Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland, also known as the Westman Islands, is an incredible place to visit during your trip to Iceland and is not to be missed especially if you are a massive volcano buff. It is made up of fifteen islands and the only one that is occupied by humans is Heimaey.
The last major eruption here was in the seventies, when the ground literally ripped apart and started spewing a giant wall of lava across the town. Thankfully, they were able to evacuate the towns people over the space of a few hours and everyone survived. The town, however, was devastated by the massive piles of lava that piled up over all of the houses and destroyed the island.
You can see what one of these houses looked like in the Eldheimar Museum. It has a fabulous documentary on the eruption and photos around the exhibition as well as an actual house that was damaged by the lava. On the upstairs level, there is an exhibition on Stursey, the newest of the islands, that was created by a recent eruption. It is used as a study on biodiversity and how flora and fauna manage to come to new land and establish themselves. After the museum, you can hike the Edfell Volcano out the back from the museum and explore the monster that destroyed the town itself. It is only a short hike up, but it has some beautiful views of the island from the top and the landscape is both eerie and incredible.
One of the other massive drawcards to the island is that it has some of the largest colonies of Atlantic puffins in Iceland. They do run tours of the town that take you to these places, or otherwise if you have the time you can walk to the colonies. The island is only five kilometres in length, so it is not a great hike to get from one end to the other.
Getting to Vestmannaeyjar, you will need to take a ferry from Landeyjahofn. The trip is approximately forty minutes and the ferry departs five times a day each way except for Tuesdays, when there are four departures. The cost of the ferry is quite cheap as well. Once you arrive into the harbour of the island, the town is only a short walk away, and it is here you will find all of the Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland hostels, supermarkets, a hospital, funky cafes, and a few different museums and attractions.
This place is truly magical and not to be missed. If you have the time, definitely come here to spend some time!
Hi, I'm Globetrotter,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Vestmannaeyjar hostels. Welcome.