The tour has an unforgettable eruption theme; we walk over the new lava field which is about 50 years old and visit the eruption museum-Eldheimar. To make the day extra special we drive around the island and stop at the most significant places we can find at the island.
Walking over the lava field created in the eruption of 1973 is extremely unique, such a young field and even a greater story. A native guide takes you across the new lava field and tells stories of the eruption and the reactions of the people who had to leave their homes suddenly one night in January. It is known how big and scary the eruption was and how calm the people were when they woke up to leave their homes and the stories of the people's endurance are incredible. The nature is rugged, such a recent lava field and a beautiful view of the island and the town. Seeing the devastating images in Eldheimar is something that makes it even more real.
Since the island is so complex and beautiful, it is not possible to end the tour here, of course we need to see even more places so we don’t miss what Westman Islands has to offer. We relax on a short sightseeing execution and listen to amazing stories from a local guide who knows every nook and cranny of the island. All the information’s and stories enliven the day.
The walk starts at the pier and goes towards Skansinn. We stop and review the history of this beautiful area. Various structures are located there; such as the Stave Church, Landlyst, the Fortress and sea tanks of the old swimming pool. We will tell you about the Turkish invasion and what part Skansinn played in that tragedy.
From Skansinn we walk to the new lava field which was created in the eruption in 1973 and flow where the old swimming pool stood. You can see Lava Forest where the Westman Islands Forestry Association has supported forestry in the lava. (Can you see that anywhere in the world other than here?)
From there we walk along the lava rim where the town of Westman Islands faces in all its glory, it is easy to realize the force lava flowed over the town where you stand high up on the lava and look down. The guide stops at a few well-chosen places and talks about the night of the eruption, stories of the people who left their homes, of the journey and the people who remained. Stories of coming ashore and how Icelanders joined hands and found a place and necessities for everyone. The most amazing are the stories that provoke laughter despite the seriousness of the events, and we have a few that the guide shares with the group. We also talk about the endurance structure that the islanders faced after returning home after the eruption. Easy and amazing walk with several story stops that takes about an hour.
The walk ends in Eldheimar-museum, which holds memories of the eruption. It is quite unique to enter Eldheimar after walking over the lava field and seeing the traces of the eruption. There you can see some beautiful, but also devastating, pictures of the eruption and the sounds from the eruption that are heard in the guiding equipment are incredible. People go through the museum at their own pace.
From Eldheimar-museum we drive to Great Cape (Stórhöfði) where we can see a magnificent view in all directions, it’s ideal to take a group photo at the top of the Great Cape with a stunning background. If the puffins are on the island we will stop by the puffin colony and watch the puffins for a while.
After that we drive slowly along the cliffs to the west of the island, the view is unique in good weather conditions where we possible can see Surtsey, the newest island of Iceland, which is on the heritage list of UNESCOS. We will see the small islands of the small Island and of course the elephant rock which is the most known landmark of Westman Islands.
We stop in the valley (Herjólfsdalur) and get the history of the National Festival (Þjóðhátíð). The valley is best known for this large family and music festival which has been held most years since the 19th century. The valley, however, contains more significant stories, e.g. we can find ruins after the first settlers man of the island's and the pirates who came here in the 17th century and robbed and looted the island.
The tour ends where the group wants to be put out, we recommend looking at our towns center where you can sit down in peace or stroll around and see some life.