Westman Islands / Vestmannaeyjar
Vestmannaeyjar or Westman Islands is a town off the south coast of Iceland. Vestmannaeyjar is an archipelago formed by volcanic eruptions underwater. The largest island is called Heimaey and has a population of around 4,500 inhabitants. Most of the islands have steep cliffs that are rich with birdlife. In 1973 the Eldfell volcano erupted which destroyed many buildings and the inhabitants were forced to flee to the mainland. Before the eruptions the inhabitants of Vestmannaeyjar were around 5,200. Some of the families never returned back to Vestmannaeyjar. See our Vestmannaeyjar tours and experience the island with a local.
Puffins and birdlife
Vestmannaeyjar are the largest puffin colony in the world. The puffins can be seen on the island between April and August. In late August and beginning of September the baby puffins appear on the scene. The parents have stopped feeding the juveniles and the hunger forces them from their nests. The lights from the town deceives the young puffins and they end up on pavements or get lost. Then the youngsters in Vestmannaeyjar come to rescue and help the juveniles to return into the wild. If traveling in Iceland during that time, visiting Heimaey to see the Puffins is definitely a must do! Vestmannaeyjar are most famous for the puffins but there are also more bird species living there. You are able to see Tóti the Puffin on the Puffin and Volcano Tour in Westman Islands.
Eldfell volcanic cone is located on Heimaey and is over 200m high. It formed in a volcanic eruption on the morning of January 23rd 1973 and caused the big evacuation in Heimaey. During the eruption, volcanic ash fell from the sky and covered most of the island. About 400 families lost their homes in the eruptions and it nearly lead to permanent evacuation of the island. Luckily there was a stormy weather the day before the eruptions, so all the fishing boats were in the harbour so most of the inhabitants were able to flee. The eruption was announced over on July 3rd 1973. Visit Eldfell volcano on our Westman Islands Express tour.
Elephant rock is natural rock formation located on the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago. It is a wonderful sight to see the gigantic elephant rock rising from the water. The elephant rock is formed from a basalt rock which gives it a look just like the rough skin of elephants. You can experience the elephant rock for your self on our Westman Islands Express tour.