Visiting VestmannaeyjarPublished: 18. September 2020
Black beaches and stunning views are all over Iceland. While traveling with Happy 2 we saw so many magnificant nature en impressive landscapes! Since it’s our second time visiting this beautiful country, we like to explore a bit further than the road one. A great surprise during our stay is our visit to Vestmannaeyjar, or in English the Westman islands. Let me take you on a journey!
Why travel to Vestmannaeyjar?
Thousands of puffins, a recent history of active vulcanoes, baluga whales, these are just a view reasons why you should visit to Vestmannaeyjar.
The Westman Islands is a archipel of 15 Islands. Fifteen impressive rocks in the Atlantic Ocean. While visiting Vestmannaeyjar you will start at Heimaey. This is the only island you can visit by ferry. If you want to go to one of the other islands, you’ll have to take a daytrip with one of the tourist offices.
We really loved to take a hike between the funny puffins and their pufflings up to really stunning views! During our visit the weather was so nice and clear that we could see the famous Eyjafjallajökull while climming one off the kliffs near our campsite.
There are so many puffins on Vestmannaeyjar! It actually is a host to the largest Atlantic puffin colony in teh world. Therefore it is quite easy to spot these funny birds. And if you are off season, you can always visit the Puffin Rescue Centre, because they have puffins all year round.
If you visit the Puffin Rescue Centre you can also learn a lot about Baluga whales as this centre is also a sanctuary for two former ‘showbiz’ balugas. These whales are now swimming in one of the bays of Heimaey, so it hard to actually see them. But only the possibility of seeing these white whales, is worth picking op your binoculars!
How about the recent history of volcanoes?
Heimaey has a very special story. Not long ago (1973) there was a eruption of Eldfell, one of the volcanoes on the island. Due to this volcanic eruption, the island has grown by almost a third!
While driving around Heimaey the eruption seems to be very new. You can clearly see the difference in landscape and you can even visit ‘Pompeï off the North’: a place near Eldfell where you can see partially buried houses.
But also a hike to the top off the crater of Eldfell is worth the climb. From that spot the white houses and the beautiful color contrast make it a quite unique panorama.
How to travel to Vestmannaeyjar?
When you like to go to this islands you have to take a ferry. Just before Selfoss, if you’re traveling from direction Reykjavík, you leave road one and drive to Landeyjahöfn. Because it was not busy on Iceland when we travelled, we didn’t book our ferry tickets in advance. But it is not given that the ferry has available tickets for either vehicles or passengers in every journey, since some journey‘s capacity may already be fully booked. Therefore booking in advance is recommended.
Happy 2 is a Renault Trafic, which means that it you can by a ferry ticket for a car less than 5 meters. On board you have the opportunity to view gannets (our favorite), puffins and a lot of other birds from the deck or just through a window. And with quite some luck you might see whales or dolphins on the way.
After a trip less than one hour you arrive at the harbour of Heimaey. This is the biggest island of the archipel. While arriving, keep your eyes on the Klettsvik Bay to catch a glimpse of Little Grey and Little White, the two Baluga whales who are living in this large bay.
Where to stay at Vestmannaeyjar?
Our stay at Vestmannaeyjar even more magical because of the campsite we stayed. Imagine a valley surrounded by steep, craggy hills with the sound of puffins and other seebirds all around you. That is glamping & camping Vestmannaeyjar.
We parked our green house on wheels and walked to the pretty big village of Heimaey, for Iceland standerds. With quite some terraces, it is a really ‘gezellige’ city. There is nog English word, for ‘gezellig’, but believe me: it’s really cozy/sociable/convivial ????
For us Vestmannaeyjar was a hidden pearl. We really enjoyed every minute of our visit. The great views, steep hills and the nice people are really making worth a visit.