Formed by volcanic eruptions over the past 12,000 years, the 15 islands that make up the Westman Islands archipelago, or Vestmannaeyjar in Icelandic, are quite young, in geological terms. With jagged sea cliffs, volcanic craters and world-class restaurants, the main island of Heimaey is a unique place to visit with a variety of activities to choose from.
Journey to the Westman Islands
The journey begins once embarked on a comfortable Gray Line coach, and you depart from Reykjavík heading down the southern coastline of Iceland. Once arrived at the Landeyjahöfn harbour, you will embark on the Herjólfur ferry, and the 45-minute voyage across the sea to the island of Heimaey begins. Once arrived on the island, there are many ways to make the most out of your day. Here’s how:
- Heimaey Circle Boat Tour: Launching from the historic harbour of Heimey, the boat tour takes you around some of the unique islands that make up Vestmannaeyjar. Along the way, you will see some of the most magnificently colourful ocean caves, the bird cliffs along the lava coastline as well as the impressive natural rock formation known as Elephant Rock. Seabirds and whales are a common sighting, although not guaranteed, and passengers will experience the fantastic acoustics of the Cliff Cave with live music.
- Natural History Bus Tour: Sitting on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the Westman Islands are home to a unique landscape made up of volcanoes, lava, and windswept cliffs, and this bus tour takes you on a trip to discover it. Along the way, you will learn about the volcanic eruptions that formed this small island, see the ruins of the first settler, stand in the windiest place in Europe and explore the small town of 4,500 inhabitants, Vestmannayjabær.
- Eldheimar Volcano Museum: The volcano museum provides a glimpse into the lives of the island inhabitants that fled their homes in the early hours of January 23rd 1973 when Eldfell erupted as well as a recently excavated house that had been buried under the volcano’s lava.
- Gott Restaurant: A delightfully delicious family-run restaurant in the heart of the Westman Islands is the ideal place to stop for lunch or a snack. Using fresh and mostly local ingredients, the restaurant offers healthy comfort food made from scratch at affordable prices.
* Due to the ferry arrival and departure times, visitors can book a maximum of 3 add-on excursions on this tour