This title may look a bit bewildering… It’s Icelandic for ‘Where the heart beats’, the anthemic song of Vestmannaeyjar. I was drawn to the Vestmannaeyjar islands at first sight, when I saw their mysterious shapes shimmering on the horizon. It was as if there’s an unexplained energy emanating out of it. I just had to go there. Heimaey is a spectacular island of volcanic peaks and jumbled rocks and the landscape is out of this world. Vestmannaeyjar is also home of the Þjóðhátíð festival in August. ‘Þar sem hjartað slær’ is the ultimate Þjóðhátíð song that captures the atmosphere of the Iceland National Festival like no other.
This is more like the scrambling track to Klif, with ropes down the slope and a beacon of light on the top. You can haul yourself up this stunning cliff along ropes and chains attached to the upper parts. That may sound a bit discouraging, but the hike is actually a lot of fun. It’s not as difficult as it looks and well worth the effort. There’s also that incredible view of a multitude of jumbled rocks from the top of Klif. In this article I will show you the ropes – and how to get there.
Blátindur is the imposing peak rising up above Herjólfsdalur, beyond the daunting peaks of Dalfjall on the island of Heimaey. It takes a bit of effort to scramble up there, but you’ll be rewarded with some truly jaw-dropping views on the hike to the top. Including Blátindur casting its mighty shadow majestically into the bowl of Herjólfsdalur, if you go up in the afternoon.
Helfgafell offers sweeping surround views of brooding volcanoes and a heart-shaped crater. For a long time, Helgafell was the ruling volcano on Heimaey. The one that merged the chain of rocks to the north and Stórhöfði to the south into the present island, its classic volcano-shaped silhouette dominating the interior. Hike to the top and you may have Helgafell with its beautiful views virtually for yourself.
Heimaklettur is the iconic Home Rock of Vestmannaeyjar. It may look a bit inaccessible at first sight, but there are ladders and chains to help you up the path to the top. I made a detailed description of the Heimaklettur hike, including lots of pictures of what the track is like. In the darker days of the year, people like to light candles on Heimaklettur. And around Christmas and New Year they get totally out of control, with a multitude of candles all over the upper slopes. It’s an incredibly beautiful sight.
De Westman Eilanden trokken me aan vanaf het eerste gezicht, toen ik hun mysterieuze silhouetten zag glinsteren aan de horizon. Het was alsof er een onverklaarbare energie uit opborrelde. Ik moest er gewoon heen. Heimaey is een spectaculair eiland met steil uit zee oprijzende knoesten, woeste landschappen en vulkanen. Vestmannaeyjar heeft ook het jaarlijkse Þjóðhátíð festival in augustus – in één woord: geWELDIG! ‘Þar sem hjartað slær’ is het ultieme Þjóðhátíð lied dat de sfeer van het Nationale Festival in IJsland als geen ander beschrijft.
People on Vestmannaeyjar like to light candles on mountains. In the darker months of the year, you can often see candles on Heimaklettur, the iconic Home Rock of the island. The first one usually appears at the beginning of August, when the midnight sun is slowly fading. The flickering candles are clearly visible from the town and for people who come in on the evening ferry. I was fascinated by this unique tradition and became one of those candle lighters too. If you are wondering what this is all about, you can read it here.