Vestmannaeyjar is truly one of Iceland’s best kept secrets. This Icelandic archipelago might be small, but what it lacks it size, it certainly makes up for in things to do. In fact, the islands are chock-o-block with wonderous natural wonders and attractions like museums. Most of the archipelago was formed over 10,000 years ago, though the latest volcanic isle, Surtsey, revealed itself in the early ‘60s. With so much to do and see, it can be tricky to know where to start. Thankfully, we’ve created this handy guide for a 5 day stay on Vestmannaeyjar.
Day 1 | Arrival
Vestmannaeyjar might be remote, but it’s a breeze to reach. In the morning, you can either catch a short flight from Reykjavik, self-drive or take a shuttle bus to the port town Landeyjarhöfn, leave your car (or take it with you) and hop aboard one of the daily 30-minute ferry ride to the only inhabited island – Heimaey.
Once you arrive, your friendly hosts can pick you up from the port* and take you to their standout accommodation, but it’s an easy 5 min walk to Guesthouse Hóll. This beautiful 5-bedroom property might be one of the newest kids on the block, but they’ve quickly made a name for themselves. Comfortable, stylish and elegant, there are few places to stay which match up to this tiny boutique. Plus, our inhouse concierge can help you plan and execute your trip on a day to day basis, the perfect way to explore an archipelago which is known for its quickly-changing fickle weather.
In the evening, we suggest wandering down to Slippurinn, a restaurant which occupies an old workshop factory which once served the thriving fishing boat industry. It’s considered one of the best restaurants on the islands and celebrated Icelandic cuisine and produce creating innovative twists on classic dishes.
Day 2 | Puffins & Museum
Wake up to fabulous views from your guestroom window and tuck into a hearty Icelandic breakfast at one of the local cafes. If it’s your first time on the archipelago, it’s unthinkable not to go spotting Puffins, something the islands are known for. A daily small-group adventure departs every day between May and September and offers the opportunity the get up close to these cheeky chappies. On the tour, you’ll hop aboard comfortable vehicles accompanied by an expert local guide and ride around the island stopping at the likes of Stórhöfði to see an amazing puffin colony. You’ll also visit Herjólfdalur to see the famed elephant rock.
When you return in the afternoon, be sure to swing by the fascinating Eldheimar Museum. It tells the story of the infamous lava flow which buried several of the island houses in the ‘70s. In 2005, the site was excavated in a project named Pompei of the North. At the museum, you can find out about the fateful night which saw island families flee and has won several awards for its design.
You might be thousands of miles from Italy, but that hasn’t stopped a local chef brining the flavors of Naples to the tiny island. At Pítsugerðin, you can dive into authentic wood-fired margaritas and rolled calzones in swish surroundings. Feeling indulgent? Don’t skip their signature lobster pizza and sign off the meal wit their Nutella and sliced banana pizza. Head back to Guesthouse Hóll for a comfortable night’s sleep.
Day 3 | Speedboat & Brewery
Your whistle-stop tour of Vestmannaeyjar isn’t over yet. After breakfast, we suggest hopping board one of the daily speedboat tours which will see you cruising around the island’s coastline. Get ready for that adrenaline rush as you join this 1-hour tour on a specially designed rib speedboat. Along the way, you’ll learn about the powerful geothermal activity which helped create the islands, marvel at the impressive rock formations and see plenty of wildlife along the way. In fact, if you’re lucky it’s not that uncommon to spot the old whale fluking around the bay and playful seals basking along the coastline.
Return to dry land and make a beeline for the Brothers Brewery. You don’t need to be in the capital to enjoy a good beer. Fans of the frothy nectar can visit this craft brewer which have been winning awards left right and center. If you time it right, you can even enjoy one of their regular tastings in the Ale House to learn more about the process of beer production by the experts who run the company.
Sign off the day with a delicious evening meal at Gott. This restaurant specializes in healthy, organic fare served up in an elegant setting. The husband and wife team, who have written several cookbooks, create an inspired ever-changing menu which works with the seasons. Expect delicious dishes like cheese and beet salad or spelt-wrapped grilled chicken. If you’re a vegan, there’s simply no place better on the island.
Day 4 | Volcano & Golf
Kick off the day with a hearty breakfast because today is going to be used for a hike across the wild island. There are several tours to pick from and the friendly folks at Guesthouse Hóll can help you organize your adventure in the morning*. Most of the tours are small groups with guests limited to just 16 guests. Most of the tours start from the harbor from which point you’ll be taken to Skansinn. From here, you’ll walk across the lava fields to learn about their human and geological history. Afterwards, you’ll clamber up to the summit of Eldfell Volcano, a journey which takes around 2 hours, and enjoy spectacular view across the island.
In the afternoon, you could make a dash for the golf course which overlooks the magnificent coast and is often considered one of the most beautiful on earth. Hire some clubs and play a round or two on the sunny course and end in the club house for a well-earned drink or two.
More gastronomic treats can be found at the high-end Einsi Kaldi where the Vestmannaeyjar-born chef uses achingly fresh local produce to create innovative dishes. Don’t skip the signature monk fish and lobster or the elegant panna cotta made using Icelandic yogurt called skyr. The perfect end to a perfect day.
Day 5 | Back to the Mainland
After a comfortable night’s sleep, your hosts at Guesthouse Hóll can transfer you to the port* where you can board your ferry back to the mainland or the airport where you can catch your flight back to the capital.
You’ll leave with memories that will last a lifetime.
Now when your Vestmannaeyjar itinerary sample is ready, do not leave without checking our special offer first!
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*All staff service and help mentioned in this itinerary sample is included/free should you book similar amount of days.