If you're visiting Iceland then you are in for a great deal. From stunningly beautiful landscapes to picturesque natural endowments. Westman Islands is one of the islands that contribute beauty to Iceland. Westman Islands are easily spotted from the south coast of Iceland. The scenic island is an archipelago of about 15 islands and 30 rock stacks and just about 10 km / 6.2 miles from the harbor of Landeyjar, Iceland.
Eruptions formed the Westman Islands; the oldest part is about 40,000 years. Westman Islands is located on the mid-Atlantic ridge. The volcano system on the Westman Islands consists of dozens of volcanoes above and below the sea. This means you are walking on a live volcano when visiting the Westman Islands. Scary yet adventurous!
The biggest Island in Iceland is Heimaey; the Home island. It is the largest inhabitable island. The size is 13.4 square kilometers / 51.7 square miles, making it more prominent than the other islands in Iceland. Many eruptions also created Heimaey at different times, consisting of palagonite tuff and lava. The basalt columns can be seen all over Heimaey island; the sea eroded the soft rock of the shoreline and scooped out many picturesque coves and caves. An eruption in 1973, lasting about 155 days facilitated Heimaey islands' growth to more by about 2.1 square kilometers / 0.8 square miles.
The weather on the Westman Islands can be a bit of a concern, even though the island is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Iceland. Westman Islands are stormy, but the inhabitants are used to great winter storms. An ordinary winter storm can be 20 m/s or 45mph, and the kids are allowed to walk themselves to school when blowing like that.
The summer is often two weeks ahead compared to Reykjavík, and it’s so lovely to sit outside and enjoy the fantastic view. Houses in the eastern part of Westman Islands have a new volcano eruption in their backyard, while on the western side of the island, the sun sets behind the small islands. This reflects its light from the sea up on the elephant rock.
Fishing is the main occupation on Westman Islands, while the only industry is fish processing. The Westman Islands have about 30 ships and boats, which are mainly used for fishing demersal and pelagic fish. Besides the fishing industry, Westman Islands has a great infrastructure that allows teachers, healthcare professionals, salespeople, craftsmen, and many other professionals to live either for a short or long period.
Restaurants in the Westman Islands are some of the best in the country and even around the world. Westman Islands has talented chefs who make sumptuous delicacies from ingredients sourced from the island. From the school kitchen to the most expensive restaurant, the restaurants vary from fine dining like Einsi Kaldi and Slippurinn; for casual dining, we go to Tanginn, Næs, and Gott; fast-casual restaurants are Canton and 900 Grillhús, the pizza places Pizza 67 and Pítsugerðin and some fast food.
Everybody in the Westman Islands knows where the food comes from because the islands were a great food source in the past. And today, we still use what nature supplies us. Some people still descend into the cliffs to collect seabird eggs, which is a delicacy on the islands. The islanders also hunt birds, fish all over, and look after sheep on the smaller islands, even though the sheep live on their own there year-round. The lonely houses in the smaller islands are accommodations for men gathering food for their families, or maybe if they like to party a little when telling their wives, they are supplying for the families.
About 4,300 people live in the Westman Islands. Although from different backgrounds and cultures, they co-exist in unity because life here is nice. Instead of seeing problems, we see solutions and respect nature because we are part of it. So when you visit us, you will see what our home looks like outside the town and be relieved of your stress while enjoying the breathtaking nature.
Our favorite places are so many, but I know guests like Great Cape (Stórhöfði), with beautiful views in all directions and a huge puffin colony that can be viewed from a bird-watching house. The new lava field is fantastic, and you get a special feeling while walking on top of the old streets and houses that went under the lava. You can equally explore the volcano crater or walk to the top of two volcanos. If you like to see some photos and hear the sounds of the eruption in 1973, visiting the Westman Islands museum, Eldheimar and Sagnheimar is a must-do. Of course, Skansinn, sprangan, the valley, our black beach, Gaujulundur, Hraunskógar, Heimaklettur, etc., because the view from all those places is so unique.
Westman Islands has colorful houses and all we need to live a good life. The good life consists of the local swimming pool, the locals having either ice cream, a glass of beer or wine, and a cup of coffee. Also, a piece of cake downtown during summer because the distance of the house isn’t far from each other. It is effortless to do a little shopping or stop for a haircut; we have everything we need and a little more.
How can you get to the Westman Islands?
After reading through the beautiful things about Westman Islands, you must be wondering how to get here— our little paradise. Westman Islands are just 10 km / 6.2 miles from Iceland, and you drive east from Reykjavík for 140 km / 87 miles at Road 1. Then stop at Landeyjarhofn and take the Westman Islands Ferry for 40 minutes, and then we sail into the most beautiful harbor of Iceland.
Although a day visit is short, you can still enjoy some beautiful moments and decide to stay over the night; there are various accommodations available such as hotel Vestmannaeyjar, which has a Spa and one of the best restaurants in the heart of town. You can also opt for any of these: Guesthouse Hamar, Puffin Nest Capsule Hostel, The New Post Office apartments, Glamping and camping, Guesthouse Hóll, Ofanleiti Cottage, Lava Guesthouse, Guesthouse Sunnuhóll. For visitors that fancy luxury, we have Luxury Ocean Villas next to the golf course and Luxury Pier Apartments downtown, so everybody will find something that suits them.