The Westman Islands - Pompei of the North - AH36

Boat tour and volcano hike - 14-hour Tour

Fully licensed travel agency & tour operator

Take a bus tour and a boat tour to the Westman Islands, or Vestmannaeyjar in Icelandic, and hike on the volcano which was only formed in 1973. There were two major eruptions in this region in the 20th century, the eruption in 1963 which created the new island of Surtsey and the Eldfell eruption of January 1973.

Duration: ~14 hours

Pick-up: 06:45 - 07:15

Available: May - Sept

Age limit: No limit

Difficulty: Easy / Sightseeing

Tour Highlights:
  • South Coast of Iceland
  • The Westman Islands
  • Eldheimar Eruption Museum
  • Boat tour
  • Sightseeing bus tour

Max child/youth:

2 per adult


Hotel pick up & drop off in Reykjavik, ferry to the islands, volcano hike, entrance to the Eldheimar Eruption Museum, boat tour, sightseeing bus tour in the main island.

Not included:

Meals nor refreshments. Note that the tour is guide only while on the Westman Islands.

Bring with you:

Warm clothes, sturdy shoes.

How pick up and drop off works:

The pick up coaches collect passengers from over 160 hotels and guest houses in Reykjavik and deliver to the Gray Line Terminal in Holtagardar.

Standing by for pick up:

Pick-up in Reykjavik begins 30 minutes before the tour departure time stated on your voucher. To help ensuring the quickest possible collection we kindly ask you to stand by for pick up at your selected location when pick up begins.

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Tour Description

westman islands boat tour

Taking the boat tour around island Heimaey

Vestmannaeyjar ~ The Westman Islands

The youngest island of the Vestmannaeyjar celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013 and the oldest one is close to 40,000 years old!

We drive through the nice villages and provinces of South Iceland to the new pier at Bakkafjara and take a 20 minute boat trip on the ferry to the Westman Islands.

When you arrive you will will be greeted by a local guide and join a bus tour around Heimaey Island.

cape storhofdi

The Westman Islands - the magic of Vestmannaeyjar

You will visit the puffins in Storhofdi (their nesting season from late April until mid August - they are all gone by September) and walk up to the crater of Eldfell which means "the Mountain of Fire"). Eldfell is a volcano which was formed in a volcanic eruption that began without any warning just outside the town of Heimaey on 23 January 1973.

The eruption caused a major crisis for the island and nearly led to its permanent evacuation as volcanic ash fell over most of the island, destroying around 400 homes. The lava flow threatened to close off the harbour which would have destroyed the island's main income source from its fishing fleet. An operation to prevent this was mounted and by pumping seawater against the lava flow the loss of the harbour was successfully prevented.

volcano hike iceland

Easy hike on the 1973 volcano

After the eruption finished, the islanders used heat from the slowly cooling lava flows to provide hot water and to generate electricity. We will see some of the evidence remaining from the eruption as well as exploring the flora of this very new lava field.

After a lunch break we join a boat cruise where we will see many of the wonders of nature in Vestmannaeyjar, including colourful ocean caves, millions of seabirds and occasionally during the summer groups of whales.

On our return from the cruise we will enjoy hearing instrumental music in the ocean cave of Klettshellir, the natural echo for which this cave is famous will lend a charming and unusual enhancement to the music.

1973 westman islands eruption

You'll learn about the dramatic eruption of Vestmannaeyjar, in the Eldheimar Museum of Remembrance

The Eldheimar Museum

This interactive, and very visual, exhibition tells the story in a way that makes it interesting and easy to understand for everyone.

Visitors get a glimpse into peoples lives on Heimaey before the eruption that would change their lives forever. The people of Heimaey had to evacuate in the middle of the night. Many of them never saw their homes or any of their belongings ever again.

The exhibition gives visitors the chance to go back in time and learn about this dramatic event. The highlight is the house on Gerðisbraut 10, the home of a couple with 3 young children. With the youngest one only a few weeks old, they were forced to leave their home taking with them only a bottle for the baby.