This 3-hour tour introduces you to the main attractions of Heimaey Island. The Westman Islands are situated just off the south coast of Iceland, with Heimaey being the main island with a population of about 4,000.
We leave the perfectly formed natural harbor area with its tall cliffs alive with multitudes of puffin, fulmar and guillemot. We drive from the pier into the Herjólfsdalur valley, where there are ruins of old farmhouses dating back to the year 900 AD.
The tour continues along the western part of the island, providing us with an opportunity to view the outer islands. The youngest of the group of islands, “Surtsey” was born in a volcanic eruption of 1963. Our next stop is “Stórhöfði”, with its magnificent views over the island and majestic glaciers of the Icelandic mainland.
Our drive back to the harbor takes us between two volcanoes, the 5,000-year-old volcano “Helgafell” and the considerably younger volcano “Eldfell” (“Mt. Fire”). At 2am on the night of January 23rd 1973, a massive eruption began in the eastern part of Heimaey. Almost all of the 5,000 inhabitants were safely evacuated to the mainland.
Our next stop is the viewpoint over the old town located on the new lava, before we continue over the new lava field. On our way into town we will drive past “Skansinn” with the wooden church, which was donated to the people of the Westman Islands by the state of Norway.
Back in the town we pass the ruins of a house buried in the lava before we visit Eldheimar museum – where we can learn about the eruption on Heimaey in 1973.