‘The one of the most breath taking and beautiful beaches in the world is not scattered with fine, white sand but black pebbles and ash.
Reynisfjara black sand beach is the most famous beach on the South Coast of Iceland- and the most dramatic. Reynisfjara is near the village of Vik and is easy to reach from Reykjavik. It’s beautiful black sand, powerful waves, and the nearby Reynisdrangar sea stacks make Reynisfjara a truly unique place to visit and a popular filming location (Game of Thrones, Star Wars, nd more).
Reynisfjara Beach is one of the most well-known black sanded beach in the whole world. 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, and it is very easy to see why it was chosen! Reynisfjara is also home to Iceland’s beloved puffins, the most photographed seabirds in the country.
The tales surrounding Reynisfjara are no less dramatic than the beach itself According to Icelandic folklore, the Reynisdrangar rock formations were once trolls. While trying to pull ships from the ocean to the shore, the trolls took too long to reach land. At the break of dawn, they were turned to stone. Even today, locals believe you can hear the trolls’ cries as they long for their home in the mountains. An alternative legend says that two trolls murdered a human woman. Her mourning husband hunted them down and turned them to stone. Geologists have their own explanation for the sea stacks. They claim that Reynisdrangar was once part of Reynisfjall Mountain. Harsh weather and fierce waves eroded the cliffs into the jagged form you see today. Natural elements continue to erode the basalt sea stacks on a daily basis. This means no two visits to the site are ever the same. Although the geological explanation is likely the correct one, as you stand in front of Reynisdrangar, the legend of the trolls feels very true as well.
So why is the sand black at Reynisfjara? The answer lies in its volcanic history. Sand is formed when the weather, such as wind, rain, and changes in temperature, breaks down rocks into tiny particles. The sand at Reynisfjara originally comprised black and dark grey volcanic rocks. This dark color is caused by high iron content. Basalt is the most common volcanic rock in Iceland. You’ll find plenty of it at Reynisfjara!
It is said that to stand on Reynisfjara Beach is akin to being in a natural amphitheater where the white water of the Atlantic waves provides the drama. At any time of year, and in any light, this is a place of great beauty that will remind people that they can never be far from the powerful forces of nature which shaped the island of Iceland. Marvel at the power of the ocean but do not stand too close – those masterful waves deserve your respect and can be quite dangerous if you get too close!
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