The Hrísey Church is quite interesting to look at from the outside. Enjoy the wooden structure along with its striking backdrop. Unfortunately, the church was locked when we visited. Perhaps you'll have better luck and be able to view the interior. Given the fine weather, we didn't mind all that much staying outside...more
Along the hiking trail, you can see the remnants of an ancient farm. While no record exists of when this farm was actually active, a record from 1712 indicates the farm had been abandoned "a long time ago..." Obviously, erosion has taken its toll over the centuries, and what's left of the foundation is partially submerged. It's still amazing to...more
We decided to have a late lunch at Brekka since our guidebook rated it so highly. We were intrigued by the trout with garlic butter the book touted, but it unfortunately wasn't on the menu. The restaurant itself is clean and bright, with large picture windows overlooking the fjord. Service was friendly and very good.
Favorite Dish: We ended up splitting a seafood pizza, which sounded good. In fact, it was good. Other fish and meat dishes are on the menu, but at Kr 2000 and up can strain the wallet a bit. The restaurant features Viking and Carlsberg beer on tap. I broke down and tried a pint of Viking -- my first beer of the trip -- for a scalding Kr 850. It was a full Imperial Pint, though... and no more expensive than anywhere else in Iceland. For the record, I didn't have a second pint.
An impromptu beer review: Viking will never be confused with Pilsner Urquell, but it wasn't bad. Its flavor was somewhat reminiscent of Miller Genuine Draft, but a bit more flavorful than the main-line American brew. Admittedly, that isn't saying much.
The only way for a tourist to get to Hrísey is by ferry. The ferry "Sævar" departs from the village of Árskógssandur on the mainland regularly. Travel time is around 15 minutes.As of July 2008, departure times from Árskógssandur were 9:30, 11:30, and 13:30 -- then hourly until 19:30 -- and every two hours thereafter until 23:30. Departures from...more
Hrísey has a full-service food store should you need provisions. Opening hours are a bit sporadic, especially off-season, so keep your eyes open to see when this store is open
What to buy: Any food, drink, or other groceries you require.
One of the top draws of Hrísey is the amazing variety of bird life. In fact, the northern half of the island, known as Ystabæjarland, is a privately-owned bird sanctuary. While the local authorities may not be terribly strict in enforcing trespassing rules, there's one particular variety of bird that's especially aggressive when protecting its territory, and metes out its own vigilante justice to those who wander too close to the nests.
The Arctic Tern is a very active and attractive bird, making a distinctive whistle or screech most of the time. Get too close to their nests, however, and their cries transition to a very distinctive "Kría!" (which is in fact the bird's name in Icelandic) as they tern on you. They've been known to swoop in for the attack with vicious pecks to the back of hikers' heads. Provoke these birds, and your visit will certainly take a tern for the worse. Luckily for us, while they let us know in no uncertain terms we were not welcome, they didn't tern and attack us.
To avoid an unfortunate tern of events, stay on the trails and keep a steady pace. They tend not to attack unless you stop for a period of time, or if you tern off the trail. Next, wear a hat to lessen the effects of any attacks. If they do attack, hold a stick or other object over your head so the birds will tern and attack the highest point on what they think is your body. Finally, if all else fails, tern around and get out of the area as quickly as possible. If you get out of their nesting areas, they will tern away and leave you alone.
Another variety of sea bird you'll see is the Fulmar. We spotted a few on a nearby rock. Unfortunately, my camera is not suited for birdwatching, but I still got a couple of decent shots.Note: I'm not a birdwatcher. If I mis-identified this bird, please email me and I'll change it immediately. ;-)more