Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach

  • Reynisfjara black sand beach is the most famous black sand beach in Iceland.
  • Reynisfjara beach location: South Coast of Iceland – 2,5 hours drive from Reykjavik. 
  • The waves at Reynisfjara bach can be dangerous – stay safe! 

Basic Information

Reynisfjara is a famous black sand beach located on the southern coast of Iceland, near the small village of Vík í Mýrdal. This stunning natural wonder is renowned for its dramatic and otherworldly beauty. 

Reynisfjara black sand beach is a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the breathtaking natural wonders of Iceland’s southern coastline. Its unique geology, dramatic landscapes, and connection to Icelandic folklore make it an enchanting and unforgettable location.

Guided Tours to Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach

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Here is some basic information about Reynisfjara black sand beach:

  1. Unique Black Sand: Reynisfjara is known for its striking black sand, which is a result of volcanic activity in the region. The sand is made up of small, smooth, and dark-colored pebbles, creating a stark and beautiful contrast against the white foamy waves of the North Atlantic Ocean.

  2. Basalt Column Formations: One of the most iconic features of Reynisfjara is the impressive basalt column formations, known as Reynisdrangar. These hexagonal columns rise like a natural fortress from the sea and add to the beach’s mystique. Local folklore has it that these columns were once trolls who were caught in the morning sun, turning them into stone.

  3. Rough and Dangerous Surf: Reynisfjara beach is known for its powerful and unpredictable waves. It’s essential to exercise caution when visiting, as “sneaker waves” can suddenly surge ashore, posing a significant risk to unwary visitors. Pay attention to warning signs and stay a safe distance from the water’s edge.

  4. Birdlife: The cliffs surrounding Reynisfjara are a haven for various seabirds, including puffins during the summer months. Birdwatchers can observe these fascinating creatures as they nest and take flight in the area.

  5. Popular Tourist Destination: Reynisfjara is a popular stop on the South Coast of Iceland’s tourist route, attracting visitors from around the world. Its accessibility from Reykjavik and other major towns makes it a must-see destination for those exploring Iceland.

  6. Nearby Attractions: Reynisfjara is located near other notable natural landmarks, such as Dyrhólaey, a natural arch and birdwatching site, and the village of Vík, which provides amenities and accommodations for travelers.

  7. Coastal Legends: The area around Reynisfjara is steeped in Icelandic folklore and legends, with stories of trolls, shipwrecks, and epic battles contributing to the enchanting atmosphere of the place.

  8. Safety Precautions: Visitors should always be cautious when visiting Reynisfjara. It’s important to respect safety guidelines, including staying a safe distance from the water, heeding warning signs, and being mindful of the powerful currents and waves.

History of Reynisfjara and How is was Formed

The name “Reynisfjara” can be traced back to the Norwegian king called Reynir. He is known to be the first settler in the area where the beach is. Reynisfjara translates to “Reynir’s beach.” Other geological sites in the area have similar nomenclature, namely Reynisfjall – Reynir’s mountain and the Reynisdrangar – Reynir’s pillars.

What causes black sand beach in Iceland?

Formed by volcanic ashes, the black sand beaches are a result of violent interaction between hot lava and seawater. Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach was formed during a major eruption of the notorious Katla volcano. When the molten lava entered the hot water, it cooled down rapidly and broke into debris and sand. The distinctive feature of the sand at Reynisfjara is that it is always wet due to rainfall and powerful waves. This means it never dries and looks grey, and always has a unique gloomy appearance because of the unbelievably black sand.

The Mystical Tales of Folklore

The basalt cliffs that stand tall in the sea are known as Reynisdrangar sea stacks. These columns also have an interesting history, and according to Icelandic legend – they were once two giant trolls who attempted to drag a ship on to the mainland. They couldn’t get it done before daylight shined and the sun-rays turned them both to stone. Geologists say they were a part of the Reynisfjall Mountain and got separated due to stormy rains and majestic waves. Whatever story one chooses to believe, one thing is for sure – these basalt stacks are a rare natural formation that can be associated only to Iceland.

Northern Lights Iceland Tour - Reynisdrangar on Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach in South Iceland

Activities in the area

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Where is the black sand beach in Iceland?

How to Get to Reynisfjara - Parking & more info

You are probably wondering where is the black sand beach in Iceland by now. The spectacular black sand beach is located on the magnificent south coast of Iceland. Reynisfjara beach location is roughly 112 miles from Reykjavík. It is an easy two and a half hours’ drive from the capital and can be a part of a day-long south-coast sight-seeing tour. Follow Route 1, the main road that goes all the way around Iceland, and you will find plenty of directions directing you to the beach. Take the turn marked Route 215 and after a 10-minute drive you will find the parking area.

You will find plenty of parking lots at Reynisfjara black sand beach. 

Reynisfjara black sand beach and Reynisdrangar basalt columns at sunset

The weather at the Black Sand Beach in Iceland

The weather at Reynisfjara black sand beach is uncertain, and it is advised that you dress up in layers and carry a windbreaker. Wear hiking boots as the beach is rocky. As Reynisfjara is not a tropical beach, the swimwear and sandals are best skipped.

Hotels near black sand beach Iceland

Since Reynisfjara is located only 10 minutes drive from Vík Iceland, you can find good hotels and accommodation in Vík. There is also a great hotel located very close to Reynisfjara beach. Black Beach Suites is an extra ordinary hotel that we can highly recommend. The hotel is an apartment hotel. You will get magnificent views from your room. If you are interested in staying at this hotel we recommend that you book your stay well in advance because it usually gets fully booked. 

Reynisfjall and Reynisfjara black sand beach - south Iceland Tours

Stay Safe at Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach

The strong waves of the Atlantic are as dangerous as they are majestic, and keeping a safe distance is necessary. These waves can be life-taking and strong tides can hit anytime. Carefully read and adhere to all warning signs and instructions in the parking and on the beach to enjoy your trip without any imminent danger.

Black Sand Beach Tour, seen from the cave at Reynisfjara black sand beach, Hálsanefshellir cave on Reynisfjara black sand beach

Reynisfjara Beach Location

Interesting locations in the area

Guided Tours to Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach

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