In 1973, people's lives in Heimaey, Vestmannaeyjar, changed dramatically when the Eldfell volcano unexpectedly erupted. Years later, in May of 2014, Eldheimar Museum opened its door to tell the story of the disaster and show what was left of Heimaey after the incident. Eldheimer is an interactive museum that's built around a house on Gerdisbraut street 10 that was excavated 35 years after the eruption of the Eldfell volcano.
On January 23, 1973, the citizens of Heimaey were forced to leave their homes and everything behind when the Eldfell volcano suddenly erupted. Five thousand people were evacuated and left without almost anything on the mainland. The eruption took place for nearly five months, burying 400 buildings in a pile of ash. It took 30 years for some people to return and rebuild their lives here while others never returned.
In May 2014, the museum of Eldheimar, which focuses on telling the story of one of the worst natural disasters in Iceland, invited its first visitors. The exhibition is centered around the family house of Guðni Ólafsson and Gerður Sigurðardóttir and what was left of it after the eruption. People can see how this house, with all of the personal belongings still inside, was usurped by the ashes.
The museum's creators used technology and other intelligent means to create an innovative and interactive place for people to visit. An example is the stand with sand that the person has to dig to see the pictures of what lay underneath all the dirt. It symbolizes the hard work of returning the island to everyday life.
Eldheimar Museum is situated on the remains of a house on Gerðisbraut 10, Heimaey. This island is known as the only inhabited island in the whole Vestmannaeyjar archipelago.
Eldheimar Museum is situated in Heimaey Island, Vestmannaeyjar. It takes a couple of hours to reach it from the mainland as one of the usual and fastest ways to get to Vestmannaeyjar is to first go to Landeyjahöfn ferry terminal from Reykjavik by car. The ferry takes you to Herjólfur ferry terminal, and from here, you'll spend approximately 5 minutes by car and 20 minutes by foot to reach the museum.
Eldfell volcano is a must-visit site as it helps to enhance the whole experience and understand the extent of this incident. A cone-shaped volcano is more than 200 meters high and is still classified as active even though its last unexpected eruption was back in 1973. Because of this reason, Eldfell is closely monitored to this day. The path to Eldfell is easily accessible and is visited by many people, including those interested in its history, families, and those who don't have much climbing experience.
The Folk Museum of Vestmannaeyjar is an interactive museum that tells the history of the Westman Islands. It covers many important historical topics, such as the Turkish invasion and the eruption of Eldfell. It gives a glimpse into its traditions by presenting the Þjóðhátíð festival as well as talking about its everyday life through matters like the fishing industry and puffin-watching. Both adults and kids will find this modern museum engaging as it provides people with various stories and activities.
For those who love wildlife, the world's first Beluga Whale Sanctuary will leave you with a distinctive memory. The home to Little White and Little Grey, the beluga whales that are its first residents, the sanctuary is also known as a popular tourist attraction. Besides, the organization takes care of baby puffins by operating a Puffin Rescue Centre. Spend your time learning more about the wonderful wildlife and how to maintain it in the whale sanctuary.
One of the pleasant ways to get to know the culture and the country better is by trying its cuisine and different foods. Here are some restaurant ideas to check out after a day full of exciting and educational activities.
The Westman Islands have a lot to offer, so there's no surprise when people decide to have an extended stay here to explore and see more. For this reason, you can choose from many different types of accommodations that suit your preferences. Whether it's a comfortable stay at the hotel, camping in nature, or a search for some new experiences, such as sleeping in a capsule hostel, Vestmannaeyjar is ready to give you all.