Have you seen the Eurovision Movie yet? Of course you have! Let me rephrase that… how many times have you seen the Eurovision Movie?!
Without giving away too much in the (very unlikely) event you haven’t seen it, the film centres on Lars and Sigrit, two singers from the small Icelandic town of Húsavík whose dreams of Eurovision superstardom unexpectedly come true. ‘Húsavík’ is also the name of one of the movie’s best loved songs, sung by Will Ferrell and My Marianne that has been storming the iTunes charts around the world since the film was released – and we think you’ll agree with us here at Eurovision Ireland when we say that sounded like a real contest winner!
A lot of fans commented online wouldn’t it be awesome if Húsavík was a real place? Well… it is! Situated on the northern coast of Iceland, this town is sure to become a pilgrimage site for Eurovision fans around the world. For now at least though, Corona Virus lockdown restrictions will prevent a lot of people from being able to venture to the remote Icelandic north to explore Húsavík for themselves.
But don’t fret! You’re in luck! Eurovision Ireland has friends around the globe and one of them just happens to live in northern Iceland! Mike moved to Iceland earlier this year and since there are currently no travel restrictions within Iceland, he took a trip over to Húsavík to find out a bit more about the town and what there is to see and do there – and has shared his findings exclusively with us at Eurovision Ireland!
So what exactly does Húsavík have to offer visitors? We’ll hand over to Mike so he can tell you more… good evening Akureyri, this is Ireland calling…
Hey Mike, thanks for taking the time to speak to Eurovision Ireland. So how do you get to Húsavík? Is it as remote as it looks in the film?
No problem! Just like in the film, I decided to go there by bus! It took about 1 hour and 15 minutes each way from Akureyri where I live, which is the second biggest city in Iceland, with 18,500 people. Húsavík itself only has 2,300 people, so it’s not very big either!
It is quite remote – if you wanted to get here from Reykjavík, there is no direct bus like there is in the film. Bus connections would take more than 10 hours to get there, if the connections line up, otherwise it is around 6 hours’ drive or more, without breaks!
Sounds very remote indeed! What sights and places might Eurovision fans recognise in Húsavík from the movie?
The very first thing you will notice from the very first scene of the movie is the blue house where the main characters live. Pretty much as soon as you step off the bus in Húsavík and get to the nearest main road, it is right in front of you!
Other than that, the harbour is just a short walk from the house, which you’ll recognise from several scenes featuring Lars, Sigrit and for lack of a better name, the JaJa Ding Dong Man!
The pretty white church where Lars uses the emergency bell to alert all of Húsavík that Fire Saga have been selected for Söngvakeppnin is very prominent too! You can’t miss it!
What other kinds of attractions are there in Húsavík? Iceland is famous for its nature and wildlife. Is there any way you can experience these things in Húsavík?
As the film suggests, tourism here is based around whale watching and Húsavík is considered the whale watching capital of Iceland – even if I didn’t see anything quite as spectacular as whales breaching like Sigrit and Lars did! There are many tours that sail at various times of day, however I recommend checking the timetables of the companies before going so that you don’t miss out. I had just missed one, and the next one was subject to a minimum intake of people (they wouldn’t do the boat just for me). So my tip is to get there early, and bring friends!
If you can’t go on a whale watching tour, you can always get up close with these giants at the Whale Museum which is full of (huge) whale bones and other exhibits. There is also an Exploration Museum (which is open on request), and the Húsavík Museum so you can learn more about the town’s history.
Taking a stroll around the town is also a way to enjoy nature, as you’ll get amazing views of Skálfandi Bay and the mountains in the distance wherever you look! You can either do it by yourself, or with a guide; in fact, one guide has just started a Eurovision walking tour there, so you would be in good company! The Northern Lights can also be seen Húsavík sometimes, but at this time of year we have the Midnight Sun, so it isn’t dark enough to see them.
Sounds like a lot of fun! Was there anything else that surprised you about Húsavík?
Yes! I was on one of the lesser used streets on the edge of town, and I found an elf house! It’s not the same one as in the film, but this was similarly built on the side of a hill! I took a picture of it from a distance, and walked away without turning my back on them. I didn’t want to get too close in case I angered them!!
A wise decision! After all the sightseeing, was there a good place to go for lunch or a drink?
There are a few good places, the Gamli Baukur is a resturant that also hosts concerts sometimes – in fact Eurobandið’s Friðrik Ómar (Iceland 2008) was performing there the evening I visited! I went to Salka which had good food, a has a great view of both the port and the church. I tried their old-fashioned Fish and Chips – it was the best fish I had ever tasted and plenty Húsavík’s infamous seagulls were eyeing up my meal too! And I’m sure you’ve all heard by now about Húsavík’s latest new eatery, Jaja Ding Dong!!
What are the people like in Húsavík? How do they feel that their town is suddenly so famous?
I didn’t get to speak to that many people, but everyone seemed friendly. When I was at the whale watching, I asked if more people were coming to Iceland. They said that bookings were quite down recently due to Covid-19, but they were beginning to pick up again. I guess it is too early to say of the film itself has had a positive effect on the town or not.
Finally, would you recommend people visit Húsavík?
Definitely! I would recommend it to anyone! I will be going back there at my next opportunity to finish the things I didn’t manage to see the first time, and hopefully see the Northern Lights there too. It wasn’t dark enough this time because we have the Midnight Sun at this time of year, so I will try a winter visit… I can’t wait!
A huge thank you to Mike for sharing these photos and his thoughts on Húsavík – takk fyrir!
What do you think? Does Húsavík look like somewhere you want to visit?
Let us know what you think!
Author: Mike Smith, James Scanlan
Source: Mike Smith