old lighthouse
For a further guiding light in one’s life, take a trip to the old lighthouse. The view from this tower is spectacular. The majestic mountains on either side of Eyjafjörður, the sea in its entire splendour and the whole island all lay before the visitor’s eye and this is a perspective that should not be missed. The lighthouse is one of seven such that has been conserved in Iceland. These tours take 1.5 to 2 hours.
Interesting hiking trails
An invigorating walk will get you wherever you want on the island. Numerous hiking trails are marked and the ‘leylines’ on the island are considered by many to be a special source of energy. Many locals and visitors claim that they feel the earth’s raw energy here and it gives them a chance to recharge their batteries in a unique way. Any amount of power drawn from this source is absolutely free of charge. There is a great deal to see and many lessons to be learnt as information signs dot the side of the pathways with interesting and educational facts.
A sanctuary from Christmas dinner
Hrísey is a bird sanctuary and the ptarmigan, otherwise a popular Christmas dinner in Iceland, is revered here as a household friend rather than food. These plump and pretty birds walk through the village and huddle down for a nap in the flowerbeds. The Arctic Tern screams above if one ventures to near her nesting grounds and eider ducks enjoy domestic bliss on the beaches. It is worthwhile to keep ones eyes open to spot these and numerous other feathered friends that have learnt to trust the inhabitants of this island.
Everything you need and more
After a brisk walk, there is nothing as satisfying as sitting down to a good meal. Brekka is a gourmet restaurant offering steaks, fish and other scrumptious Icelandic delicacies. Júllabúð is a wonderful village shop carrying household goods, food, and toys and just about anything one might need. No wonder that their motto is: ‘Everything you need’. It is also a café and a pizzeria with a friendly, personalized service and a good place for families as the children’s corner provides entertainment for the youngest visitors. If you are in for an adventure, be sure to do as the Icelanders do and have a hot dog at Júllabúð.
Handcrafts with organic tea
Souvenirs always give pleasure and provide a wonderful reminder of good times. Hrísiðn is a handicraft workshop that makes old Icelandic farm tools of all shapes and sizes and harvests organically grown angelica for tea and spices. Their beautifully crafted and carefully made products allow travellers to savour their visit long afterwards.
Stay and enjoy
If half a day or a day on this island paradise is not enough, you can stay at Brekka, Jónatanshús or Mínukot, comfortable and friendly guesthouses or at the island’s camp site. Then you can swim in the rejuvenating new geothermal pool, go fishing, enjoy the midnight sun and sleep soundly through the arctic night.
The House of Shark Jörundur
In the oldest house of Hrísey, the House of Shark Jörundur, you will find an exhibition about the history of the island and the history of shark fishing in Iceland in earlier centuries. Another interesting museum is Holt – Memorial Museum of Alda Halldórsdóttir. Alda was born in this house in 1913 and she never left home. Not much changed throughout her lifetime so the house and its interiors, displays in a unique way a typical working-class home in Iceland at the beginning of the twentieth century. She was a skilled craftswoman and many of her handicrafts and embroidery adorns the house.
This is an inspirational environment and the Old Schoolhouse in Hrísey has been turned into an artist’s residency. A number of diverse artists have stayed there and worked. These have added colour and charm to community. Their work is also often exhibited on various locations on the island adding to the palette of experinence available in this small geographical area and ensuring that one and all will have a perfect day at Hrísey.