One of the most popular destination points in Iceland based on what we have heard from other Icelanders is the Westman Islands. It is an archipelago of the south coast of Iceland. The largest one, Heimaey, is the only populated island. It is famous because in 1973 Eldfell volcano erupted and caused a tremendous amount of damage. To get there we took a 2 hour bus to Landeyjahofn and from there a 45 minute ferry to Heimaey Island. We stayed at Guesthouse Sunnuholl, a youth hostel right near the town center. They didn't have any open double rooms so we got to have a room for eight to ourselves for the same price.
After arriving, we spent a few hours hiking around the lava fields. We noticed the rich palette of colors around the island including the black sand, the purple lupines, reddish volcanic soil and the vibrant green valleys. We returned to our hostel at the perfect time because it started raining heavily and did not cease until the morning. The next day, we decided to hike up the volcano and it was a good choice because we had it to ourselves. It took about an hour and a half to get up there and there was an amazing view waiting for us. At the top, we could see the South side of the island with the rocky cliffs and ocean waves hitting the beaches made up of volcanic rock. Later that night, we decided to hike up Heimaklettur, the island's highest peak at 283m. We were told there were stairs built into the mountain and that it would take only 15 minutes to reach the top. However, when we arrived, we realized that the stairs were actually built-in ladders protruding out of the mountain. It took Matt an hour to climb up to the peak where he walked on the narrow paths with the grazing sheep.
Our last day, we took up a fisherman's recommendation and took a Ribsafari tour to the caves and other islands. The boat took us inside the caves that have very rich colors and interesting textures. We also saw a seal, a whale, puffins and many other wild bird species on our tour. Nazli got to hold a baby gannet. We also saw the Surtsey which is one of the world's newest islands and was formed after a 1963 volcanic eruption. We also saw "the world's largest elephant head," a rock formation at the tip of an island.