With 130 large and small volcanoes, Iceland owns several black sand beaches born from the ashes of volcanic lava. The most famous is, no doubt, Reynisfjara beach, which has a charming but haunting landscape.
We visited Reynisfjara as one of our stops along Iceland’s South Coast and had a wonderful time here.
In this Reynisfjara travel guide, I share useful information that you should know before visiting this famous black sand beach, including how to get there, things to see, the best time to visit, safety tips, and more.
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
Reynisfjara is a beautiful black sand beach near the small fishing village of Vík í Mýrdal in Southern Iceland. The pitch-black beach brings a huge contrast against the explosive white waves and blue seawater.
This landmark also impresses visitors with an incredible stack of basalt columns, caves, smooth pebbles and stones, Reynisdrangur sea stacks, and outstanding views west to Dyrhólaey.
Things to see at Reynisfjara
The basalt columns
Along Reynisfjara beach is the stunning Gardar cliff with angular basalt columns that resemble a church organ.
These octagonal basalt pillars were formed when the lava cooled down suddenly, creating symmetric and geometrical shapes. The columns’ height varies, with some are just about 0.5 m, while others can reach up to 20 meters.
Gardar cliff is also home to thousands of puffins in the summer, and you can also spot arctic terns and fulmars here.
Hálsanefshellir sea cave
At the base of Reynisfjall mountain, you can also visit the Hálsanefshellir sea cave. It also has fascinating rock formations and an impressive view.
Offshore from Reynisfara is Reynisdrangur, Vík’s most iconic cluster of sea stacks. The legend says that they are the remains of the trolls who were stealing a ship before the sun caught them.
From Reynisfjara, you can also have an excellent view of Dyrahólaey, a massive sea arch at Iceland’s southernmost tip.
Dyrahólaey is 120 meters high, stretching out into the sea. It connects the mainland with a shallow inland lagoon filled with sea birds. You can also see a white lighthouse here.
How to get to Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
Reynisfjara is about 180 kilometers (112 miles) from Reykjavik, and it takes about 2.5 hours to drive there.
From Reykjavik, you can take Route 1 (Ring Road) in the direction of Vík and then turn right to route 215 for 5 km to reach Reynisfjara. It’s located on the western side of Reynisfjall.