Best of the Westman Islands

Top itineraries and travel advice in and around Westman Islands
A rocky archipelago off the south coast, the Westman Islands (Vestmannaeyjar in Icelandic) were formed by volcanoes that began erupting some 11,000 years ago, and the island chain still bears vestiges from its fiery past. You can walk the lava flows on Heimaey, the archipelago’s only inhabited island, and take in wildlife-watching opportunities on land and sea. The boat trip is reason enough to venture to this remote corner of Iceland, as you’ll have fine views over the islands and unique perspectives of the glacier-dotted highlands along the mainland. 

If you visit from late April through August, you can get insight into Iceland’s best-loved bird. The islands are home to the world’s largest puffin colony, with over one million breeding here during the warmer months. Boat tours, kayaking trips and guided walks offer prime viewing opportunities. Other island adventures include hiking to the top of the Eldfell volcano and looking for massive marine mammals in the Beluga Whale Sanctuary.
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Reynisfjara Beach, along Iceland's South Coast
Map of Iceland Highlights: South Coast, Westman Islands, & Thorsmork - 7 Days
Iceland Highlights: South Coast, Westman Islands, & Thorsmork - 7 Days

Visit several scenic areas on this weeklong trip to Iceland. Encounter stunning waterfalls, geothermal areas, black-sand beaches, glaciers and more in the Golden Circle and South Coast. Venture to local gem, the Westman Islands, to enjoy the historic beach tours (there’s an active puffin colony in the summer months). Then, embark on an incredible hiking journey through the valleys and peaks of Thorsmork, before returning to Reykjavik for some enjoyment in the capital city.

Thórsmörk Valley
Map of Self-Drive Iceland: Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Westman Islands, Thórsmörk & More - 9 Days
Self-Drive Iceland: Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Westman Islands, Thórsmörk & More - 9 Days

In nine days, enjoy Iceland's best waterfalls, black-sand beaches, cliffs, fishing towns, and hiking in the highlands, along with a trip to a locals’ island hideaway. The itinerary includes minimal driving, scenic trails, and a nice balance of popular sights—like the Golden Circle, South Coast, and Thorsmork—and lesser-known gems—including the Snaefellsnes Peninsula and Westman Islands. Explore several glaciers, soak in hot springs and warm lagoons, enjoy the highlights of the capital city, and more.

Puffins relaxing on Heimaey, the largest of the Westman Islands
Map of Reykjavík, Golden Circle, South Coast & Westman Islands: Best Itinerary Ideas
Reykjavík, Golden Circle, South Coast & Westman Islands: Best Itinerary Ideas

Most travelers will find that six days to a week is perfect for a well-paced Iceland trip with stops in Reykjavík, the Golden Circle, South Coast, and Westman Islands. Travelers with less time can hit the route's highlights in five days, which makes for a fast-paced journey. Or, extend your trip and explore more of the country—some of the best-loved trip extensions include the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, East Fjords, or Reykjanes Peninsula. Keep reading for more inspiring Reykjavík, Golden Circle, South Coast, and Westman Islands itineraries.

Seljalandsfoss
Map of Iceland: Golden Circle, South Coast, & Westman Islands - 6 Days
Iceland: Golden Circle, South Coast, & Westman Islands - 6 Days

Explore the Golden Circle on this well-balanced, self-drive itinerary featuring both popular stops and hidden gems. First, drive to Þingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area, and Gullfoss waterfall, followed by a relaxing soak in the Secret Lagoon. Next, head to the South Coast to stunning waterfalls—Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss—and visits to Reynisfjara Beach, Vík, and the otherworldly Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon. Then, explore the glacial areas of Skaftafell, Svartifoss, and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, followed by a day to discover the lesser-known Westman Islands. Return to Reykjavík for some sightseeing and tour the Reykjanes Peninsula—plus a stop for a final soak in the Blue Lagoon—before your departure flight home.

Arnarstapi, Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Map of Iceland South & West Coast Highlights: Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Golden Circle & Westman Islands - 11 Days
Iceland South & West Coast Highlights: Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Golden Circle & Westman Islands - 11 Days

Explore the wonders of western and southern Iceland on this action-packed 11-day self-drive itinerary. Thrill to orca whale watching off the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, hiking atop the Sólheimajökull Glacier, and exploring Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon by amphibian boat. You'll also savor a wealth of other iconic sites and experiences, from Kirkjufell mountain and Strokkur geyser to Skógafoss waterfall and the geothermal wonders of the Golden Circle, plus meet belugas at a sanctuary in the Westman Islands.

Eruption of Strokkur, Golden Circle route
Map of Reykjavík, Golden Circle, South Coast, Snæfellsnes Peninsula & Westman Islands: Best Itinerary Ideas
Reykjavík, Golden Circle, South Coast, Snæfellsnes Peninsula & Westman Islands: Best Itinerary Ideas

Most travelers will find that 8 to 11 days is perfect for a well-paced Iceland trip with stops in Reykjavík, along the Golden Circle, South Coast, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, and Westman Islands. Travelers with less time can hit the route's highlights in seven days, which makes for a fast-paced journey. Those with more time can enjoy extra sights and activities at each stop or explore more of the country—some favorite itinerary extensions include Thórsmörk, Reykjanes Peninsula, or West Iceland. See more ideas for Reykjavík, the Golden Circle, South Coast, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, and Westman Islands itineraries below.

Classic view of the famous Skogafoss waterfall
Map of Epic Iceland: Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Golden Circle, South Coast, Westman Islands, & Thorsmork - 10 Days
Epic Iceland: Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Golden Circle, South Coast, Westman Islands, & Thorsmork - 10 Days

In just 10 days, discover the highlights of five distinct regions of Iceland. It's an efficient adventure that combines road trips, boat rides to offshore islands, hiking excursions, and glacier visits. You'll explore the rugged cliffs of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, trek in "Thor's Valley," hit the road down the famous Golden Circle, enjoy boat rides on the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, and much more.

A family hike through the Iceland landscape
Map of Highlights of Iceland & the Westman Islands: Family-Friendly Road Trip - 7 Days
Highlights of Iceland & the Westman Islands: Family-Friendly Road Trip - 7 Days

Perfect for active families, this seven-day road trip combines the best child-friendly excursions with Iceland's stunning highlights. Discover lava tunnels, lunar landscapes, and thundering waterfalls as you drive the country's Golden Circle. Set sail to the volcanic island of Heimaey and explore the icebergs, glaciers, and glittering black sands of the South Coast. A day in Reykjavík concludes this family adventure.

Iceland
Map of South Iceland Family Road Trip: Snaefellsnes, Golden Circle & Westman Islands - 14 Days
South Iceland Family Road Trip: Snaefellsnes, Golden Circle & Westman Islands - 14 Days

Experience the best of Iceland on this 14-day family road trip that combines thrilling icy excursions and memorable encounters with whales and puffins. Uncover the treasures of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula before spending quality family time together as you explore the waterfalls, secret lagoons, and geysers of Iceland's Golden Circle at your own pace. Spend a relaxed couple of days on volcanic Heimaey Island before an exhilarating simulated flight ride in Reykjavík completes your adventure.

Iceland's iconic Kirkjufell mountain peak on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Map of Coastal Iceland Tour: Snæfellsnes, Golden Circle & Westman Islands - 14 Days
Coastal Iceland Tour: Snæfellsnes, Golden Circle & Westman Islands - 14 Days

This 14-day self-drive tour of Iceland takes you on an excursion to some of the country's most amazing sights. Start in West Iceland and the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, with visits to the crashing waterfalls and powerful hot springs of Reykholt. See black-sand beaches, walk through historic Þingvellir National Park, and ferry over to the Westman Islands for beluga whales and puffins. Walk among massive icebergs at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, then end your stay in the vibrant capital city of Reykjavík.

Lóndrangar
Map of Iceland: Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Golden Circle, Westman Islands, & South Coast - 8 Days
Iceland: Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Golden Circle, Westman Islands, & South Coast - 8 Days

Enjoy four, scenic regions of Iceland in just over one week. Upon arrival, head to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula to take in your first glimpses of the lava formations, black-sand beaches, and waterfalls that make this region famous. Travel the Golden Circle to discover the tectonic plates meeting, geothermal wonders, and a warm lagoon soak. Ferry to the lesser-known-yet-stunning Westman Islands to visit the sea caves, cliffs, a decorated puffin colony, and more—by boat and foot—followed by additional waterfalls, beaches, and incredible arches and cliffs along the South Coast. Venture into the heart of several glaciers and their accompanying lagoons. Tour Reykjavík and make a few final stops in the Reykjanes Peninsula to close out the trip.

Iceland family trip
Map of South Iceland Family Road Trip: Snaefellsnes, Golden Circle & Westman Islands - 10 Days
South Iceland Family Road Trip: Snaefellsnes, Golden Circle & Westman Islands - 10 Days

Combine adventure, wildlife excursions, and the best of Iceland's magical beauty on this 10-day family road trip. Travel through volcanic fields in Borgarfjörður, steeped in Old Norse mythology, and uncover the treasures of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Enjoy much-needed family time as you explore the waterfalls, secret lagoons, and geysers of Iceland's iconic Golden Circle at your own pace. A relaxed tour of the volcanic Heimaey Island and the glacial gems of the South Coast complete your family adventure.

Snowmobiling in Iceland
Map of Iceland Family Adventure: East to West Highlights & Westman Islands - 10 Days
Iceland Family Adventure: East to West Highlights & Westman Islands - 10 Days

This relaxed, 10-day road trip is perfect for outdoor-loving families wanting to explore Iceland's stunning natural highlights with a sprinkling of adventure. Recharge at the geothermal Vök Baths in the untouched and remote Eastfjords before journeying west via the South Coast, Westman Islands, and stunning Golden Circle. You'll wind up whale watching in Reykjavík but not before you've hung out with native reindeer, whizzed along a glacier on a snowmobile, and ventured inside a magical ice cave.

Godafoss waterfall
Map of Iceland Ring Road & Westman Islands Highlights - 12 Days
Iceland Ring Road & Westman Islands Highlights - 12 Days

Make a complete circle of Iceland, plus explore the Westman Islands, on this 12-day self-drive itinerary that takes in a vast wealth of geological wonders, exciting activities, and cultural highlights. From whale watching, snorkeling the Silfra fissure, and a boat journey on the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon to soaks in the Mývatn Nature Baths and Blue Lagoon, you'll experience Iceland in all its facets, north, south, east, and west.

Iceland
Map of Ultimate Iceland: Nature, Hiking & Outdoor Adventures - 15 Days
Ultimate Iceland: Nature, Hiking & Outdoor Adventures - 15 Days

This 15-day Iceland adventure combines tours of natural wonders with enough outdoor excursions to keep you active each day of the trip. You'll be hiking up volcanoes, kayaking the Icelandic coast, riding ATVs on lava fields, climbing ice walls, soaring over gorges on zip lines, and much more. Round out this trip of a lifetime with whale watching, visiting waterfalls, and soaking in natural hot springs.

Iceland's Reykjadalur Valley
Map of Natural Wonders of Iceland: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, Hot Springs & Glaciers - 15 Days
Natural Wonders of Iceland: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, Hot Springs & Glaciers - 15 Days

Take a 15-day self-drive tour of Iceland's phenomenal landscapes and natural vistas, starting with a trip along the Reykjanes Peninsula and a dip in the Blue Lagoon. Visit the Golden Circle and hike through the stunning Reykjadalur Valley, then see beluga whales and puffins in the Westman Islands. Continue counter-clockwise around the entire Icelandic coast as you scale thunderous waterfalls, traverse otherworldly lava fields, ride horses along black-sand beaches, and overnight in colorful fishing villages.