Explore the fascinating geologic features and history of Heimaey, or Home Island, the largest island in the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago and the most populated island off the Icelandic coast. Heimaey also carries the distinction of being the only populated island in this archipelago.
Walk from the pier to Skansinn, the site of ruins from a 15th century fort built to defend the harbor from pirates. The walls of the fort were encircled by the 1973 flow of lava. See the striking stave church, a replica of the Haltdalen stave church originally built in 1170, painted a bold black color that matches the volcanic rock surrounding it.
Walk on the lava field of the most recent 1973 Eldfell eruption and up to the volcano. Heimaey Island is known for its epic Eldfell volcanic eruption in 1973, which threatened to destroy the harbor and did take many of the homes of the island’s 5,000 inhabitants. Learn how residents thwarted the lava’s path of destruction with cold sea water in order to save the harbor (and the residents’ livelihood).
Walk back to the town center to visit the captivating museum, Eldheimar, which translates to “worlds of fire.” Opening in 2014, the Eldheimar museum is a chance for visitors to revisit the volcanic eruption events of 1973, getting a deep insight of the island through this snapshot of life on Heimaey as well as the devastation wreaked by the volcano. Learn how on that fateful night, the vast majority of the islanders were evacuated, not returning until months later. The museum also has an exhibit on the Surtsey eruption, the island that emerged from the ocean south of Heimaey in 1963. After your museum tour make the 30-minute walk back to the ship.
Starting time: 11.00 AM
Duration: about 3 hours
Activity level: 5/5
Please note: This excursion involves extensive activity of walking and hiking over uneven and grassy terrain and some paved surfaces; no hiking experience required but each guest responsible for assessing their own level of physical fitness before embarking on this tour. This tour is not suitable for guests with limited mobility and/or in a wheelchair. Guests are recommended to wear warm, layered clothing and sturdy walking/hiking shoes; no open-toed shoes permitted. Space on this tour is somewhat limited; we suggest you book in advance to avoid disappointment.