Heimaey, Westman Islands, Iceland

At just four miles in length, Heimaey Island is the largest of all the 16 islands and 30 tiny islets that comprise the Westman Islands archipelago. The islands' inhabitants are rugged and independent, traits passed down from generations of isolation, natural disasters and brutal living conditions. Today Heimaey is the largest fishing center in all of Iceland, and the islanders prosper from extensive fish processing. The Westman Islands are among the world's youngest volcanic creations. As recently as 1973, Heimaey's shape and size were dramatically changed by a volcanic flow. The raw volcanic beauty of the islands has resulted in their being one of Iceland's most popular destinations. The young Westmans are home to a multitude of sea birds, including the puffins who are attracted to the steep cliffs and lush vegetation that ring the islands' coastlines. Heimaey Island offers the perfect opportunity to experience the rugged scenery and wildlife of the North Atlantic - either by land or by sea. Either way, you are sure to delight in Heimaey's natural treasures.