Is Iceland in the Arctic Circle?

Iceland is located between Greenland and Norway and is an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. For many people, the name sounds already so “cold” that they assume this island must be close to the North Pole. Have you ever wondered how far North it is actually located? Is Iceland in the Arctic Circle?

What is the Arctic Circle?

The Arctic Circle is the imaginary circle around the earth, parallel to the equator, at latitude 66° 33′ N. The Arctic Circle marks the latitude on the Earth’s surface above which the sun does not set on the summer solstice and does not rise on the winter solstice. Travelers wishing to cross over the Arctic Circle should take note that the Arctic Circle crosses only the countries Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, the U.S., Canada, and Greenland. Is Iceland in the Arctic Circle as well? You will learn more about it in a second.

Is Iceland in the Arctic Circle?

The mainland of Iceland is just a few degrees south of the Arctic Circle. The Arctic Circle does, however, pass through Grímsey Island, which lies only 40 kilometers (25 miles) off the North coast of Iceland.

Some Facts about Grimsey Island

Grímsey is the northernmost inhabited Icelandic territory. Approximately 100 people live on this small island. Grímsey has an area of 5.3 km² (2.0 sq mi) and a maximum elevation of 105 meters (344 ft).

Most of the inhabitants live from commercial fishing. There are rich fishing grounds around the island.

Grimsey is not only famous for lying on the Arctic Circle but also for its rich bird life. During the summer, thousands of puffins (and other seabirds) nest on this island.

Watching the cute puffins nesting in 100 meters high cliffs is not only for birdwatchers a unique experience. The puffins are not shy of humans and you can come very close to them. Grimsey belongs to one of the best bird watching sites in Iceland.

Is it worth to visit Grimsey Island? YES! We highly recommend to include a visit of Grimsey Island during your stay in Iceland in summer. There are different possibilities to visit Grimsey:

Sightseeing Flight to Grimsey

It is possible to go on a sightseeing flight from Akureyri. You will fly across the Arctic Circle and get proof! The total duration of the tour is 3 to 3.5 hours with a 2 hours stop on Grimsey Island included. You will look for the whales in the fjord from the air, can enjoy the beautiful scenery on the way and on the island itself you visit the small fishing village and see the puffins. Between April and October the tour is available daily. It starts in the afternoon from Akureyri and can therefore easily be integrated into your self-drive tour. You can book this sightseeing flight to Grimsey here.

Visit Grimsey Island by Ferry

You can also visit the island by ferry. The ferry departs from Dalvík 3 times per week. It takes 3 hours to reach the island. During summer it is also possible to go on a guided day tour with a scheduled flight from Akureyri.

Christina Degener
Posted in January 2017

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