Life is Never Dull Here
From the Blue Lagoon to a vibrant fishing harbour in Grindavík
Life in Grindavík revolves around the harbour. Its economy depends on fishing and fish exports to Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia.
Today, the harbour entrance of Grindavík is treacherous but once inside, it’s a feather bed to a modern fleet of trawlers. The waters have claimed the lives of hundreds of sailors since Grindavík’s settlement in the 11th century. In former times, farmers-come-sailors heroically rowed for their lives while riding a large wave that would hopefully carry them and their vessel high enough onto the beach for them not to drown. Today, Grindavík is Iceland’s third most important fishing town. Yet the town offers many attractions and activities for visitors.
Lions Created the Blue Lagoon
We have Grindavík’s Lions Club to thank for the creation of the now world-famous Blue Lagoon less than 5 minutes drive from the town. During the 70’s oil crisis, the club facilitated explorations for hot water, drilling in the lava field north of the town in the hope of finding hot water to heat the homes and businesses in Grindavík. The exploration revealed not only hot water but an immense pressure source for generating electricity. The Blue Lagoon is the most popular man-made attraction in Iceland and its mineral-rich saline water is said to have exfoliating, moisturising and rejuvenating properties for skin.
Seaman’s Day and the Happy Sailor
Seaman’s Day is celebrated all over Iceland on the first Sunday in June each year and is an important event to Grindavík’s 2,800 inhabitants. The town also has its own festival between Friday, 1st June and Sunday, 3rd June 2012 called the “Happy Sailor”. For three days, there are a stream of events ranging from sea angling in the harbour for the children to a ‘pillow fight’ for adults—which ends when one or all the participants end up in the sea.
What to do in Grindavík
The modern geothermal swimming pool and waterslide are particularly popular with children. The Saltfish Museum covers the history of salted cod and its export to Spain and Portugal early last century. The coastline is dotted with ship wrecks, each with explanatory signs. There are ample opportunities for bird watching and the hills and small mountains are ideal for hiking, cycling and quad biking. There are lighthouses and two geothermal power stations close by, resting on the lava fields.
Accommodation includes cosy guesthouses, a hostel and a recently improved campsite and caravan park near the harbour. There are restaurants and convenience stores to satisfy everyone’s needs.