It may surprise you to learn that Iceland is actually more than one island. Off the coast of Iceland there are many smaller islands that are also part of the country. While these islands can be tricky to go to, they’re home to some of the most amazing scenery and wildlife you’ll find in Iceland and are definitely worth a visit.
Whether you want to experience the thrill of wild and uninhabited Iceland, do some bird watching or just enjoy a ferry ride to a lesser-visited part of Iceland, the islands are a great way to achieve just that. Read on to learn about the best islands in Iceland to visit.
Also called the Westman Islands, Vestmannaeyjar is a small archipelago, or chain of islands, off the south coast of Iceland. Most of these islands are uninhabited, apart from the odd hunting cabin, but the biggest island, Heimaey, does have a population of just over 4,000. Most of the inhabitants live in the town of Vestmannaeyjabær. Though these islands are quiet, they are still worth a visit via ferry ride.
There’s plenty to see and do in the Westman islands. You could explore the Eldfell volcano which erupted back in the 1970s and caused a significant catastrophe, enjoy a variety of museums or even the aquarium. If you’re a wildlife lover, the birdlife in the Westman Islands is brilliant, and even home to the largest puffin colony in the world if you visit between April and September!
If you want to add the Westman Islands to your agenda when you visit Iceland, you’ll need to book a rental car to get to the south coast where you can hop on a ferry that will get you there.
Located just off the coast of Reykjavik, is the lovely little island of Videy. It’s the perfect place to spend a morning or afternoon, with quiet beaches to explore and plenty opportunities to spot seals basking on the sand and playing in the surf. The island is just a short ferry ride from Reykjavik’s harbour so it’s the perfect place to do a little exploring without having to travel far outside of the capital.
Nicknamed Puffin Island, Aukrey Island is also just a short ferry ride away from Reykjavik Harbour. This is an ideal destination if you want to see a fantastic puffin colony, but don’t want to travel all the way to the Westman Islands, or you’re not planning to visit outside of the capital area. Puffins nest on the island between April and September, and it’s simple to join a birdwatching tour to the island from the harbour via ferry.
This dramatic rock island, located off the coast of north Iceland, is a daredevil’s destination. The rock sides rise sharply from the ground, making it popular for visitors who wish to hike to the top. The hike is very steep, and there are portions where you need assistance of ropes, railings, and narrow steps to help you on your way, but this is not a hike for the faint of heart. But… once you get to the top and see the breathtaking views of the surrounding sea, and mainland Iceland in the distance… it’s more than worth it, if you ask us. It’s also a great spot for some unique photography in Iceland.