Hólmavík village is the largest settlement in Iceland’s Strandir region. You’ll find it tucked away on the east-facing shore of Steingrímsfjörður fjord.
With a population of around 375 people, you might be wondering why you’d want to make the journey to Hólmavík. But there are two main reasons to stop here on your tour of the Westfjords: witchcraft and whale-watching.
It might seem surprising now, with Hólmavík being in such an idyllic location, but the village has a strong connection with the occult and a history of witch hunts.
The village is not only home to the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft, but also the University of Iceland’s folklore research center. Visit the museum to learn about local superstitions, sorcery, runic designs, and more.
Hólmavík is also one of the best places in Iceland to join a whale watching tour. If you’re lucky enough to see one of these gentle giants during a guided boat trip, it’s likely to be a humpback.
These curious whales are often spotted swimming in the nearby fjords. If they’re not tail-slapping or jumping out of the water, they might even come up to the side of your boat.
Whether you’re in the mood to relax or exercise, the local swimming pool is worth a visit. You could swim some lengths, soak in the hot tub, or unwind in the sauna.
Stretch your legs on a stroll around the village and you’ll come across memorials to two notable Icelanders. They are the poet Stefán frá Hvítdal and Hermann Jónsson, who was Iceland’s Prime Minister during WWII.
Then grab a bite to eat in the village’s oldest house, which has been converted into a restaurant. Or why not visit the Sheep Farming Museum, where you can feed lambs in the summer?