The home islands of wilderness, nature and music at the south coast of Iceland
Just a short distance from the mainland and less than thirty minutes by air from Reykjavík, the islands of the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago have seen some of Iceland‘s most dramatic moments and its most joyous celebrations. It was here that an unexpected volcanic eruption forty-five years ago tore through the edge of a small town, threatening its people and their homes and livelihoods with fire and fury. Today, these peaceful islands host the annual summer festival Þjóðhátíð, a four-day celebration featuring stage concerts, bonfires, and fireworks - a true tribute to the strength of the human spirit.
The Westman Islands, as they are also known, are set among the richest fishing grounds in the North Atlantic ocean. Millions of sea birds make the islands their home: the guillemot, gannet, kittiwake, Iceland gull, and puffin nest in the islands' cliffs and rocky grottoes, feeding and raising their young. Each year, the children of the Westman Islands play their part by rescuing baby puffins who wander into town, taking them to be checked and tagged by local veterinarians and then released to the wild. The Westman Islands are truly a place where man and nature have learned to coexist and to thrive.
From Reykjavík to Vestmannaeyjar
From Vestmannaeyjar to Reykjavík
|Online offer||Economy||Standard||Child 2-11||Infant|
|Vestmannaeyjar||€ 108.80||€ 127.20||€ 152.80||€ 105.60||€ 32.00|
- Online offer € 108.80
- Economy € 127.20
- Standard € 152.80
- Child 2-11 € 105.60
- Infant € 32.00
Þjóðhátíð: on top of the world at the world's greatest party
Summer days in Iceland never end. Even when the sun dips below the horizon for a few minutes, it doesn't truly get dark. Westman Islanders put those endless days to good use, hosting the country's biggest party in a giant outdoor amphitheater sculpted by volcanoes and the sea. Iceland's finest food, drink, and music are all on offer throughout the festival, a fantastic outpouring of life and happiness that will never be forgotten!
Eldfell: the Westman Islands' darkest hour and greatest triumph
Residents of Heimaey, the largest island in the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago, woke in the early morning hours of 23 January 1973 to an awe-inspiring sight: a new volcano, erupting at the edge of their town. Ash and lava engulfed many houses and threatened to destroy the rest, along with the fishing port that provided all the island's people with their livelihood. The fight for Heimaey captured hearts and imaginations all over the world, as the islanders became the first in human history to tame the rivers of fire. Today, you can climb the still-warm volcanic cone Eldfell (literally, the "fire-mountain"), where you'll be treated to spectacular views of the mainland and the other islands of the archipelago. At night, you may even see the northern lights shimmering overhead - a worthy reward for your hike!
Eldheimar: your window on the "Pompeii of the North"
Built at the base of the volcano, the newly-constructed Eldheimar museum is built around one of the homes buried in the early hours of the 1973 eruption. Freed at last from its ashen tomb, the house and the artifacts within showcase island life before the eruption, while the rest of the museum chronicles the successful overnight evacuation of the entire island population ahead of the advancing lava ... and the hard-fought victory in the battle to save the rest of the town from destruction.
Sæheimar Aquarium: puffin patrol headquarters of the north
Located on Heimaey island near the center of town, Sæheimar Aquarium is the nerve center for the annual baby puffin rescue. Local children form "puffin patrols" to round up hundreds of inquisitive birds who wander into town; thousands of pufflings, as they're called, are rescued by the end of summer. Not all the pufflings can be released to the wild at once, of course, and those requiring special care stay at the aquarium until ready to leave. Some have even made a permanent home there and like to spend their days visiting with tourists who come to the aquarium -- meaning that no matter what time of year you visit, you'll have a chance to see these beautiful and slightly comical birds up close and personal!