Our first excursion outside of Reykjavik was a trip down the southern coast to explore some black sand beaches, waterfalls and whatever else we might get ourselves into. We left before the sun rose and drove all the way to Vik from our cozy guest house. The drive from Reykjavik is one of the most stunning drives I’ve ever been on. Iceland, in general, is one of my favorite road-trip-countries. We chose to go all the way to Vik and work our way back making stops on the way back. But first, Vik.
Vik doesn’t actually have a whole lot to do in the town, but it sure is quaint! I love the mountains and cliffs in the background and the way the church is so perfectly perched atop a hill. We ate in a gas station’s cafe just off their black sand beach. The prices were reasonable and the portions large enough to split a meal, which is always great for the budget!
Vik’s Black Sand Beach
The main attraction in coming here was visiting the black sand beaches. My mom had never been to a black sand beach, so I really wanted her to see one. It’s really a really pretty change from the normal beaches you typically see. Not to mention, I’ve started collecting moments at different-colored sand beaches recently, and I wanted her to be able to do the same. When we got to the beach I was totally amazed at just how big the waves are. They’re much bigger than they seem in this photo, and I was grateful that I wasn’t out there on any sort of boat out there. It was some of the roughest-looking surf I had ever seen.
This has got to be one of my favorite beaches on earth. I love the color of the bushes, I love the cliffs in the background and the look of the waves crashing in.
You’ve gotta love the way birds look sailing over the sea.
This statue ‘Voyages’ is a friendship statue. A matching statue sits in the English town of Hull. It marks a friendship between the two towns, the trade relationship between Iceland and England that has been around for about 1,000 years. Also, it stands a monument to those whose lives have been lost in the Atlantic. It’s a very beautiful sculpture and definitely has the most gorgeous backdrop, doesn’t it?
Where those rock formations are is right in front of the Basalt Column Beach of Reynisfjara. That beach is something that you simply cannot miss while in this area, but more about that in a second!
If it hadn’t been for the sleet that rolled in, pelting my face at about 50 mph, I could’ve hung out here all day, just taking in the views. Luckily, we had a beach vies from our lunch-spot.
The size of the seawall shows just how big those waves really are! After taking in the beach here we ate at the N1 Station (a gas station chain that you will become very familiar with if you road trip in Iceland). Also, I want to give a major shoutout to the young woman working at the N1 Station who sat down with me, along with a map (there was no wifi here) and pointed out where exactly to turn for Reynisfjara so we didn’t miss out.
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
This beach sits just outside of Vik under the mountain Reynisfjara. This beach is famous for it’s gorgeous basalt columns that line the age of the sea-facing side of the mountain. They were formed by lava flow into hexagonal columns. There are also caves in this mountain that you can explore.
At this beach they have loads of signs warning about ‘sneaker waves’ which are waves that seem to come out of nowhere that have knocked people off their feet and some have even been swept out to sea. I can definitely see how that would happen. My mom and I had to make a run for it once when the waves came right up to the basalt columns while we were taking photos.
My favorite thing about volcanic formations are the amazing patterns you find in nature. These wavy and chunky designs were made by lava flow and I absolutely love it.
Basalt columns, like these, are what inspired the architecture of Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavik. It’s easy to see and absolutely beautiful.
I just loved standing among the columns and you can see the size of them in comparison to me.
This is a photo of the Southernmost Point in all of Iceland. We missed this turn to drive down to the end where the lighthouse is, which you can see in the middle of the peninsula above. Of course, this is a must for the next time, though. That’s the beauty of travel – there’s always a next time. For now, I’m totally satisfied with the amazing experience I had at the Black Sand Beaches of this area and I’m excited to tell you about our next adventure: a hike to a glacier!
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