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Heimaklettur, the highest mountain in the Westman Islands, is a popular hiking destination in Iceland. Find out about the area and the trail in our expert guide.
When it comes to choosing hiking trails in Iceland, you’ll simply be spoilt for choice. You can hike around breathtaking waterfalls, climb active volcanoes, trek through steamy hot springs and ascend staggering mountains. Heimaklettur offers an unforgettable mountaineering experience and the peak will reward your efforts with views of the Eldfell volcano, the surrounding coast and nearby islands.
Heimaklettur, which literally translates to ‘Home Rock’, sits proudly at 928 feet above sea level in Vestmannaeyjar, the Westman Islands. It is thought to have been created over 10,000 years ago by eruptions under the glacier. The craggy mountain provides a habitat for a variety of wildlife including sheep, Northern fulmars and puffins. Find everything you need to know about the mountain, the trail and the surrounding areas in the guide below.
Puffins on a cliff in the Westman Islands, Iceland
Where is Heimaklettur?
Located just off of the Southern coast of Iceland is Heimaey Island - the largest of the Westman Islands and home to Heimaklettur. To get there, you’ll need to take a ferry from Landeyjahöfn, a port on the mainland.
Once you’ve arrived on Heimaey Island, you’ll need to head to Eiðisvegur Street, which is North of the harbor and the point at which your hike of Heimaklettur will begin. With fairly infrequent ferries and limited public transport, getting to the mountain from Iceland is half of the challenge.
Heimaklettur on Heimaey Island
The Hiking Route
The demanding, exhilarating climb of Heimaklettur begins with a fairly steep set of wooden ladders. If you’re afraid of heights then you should be aware that this isn’t the only set you’ll have to contend with on your journey! The rest of the trail consists of a zigzag route across the hillside and some footpaths to the top. At difficult points, you will find ropes and chains to assist you on your trek.
Once you reach the peak, a journey which typically takes around 45 minutes to an hour, it is recommended to celebrate your arrival by signing the guestbook.
The descent of the mountain can often be more difficult, so make sure to allow plenty of time to get back down so that you can concentrate fully without rushing and risking an accident.
View of a port in Heimaey Island, Iceland
The weather in Iceland can be unpredictable and can change very quickly which is why you should always assess the conditions before heading off on a hike, particularly steep, mountainous ones. Strong winds and ice can make this hike dangerous, do not be afraid to change your plans should the conditions not look suitable.
The Surrounding Area
Heimaey Island is a beautiful destination and although it is the largest of the Westman Islands, it’s still small enough to navigate on foot from the port. The island feels extremely remote with quaint colorful housing and moss-covered cliff edges, but there are plenty of activities to partake in such as golf, sailing, horse riding and whale-watching.
The Eldheimar Museum is a popular attraction on the island that exhibits the shocking events of the Eldfell volcano eruption in 1973. You can visit to find out how the actions of local people, who fought to cool the lava flow with seawater, saved many lives.
If you’re keen to explore Heimaey Island and the surrounding Westman Islands without the worry of arranging your own transport, why not take a look at our popular Vestmannaeyjar Island tour? Starting in Reykjavik, you’ll get the opportunity to catch a glimpse of Elephant Rock, take a refreshing hike at Eldfell volcano, admire the puffins at Stórhöfði cape and visit the Eldheimar Museum. You will then be taken back to Reykjavik following some free time in one of the local towns.