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Frequently Asked Questions

About Westman Islands Tours

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

Tours that depart from here 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, Eldheimar museum, Eldfell volcano,  Eldfellshraun lava field and many more.

2. Can I see whales around the Westman Islands?

Yes, you can. Although no whale watching tours run from the Westman Islands, bird watching boat tours run throughout summer and it is not uncommon to spot whales on these excursions.

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.

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

A day trip will allow you to visit all the major attractions.

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, also 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 southern port, usually Landeyjahöfn or Þorlákshöfn, or else a plane from Reykjavík.

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

You can buy ferry tickets at the harbour. However, 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.

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

No, during the last major eruption in 1973, not a single fatal incident occurred. 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?

There are 15 islands and 30 rock crops and stacks.

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.

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

The ‘Westmen’ were what the Norse called the Irish. The islands were named after two Irish slaves who killed their master and fled to them, 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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