Our website uses cookies so that we can provide a better service. Continue to use the site as normal if you're happy with this, or find out how to manage cookies.

Heimaey Island/Surtsey Island, Westmann Islands, Iceland

Heimaey is the largest island (13.4 km' ²) in the Vestmannaeyjar cluster, approximately 4 nautical miles (7.4 km) off the south coast of Iceland. It is the only island in Vestmannaeyjar that is populated, and currently there are around 4,500 inhabitants.

Surtsey is a volcanic island off the southern coast of Iceland. At 63.30' ° N 20.62' ° W it is also the southernmost point of Iceland. It was formed in a volcanic eruption which began 130 metres below sea level, and reached the surface on 14 November 1963.

Vestmannaeyjar (English: The Westman Islands) is a small archipelago off the south coast of Iceland. Only the largest, Heimaey, is inhabited.

The islands are named after the Irish who were captured into slavery by the Norse Gaels. The Old Norse word Vestmenn, literally "Westmen", was applied to the Irish, and retained in Icelandic even though Ireland is more easterly than Iceland. Not long after Ingólfur Arnarson arrived in Iceland, his brother Hjörleifur was murdered by the slaves he had brought with him. Ingolfur tracked them down to Vestmannaeyjar and killed them all in retribution.