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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Frequently asked questions
What are the main attractions in the Westman Islands of Iceland?
The main attractions include the town's old harbour, Eldfell volcano which last erupted in 1973, the internet-famous Elephant Rock on the cliffs of Heimaey, Eldheimar volcano museum and Eldfellshraun lava field where locals bake rye bread in the warm lava rocks.
How can I visit the Elephant Rock in Iceland?
The internet-famous Elephant Rock is a unique basalt rock formation in the shape of an elephant off the cliffs of Heimaey, the largest island of the Westman Islands of Iceland. To see the Elephant Rock in all its glory we recommend a RIB Boat Tour of the Westman Islands with a transfer from Heimaey harbor. The tour will also take you into some of the islands' sea caves and engage in some puffin watching during the summer.
Can I see whales around the Westman Islands?
Yes, you can. There are whale and puffin watching boat tours that run throughout the summer months around the Westman Islands.
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 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 have the largest puffin colony in the world with over 1 million puffins nesting there each year.
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.
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.
Where can I buy a ticket to the Westman Islands ferry?
You can buy ferry tickets at the harbor. However, booking in advance is advisable. During the year's most busy travel seasons, such as during the national holiday which falls on the first weekend of August, you will need to book tickets in advance.
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.
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.
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.
How large are the Westman Islands?
The total surface area of the Westman Islands is 6.5 square miles (17 square kilometers).
How many people live in the Westman Islands?
Approximately 4,300 people live on the Westman Islands today, all residing on the only permanently inhabited island of Heimaey.
Why are the islands called the 'Westman' islands?
The ‘Westmen’ was how Norse people referred to the Irish in the middle ages. The islands were named after two Irish thralls who killed their master and fled to the islands in the 9th century. They were then chased down and killed in retribution by their former master’s brother-in-law and Iceland’s first settler, Ingolfur Arnarson. Ever since then the islands were called Vestmannaeyjar, or, 'Westman Islands'.