Most tourist activity -- including the whale-watching ticket booths, four eateries, a bookstore, a market, a handknit woolens store, the Whale Museum, and the Phallological Museum -- are clustered on two parallel streets: Hafnarstétt, which runs right along the harbor, and Garðarsbraut, just uphill.

The German- and Swiss-inspired design of Húsavík Church (Húsavíkurkirkja) -- located along Garðarsbraut -- stands out in Iceland, as do the 1907 church's cruciform shape and absence of a pulpit. The lovely patterns painted on the interior walls are from 1924 and feature the Lutheran symbol of a cross within a heart. The 1931 altarpiece depicts Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, as an onlooker faints. The painter Sveinn Þórarinsson was raised nearby, and the mountains in the background look suspiciously Icelandic.


This isolated, peaceful lake in the hills behind Húsavík is the perfect destination for an easy, after-dinner walk as the sun sets over the bay. Two routes lead to the lake, both starting along the Búðará stream at the eastern edge of town. On the north side of the stream, Ásgarðsvegur becomes a dirt road and leads directly to the lake, but walkers will prefer the path that follows the stream most of the way. Paths on both sides of the stream converge on the north side, and from there it's a 25-minute walk to a pebbly beach and picnic table on the lake's western side. Another path circles the lake.


Northeast from Húsavík, Route 85 follows the periphery of this stubby peninsula. Fossil devotees should stop for a look at the Ytritunga Fossils: millions of sea shells -- deposited when sea levels and water temperatures were far higher -- in steep banks where the Hallbjarnarstaðaá stream meets the ocean. The turnoff from Route 85 is about 12km (7 1/2 miles) northeast of Húsavík, just past Ytritunga Farm, and marked by a sign with "fossils" in small lettering. Be careful on the road's final descent to the ocean; if it's washed out, you may never get back up. At the end of the road, walk ahead to the stream and turn the corner.

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