Tour From Reykjavík – Westman Islands
Lose yourself in the wild beauty of the remote Westman Islands, located in the South Coast of Iceland on this private full-day tour
From pick-up in Reykjavík, Ferry cruise to Westman Islands, learn about the islands’ volcanic history at the Eldheimar Museum and hike the Eldfell Volcano (optional), hold “Tóti the alive puffin” in Sæheimar Aquarium.
- Full-day private tour of the Westman Islands from Reykjavik
- Learn more about the islands’ natural history at the Eldheimar and Sæheimar museums
- Marvel at one of Iceland’s largest puffin colonies
- Take part in optional activities like a hike up the Eldfell volcano or a cruise
around the Heimaey Circle
- Great-value tour includes hotel pick-up, entrance fees and round-trip transport by private vehicle and ferry
- This private tour can be customized to your interests and ensures you’ll receive personalized attention from your guide
What You Can Expect
Your morning begins with pick-up from your central Reykjavik hotel by private vehicle. After a scenic drive along Iceland’s picturesque South Coast, arrive at Landeyjahöfn to board your ferry bound for the Westman Islands.
Keep your camera to hand as you gaze out across the Atlantic Ocean, and watch as the islands’ jagged cliffs come into view.
Arrive on Heimaey, the largest of the 15 Westman Islands, and head to the Sæheimar Natural History Museum and Aquarium. Learn more about the islands’ unique topography and large colony of puffins, and perhaps even get chance to hold a puffin. Next, visit the Eldheimar
Museum and discover the islands’ most recent volcanic eruption in 1973, and the 1963 eruption that led to the formation of a new island – Surtsey.
Your private tour can be customized to your preferences, so perhaps op to climb the volcanic peak of Eldfell for spectacular views over the islands, or cruise around the main island (extra cost).
After a full day exploring the islands, return to Reykjavik, where your tour ends with drop-off at your hotel.
- Private tour Driver/guide
- Bottled water
- WiFi in vehicle
- Round-trip ferry
- Transport by private vehicle
- Hotel/port pickup and drop-off in the capital area
- Entrance fees, unless specified
- Food and drinks, unless specified
- Gratuities (optional)
- Duration: 14 hours.
- Included: Pick-up and drop-off in the capital area, Herjólfur (Ferry across from the mainland), entrance fee to Eldheimar Museum and Sæheimar Exhibit.
- Not included: Food, beverages and other entrance fees than mentioned included.
- Attention: Prices are per vehicle, not per person. when booking for 1-3 passengers, select 1 in transfer per vehicle. but if you want two vehicles you select 2. samt applies when booking for 4-8 passengers
We visit the puffins, museums, and possibly walk up to the crater of the recently-erupted volcano.
Vestmannaeyjar – The Westman Islands are a group of 15-18 islands, depending on how they are classed, and about 30 skerries sand rock pillars, located off the mainland’s south coast. The islands were formed by submarine volcanic eruptions along a 30-km long fissure lying southwest to northeast. The largest island is Heimaey, 13.4 km2. Most of the islands have steep sea cliffs and are well vegetated. Bird hunting and egg collecting are traditional to the Islanders’ culture.
A Norse timber church, a gift from the Norwegians to commemorate 1000 years since Christianity was accepted in Iceland, was consecrated on Heimaey. The only church of its type in Iceland, it has been situated in the Skans area where a stone wall, built after the Turkish invasion in 1627 occurred, has been rebuilt. Population 4,416.
Hunting and fishing are the traditional mainstays of the island economy. Rich fishing grounds surround the islands. For many years Heimaey was one of Iceland´s largest fishing stations. During the main season, people, from all places and walks of life, flocked here to work long hours and earn money. The population of the town trebled and the number of boats multiplied. Today, ships are larger and more technologically advanced, production has moved from landbased freezing plants to factory ships and consequently, the hustle and bustle of the main season is much a thing of the past.
A New Island Emerges- Surtsey
On the morning of 14th November 1963, the crew aboard Ísleifur II saw a column of black dust rising from the sea, south-west of Heimaey. An eruption had begun on the seabed which was to last almost four years. By the second day of the eruption the island, Surtsey, was already 10 metres high. When the eruption ended, on 5th June, 1967, the island covered 2,8 square km and reached a height of 170m. Surtsey is protected by law and Icelandic scientists continue to document the colonization of the island by plant and bird life.
The Eruption on Heimaey, 1973
The eruption on Heimay began on 23rd January, 1973, just before two o´clock in the morning. A fissure opened on the eastern side of the island, only 300-400 metres from Kirkjubæir, the most easterly houses in the town. The inhabitants of Heimaey were woken by the police and fire brigade as they drove around, raising the alarm with their sirens. People streamed down to the docks. Fortunately, the weather had been stormy the day before and most of the island´s fleet of 60-70 fishing boats had stayed in harbor. The boats ferried the town´s people to safety in Þórlákshöfn. In March, moltern lava threatened to close the harbor approaches. In a desperate attempt to stop the flow, seawater was pumped on to the lava. This method proved very effective. Today the harbor is considered to be even better than before. The eruption ended on 3rd July, 1973. In six months a new volcano, 225m high, had appeared on the island and a new lava field lay to the east and covered 3.3 square km. Around 360 houses had been buried and many others badly damaged. Before the eruption 5300 people lived in Heimaey, 2000 of these moved back immediately after the eruption ended. Slowly but surely more families returned and began to rebuild their community.