Iceland’s Black Beach. This is the entire south coast of the island

The black beach of Reynisfjara in Iceland. 15 beautiful photos and the legend of the trolls

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The beach isn’t always palm trees, seagulls and girls in bathing suits. Reinisfjara Black Beach in Iceland is a place of cold, rugged beauty. It’s tar-colored sand, shiny black basalt columns, sheer cliffs, demonic cliffs with the equally scary name Reinisdrangar, and a wind that pierces to the bone. But there are seagulls. And girls. Maybe even in bathing suits. Only their swimsuit under their thermal underwear, T-shirt, shirt, sweater and windproof jacket. That’s what a beach vacation in Iceland is like.

You’ll laugh, but Reinisfjara is a southern island beach in the truest sense. After all, Iceland is an island, and Reinisfjara beach is in the very south of the country, near the village of Vik.

Our opinions on Reinisfjara beach are divided. I think the most beautiful thing about it are the demonic cliffs of Reinisdrangar, protruding out of the water against the shore. Olya says that the main decoration of Reinisfjara is the basalt columns sticking out on the beach, as if a huge troll had stuck a hundred giant pencils there with all his might. And the truth, as always, is somewhere in the middle. Reynisfjara beach in Iceland is beautiful with everything: the columns, the cliffs, the tall black and green cliffs above the sand line, and the view from it.

Basalt columns on the black beach of Reinisfjara, Iceland.

The main “sights” of Reynisfjar beach in one photo. On the left are the basalt columns and on the right are the basalt cliffs.

The only thing that spoils the beach of Reynisfjara is the number of tourists. In summer it is impossible to take a photo on top of a basalt column without some troll squirming beside you in the lens! But this is the fate of all beautiful places these days, and Reinisfjara beach in Iceland is no exception.

Pictured: Reynisfjara Black Beach, Iceland. Basalt columns.

Photographs without “unnecessary” people on the basalt columns of Reinisfjara are obtained by taking almost point-blank shots.

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Reynisfjara black beach in Iceland. Basalt columns.

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If you want to join the horde of tourists and go to Reynisfjara beach in Iceland, we answer the main questions you might have.

1. Why is there black sand?

Iceland is a volcanic island. For centuries, streams of black lava from Laki volcanic eruptions flowed there into the ocean, and the waves of the raging North Atlantic crushed it into pieces and dumped it on the shore. This is how the five-kilometer line of Reinisfjara beach was formed.

Pictured: black Reynisfjara beach, Iceland.

The black sand of Reynisfjara Beach in all its glory. And since we’re on the beach, we need to fool around!

2. How did the basalt pillars and columns on Reynisfjara Beach form?

Exactly the same way: because of the effects of wind and water on the volcanic magma. Reynisfjara Beach in Iceland is surrounded on all sides by basalt. At the western end of the beach, hexagonal basalt pillars stick out of the ground, and not far from them, a large basalt cave is “carved out” in the Reinisfjädl rock that towers over the beach. And the basalt rocks (kecurs, in technical jargon) of Reinisdrangar stick out of the water opposite the eastern end of the beach, adding to the already demonic landscape’s harshness.

Black Reynisfjara Beach, Iceland (Reynisfjara Beach).

The wind has been grinding the basalt columns of Reinisfjar beach in Iceland for centuries. It just won’t let up!

Basalt cave. Reynisfjara Beach, Iceland.

Excuse me, who’s the last one into the cave? I’m right behind you!

Basalt cave on Reynisfjara beach, Iceland.

The basalt in the cave on Reynisfjar’s black beach twists into very unusual shapes.

Every self-respecting attraction in Northern Europe cannot do without a legend associated with trolls. And Reinisfjara Beach in Iceland is no exception. According to the legend, in ancient times, two giant trolls tried to pull ashore and plunder a three-masted ship that ran aground. It was at night, because as we know, trolls are scared to death of sunlight, which turns them into stones. This, for example, is how the famous rock ledge “Troll’s Tongue” was formed in Norway. The same thing happened here: the sun looked out, the trolls abandoned their ship and threw themselves under the water, but they didn’t have time to save themselves. The petrified fingers of one of them are still sticking out of the ocean, as if reminding those gathered that stealing is not a good thing. That’s why the second name of the cliffs Reinisdrangar is Troll’s Fingers.

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Pictured: basalt columns of Reinisfjara. Iceland, Reynisfjara beach.

Black beach Reinisfjar in Iceland, basalt cliffs Reinisdrangar (Troll’s Fingers).

3. Is it possible to swim on Reinisfjar beach?

The question is not as silly as it may seem. After all, there are places off the coast of Iceland heated by thermal waters, and in the summer hardened citizens manage to swim in them. But Reynisfjara beach does not belong to such places. Even in summer it is wet and cold, while under the water there are damaging currents that wait for brave swimmers. That’s why you should never go in the water – you will be carried away into the cold open ocean.

Black Reynisfjara Beach, Iceland (Reynisfjara Beach).

One cannot swim on Reynisfjar because of dangerous currents. I don’t get it, should I take my swimming trunks to the thermal baths in Miwatne?

Reynisfjar beach in Iceland: tips for visiting

The black beach of Reynisfjara Beach is located 180 km southeast of Reykjavik. Location on the map:

Despite its southern location, Reynisfjara Beach is in a region that is considered cold and wet even by local standards. Rainfall here is 340 days a year, and summer temperatures barely rise above 15 degrees – another reason not to pull out your swimsuit. And the wind blows all the time. But this state of affairs is adored by birds. Due to the local “favorable” climate, the mountains near the beach Reinisfjara – one of the most bird-friendly places in Iceland, millions of birds nest here every summer. It was at Dirholae Cape, across from Reynisfjara Beach, that we were able to take a picture of a dead-head for the first and only time during our trip to Iceland. And it was muddy:

Dead ends at Dirholae Cape, Iceland.

A family of Icelandic deadheads admiring the ocean while a family of Russian tourists admires them.

Black Reynisfjara Beach and Cape Dirholae in Iceland.

The famous natural arch at Cape Dirholaey, view from Reinisfjara Beach.

In addition to Reynisfjara beach, this region of Iceland has many attractions: Cape Dirholaey, Skogafoss waterfall, Fjadrarðljufur canyon, which appeared in “Game of Thrones” . All this makes the village of Vik near Rheinisfjara a very convenient stopping point, where you can stay for one or two nights for radial trips to the surrounding attractions. Judging by the number of reviews on local hotels, a lot of tourists do so.

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But there are only two campsites in the area. One of them (Camping Þakgil) is probably the most beautiful campsite in all of Iceland. It is located in a mountain valley, and its “dining room” is in a cave. Here are links to campsites near Reinisfjara Beach Google Maps:

And finally some more cool photos of Reynisfjara beach in Iceland. The last photo is the most important one!

Black Reynisfjara beach in Iceland.

Panoramic photo of Reinisfjar beach. Overhanging Mount Reinisfjädl is one of the birdiest places in Iceland.

Pictured: black Reynisfjara beach in Iceland.

Stone towers are built to return to Reinisfjær beach. We don’t believe in omens, but we keep the traditions alive.

Black Reynisfjara Beach, Iceland (Reynisfjara Beach).

And from this angle, the basalt columns of Reinisdrangar don’t look at all like troll fingers. A troll has very different fingers!

Black Reynisfjara Beach, Iceland. Basalt columns.

Before leaving Reinisfjara Beach, let’s admire the basalt columns and the tourists storming them one more time.

Parking lot, cafe and toilet at Reynisfjara Beach in Iceland.

The rectangular building at the exit of Reynisfjara beach is a café with a free toilet for customers. And if you can smartly pretend to be a customer… Anyway, you get the idea.

Everything you need to know about traveling through the Land of Ice and Flame, you’ll find in our articles from Iceland . Say hello to the deadbeats of Reinisfjara Beach!

Reinisfjara Black Beach and the Reinisdrangar Columns, Iceland

Reynisfjara Black Beach, Iceland

The sand can be not only yellow or almost white, but also completely black.

Reinisfjara beach is formed by absolutely black volcanic sand – an unforgettable sight.

How the black sand is formed

This Icelandic beach owes its black color to the volcanoes that are nearby. During a large number of eruptions, a huge amount of lava poured to the surface. This lava formed the entire island of Iceland. For thousands of years, the waves of the sea destroyed coastal rocks made up of lava. And over time, some of the rocks crumbled into sand. And because the lava was black, the sand was black.

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The beach with black sand is not a unique phenomenon that occurs only in Iceland. Such beaches can be found on our planet, where the volcanoes and the sea are close enough . Black sand is, for example, on Kamchatka and the Philippine Islands.

In Iceland, there are many beaches with black sand, but Reinisfjara beach is one of the most easily accessible . In addition, there are many other attractions nearby. And for this reason, the black beaches near the village of Vik are the most famous.

Black Reynisfjara beach, Iceland. Photo

What else is near the beach Reynisfjara

Troll’s toes.

In addition to the beach itself, there are also bizarrely shaped rocks. They are a few tens of meters from the shore.

These black basalt rocks are called “Reynisdrangar” (Troll’s Fingers). Legend has it that trolls lived here and once tried to steal a ship with sheep on board. They tried to drag it out of the sea and almost succeeded, but then the sun came up. And, as you know, trolls turn to stone in the sun. They all jumped into the ocean, but one of the trolls did not have time to hide from the sunlight. His arm petrified and remained towering above the water.

Reynisfjara black beach - troll fingers, Iceland. Photo

The basalt columns of Reinisdrangar

Not far from the parking lot, right on the beach is another very interesting place – hexagonal basalt columns . They look like a stack of huge pencils stuck in the ground.

These columns can also be found in several places in Iceland, but here they are the most spectacular and easily accessible.

Reinisdrangar basalt hexagonal columns at Reinisfjara Black Beach, Iceland. Photo

The columns were also formed because of volcanic activity – when lava solidified. As it cools, the volume of lava decreases slightly and so the solid piece is cracked into individual fragments, often hexagonal in shape.

Basalt hexagonal columns on Reinisfjar's Black Beach in Reinisfjar, Iceland. Photo

Photo 360 from the beach:

Cape and the cliffs of Dirkholae

A few kilometers from Reinisdrangar is the Dirkholae cape with its huge stone arches and bizarrely shaped rocks. It offers stunning views of the black beaches that stretch out on both sides. Also on the coastal cliffs are nesting a huge number of birds, including tupik.

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Black beach in Iceland

How to get to the black beaches

As already mentioned, Reinisfjara beach is located near the village of Vik, on the south coast of Iceland. The ring road runs right here, so it would be hard to miss this place.

The distance from Reykjavik is about 180 kilometers to the southeast.

GPS coordinates of the black beach of Reynisfjara: 63.404271, -19.049165.

Black Beach Reynisfjara in Iceland

Due to the remoteness of the beach from the capital of Iceland and major cities, it is more convenient to get to him by renting a car.

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Traveling around Iceland is easiest by car, although there are a lot of tourists on motorcycles, bicycles and those who walk or travel by car.

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