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The Black Sand Beach

Reynisfjara beach is most famous as the black sand beach on the South coast of Iceland. Its black sand, massive waves, and Reynisdrangar by its side makes it a truly unique place.

Reynisfjara Black sand beach

Reynisfjara Beach is the most famous black sanded beach in Iceland. This is a place of wild and dramatic beauty where the roaring waves of the Atlantic Ocean power ashore with tremendous force. In 1991 Reynisfjara appeared on the top ten list of the most beautiful non-tropical beaches in the world. Some people have said that to stand on the beach is akin to being in a natural amphitheater where the white water of the Atlantic waves provide the drama. At any time of year and in any light this is a place of great beauty which will remind you that can never be far from the powerful forces of nature which shaped Iceland. Marvel at the power of the ocean but do not stand too close – those masterful waves deserve your respect!

Reynisdrangar basalt columns & legends about it

It is here that the Reynisdrangar basalt columns beneath the Reynisfjall mountain rise from the sea in a majestic way. These 66 meters high black basalt ´sculptures´ have been roughly hewn by nature into some amazing shapes and features. Not surprisingly, these shapes and forms have given rise to legends and much folklore. The legend says that the Reynisfjara basalt columns originated when two trolls tried to drag a triple-masted ship to land unsuccessfully – when daylight came they were transformed into sharp needles of rock.
There is another legend which tells the story of a husband whose wife was taken by these two trolls and frozen during the night. His wife was the great love of his life but he could not confine her free spirit which found its home among the rocks, trolls and the wild Atlantic waves at Reynisfjara. The husband made the tolls swear never to kill anyone again and since then all has been peaceful.
This is a must-come-to place if you wish to experience the raw and powerful forces of Icelandic nature and a rare kind of dramatic beauty. Photo opportunities abound here, Reynisfjara Beach is now quite well-known as a spot where bridal couples create some unique and very special photographic memories.

How do basalt columns, like Reynisdrangar found at Reynisfjara, form?

Reynisdrangar are a hardcore made from tuff that the ocean has scraped and sculptures leaving them to stand on their own. They are likely to have been connected to the Reynisfjall mountain near the area. The whole mountain range is likely to have formed in a volcanic eruption under a glacier during an ice age.

Where is Reynisfjara located?

Reynisfjara Beach is on the south coast 180 km from Reykjavík. Seljalandsfoss waterfall is to the south of Reynisfjara (61 km). If you are traveling from an easterly direction Skaftafell is 150 km away. Other attractions to the east include the little town of Vík (10 km) and Kirkjubæjarklaustur (78 km).

The cave at Reynisfjara

Within the mountain Reynisfjall, that staggers high above the pitch black beach you’ll find an amazing basalt columned wall and in it a cave. This cave often comes in handy when the weather at the beach acts out, which happens quite a lot. Throughout history, the cave has worked as a shelter for travelers and sheep and often you can find rocks that have been placed on each other creating an artsy yet barbaric feeling to the cave. You simply can’t miss out on visiting the cave when exploring the beach.

Filming at Reynisfjara, Films, and TV Shows

Reynisfjara beach has captured many hearts and surely not only those who have visited as it frequently now appears in Hollywood films and tv shows. Here is a list of a few where you can catch a glimpse of the beach.

  • Game of Thrones: It is the Eastwatch beach by the ocean where the men in the night’s watch are guarding the Wall.
  • Noah (2014)
  • Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013)

What not to do at Reynisfjara black sand beach?

The waves at Reynisfjara are known for their sneaky ways and it is important to be aware of the risks involved when getting to close to them when exploring the beach. The roaring waves of Reynisfjara are extremely strong and often push far further up on the beach than one might expect when they pull out their strength even magnifies and they have dragged helpless people with them. The rules when visiting the beach are simple:

  • Don’t turn your back on the waves
  • Don’t go chasing them
  • Keep a safe distance
  • Don’t let children wander off on the beach

Interesting places near Reynisfjara

Day tours visiting Reynisfjara black sand beach

Multi-day tours visiting Reynisfjara black sand beach