Grimsey Island is located approx 40 km (25 mi) off the northern coast of the mainland Iceland, straddling the Arctic Circle. The island covers a total area of approx 5 km2 (2 mi2) and has population under 100.
In 2009, Grimsey Island became part of Akureyri municipality (which also includes Hrisey Island). Grimsey is Iceland's northernmost inhabited territory. The islet Kolbeinsey is farther north, but is uninhabited. The nearest land is Flatey Island, located approx 39 km (25 mi) to the south. The Arctic Circle runs through Grimsey, while the whole mainland Iceland is south of it. Steep cliffs are found everywhere except on the island's southern shoreline. The max elevation is 105 m (344 ft).
Though treeless, the island's vegetation cover is rich, consisting of grass, moss and marshland. Grimsey is home to lots of seabirds, especially auks. The main industrial activity on the isle is commercial fishing. Collecting seabird eggs and agriculture are also common. Grimsey is popular among tourists who want to experience the Arctic Circle. Grimsey is served by ferry and aircraft passenger services from mainland Iceland.
The local church was constructed from driftwood in 1867 and was renovated in 1956. The island also has a community center and school from kindergarten to Grade 8. Older students travel to Akureyri to receive further education. Formerly, the church was a parsonage and is located at a place marked on most maps as Midgardur. However, the single settlement is known as Sandvik.
Grimsey Island has acquired a reputation for being a chess-playing bastion. On learning this, Willard Fiske (1831-1904, American scholar and keen chess player) took a protective interest in the island, supporting the local economy, sending supplies and leaving money in his will, though he never visited.
In 2017, Grimsey Island was visited by a total of 29 cruise ships and by 30 during season 2018.
Grimsey Island cruise terminal
Cruise ships to Grimsey Island dock (anchor) at Grimsey - port town on the western coast.
A ferry connects the island 3 days per week with mainland Iceland. The island is also served by Grímsey Airport.
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