18 In Beaches + Ocean Activities/ Iceland/ Travel

The Black Sand Beaches of Vik and Reynisfjara, Iceland

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. 

Vik   Vik Vik

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!

Vik   Vik


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.

Reynisdrangar Vik

Reynisdrangar Vik

Reynisdrangar Vik

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.

Reynisdrangar Vik

Reynisdrangar Vik

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.

Reynisdrangar Vik

Basalt columns, like these, are what inspired the architecture of Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavik. It’s easy to see and absolutely beautiful.

Reynisdrangar Vik   Reynisdrangar Vik   Reynisdrangar Vik

I just loved standing among the columns and you can see the size of them in comparison to me.

Reynisdrangar Vik

Reynisdrangar Vik

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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  • Reply
    The Natural Traveller
    March 13, 2017 at 7:01 am


  • Reply
    March 13, 2017 at 7:17 am

    Cool pictures! 🙂 The Reynisfjara beach was one of our favourite places in Iceland too. We were lucky to see a massive rainbow just before we were about to leave.

  • Reply
    Probe around the Globe
    March 13, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    I love the beach and although I prefer sunny skies and golden beaches, this looks pretty amazing! I love how dramatic Iceland is and these gloomy black sand beach pictures really fit the bill quiet perfectly. I am a bit afraid of those waves though, they seem massive!

  • Reply
    March 14, 2017 at 2:42 am

    These beaches are amazing. I’ve heard about similar ones in Tenerife, but I’ve never got there. And now South of Iceland. Vik’s Black Sand Beach looks fantastic, and the black sand on the backdrop on snowy hills it’s definitely a thrilling landscape.

  • Reply
    March 14, 2017 at 4:23 am

    The black sands are something! I also liked the huge column formations. I am sure there are some local folklore involving these places. I would love to hear them.

  • Reply
    Anne @TravelTheGlobe (@TTGLOBE4L)
    March 14, 2017 at 4:37 am

    Looks like a true wilderness. I’m not particularly keen on black beaches but it really adds to the drama. Great pictures too

  • Reply
    March 15, 2017 at 12:14 am

    Brings back such fond memories! We loved out time in Iceland and the black sand beaches were a highlight, especially in Vik. Such a spectacular country with nature that is so unique, powerful and stunning!

  • Reply
    March 15, 2017 at 8:31 am

    Iceland is definitely one of the most magical landscapes I have ever seen! The black sand beaches are soo gorgeous too, you photos are making me relive my trip! Great photos!

  • Reply
    March 15, 2017 at 11:25 am

    Those waves were definitely no joke! It’s so fun to watch as people would stand by for pictures and run away when the waves came.

  • Reply
    Rochelle | Adventuresfromelle
    March 15, 2017 at 11:55 am

    These beaches differ so much from the tropical tan and white sand ones I’m used to. Very striking contrast. I can only imagine the legends such a commanding landscape would inspire.

  • Reply
    Tamason Gamble
    March 15, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Such a wonderful country, we really enjoyed spending time there and I agree the direct along the southern ring road really is beautiful.

  • Reply
    March 15, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    Loved this post – it brought such good memories! I’ve been two Iceland twice (my favourite country in the world), visiting Vik on my first trip there. It’s such a cool place that feels like a different planet. Your photos really capture the atmosphere of that area! 🙂

  • Reply
    March 15, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    Wow I love your photography! Iceland has been on my radar and this place just adds one more reason for me to visit the country soon! The Basalt columns look stunningly unreal!

  • Reply
    March 15, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    I don’t know why, but I stared at the friendship statue for a while. It just looked so interesting the way it was leaning forward. After seeing this statue, now I want to see the matching one in England.

  • Reply
    Sandy & Vyjay
    March 15, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    Black sand beach of Iceland is a place of my dreams. It is that original place of the earth which has essence of evolution in it. The mention of volcano in this article makes this place even more beautiful.Another wonderful aspect ofstunning landscapes of Iceland brought alive,

  • Reply
    Mimi & Mitch
    March 16, 2017 at 3:10 am

    Amazing photography of the place. Makes me want to go big time! Always wanted to go to Iceland and hopefully will go by the end of the year!

  • Reply
    Hiking to Sólheimajökull Glacier, Iceland - For the Love of Wanderlust
    March 17, 2017 at 6:35 am

    […] trip to Sólheimajökull Glacier was pure chance and spontaneity. When we were making our way to Vik, we spotted lots of things that we wanted to see on our way back. The drive through here is just […]

  • Reply
    Patricia Steffy (@PLSteffy)
    August 19, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Wow! Those are true black sand beaches. They are gorgeous, and seeing the waves crashing in gives both places such amazing atmosphere. There’s something truly wild and powerful about it. ViK’s beach with the cliffs jutting out and the brush is such an intriguing study in contrasts, and I love seeing the volcanic formations in Reynisfjara. Thanks for sharing!

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