Islands of Iceland II: Viðey
Welcome to the second in our four-part Easter series presenting and celebrating some of the islands which decorate the edges of this island nation. Our next destination is Viðey.
The uninhabited island of Viðey lies just one kilometre from the coast of Iceland’s capital Reykjavik and is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.
It is linked by a ferry service to the mainland Reykjavik.
The island was the site of an important Augustinian monastery from the thirteenth century through to the Reformation of the sixteenth century.
The large stone building on the island – in fact, one of the largest in the country – is called Viðeyjarstofa and was built by ‘father of Reykjavik’ Skúli Magnússon in the mid eighteenth-century. The last inhabitants of the island left in 1943.
The most recent addition to the island is Yoko Ono’s ‘Imagine Peace Tower’, a monument to her late Beatle husband John Lennon. The Tower – beams of light penetrating the Reykjavik sky – is lit on special occasions.
How to get there
Ferries take passengers over to Viðey from two points in Reykjavik – Skarfabakki harbour (all year round) and Ægisgarður harbour (summer only).
There are three round trips a day on weekends only from Skarfabakki during the winter season, then 6-7 round trips every day during the summer season. They is one daily round trip from Ægisgarður in the summer.
The return price is ISK 1,200 (€8.50) for adults and ISK 600 (€4.30) for children (7-15). It is free for children under seven and holders of the Reykjavik City Card.
There are no hotels or hostels on Viðey, meaning that the island is best taken in as a day trip. Camping is, however, possible – but permission must be sought at the café inside Viðeyjarstofa.
What to do
The island is covered with delightful walking paths, ideal for exploring in the fresh air and taking in the interesting sights of the island’s abandoned village.
In the past, Laxnes Horse Farm have taken horses over to Viðey to offer visitors horse-riding tours, and the island is a landing spot for many species of bird.
If you need nourishment after a day’s activities, drop in to the Viðeyjarstofa café for a drink and a waffle.
Join us again tomorrow as Islands of Iceland moves on to the island of Flatey.