The Westman Islands are situated just off the south coast of Iceland. On this tour, you will see all the main attractions of the islands.
Cliff hopping for eggs
We leave the perfectly formed natural harbour area, with its tall cliffs that are home to puffin, fulmar and guillemot. These birds and their eggs are extremely important factors in the community's prosperity. We make our first stop at "Sprangan", a cliff where young islanders are taught the local sport of rope swinging. The sport has evolved from the islanders' age old tradition of egg-collecting. To this day, local men hop from ledge to ledge, collecting eggs. For safety, the men are hooked to a lifeline held by an anchorman at the top of the cliff.
We continue to Herjólfsdalur valley, with ruins of old farmhouses dating back to 650 AD. As we drive along the western part of the island, you'll see the outer islands. The youngest of the group, "Surtsey", was born in the volcanic eruption of 1963. Our next stop is "Stórhöfdi", with its magnificent views over the island and majestic glaciers of mainland Iceland. During spring and early summer, Stórhöfdi is home to the largest puffin colony on Heimaey.
Into the heart of the volcano
On the way back, we drive between two volcanoes, the 5,000-year-old "Helgafell" (Holy Mountain) and the considerably younger Eldfell, or Mt. Fire, which has a more recent history. In 1973, a massive eruption began at Eldfell, but luckily almost all of the 5,000 inhabitants were safely evacuated to the mainland.
We stop at the viewpoint located at the base of this volcano. Next, we continue over the new lava fields into the centre of the volcano's crater. From the crater, we drive into town passing the ruins of a house buried in the lava.