The walk to the top of Eldfell is the one every visitor to Heimaey wants to do. It’s that famous volcano that spectacularly 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.
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.
When I saw the volcanic island shapes of Vestmannaeyjar shimmering on the horizon, I felt immediately drawn to them. It was like a force of nature that couldn’t be denied. I just had to go there. Sailing into Heimaey harbour, through a narrow opening between a jumbled chain of steep cliffs and a huge field of lava flows, is mind-blowing. Vestmannaeyjar – also known as the Westman Islands – boasts the youngest volcanic island and the newest volcano in Iceland.
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.
Eldfell volcano suddenly arrived in a spectacular way on the island of Heimaey on 23 January 1973, and caused quite some upheaval. After it finished its business on July 3 of that same year, it now lies dormant and watches over the island peacefully. But occasionally it still erupts a rainbow.