Vestmannaeyjar, often called the Westman Islands, are one of Iceland’s best kept secrets. The remote archipelago teems with natural wonders, wildlife (the highest concentration of puffins in the country) and cultural attractions like museums and galleries. Soaring mountains, towering volcanoes, extraordinary hiking trails and mesmerizing coastal scenery is all within easy reach when you visit this fascinating place.
Don’t make the mistake of a flying visit. The islands may be small, but there is so much to see here that one day never cuts it. If you’re going to make the effort to reach the Westman Islands, bank on at least three days to explore it fully. More if you want to indulge in some of the islands attractions like practising your swing on the golf course, often voted one of the most scenic in the world or taking a boat trip out to the remote Lodge on the Elliðaey, a house which occupies at whole island.
So, you’re sold on a trip to the Westman Islands, but how do you get there?
There are three main ways to reach the islands from Iceland. Most people visiting the country will arrive in the capital Reykjavik, so this makes for a good starting point.
Fly to the Westman Islands from the capital
The quickest most efficient, albeit expensive, way to reach the Westman Islands is simply to fly from the capital. It’s a short flight taking no longer than 20 to 23 minutes on board the local airline Eagle Air. It’s regular too. During the summer months between the 1st May and 30th September, there are two daily flights between Monday and Friday from Reykjavik departing at 7.15am and 3.45pm and two flights on a Sunday leaving at 10.30am and 5.30pm. It’s worth noting that there are no flights on a Saturday.
It’s equally easy to fly back at the end of your trip. Flights depart Monday to Friday at 8.00am and 4.30pm, while Sunday has flights leaving at 11.15am and 6.15pm. Again, not flights depart on Saturday. Prices start around 16,000 ISK one way.
Fly to the Westman Islands from Bakki
If you want to time the trip to the Westman Islands half way through your adventure, you might be better off catching one of the flights that depart in the summer from Bakki (just a few minutes from Landeyjahöfn) in the south of the mainland. It’s worth noting there is a short season here with flights leaving in just June, July and August. They are more regular through. At the time of writing, there are scheduled flights departing at 9am, 11am, 1pm and 3pm every day, both from Bakki to the Westman Islands and vice versa. Prices start around 8500 ISK one way. The flight is short. You’ll be in the air for just 10 minutes.
Take the ferry to the Westman Islands
The only other practical way to reach the Westman Islands is by taking the Herjólfur ferry. The ferry departs from Landeyjahöfn throughout the summer months of June, July and August. If you’re in the capital, there is a bus service which takes you directly to town. The crossing is short taking around 35 minutes and it makes for a much more scenic way to reach the island than flight. You can even bring your campervan, car or 4×4 onboard. Be sure to book up early as there are limited spots.
At the time of writing, the ferry departs every day to the Westman Islands at 8.30am, 11am, 4pm, 6.45pm and 9pm every day, with an extra departure at 1.45pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. The return crossing departs at 9.45am, 12.45pm, 5.10pm, 7.45pm and 10pm everyday with an extra departure at 2.45pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursday, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.