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Matkaopas: Landeyjahöfn

The harbor at Landeyjahofn with the car park visible in the background.Landeyjahofn is one of two ports where visitors can catch the ferry to the Westman Islands, also known as Vestmannaeyjar in Icelandic.

Given the popularity of the Westman Islands, Landeyjahofn is a stopover for many people. It’s an excellent starting point for a private 10-hour tour or the 12.5-hour guided tour of the volcanic Westman Islands.

Landeyjahofn, spelled Landeyjahöfn in Icelandic, is a port along the south coast where visitors can pick up tours of the Westman Islands and primarily Heimaey Island. The deep inset and narrow passage offer protection from the elements, making it the ideal natural location for a port.

Photo from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Hornstrandir1 No edits made.

Facts About Landeyjahofn

Ferries used to travel from Reykjavik to the Westman Islands, but it took too long to make it worthwhile, so Landeyjahofn became the port of choice instead.

The harbor was built to handle transportation to and from the Westman Islands while supporting the fishing industry. Landeyjahofn opened in the summer of 2010 and has continuously been updated over the years.

Though the port sees other ship traffic, over 50 percent of the vessels that pass through are passenger ships. Residents rely on the transport and shipping vessels that run through Landeyjahofn harbor because it’s the shortest trip from the mainland.

Landeyjahofn harbor is only accessible during the summer and when the weather and ocean waters cooperate.

Since it was built on sandy shores, sediment moves and forms sandbars, which makes the entrance impassable. Construction crews dig out the build-up and reopen the port. Recent updates are expected to improve the area and reduce closures.

Some efforts include rock walls and revegetation to prevent soil and sediment loss.

When Landeyjahofn is closed for dredging, ferries leave from the next closest port, Thorlakshofn harbor. While the trip is slightly longer, the alternate harbor is less prone to closures.

Visiting Landeyjahofn

You won’t find many amenities at Landeyjahofn as it’s seen as a stopover on your way to the Westman Islands. However, there are a handful of picnic tables, a free parking lot, and a building with a small cafe and other resources. Visitors don’t need to spend much time at Landeyjahofn when there’s so much to do elsewhere.

While the harbor may not be a bustling oasis, the surrounding cliffs and rocky shores offer picturesque views. On a nice day, the waters look clear beneath a blue sky, and visitors can walk out on rocky piers to take photos.

Notably, the harbor has several new hybrid ferries. These new vessels are eco-friendly and offer a smooth ride to the islands.

Attractions Near Landeyjahofn

Most people passing through Landeyjahofn head to the Westman Islands. Heimaey is the top destination for travelers passing through Landeyjahofn. As the largest island in the archipelago, Heimaey is also the only inhabited one in the group, with over 4,000 residents.

The other islands vary in size, and all exist because of volcanic activity and past eruptions.

Visitors can catch a ferry or private boat to the main island, where there’s plenty to explore, including the Eldheimar museum. The museum pays homage to the 1973 eruption of the Eldfell volcano that destroyed much of the town and forced residents to evacuate.

Today, visitors can witness the destruction, walk through remnants of homes and learn about the measures taken to combat the eruption. You can also hike to the top of Eldfell volcano, or what’s left of it. Stunning red lava chunks surround a massive crater, and it only takes 15 minutes to reach the top.

While there’s plenty to do on the island, its claim to fame is some of the best puffin-watching in Iceland. Atlantic puffins nest along the island’s southern side but occasionally wander into town.

If puffins aren’t enough for you, take a boat tour to watch the whales and dolphins. The Westman Islands boast some of the best places for orca-watching in the country.

Accommodation Near Landeyjahofn

With so much to see and do around Landeyjahofn, you’ll need to find accommodation that lets you explore everything. Several small guesthouses and cottages around the island have varying amenities, including the family-owned Guesthouse Hamar.

If you want something with views and modern amenities, Hotel Vestmannaeyjar may be the best option. The hotel features hot tubs, saunas, and an on-site restaurant with locally sourced meals. It’s only five minutes from the harbor and within walking distance of local nightlife, restaurants, and shops.

Some people may prefer to stay on the mainland near the harbor. DalsSel Farm Guesthouse is just 10 miles (15.6 kilometers) from the port and immerses you in the rural backdrop of south Iceland.

Travel a little farther north to find some additional options with hiking trails and closer to more scenic spots, like Thorsteins Grove and Gluggafoss. Austurbaer Cottage and Hellisholar Cottages are about 20 miles (33 kilometers) north of Landeyjahofn.

Elephant rock in Vestmannaeyjar, South Iceland

Getting to Landeyjahofn

Drive about 88 miles (142 kilometers) southeast of Reykjavik to arrive at Landeyjahofn. Travelers can take the bus or rent a car to make the trip from the capital city to south Iceland.

You’ll pass through miles of farmland on your way to the harbor. Landeyjahofn is so remote that there is only one road into it, Landeyjahafnarvegur. Many navigational tools take you to the area but not directly to the port. The closest airport is Bakki Airport, which mainly provides short local flights to the Westman Islands.

Once you reach Landeyjahofn, it’s approximately 9 miles (15 kilometers) on the ferry to Heimaey island. It takes around 35 minutes. Ferries leave several times daily, and you can buy one-way or roundtrip tickets.

While you don’t necessarily need a car to navigate Heimaey, you can take your car on the ferry if you want to. Visitors who plan to take a car should book in advance to ensure room to accommodate the vehicle.

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