Grimsey, Iceland Cruise Port

A small island with a single settlement called Sandvík, fewer than 100 human residents, and a menagerie of seabirds, the cruise port of Grímsey, Iceland is an excellent example of life in the Arctic Circle. About 25 miles from the north coast of mainland Iceland, Grímsey is about as north as you can get and still find people (other than Santa Claus, perhaps). The North Atlantic Current brings warm water from the Gulf of Mexico and creates a milder climate than you might expect – even warmer than the more southern city of Reykjavík. You may notice is what the island doesn't have: trees. No matter to the local flora and fauna, especially the abundance of marshland and moss, and the auks who call it home. With endless ocean surrounding it, Grímsey is a wealth of fish. Listed below are a handful of our favorite experiences when cruising to Grímsey, Iceland:
 
  • The quaint red and white Grímsey Church was built in 1867 from driftwood and renovated in the mid-20th century. The painting on the altar was done by a local artist, copied from one by Leonardo da Vinci. If the spirit moves you to make a donation, it's said you'll have good luck as a result.
     
  • Thanks to plenty of fish, the island is a birdwatcher's paradise. Between cliff nesting birds and those who prefer to live on land near the harbor, the chattering of birds never stops during the 24-hour-long days. Species of note include Atlantic puffins, razorbills, black guillemots, and many more.
     
  • American writer, linguist, and chess enthusiast Willard Fiske became a patron of the island at some point in the 1800s after learning that residents here love chess. He not only donated a chess set to every home, but also left $12,000 in his will to establish a library here. Above the harbor, you'll find the Fiske Monument honoring his generosity.
     
  • The picture-postcard lighthouse built in 1937 continues to keep boats safe in the nearby waters. Although the inside is closed to the public, its location provides a fantastic view of the cliffs of the island's east coast.
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