Stórhöfði peninsula is the southernmost point of Heimaey, and home to the biggest puffin colony in Iceland. Beneath Stórhöfði there’s also the surreal geological beach of Klauf, formed by volcanic eruptions from several directions. On the coastal track to Stórhöfði you can see incredible views, wild cliff formations and lots of puffins along the way.
The walking track to Stafsnes, a beautiful hidden beach on Heimaey. Stafsnes beach is peacefully nestled in a cove behind the impressive folded cliffs of Blátindur. It’s almost like Hawaii – but without the palm trees. It can be blissfully sheltered and significantly warmer than the rest of the island. The only way to get there is to hike down the steep slopes behind Herjólfsdalur. On the way you’ll pass by the little house on the giant plug that makes you want to stay overnight and enjoy the sunset in this idyllic location.
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.
Herjólfsdalur is intimidatingly beautiful, whichever angle you look at it. It looks like a giant natural amphitheatre, with stupendous rocks rising up on all sides as you enter the valley. The walk along the top ridge is one not to be missed. The distraction rate is very high, and there’s a great density of spectacular sights and features along the way. Herjólfsdalur is also the setting for the yearly Þjóðhátíð festival in August. On the last evening, the mountainside is set alight with a row of flames along the entire length of the valley – a magnificent sight to see!
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.
The hike to the top of Eldfell is the one every visitor to Heimaey wants to do. It’s the famous volcano that erupted out of nowhere in January 1973. Eldfell is very colourful, the track is easily accessible, and the views are absolutely stunning in all directions. From the top you can gawk onto the impressive lava flow that was furiously roiling & boiling only a few decades ago, and single-handedly enlarged the island by several square kilometers. It’s incredible to think it didn’t even exist just over 50 years ago.
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.
Explore the awe-inspiring beauty and majesty of these epic mountains and volcanoes. Some being both simultaneously. You just never lose your sense of wonder. And there’s nothing quite like having a Wilderness Coffee with a view! Find your mountain and see how to get there.
Ngauruhoe featured as the terrifying Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings movies. It’s one of the many cones of the vast Tongariro complex. You can explore Ngauruhoe and its surrounding area on the Tongariro Crossing, a beautiful walking track along 20 kilometres of steaming and colourful volcanic terrain from Mangatepopo to Ketetahi in New Zealand.