Once you visit Vestmannaeyjar for the first time you’ll quickly realise what all the fuss is about. It might be small, but it’s chock-o-block with natural wonders and things to do. Some, like the museums, are best explored at your own pace, while others are only possible by hopping on one of the island tours. Here’s out pick of the best things to do and see during your stay in Vestmannaeyjar.
Amble around Eldheimar Museum
You can’t get a better introduction to the archipelago then by swinging by the Eldheimar Museum. In the early ‘70s, several houses were buried in a sea of lava and in 2005 it was decided that these would be excavated. The project was named Pompei of the North. The museum takes you through the disaster which saw the island’s families flee at night after the eruption. It’s won several awards for its design and serves as one of the most loved attractions on Vestmannaeyjar.
Visit the remote Stave Church
If you have the time, you won’t be disappointed by the remote Stave Church which was given to Heimaey in 2000 by Norway to commemorate 1000 years of Christianity in Iceland. It might only be a couple of decades old, but a visit to the architectural gem with its medieval-style altarpiece will transport you can centuries to the Viking era. One of the best places to get some serious Instagram-worthy snaps in Vestmannaeyjar.
Catch a glimpse of the puffins
If you like to spot wildlife, you’ve come to the right place. The archipelago is home to the largest number of nesting puffins in Iceland. You’d be hard pressed not to see at least a few of these adorable little creatures. Alternatively, visit Vestmannaeyjar Aquarium where you can get up close to Toti, the resident puffin who lives at the centre during the summer season.
Hop on board a boat to cruise the coastline
Another great introduction to Heimaey Island is seeing it from the back of a boat. Daily boat trips leave daily in the high season and give visitors the opportunity to see the different rock formations, see Surtsey Island in the distance and see some fabulous wildlife species. The nesting sea birds make it particularly good for bird watchers. Just remember to bring your binoculars!
Play a round or two of golf
Arguably one of the world’s most scenic golf courses, the rolling coastal fairways in Herjólfsdalur overlook the valley and surrounding ocean. It’s a relatively short course, but don’t let that put you off. Don’t worry about bringing your clubs from home as you can hire a set from the club house. Best during the sunny summer months.
Climb up Stóraklif & Heimaklettur
Those feeling brave can clamber up Stóraklif. The trail starts from the trail and slowly gives way to a steep cliffside accessible by a series of ropes and chains. Those who manage the feat are rewarded with spectacular views over the ocean and surrounding island. Even steeper is Heimaklettur which leads guests up to a view point via some rickety ladders.