Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach in Iceland
Reynisfjara black sand beach near Vik on Iceland’s South Coast is one of the most beautiful non-tropical beaches in the world. It is located halfway between Reykjavik and parts of Vatnajökull National Park. So, if you are visiting Iceland’s southernmost town, Vík, then you’ll want to make the short trip down to the beach. Exploring Reynisfjara black sand beach was one of my most unforgettable experiences, and it was unlike anything else I’ve ever done. The volcanic rock formations, basalt columns, thousands of birds nesting all over the cliffs, and black sands stretch for miles; it is no ordinary beach.
“One of the most magical and unforgettable place, I’ve ever visited”
Best Time to Visit Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
The best time to visit Reynisfjara beach is either early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid crowds and tour buses. We traveled in late May, so the beach was not very crowded. Be sure to plan your visit with the timing of the tides in mind as walking along the columns can become very dangerous.
During summertime, you should have plenty of daylight so, plan your visit late at night when there are fewer crowds and lower tides. If you are traveling in winter, December is a great month as it is a low season month, and you can see the Northern lights.
If you are traveling in Summertime, then don’t miss to see the peak of Iceland’s Midnight Sun.
How to Get to Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
Iceland’s black sand beach stretches many miles from the Dyrhóleay stone arches through Reynisfjara, all the way to the small village of Vik. Of all these beautiful places, Reynisfjara is the most popular site. Reynisfjara black sand beach is about a 10-minute drive from Vik.
If you are driving down the famous Ring Road, you will see signs for Reynisfjara beach where you need to turn onto Route 215. We drove from Reykjavik, and it took us 2.5 hours driving to Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach.
What to Expect at Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
Reynisfjara beach is a very popular filming location and has captured many hearts of people all over the world. You have most likely seen the Reynisfjara black sand beach on Game of Thrones and several famous movies and shows. The stunning Reynisfjara black sand beach is known for its interesting geology: the black sand beaches (of course), basalt columns, the mysterious freestanding sea stacks, and a cave within the mountain Reynisfjall.
Here are some of the things you must see when you visit:
Gardar Basalt Columns
The famous Gardar basalt columnar joints at Reynisfjara beach are one of the most photographed places in Iceland. The volcanic forces created these symmetric, geometrical shaped columns. The columns are straight and parallel and are up to 20 meters (65.6 feet) tall. If you are adventurous like me, you can climb up these highly picturesque columnar joints for some amazing photos. Just use caution and make sure you are wearing good hiking boots with ankle support.
The beautiful naturally formed cave called Hálsanefshellir is a must-see for anyone visiting the Reynisfjara beach. The cave is located within the Reynisfjall mountain and is easy to spot. If the weather at the beach acts up, the cave provides good shelter. No trip to Iceland is complete without a visit to this historical cave. The cave is so cool; I had to take a photo.
Reynisdrangar Rock Formations
When visiting the Reynisfjara beach, you will notice the mysterious pillars sticking out of the ocean next to the coast. Reynisfjara was named after a Norwegian Viking called Reynir and these pillars are often called Reynir’s pillars. Legend has it that these mysterious rock formations are actually Icelandic sea trolls. The creatures tried to drag a ship to the shore. In doing so, the daylight broke and turned them into stones as soon as the sun touched them. You will see thousands of nesting seabirds on these trolls; be sure to pack your camera if you are a bird watcher.
Important things to know Before you Visit
Reynisfjara beach is also known to be one of the most dangerous beaches due to the wild Atlantic Ocean sneaker waves. I experienced some of the most powerful waves I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, the waves have taken many traveler’s lives. Remember to never turn your back on the waves, and stay alert especially, when taking photos. Make sure to pack a good jacket and good hiking shoes. It can get very windy, and cold even in the summer.
It was 5 °C in late May. I was wearing a dress and hiking shoes only for the photos. I quickly changed into warm clothes afterward.
There is a small cafe with a limited menu. I would recommend going to Vik if you are looking for some places to eat as the cafe is very expensive. Just remember most restaurants close early.
There is public bathroom available at the site.
There is a parking lot where you can park your car, and it is free.
Remember this place can get crowded and there is no lifeguard at Reynisfjara black sand beach.
Map for your Iceland Trip
Are you planning a trip to Iceland? I hope these tips are helpful.
Do you have more questions about Reynisfjara Beach?
Let me know in the comments below. Happy Traveling!