Westman Islands Tours
Westman Islands tours introduce you to an archipelago of 15 islands and 30 rock stacks off Iceland’s South Coast. Explore the area by boat, visit the puffin colonies that nest there throughout summer or immerse yourself in the region's colourful history and culture.

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Westman Islands Tours

Westman Islands tours introduce you to an archipelago of 15 islands and 30 rock stacks off Iceland’s South Coast. Explore the area by boat, visit the puffin colonies that nest there throughout summer or immerse yourself in the region's colourful history and culture.
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13 reviews
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5 Day Self Drive Tour | Westman Islands, Puffin Tour & Whale Watching

Explore the wildlife of Iceland at your own pace on this 5-day self-drive tour! This tour is sure to thrill any animal or nature lover, allowing you to experience the Icelandic horses that fill Reykjadalur Valley, the whales and dolphins swimming off the coasts, and the popular puffins of the Westman Islands. On a self-drive tour, you control how much you want to see on each day. You can make the most of every minute and visit all the attractions in the area that you can, or just choose a few special places where you can linger and really drink in the moment.  In one short holiday, you’ll see all this and take a spin around the famous Golden Circle; there’s even enough time to take a dip in the healing waters of the famous Blue Lagoon geothermal spa. The long summer days give you plenty of time to explore each location, meaning you can rise early and turn in late. The ongoing sunshine and pure, fresh air mean that you never feel too tired during Icelandic summer.  Most travellers to Iceland are excited about the must-see locations, but also seek secluded places where they can rest their mind and body amongst the peaceful Icelandic landscape. That is why you will be provided with a unique itinerary of hidden gems and lesser-seen places after you book, which will allow you to get back to nature without all the crowds. Book this tour to immerse yourself in the vibrant wildlife of Iceland! Check availability by choosing a date.

Duration:
5days
Available:
May. - Aug.
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One Hour Small Island Tour in Vestmannaeyjar

Explore the caves, monoliths and coastal beauty of the Westman Islands. This boat tour is an exciting way to explore this little travelled part of Iceland. This tour begins at the harbour on Heimaey, the only populated part of the islands. Here, you will be provided with a floatation suit and life jacket, for warmth and safety, before boarding a speedboat and setting out for your hour-and-a-half long exploration. You will visit many incredible sites very few others have the chance to see as you whizz across the waters of the Atlantic. There are five coastal caves, for example, that you will visit and enter, one of which, called Klettshellir and is renowned for its acoustics. You will also see a bizarre rock formation in a cliff that uncannily resembles the face of an elephant. Lovers of wildlife will rejoice on this tour. If taken before September, you will see thousands of nesting Atlantic Puffins. The Westman Islands have the highest proportion of these adorable birds out of anywhere in the world. You will see them on the isles and rocks with their lifelong partners, protecting their burrows, and in the waters, where they are feeding.  Because of the size of your speedboat, you will be able to approach the puffins very closely without being a disturbance, so you can properly admire their charming, colourful features. There is also a great chance you will spot whales on your trip. The Westman Islands have bountiful waters, with a lot of life, drawing all sorts of creatures, most notably Orcas and the second-largest species ever to live on earth, Fin Whales. Of course, you also may see Blue, Minke and Humpback Whales, as well as White-Beaked Dolphins and Harbour Porpoises. Witness the many islands and thriving wildlife of Vestmannæyjar on this boat tour from Heimaey. Check availability by choosing a date.
5.0
5 reviews

Duration:
60minutes
Available:
May. - Sep.
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Private Tour of Heimaey in the Westman Islands

Book a private tour of Heimaey, the largest island of the beautiful Vestmannaeyjar archipelago. Those who want to avoid other tourists and have a more personalised experience with their guide should not overlook this tour. As this excursion is private, you’ll get to choose how long to spend at each place, whether you are more interested in historical sites, geological sites, or wildlife. The first of your stops will be Sprangan, cliffs where you will be able to watch your guide do an acrobatic display on ropes. This technique has been used for generations to gather eggs from the birds nests. You’ll then go to Stórhöfði. If travelling between May and September, you’ll be awed by the thousands of puffins nesting here and flying overhead; more puffins nest in the Westman Islands than anywhere else on earth. If travelling outside of these months, you’ll feel the bracing elements, as this is the windiest place in Europe. Next, you will travel to the volcano of Eldfell. The eruption here in 1973 was unexpected and dramatic, and the rescue of the people and innovations used to stem the flow of lava are fascinating stories. You will be able to walk in the crater. Another geological site will follow Eldfell; the Elephant Rock’s distinct shape has made it a favourite subject for photographers. You will then head to the valley of Herjólfsdalur, and look upon the ruins of the farmhouse said to be built by the first settler of Westman Islands The tour will conclude back in the town, but before you are dropped off, you’ll stop at Stafkirkjan, a charming and historic wooden church. Don’t miss this opportunity to explore the Westman Islands without worrying about other guests. Check availability by choosing a date.

Duration:
2hours
Available:
Feb. - Nov.
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Westman Island Winter Express Tour

Explore the beautiful Heimaey, the largest island of the Westman Islands, in depth in winter with this express tour of all the major sites. Those travelling to this beautiful part of the country should not overlook this opportunity. After being picked up by the harbour of Heimaey, you’ll be whisked to the first site, the cliffs of Sprangan. Here, you’ll be able to see your guide demonstrate how Westman Islanders swing on and climb up ropes, as an acrobatic and historic way of gathering birds eggs. You will then go to the windiest place in Europe, Stórhöfði, which in summer is alive with puffins. Even though this tour does not run in puffin season, you will still see non-migratory seabirds swooping around the cliffs. Next up is the notorious Eldfell, a volcano that erupted in 1973, destroying a third of the homes on the island and threatening to engulf the rest. You’ll get to walk in the crater, and achieve beautiful views of the town below. Herjólfsdalur is next on the agenda, a valley with the ruins of a farmhouse said to be owned by the very first inhabitant of Heimaey. You’ll then head back into town, to see two cultural sites. First is the wooden church of Skansinn, styled after viking architecture. At the end of the tour wil will visit the Puffin sanctaury, where you will get a exclusive meet and greet with a live puffin.  Don’t miss this thorough exploration of Heimaey by minibus. Check availability by choosing a date.

Duration:
2hours
Available:
Mar. - Apr.
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Puffin and Volcano Tour | Westman Islands

Immerse yourself in the wonders of the Westman Islands with this excellent tour that combines sightseeing and puffin-watching. This excursion should not be missed by any who are passionate about wildlife and nature. This tour begins in our office at the harbour in Westman Islands. The small size of your vehicle means that you can expect a personalised experience with your friendly guide. The order in which you visit the sites will depend on the weather, but you have a fair few on your agenda, and will reach each as you travel around the island. You will, for example, get to walk into the crater of the Eldfell volcano, which erupted in the middle of town without warning in 1973, threatening to engulf the whole island. You’ll also see the famous ‘elephant rock’ formation, where the cliff face looks uncannily like its namesake, and the beautiful valley of Herjólfsdalur, where there are ruins from one of the island’s first settlers. Of course, you will also reach the best puffin watching cliffs on the island to admire an array of seabirds that include puffins. Over 60% of the world’s North Atlantic puffins nest in Iceland, and more nest in the Westman Islands than any other part of the country, from May to September. If conditions allow, you’ll also go to Sprangan, where your guide will show off their skills swinging and scaling up and down a cliff, as is tradition on the archipelago as a way of retrieving eggs and down. Finally you will head to the puffin sanctuary, which will soon also include a beluga sanctuary. Here, you can learn about the fish and birds of Iceland, and meet one of our famous puffin up close. Don’t miss this thrilling and immersive tour of the Westman Islands. Check availability by choosing a date.
3.4
5 reviews

Duration:
2hours
Available:
May. - Sep.
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2-Hour RIB Boat Tour of the Westman Islands

Explore the Westman Islands in style on this RIB-boat adventure. This tour is not to be missed by anyone who loves adrenaline, wildlife, history and spectacular geology. This tour departs from the harbour of Heimaey, the only island of the archipelago to be inhabited. The RIB vessel has fewer seats than larger boats, guaranteeing a more personal, as well as a much more adventurous, excursion.  Once your group has boarded, you will shoot out of the harbour, and begin your exploration of the Westman Islands. There are fifteen islands and thirty rock outcrops to zip around, all of which have fascinating geology, and the vast majority of which have a wealth of birdlife. After all, Vestmannaeyjar has the highest number of nesting puffins in the world. You will see them nestled into the rocks, guarding their burrows, diving into the water to feed and clumsily sprinting along its surface to take off. They, however, are not the only animals found in the area. The Westman Islands are one of the best spots in the country for whale-watching, particularly to see otherwise elusive orcas and fin whales. You may also see humpback, minke and even blue whales, as well as harbour porpoises and white-beaked dolphins. Outside of the wildlife, you will be exposed to many fascinating rock formations. Perhaps the most famous of these is the ‘Elephant Head’, a corner of a cliff which looks exactly like an elephant drinking from the sea. The geology of this area is the result of active volcanism beneath the land and the ocean. The most destructive volcanic eruption of recent times happened in Vestmannaeyjar, with lava destroying 20% of the buildings on Heimaey and almost entirely closing in its harbour.  Thankfully, there were no casualties, and the lava flow was stopped by the ingenious and bold idea of pumping seawater onto it. Through this technique, Icelanders, in fact, managed to improve the harbour, by allowing the lava to close it off just a little. After you have admired the wildlife and geology of the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago, you will return to Heimaey, no doubt in a state of exhilaration from your adventure. Witness one of Iceland’s little-visited gems in the most exciting way possible. Check availability by choosing a date.

Duration:
2hours
Available:
May. - Sep.
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Westman Islands Super Jeep Day Tour from Reykjavik

Book this tour and you can explore remote volcanic islands off the South Coast of Iceland. The Westman islands have a unique history and many traditions; you won’t want to miss them on your visit to Iceland. After being picked up in Reykjavík, your adventure will begin with a drive along the South Coast, with its spectacular and ever-changing landscape.  You will be headed for Landeyjahöfn, a small harbour close to Seljalandsfoss waterfall where you will hop on the ferry to Heimaey, the largest of the Westman Islands.   The ferry ride will only last 30 to 40 minutes, but the views from the ferry as you approach the islands are spectacular.  You will be able to spot a few different islands and will be amazed by the shapes and colours of their cliffs and rock formations. With a population of about 4.500 people, Heimaey is the largest and the only inhabited island of the archipelago. Here a huge volcano eruption occurred in 1973, which forced the Islanders to flee and some of them never returned to their homes. The eruption of Eldfell volcano destroyed many houses and changed the shape of the islands. Today, there exists a museum, which was built around the ruins of one of these houses that were covered by lava during the eruption. The Eldheimar museum tells the unique story of the 1973 eruption, a story of hope and determination, a story that everyone should learn when visiting these islands. Your day will continue with a hike to the top of Eldfell volcano, from where you will have a very beautiful view of the islands and the new lava fields that were created during the last eruption.  You will then drive to Stórhöfði, the windiest place in Europe, for more great views and to spot some puffins! You will then visit Herjólfsdalur valley, the Elephant Rock and the ruins of a typical farmhouse from the first settlers of the Westman Islands.  Last but not least, you will visit Sæheimar Museum and Aquarium, where you will learn about the islands' unique geology, about the different animals that populate them and, with some luck, you might have a close encounter with a puffin. At the end of the day, you will take the ferry back to Landeyjahöfn harbour and drive back to Reykjavik.  If there is enough time, you will pay a quick visit to Seljalandsfoss waterfall on the way. Explore the unique Westman islands on this amazing day tour. Check availability by choosing a date.
5.0
1 review

Duration:
14hours
Available:
May. - Oct.
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Volcanic Westman Islands

Vestmannaeyjar, or the Westman Islands, is a volcanic island archipelago only a half hour ferry ride from the south coast of Iceland, and just a couple of hours travel from Reykjavík. The natural beauty, wildlife and history will astound everyone who visits this stunning collection of islands. Come with us to explore a true gem of Iceland, one that the locals love to explore themselves.  We start the day with a drive to Landeyjahöfn, as we pass through all the astonishing scenery the south coast of Iceland has to offer, including waterfalls, glaciers and volcanoes where we catch the ferry over to the Westman Islands. The main island, Heimaey, was almost destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 1973 resulting in a full town evacuation. We will go to the Eldheimar Museum and learn all about how the eruption destroyed hundreds of homes and lasted for months, making it the “Pompei of the North”. From here you can see the lava and new section of the island that was created in 1973, with the island increasing in size by over 20% from all the new lava. We will also take the time to make the short hike (approx. 30 minutes up) to the top of Eldfjall volcanic crater, the source of this devastating eruption.  The Westman Islands is home to some of our favourite restaurants. We have lunch at GOTT, whose cosy and delightful restaurant uses only fresh, authentic ingredients. All sauces, broth, soups, bread and cakes are made from scratch at the restaurant, with the fish brought fresh from the market every morning. This is sure to be one of your favourite meals in Iceland, with lunch included in the tour price.  After lunch we have more time to explore the islands. This can be in two ways. With your Hidden Iceland guide you can head to the southern side of Heimaey to explore the cliffs, farms and go on a short walk in the search of puffins. In summer the Westman Islands is one of the best places in Iceland to view Puffins, it is always a delight to see these incredibly cute birds. Alternatively you can join a 1 hour RIB boat ride with our partners from RIB Safari. Exploring the islands by boat is a fantastic and fun way to do it, and RIB Safari will ensure you have one of the more exhilarating rides of your lives. The boat ride takes you deep inside sea caves, and around the small islands scattered of Heimaey that are otherwise inaccessible. If you are lucky you may even get close to the array of wildlife around the islands, like whales and Puffins. It is amazing to see the islands from this angle. If you want to join the 1 hour RIB Boat tour (12,900 ISK / 6,900 ISK per person) please choose this as the optional extra at booking.  This trip is run in summer only, upon request, with a minimum of 4 people per trip. If 4 people are not yet booked you can book 4 people to confirm departure. If we get more sales, we will refund you the extra seats you paid for. Speak to us by email to take this option.

Duration:
12.5hours
Available:
May. - Sep.
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Day Tour to the Westman Islands

Are you ready for adventure? This trip to the Westman Islands in Iceland is just the ticket! Vestmannaeyjar, or the Westman Islands, are a group of islands based just off of the south coast of Iceland. They are well known for many fascinating stories, including that of the very first settlers to the islands, along with an Algiers pirate attack, the birth of a new island, a volcanic eruption that forced the evacuation of the island's population. Along with all of these, stories, the main island, Heimaey, has a unique charm to it. Originating as if born again from the ashes of the volcanic eruption, this small and friendly fisherman's village is full of both history and scenic wonders. This tour of the Westman Islands allows you to explore these unique islands up close. The population of these islands is 4,300 and people inhabit only one of the islands in the archipelago (Heimaey). During the summer months, the local farmers graze their sheep on the other islands using small boats to ferry them back to the main island during the autumn. You can join this tour in one of two ways: either by meeting us at Hamragarður (next to Gljúfrabúi on the road 249) or by being picked up at your accommodation in the surrounding area. Please select your preferred option during the booking process. You will then be driven towards the Landeyjar harbour where the ferry will take us over to the Westman Islands. The ferry ride takes around 25 to 30 minutes. The view of the islands as you come closer are spectacular. In addition, you will witness an incredible amount of sea birdlife that live in the cliffs on the main island. Once we arrive at the island of Heimaey, your first experience will be a small island tour on a rib speed boat. Speed along the water, with the spray of the ocean upon your face.  The boat will stop on certain occasions to allow you to explore some of the sea caves that lay along the edges of the island. Some of these are only accessible from a rib speed boat, making this a truly unique adventure. During the stops, you will learn fascinating facts about the islands themselves, as well as learning about the local history, birdlife and nature on the Westman Islands.  After your trip on the rib safari boats, you will return to the land and enjoy a tasty meal in one of the local restaurants. Next on our itinerary, an easy hike is taken up onto the famous Eldfell volcano. With stunning views of the village beneath, you will be excited to do some sightseeing. Start with a visit to the great Eldheimar museum, in which an excellent exhibition depicting the story of the eruption on Heimaey in 1973 is displayed. Here, you will also be able to learn more about how the eruption affected the residents on the island and discover the story of Surtsey, an island south of Vestmannaeyjar that formed after an underwater eruption. Surtsey is the youngest island to be created in all of Europe. This is a day tour filled with all kinds of adventures, along with being in beautiful and amazing surroundings. It is a must-do trip for those who want to see Mother Nature at her most potent.  Check availability by selecting a date.  

Duration:
8hours
Available:
May. - Sep.
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Frequently Asked Questions

About Westman Islands Tours

Tours that depart from the Westman Islands, or Vestmannaeyjar, allow you to explore the area by boat and even see the puffin colonies that nest here throughout summer. Other Westman Islands tours will introduce you to the colourful history and culture of the region.

1. What are the main attractions in the Westman Islands?

The main attractions include the old harbour, Eldfell volcano, Elephant Rock, Eldheimar museum, Eldfellshraun lava field and many more.

2. Can I see whales around the Westman Islands?

Yes, you can. There are whale and bird watching boat tours which run throughout the summer months.

3. When is the best time to see the puffins in the Westman Islands?

The puffins arrive in May and stay until September each year. To make absolutely sure you see them, you should schedule your travel to the Westman Islands between early June and late August. While there are plenty of places to find puffins in Iceland, the Westman Islands is one of the most reliable.

4. How much time should I spend in the Westman Islands?

A day trip will allow you to visit all the major attractions, however, you could explore the island at a slower pace and spend two days there if you wish.

5. Which of the Westman Islands should I visit?

Heimaey is the only island of the archipelago that is inhabited, and all the major attractions are found there. You can, however, join a boat tour that takes you around the smaller islands and into some of their many sea-caves.

6. How does one reach the Westman Islands?

You will need to take a ferry from a port on the South Coast of Iceland. You may need to drive to either Landeyjahofn or Thorlakshofn or else take a plane from Reykjavik.

7. Where can I buy a ticket to the Westman Islands ferry?

You can buy ferry tickets at the harbour. However, booking in advance is advisable. During the year's most busy travel seasons, such as during the bank holiday which falls on the first weekend of August, you will need to book tickets in advance.

8. Are the Westman Islands accessible all year round?

Yes, ferries and planes run scheduled trips during all seasons. The ferry takes just over 30 minutes, and a flight would take around 20 minutes from Reykjavik.

9. Are the Westman Islands dangerous because of the volcanic activity there?

No, during the last major eruption in 1973, there was not a single fatality. Furthermore, the islands are constantly monitored for volcanic activity and warnings will be issued well before any significant event.

10. How many islands make up the Westman Islands?

The Westman Islands, or Vestmannaeyjar, are an archipelago of 15 islands and 30 rock crops and stacks off Iceland's South Coast. Only one, Heimaey, is inhabited.

11. How large are the Westman Islands?

The total surface area of the land of the Westman Islands is 17 km² (6.5 mi²).

12. How many people live in the Westman Islands?

Approximately 4,300 people live on the Westman Islands today.

13. Why are the islands called the 'Westman' islands? Who was this west-man?

The ‘Westmen’ was a nickmame used by the Norse people to describe the Irish. The islands were named after two Irish slaves who killed their master and fled to the Vestmannaeyjar before they were killed in retribution by their former master’s brother-in-law and Iceland’s first settler, Ingólfur Arnarson.

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