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Westman Islands

The Westman Islands

There are places in Iceland that simply have to be experienced. The Westman Islands are one of those places by virtue of their natural beauty and by being historically and geologically one of Iceland´s most distinctive destinations. Heimaey may only be about 13 km2, but that small area contains enough magical scenery and birdlife to delight the visitor for days. The islands are part of a young and still active submarine volcanic system, most of them coming into being only 10-20.000 years ago. The youngest of the group is Surtsey which erupted from the sea floor in 1963.

The famous eruption on Heimaey itself, the largest and only inhabited island was, however, even more spectacular. In January 1973 Eldfell erupted and the island became 2,3 km2 larger while lava flows and ash burned or buried almost 400 buildings. The remains of the eruption are among the island´s most fascinating historical attractions.

A journey to the Westman Islands is neither more expensive nor more difficult than to many places on the mainland, though prior booking whether by sea or air is advisable. From Reykjavík the trip by air is 20 minutes and from Bakki, on the south coast, it is only a 6-minute flight. The passenger and car ferry, Herjólfur, makes the trip from Þorlákshöfn in less than 3 hours.

Other popular attractions are one of Iceland's best 18-hole golf courses, deep sea fishing, bird and whale watching, natural history and folk museums. Hiking up volcanoes, over lava fields or along the shoreline is also a favourite pastime. Comfortable accommodations are available as well as a variety of restaurants and coffee houses. A short daytrip is therefore very much a thing of the past. The island's tourism industry endeavours to make visitors feel welcome and hopes they will spend more time with us.


Tourist Information
Kirkjuvegi 50
The Westman Islands
Tel. 481 3555 & 481 3553