Located in the south of Iceland, the Western Islands (Vestmannaeyjar) were named after the country’s first inhabitants, the Irish. Once called "the men from the West," many were slaves belonging to Icelandic settlers. After rebelling, they took refuge in the archipelago and on Heimaey Island, its largest and only inhabited island. You can reach the island in less than an hour by ferry from Landeyjahöfn.
To see its typical houses and colorful facades, be sure to soak in the view from the Eldfell Volcano. If you’re looking to savor local and seasonal cuisine, we recommend visiting the old shipyard workshop, which has been turned into a restaurant. Fish is the main item on the menu—which shouldn’t surprise you as fishing is its 4,000 inhabitants’ main activity. Be sure to sample the salmon, arctic char, or skate.
If you’re a science buff, you’ll be able to observe one of the youngest islands in the world during your visit to the Western Islands. Situated in the south of the archipelago, Surtsey rose from the seabed following an eruption in the 1960s. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Surtsey is only accessible to scientists, but you can catch a glimpse of it by boat.See more