If you’re ever in South Iceland between epic horseback riding in Iceland and sightseeing, you would want to make sure you visit Vestmannaeyjar. Also called the Westman Islands, this archipelago of 15 islands is one of my favorite and highly recommendable destinations in the whole country. It’s a great place for solo travel in Iceland, and it’s something of a mini Iceland all in one. When you visit Vestmannaeyjar, you can experience a slice of all the nature and abundant culture that this country has to offer.
If you can swing it, stay overnight, but if you can just visit Vestmannaeyjar for a day, here’s how to make the most of it.
Hop On The Ferry From Landeyjahöfn
In the summer, when most of Vestmannaeyjar’s main attractions are open, the ferry to the islands leaves from the coastal town of Landeyjahöfn. Really nice and enjoyable experience, embellish with a civil, efficient and decent service.
At the upper deck, you can walk all the way around the ferry to take in all the beautiful and exciting views and shoot great pictures. Expect to enjoy a quick 35-40 minutes on the water before your ferry arrives.
You can not ask for a smoother experience!
Visit The Beluga Whale & Puffin Sanctuary
Vestmannaeyjar is home to the largest puffin colony in the world! Whether you’re on a solo trip to Iceland with freedom to do whatever you choose or you’re following a travel companion’s schedule, prioritize getting to know the wildlife. More than 1.1 million puffins lay their eggs at Vestmannaeyjar each year before migrating for the winter.
Pay a visit to the Beluga Whale Sanctuary, which is the first of its kind in the world. There, you’ll meet two incredible rehomed whales, Little Grey and Little White. These whales are cared for by a team of marine biologists and are able to thrive in a natural environment. The Sanctuary is also home to the only Puffin Rescue Center in Iceland, where you can get to know happy healing puffins.
Stop For A Tasty Lunch
What is a travel tour without a sumptous organic meals? It’s an important part of what makes a visit to Vestmannaeyjar exciting.
Travelers to Vestmannaeyjar especially love eating at Gott, a family-owned restaurant serving up fresh, creative, and healthy meals. It’s a great place to enjoy local ingredients, and everything is made from scratch. Each day the team buys fresh fish at the market and crafts their menu around the day’s catch. You never know what delicious meal you’ll find!
If Gott isn’t in the cards, try other popular local eateries like Tanginn At The Harbor or 900 Grillhús.
Visit the Eldheimar Museum
This fantastic museum explores the events of the 1973 volcanic eruption that shook life on Vestmannaeyjar. As one of the nation’s largest and most well-known natural disasters, the story of the eruption has many layers and made many impacts on Iceland’s history. At the museum, you’ll see what life was like before and after the eruption, and the homes locals left behind when they had to evacuate on short notice.
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