4 Reasons You Must Visit Iceland’s Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach

Reynisfjara black sand beach with huge stones in the water at dusk along the south coast of Iceland
Björgvin Hilmarsson

Draped with smooth, midnight-coloured stones and pebbles strewn out across its protracted shores, this beach destination has become famous not only for its uniquely gloomy appearance or the powerful waves of the Atlantic that come crashing in, but also for the Icelandic folklore that tells a story of its long past. The combination of this beach's unique view pointing out towards the ocean, inclusive on most days with a formation of sea mist and fog, makes for a unique backdrop that can’t be found anywhere else on the island.

Reynisfjara, better known by its name the black beach, is certainly no ordinary beach, rather one that keeps its onlookers in awe with its dark sand and defined basalt columns that jut out towards the heavens in a dramatic fashion. With good reason, Reynisfjara beach has become one of the most popular destinations in Iceland. The beaches close proximity to the city of Vik and Sólheimajökull glacier draws in visitors as they make their way through Southern Iceland’s tundra. No trip is complete without a visit to this Icelandic gem. Here are four reasons why you need to make sure it's own your itinerary:

1. Step foot on one of the world’s most stunning black sand beaches

A trip to Reynisfjara certainly won’t be one of your typical beach visits. The sands of Reynisfjara are created from lava that flowed into the ocean, cooled, then turning the sand black as it hardened. One-of-a-kind, the basalt columns were created many years ago as the lava flowed over top, and finally contracted before coming to a final resting place. The combination of the bleak backdrop, shadowy black sand, and detailed basalt columns makes for a scene straight out of a movie. The black beach is also the perfect stopping point during your South Iceland Getaway, as you make your way along Iceland’s stunning Southern coast.


2.  Experience both the sheer beauty and power of mother nature first hand

Reynisfjara is known for its forceful sneaker waves that clash hard up against the shore, creating an often dangerous situation for those who choose to approach too close. The speed and agility of these waves are like no other, accurately tied to the eerie vibe that this beach destination gives off to its visitors. Be sure to keep alert, and remain at a distance as you take in the sight of mother nature’s raw power.

Reynisfjara black sand beach
Estelle Divorne
Reynisfjara black sand beach

3. Enjoy a view of the beautiful coastline from both Reynisfjara and the neighbouring town of Vík

Located just on the other side opposite from the charcoal-coloured sands of Reynisfjara, Vik is a small settlement of fewer than 400 inhabitants that presents sweeping views of the basalt columns from a totally different perspective. In the city of Vik, you may seek shelter and have a great base from which to catch the Northern Lights far away from the crowded city lights of Reykjavik. Vik presents visitors with an impressive view from an unfamiliar angle of the rocky formation, standing tall in the cold Atlantic waters.

Small town of Vík along the South coast of Iceland in the summer
Small town in Vík

4. Learn an Icelandic tale of Folklore

The land of fire and ice comes with many folk stories that pair well with its rugged terrain and mysterious sights. There is no exception for Reynisfjara and the unique basalt columns that jut out from the earth’s surface pointing directly towards the heavens.

As the story goes, tales from Icelandic folklore states that the jagged basalt columns found within close proximity to the shore, also known better by the name Reynisdrangar, were once a group of trolls that worked together, pulling ships right out of the ocean’s waters. One day, dawn came quickly shining onto the beaches’ black sand and turn the trolls promptly into stone before they could make their way safely back to shore. It’s believed that if you stand close enough to the cliffs, you can still hear their cries and moans as they long for their home back in the mountains.

Reynisdrangar rock formations

Reynisfjara is simply one of Iceland’s must-visit spots. Observed from a safe distance, its pristine black sand beaches truly are one of the world’s greatest creations, as with many of the other sights you’ll find scattered throughout the island. Whatever you do, just don’t forget to travel on further to your next adventure, whether it’s a challenging glacier walk or a trip through a picturesque glacier lagoon. Reynisfjara surely sets the bar high, showing its visitors some of the best that Iceland has to offer.

About the Author

IMG Staff Writer

IMG Staff Writer

An anonymous but well informed member of our team that enjoys sharing their knowledge of Iceland & Greenland’s stunning nature.

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