Reynisfjara black sand beach is undoubtedly the most famous beach in Iceland. It magnetizes not only with its insane colour. You will be also fascinated by outstanding columnar basalt rock formations, which you can find there. And the spectacular view over Dyrholaey peninsula is so captivating! Don’t miss it!
Reynisfjara black sand beach changed our attitude towards sunbathing. In the past when we imagined a perfect day on the beach, we saw the sun, white sand, a bunch of palm trees and turquoise blue water. We will tell you that despite our great sympathy for tropical countries, our ideal beach image began to differ slightly from this view.
Although we are definitely not a gloomy couple, we definitely see beaches in dark colours. Instead of palms and turquoise colours, we prefer a quite rough terrain with shades of black contrasted with the steel colour of water. There is no palm tree around, and what’s more the water is freezing. One of the beaches closest to our ideal is the black sand beach Reynisfjara. We ensure you that the beach with black sand can give you a lot of joy!
Reynisfjara black sand beach: a beach out of this world
Reynisfjara indisputably belongs to the group of the most beautiful black sand beaches that can be found in Iceland. It invariably makes a huge impression on visitors. What is so special about it?
First of all, this beach looks like not of this world. Although it is difficult to describe its magic with words, try to imagine it. It is very wide and black like devil’s soul. As if all that wasn’t enough, it stretches to the horizon. It often disappears in dense fog or is glossy from the raindrops. In the distance, you can see amazing dramatically shaped rock formations and merciless waves. Nothing more to add, it’s a dreamlike landscape.
Reynisfjara is so magic and mysterious, dark and gloomy, almost creepy. It seems like in a moment something otherworldly is going to happen. You can almost hear a song of the siren, and legendary creatures are about to emerge from the ocean’s depth. Traces on the sand strangely resemble footprints of the trolls, and the sound you can hear must be the whirr of the dragon’s wings.
We were lucky to live quite close to Reynisfjara for six months, so we visited it a number of times. Despite our frequent beach strolls, we did not get bored with it. We still have a great weakness for it, especially as it also has a view over the picturesque Dyrhólaey peninsula.
Reynisfjara black sand beach owes its unusual appearance to a volcanic explosion. The beach is made not from sand as it might seem from a distance, but variously shaped small pebbles. In our opinion, it looks the best just after a downpour when all pebbles change their colour to a very dark one. We must admit that the black beach is even more photogenic then.
Have a look at our original Icelandic fine art prints!
Reynisfjall and Gardar: the famous basalt columns in Iceland
Right at the entrance to the black beach a great attraction awaits you. This is Gardar, the world famous basalt columns which look truly fabulous. No wonder Gardar evokes admiration not only among geologists. Its jaw-dropping appearance generates a lot of interesting associations. For many visitors, it looks like giant church organs.
It is almost impossible to resist climbing on the columnar basalt to take some extraordinary photographs in that place. That’s why there is always a crowd standing in front of Gardar waiting patiently for their turn.
While waiting for your turn to take a picture, you can kill some time in a really pleasant way. During the summer season, there are hundreds of birds flying near this spot. They nest at the top of the Reynisfjall mountain which the basalt columns are part of. Above all birds species, Reynisfjall is a home to puffins. Seeing these birdy symbols of Iceland with your own eyes is a real treat for everyone who comes to Iceland. When you are walking on the beach, do not forget to take your eyes off the ground and observe the puffins colony.
Basalt columns in Iceland are one of a kind!
On the black beach of Reynisfjara you will also find a cave called Hálsanefshellir. Although the cave is not too big, it still makes quite an impression. Frankly speaking, Hálsanefshellir is another fairy component that adds to Reynisfjara a lot of charm. You can stay there when it rains and enjoy the view of the sea from the cave hideout.
Reynisdrangar rock formations: enchanted trolls
When you enter the beach, you can see in the distance some very intriguing shapes. These dramatically shaped basalt rock formations, which protrude from the water, are called Reynisdrangar. Undoubtedly they give Reynisfjara even more unique look.
Icelanders have cultivated storytelling for ages. In their folk stories, they explained for example how it happened that some places look so bizarre. Thus, interesting legends are associated with a lot of places in Iceland. One of them explains the origin of Reynisdrangar rock formations.
Mesmerizing Reynisdrangar have always stunned the imagination. The local legend says that as a matter of fact, these are really trolls enchanted into rocks. One night three trolls tried to drag on the shore a triple-masted ship. Unfortunately, they didn’t succeed. They were surprised by the rising sun, which turned them into three rocks. Nothing has changed to this day. The sun still hasn’t changed its mind and doesn’t want to bring them back to life. Anyway, it would be very hard to imagine Reynisfjara without their impressive silhouettes.
When you once see Reynisdrangar basalt rock formations, it’s difficult to forget about them.
Reynisfjara black sand beach: the effects of its great fame
Reynisfjara beach is an extremely popular place. Unfortunately, you can’t expect to have a lonely walk in this enchanting area. When you visit the black sand beach in the high season, you will be walking around in the company of dozens, if not hundreds of other people.
Reynisfjara is a must-see place not only for individual tourists but also for all organized trips. Be prepared that it can get even more crowded at any moment especially if several coaches will appear all of a sudden. Well, we must admit that sometimes it’s getting a little bit too crowded there.
Despite all the crowds, we think that you should see it as well. In our opinion, when you visit Iceland you just can’t miss a similar attraction.
Although we prefer to relax in more deserted Icelandic corners, we have a lot of fondness for this magnificent black sand beach. We liked to show up there especially in the autumn right after sunset. Reynisfjara was starting to pleasantly depopulate and we could enjoy it until the deep darkness covered it.
Stay safe while visiting Reynisfjara
Reynisfjara has become really famous not only because of its undisputed charm. It is considered also as the most dangerous one on the island. Many fatal accidents took place there. You have to realize that the waves on Reynisfjara black sand beach are sometimes extremely powerful and dangerous. Unfortunately, many people are blinded by the beauty of this intriguing area. They quickly forget about all the warning signs which you can find at the entrance.
Sometimes the ocean looks quite calm, but then suddenly a fierce wave comes. It is so huge that it can easily draw in a man. The scenario of all the fatal accidents which occurred here usually looked like this. And when the ocean looks fierce, remember to stay at a considerable distance from the water all the time. Never turn your back to the ocean, keep an eye on it all the time. It’s really not worth to risk your life to take a perfect selfie here.
Vik black sand beach: another black beach right around the corner
If, after visiting Reynisfjara black sand beach, you don’t have enough of black beaches and amazing views, visit another one. Another black beach, this time velvety sandy, is just about ten minutes drive from Reynisfjara. It is located on the other side of the cliff of Reynisfjall. You will have a chance to see Reynisdrangar rock formations from a different perspective. All you have to do is drive to the small town of Vik (exactly Vík í Mýrdal).
Vik black sand beach is equally beautiful as Reynisfjara, and it is much less crowded. When we were in the mood for a lonely walk on a black sand beach, we always went here. Right next to the beach you can find a small horse stud. Exploring the black beach on a horse sounds really cool, doesn’t it?
Don’t be discouraged by the fact that in the Vik area it’s often rainy and windy. Despite the often challenging weather, it’s difficult to leave both of the beaches. We will tell you a little secret – the more it rains and blows, the more beautiful black beaches appear. And when the fog comes, it simply doesn’t get any better. Hasn’t the black beach already turned into your dark object of desire?
Black sand beach in Vik gives you another perspective over Reynisdrangar rock formations. And it’s much less touristy.
Reynisfjara black sand beach: how to get there
Reynisfjara black sand beach is located very close to the Ring Road. You can find it on the south coast around 180 kilometres from Reykjavik. If you are approaching from Reykjavik, turn right to the road nr 215, just a few kilometres before Vik. After 5 kilometres you will reach a parking lot next to Reynisfjara black beach.
Black sand beach in Vik is located right next to Reynisfjara. Because of a steep cliff, you can’t walk from one beach to another. You have to go back to the Ring Road and drive to Vik. When you are in Vik, turn to the south, and after 1 km you will reach the beach. There is also a path which leads there from the gas station in Vik.
Renisfjara black sand beach: practical info
Time: You can spend here 15 minutes, and you can also spend here an hour or so. It all depends how tight is your itinerary.
Parking: The parking area next to Reynisfjara black sand beach is free. Even though it’s quite big, it is sometimes not so easy to find a place for yor car. The parking is in a rather bad condition, so beware of all the holes.
Restaurant: When after a stroll on the black sand beach, you start to feel hungry, you don’t have to look far. Right next to the entrance to the beach you will find the Black Beach Restaurant. You can try there many typical Icelandic dishes, f. ex. lamb soup or local turnip cream.
Toilets: If you don’t plan to have a meal in the restaurant, you can use the toilets which are situated next to the restaurant, outside.
Store: The nearest grocery store and gas station is situated 10 km from the beach, in Vik, right next to the Ring Road.
Beaches in Iceland definitely look great in dark tones, don’t you think so?
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