The ‘Ja Ja Ding Dong’ guy’s guide to Húsavík, Iceland
The breakout star of Will Ferrell’s Eurovision Song Contest movie reveals the things you must do in Iceland’s coolest northern town.
If you’ve haven’t seen the Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga yet, you’re probably wondering why Húsavík is suddenly topping everybody’s post-Covid travel bucket list.
The northern Icelandic fishing village looks sensational in the film and is one of the movie’s breakout stars.
Another breakout star is Olaf, the ‘Ja Ja Ding Dong’ guy. His furious passion for one of the movies catchiest tunes has captured the imagination of the internet, resulting in a flurry of memes and GIFs and a claim that his is the voice we need in these troubled times.
The character is played by Hannes Óli Águstsson, one of Iceland’s most popular and respected actors. He tells The Vagabond Imperative the four things you need to do in Húsavík that will make you love the town as much as Olaf loves ‘Ja Ja Ding Dong’.
Watch whales in a glacial fjord
“Húsavík is the whale watching capital of Iceland. The whales probably won’t do that dance like they do in the movie, but you won’t have to go far to see them breaching and slapping.”
The beautifully austere Skjálfandi Bay is backed by the snow-dusted glacial mountains and is regularly visited by humpback, minke and blue whales.
“Try and go on one of the beautifully restored traditional oak fishing boats. They are particular to this part of the country and a great way to have a truly authentic Icelandic fisherman experience.”
Try the craft beer at Húsavík Öl
“It’s probably a bit too hipster for Olaf, but the small Húsavík Öl brewery is a great place to enjoy craft beer.”
Set in Gamla Mjólkurstöðin, the old milk factory, the Húsavík Öl brewery is the height of Icelandic industrial chic and serves fresh craft beer straight from the brewery tap.
“The cast and crew loved it. You should also check out the new ‘Ja Ja Ding Dong’ bar at the Húsavík Cape Hótel. They only opened on July 10 and serve Fire Saga-themed drinks like the ‘Double Trouble’ cocktail.”
Soak in the Geosea geothermal sea baths
“This place is super nice. The geothermal baths are perched on cliff overlooking the sea and the mountains so you can soak in the water and look out right across the fjord.”
The Geosea thermal sea baths are a sophisticated new addition to the Húsavík social scene. The sleek infinity pool is the height of Scandi cool and is one of the few places in Iceland where you can drink a beer, soak in a spring and watch the Northern Lights.
“I went with some cast mates on our day off. We ordered beers from the swim-up bar, kicked back and looked out across the sparkling water. It was incredible!”
Search for the elves in Ásbyrgi canyon
“The best day trip from Húsavík, easily, is Ásbyrgi canyon. It’s like a big hoof print in the landscape. Locals say it was made by the hoof of Sleipnir, Odin’s mythological horse.”
This breath-taking glacial canyon sits within the vast Vatnajökull National Park and is criss-crossed with challenging hiking trails. It is also believed to be the home of the Huldufólk – Icelandic elves.
“If I had one last piece of advice I’d say don’t just stick to the things in the brochures. Ask the locals for their advice. There are hidden gems everywhere in Húsavík.”
For more information about visiting Húsavík and the other sights on the new Diamond Circle route, drop by the Visit North Iceland website.
Listen to Hannes talk about Húsavík
Hannes talks to our editor, Peter Moore, about being the ‘Ja Ja Ding Dong’ guy, the fame the role has brought him and why he loved filming in Húsavík.
Main image: Húsavík harbour, viewed from the sea (© Adobe Stock)