Heimaey is the main island of the Westman Islands, surrounded by 15 other islands. We visited here as part of our Icelandic tour a few years ago. Its population is approximately 4,300 people while all the other islands remain uninhabited. It can be reach by ferry from Vestmannaeyja or from Reykjavik.
It’s a beautiful little island, with abundant wildlife, but mostly famous for the puffins. It also has two volcanoes, Eldfel exploded in 1973 with all the inhabitants having to leave the island for almost six months! The island was left under lava and ash, but with the help of foreigners and other Icelanders, it was cleared to make it habitable again for the Westman Islanders.
Before checking into our hotel we did a tour of the island taking in the puffin sanctuary.
It was August when we visited, the time when the baby puffins are born. The puffin parents stop feeding their young early so this forces the babies out and into the town looking for food. The lights at night attract the young and they fly down in their hundreds. It is a pastime for the youngsters of Westman Island to rescue these young birds and the next day the children take them to a safe nesting place on the island.
After seeing the puffins we then went onto to walk the volcanic trail around Eldfell Volcano, Anthony decided he would walk to the top later on that afternoon. He mentioned it was tricky to descend because you tended to slide down!
We were staying one night at the wonderful Hotel Vestmannaeyjar, where we had a great room overlooking the harbour.
It’s a lovely little town to explore on foot and we had the afternoon and night free to ourselves. Anthony wanted to try the local delicacy of baby puffin, a bit sad after we had just seen them! So he did get his wish after we found a pub for lunch.
Photos from around the town
Before leaving the island the next day our tour driver picked us up to visit the black sand beach, Reynisfjara, very popular with locals during the summer.
I loved the setting of this tiny island and it’s well worth a visit if you ever get to Iceland, a beautiful hidden gem full of colour and history.
That’s it for W, next should be X but I’m stumped with this. So it will be straight onto Y!