Reynisfjara Beach – the best black sand beach in Iceland!

Reynisfjara beach – the amazing black-sand beach in Vik, Iceland’s South Coast. Watch puffins at Reynisfjara beach or try to find the Trolls!

Have you heard about Reynisfjara beach, a stunning black-sand beach in Iceland? I guess, when you think of a beach, you probably think of beautiful golden sands and gentle lapping waves. Right? 🙂

But what if I told you…

… that one of the most breath-taking and beautiful beaches in the world is not scattered with fine, white sand, but black pebbles and ash!

Instead of tropical climes, head north as we introduce you to one of the most incredible black beaches in Iceland, Reynisfjara beach.

Honestly, once you visit the back beach of Reynisfjara, your definition of a beautiful beach will change forever! 🙂

Get rid of the notion of palm trees and think drama; Reynisfjara has it in abundance.

The crashing waves, jaw-dropping basalt columns, lava formations and immense black ash and pebble beach need to be seen to be believed!

Reynisfjara black-sand beach, Iceland

Iceland, one of the best islands in Europe, is actually home to several black beaches. However, as Reynisfjara is only 180km from the capital Reykjavik and just a few minutes off the Iceland Ring Road, it is an easy beach to explore and capture the stunning scene in envy-inducing photographs.

How to visit Reynisfjara beach?

If you’re planning on visiting Iceland, then one of the best trips you can do is the Iceland Ring Road which encircles the perimeter of the whole island. Yes, you will need a car in order to do it! Read our guide to renting a car in Europe.

The route is around 1,300km meaning 7-9 days is perfect for exploring all that Iceland has to offer from the beach at Reynisfjara to the delights in the capital city. While it may seem the perfect place to drive off the beaten path, it is illegal to go off-roading in Iceland, so plan your route carefully ensuring you don’t miss any of the hidden gems, using the correct routes.


To visit Reynisfjara, head to the village of Vik (one of the most unique villages to visit in Europe) and then take the 215-road which will take you to a parking area next to the beach.

Any hotels around Reynisfjara beach?

Book a night in Vik to stay close to the Reynisfjara beach. Most of the hotels are fully booked in summer months so do check the availability way in advance!

Reynisfjara beach, Iceland

Beautiful whatever the weather!

With such a dramatic backdrop, you’ll get a fantastic view whenever you go, whether rain or shine.

Cloud and fog only enhance the exciting ‘out of this world’ feel.  Sunshine, as well as sunsets and sunrises, can offer a fantastic light too. Whether the sea is calm or (more likely) raging and crashing, it is easy to picture how a volcanic explosion formed this incredible landscape.

The beach seems to stretch off for miles, with an uninterrupted view to the horizon, say for the dramatic columns that give an incredible sense of perspective and wonder.

Reynisfjara beach, Iceland - Beautiful Whatever the Weather

It is guaranteed you’ll be left speechless as you stand and stare. Yes! We were 🙂

It is easy to believe something magical will happen in these unbelievable surroundings.

Basalt columns of Reynisfjall & Garda

The seemingly indestructible basalt columns are one of the highlights of the beach, with many people braving the cold and the perils to climb to the top of Gardar column. It is no surprise there is usually a crowd trying to climb the column. However, taking photographs of Gardar is perhaps more impressive than pictures from the top!

In summer, swarms of puffins congregate on the basalt column, Reynisfjall, which makes the beach even more spectacular as you capture the birds in flight across the backdrop. Visitors can also spot arctic terns, seagulls and fulmars too. We have only seen some puffins when visiting Iceland at the end of August.

Reynisfjara beach, Iceland - Basalt Columns of Reynisfjall and Garda

As well as the basalt columns, there’s another sight on the beach not to miss. Head along the beach and seek out the mythical wonder of Hálsanefshellir. Hálsanefshellir is a small cave nestled on the coastline which adds to the fairytale ambience of the beach. What’s more, the cave makes the perfect hideout when the rain comes 🙂

Reynisfjara beach, Iceland - Basalt Columns of Reynisfjall and Garda

The Tales of the Trolls

Iceland is well known as a land of myths, legends and tales and the tales of Reynisfjara are no different.

OnReynisfjara beach, you will find the fantastic rock formations known as Reynisdrangar. According to legend, three trolls were plotting to take a three-masted ship under the cover of darkness. However, as they began to pull the ship to shore, the rising sun rays surprised them, and the power of the sun turned the trolls into rocks.

By looking at the intriguing formations, it is not hard to see why trolls have been immortalised in this stunning landscape.

Reynisfjara beach, Iceland - The Tales of the Trolls
Ups… is one of the trolls alive again?! 😉

Whether you like the legend or not 😉 you will definitely love the amazing view with the Reynisdrangar in the background.

Is Reynisfjara beach worth visiting?

Without a doubt – it really is one of the best natural wonders of Europe!

The beauty of Reynisfjara beach is well worth the drive from Reykjavik! And it is definitely worth a stop if you’re doing a driving tour around Iceland.

However, its unique beauty makes it a very popular place, especially in high season. Many companies offer organised tourist trips to the beach, so the beach can quickly become full of groups. However, if you time it right, or are willing to stay long enough, you’ll be able to get the perfect uninterrupted view and photograph.

Reynisfjara beach, Iceland - Is Reynisfjara Worth a Visit

With a free carpark available and restaurants close by, visitors can spend as little or as long as they like here. Whether you want a quick walk on the beach or want to sample a local Icelandic delicacy such as mutton soup at a nearby eatery, the beach can suit any travel schedule.

A final word of WARNING!

As beautiful as the beach is, the sea is merciless, and accidents can happen. Keep a safe distance from the water, especially as the waves are so powerful and ruthless.

So, what are you waiting for?!

Pack your camera and sturdy boots & go! 🙂

Or, if you prefer a warmer climate, visit Janubio Beach in Lanzarote. It is also a black-sand beach and it’s as stunning as the Reynisfjara Beach in Iceland.

Read also: Golden Circle in Iceland – MAP + self-drive tour for newbies

Reynisfjara black-sand beach in Iceland

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