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Westman Islands

Has anyone done a small group or private tour to the Westman Islands from Reykjavik? Was it worth it? My friends and I are going in July (no car rental) and would love to do one. The no car rental is non-negotiable, so please do not suggest that,

Posted by
2108 posts

I have not done a tour there, but we had a car and spent several days there this summer. If I were you, I would look at the various tour companies and email them to see what they can arrange for you. I have a few friends that have used for small group tours and I know they do private tours, so maybe reach out to them first.

Posted by
6477 posts

Or you can just take a regular bus and ferry to the islands.

Posted by
2108 posts

That's better! The site I saw said only twice a week. It would still be tough to be on the island with a vehicle though, IME. I would really try for a private tour for this if I did not have the option of renting a car.

Posted by
6477 posts

I would not, it's easy to get to Heimaey on your own with the bus and ferry. And once there there are tours that start and end on the island giving you a lot more flexibility, which can be a good thing when travelling in a group.

Posted by
4 posts

hi, I have a question about the ferry to Westman. We are renting a car in early June and plan on bringing on the island. How far in advance should we book our passage on the ferry? Can they sell out ?

Posted by
356 posts

It is "highly advised" to book in advance for the ferry, even if you are not brining a car - per the visitor's bureau website.

Our visit to the Westman Islands was our favorite day in a week long trip to Iceland last June. Scenery was wonderful (inactive volcanos, views of the sea/other islands/mainland are amazing), the town of Vestmannaeyjabær is charming, and on a rare perfectly sunny day the whole island was out enjoying the weather.

With a tour (bus or private guide), or even a bike, you can get around the island quite nicely. It is literally walkable from town to most of the areas on the island, but I would not recommend that unless you have at least a couple of days on the island.

Posted by
4163 posts

Some of my husband's ancestors (great great grandparents) were from the Westman Islands. They immigrated to the US, specifically Spanish Fork UT, in the 19th century.

We visited Iceland in 2009 enroute from Tucson to other parts of Europe using one of those Icelandair stopover options. Visiting Vestmannaeyjar was mandatory. We went on a small, private car tour. Logistics were a little dicey because like the ignoramuses we were, we did it the day of our arrival. We rented a car at the Keflavik airport, drove to the little domestic airport in Reykjavik, parked the car and flew in a very small high-winged airplane to Heimaey where our tour guide picked us up in her car. It was a pretty exciting ride, but with the wings overhead, we could see a lot from the plane. Full disclosure: I love flying in small planes.

Our tour guide took us around to all the things we wanted to see and more. Part of the more was a visit to the cemetery. She was a local. It was late September and the place we were supposed to go to see a film about the 1973 volcanic eruption decided not to be open. She had a video tape of it at her house, so she took us there where we got cozy and warm with her dog. I watched the whole thing, even though I'd seen it before. My husband had such severe jet lag that he had a hard time staying awake.

She then took us to the ferry dock where we walked on to the ferry for Reykjavik. My husband slept the whole trip. Upon arrival, we took the bus that was waiting for passengers from the ferry on into Reykjavik. When we got to the bus station, we realized that the walk to our car which was parked at the little airport was more than we could handle. They were close, but not that close. So we took a taxi to the car. Then we drove down to Keflavik where we were actually staying.

The links below list lots of day tours of different kinds. I hope they might help with your decision-making. There are advantages and disadvantages to doing the "big" logistics on your own (Bus? Ferry? Plane?).

It does appear that the tours that provide the big logistics are pricey, but they may be well worth it. Keep in mind that some of the tours listed at the website linked below could be iffy in bad weather.

This is a basic link to Visit Westman Islands:

Be sure to click on any of the imbedded links, like this one for bus and car tours:

I don’t know what else you may have on your Iceland itinerary, but we loved going to the Blue Lagoon. We both had massages there while on floating mattresses. Unique.

IMHO anything you do in Iceland will be special, and you don’t have to rent a car to do it. There are plenty of other options for getting around, including tours. I'd expect that in the past 15 years visiting has become much easier than it was when we were there.