Day 1: The Westman Islands:
Amazing Waterfall – Lava Fields – Volcanic Aftermath – Magnificent lava fields
Approximate distance: 170 km (106 miles)
Transfer from a pre-arranged bus stop in Reykjavík to the tour’s meeting point. Please check your confirmation for your pre-arranged bus stop details in Reykjavík. Please be at the pre-arranged bus stop no later than 15 minutes before the pick-up time.
Make sure that your phone number and e-mail are listed with Iceland Travel so we can contact you if needed.
Drive along the south shore, one of Iceland’s most volcanic regions. Pass alongside farmlands built in the shadow of towering volcanic mountains. You’ll see many signs of how the volcanoes of the area have powerfully altered the landscape. If the skies are clear, you may even catch views of two of Iceland’s most famous volcanoes: Hekla (last eruption 2000) and Eyjafjallajokull (last eruption 2010).
In Hvollsvollur town, visit the LAVA Centre, an interactive, high-tech exhibition about volcanic activity, earthquakes and the creation of Iceland over millions of years. It’s a perfect introduction to how natural volcanic and earthquake forces created Iceland – and continue to shape the island.
Next visit the impressive Seljalandsfoss waterfall, where the intrepid adventurer can take the trail that leads behind the waterfall.
Travel along the farmlands of the south coast to Landeyjahofn harbor. Take a 30-minute ferry ride to the Westman Islands, enjoying the view of volcanic islands and seabirds. Your destination is Heimaey Island, the largest of the Westman Island archipelago. It is the only inhabited island. Life here is quite a bit different from the “mainland” Iceland, and you’ll discover some of the unique culture and history on a drive around the area.
Visit windy Storhofdi Point with its fantastic views over the area.(During mid-May through the beginning of August you might also see puffins here.) Take a walk up to the crater of a volcano that erupted only three decades ago.You can still see the steam rising from the ground and the brilliantly red and black lava deposits that form bizarre shapes. The view from up here and over the sea and islands is simply stunning!
Next, take a trip back in time and visit Eldheimar Museum. You’ll learn about the catastrophic 1973 eruption that covered many homes on Heimaey in lava and changed the residents’ lives forever. You’ll see where lava flowed over houses and where grass and moss now grown in among the lava. The volcanic flows also created an amazing time capsule; wandering through Eldheimar gives you a peek into Icelandic daily life in the early 1970s.
The rest of the afternoon is open for you to explore the island on your own. Walk along the harbor and check out the 17th-century earth fort built to protect the islands from pirate raids. Catch some interesting and timeless photos of the replica of a Viking age stave church built in the year 2000. Take a swim in the public swimming pool, which uses geothermally warmed sea water. Soak in the vibes of the charming and lively fishing town, home to the family-owned Brothers micro-brewery and several restaurants known for great seafood and a charming local feeling. Or simply sit by the sea and enjoy the sounds of the waves and the calls of the sea birds and the peaceful atmosphere of the islands.
Overnight in the Westman Islands. Dinner on your own.