Today, let’s take a trip to one of the most fascinating places in Iceland, at least for me. The place we will visit is not huge but the beauty it holds it simply out of this world. Have you ever heard about black sand beaches? If not, you will discover a magnificent one here. Today’s post is about Vik’s black sand beaches.

Vik black beach with the basalt colums wall

Vík is a small town in Southern Iceland, about 180 km (112 mi) away from Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital city. The city’s full name is Vík í Mýrdal (if you thought it was going to be as simple as Vík, sorry to burst your bubble! You know…Icelandic). It’s the southernmost village in Iceland, and that is an advantage! Many Icelanders say that this provides milder and warmer weather compared to other cities around the country. As warm as an island that is close to the Arctic Circle can get, of course. Let’s take a walk through its beaches then, they are indeed unique.

Vik’s Black Sand Beaches – Why are they black?

That is not a stupid question at all, most of us are used to beige sand. When we think of an idyllic paradise, many people think of white sand in the middle of the Caribbean. So, a black sand beach can, of course, be shocking, but the reason behind it is quite simple.

Sand is the result of the erosion of rocks and cliffs near the coast over a period of thousands of years. Depending on the type of stones, the sand will have a particular color. In the case of Iceland, the land has a volcanic origin. That means the lava expelled by several volcanoes solidified forming this island in the North Atlantic Ocean. And as most of us know, when lava turns to rock, it has a dark, black color. And that is precisely why the sand is black and not white.

Huge basalt colums in Vik's black sand beaches cliffs

Vik’s Black Sand Beaches – What should I check out?

In Iceland, nothing is ordinary. So not only is the color of the sand is worth checking out, but rather the whole surroundings.

You should visit Reynisfjara, which many consider to be one of the most beautiful black sand beaches in the world. The views are otherworldly, due to the sunlight and the color of the beach. The lighting here is very dramatic; you will love it. The color of the sand is not the only thing that will catch your eye.  In the background, you will see some impressive basalt columns called Gardar. They are huge, some of them are 340 meters (1,115 feet) high.

Beware the trolls! If the black sand beach was not enough and the basalt columns did not suffice, well then there is another surprise. The Reynisdrangar basalt formation that stands in the ocean. As a local legend states, these pillars used to be trolls that turned into stone as they could not reach the shore fast enough before the break of dawn.

And finally, you can also visit Dyrholaey, a beautiful arch that the ocean created by eroding the cliffs. The views from the cliffs are breathtaking, and if you happen to come during the summertime, then you can see the cute puffins in their nests.

Dyrholaey cliff is close to Vik's black sand beaches

Vik’s Black Sand Beaches – A Dramatic Landscape That Inspires

Vik’s Black Sand Beaches – Deadly Beauty

Reynisfjara beach is incredibly beautiful but deadly as well. When visiting the beach, do follow the instructions of the many warning signs you will find along the coastline. Keep a distance between you and the area where the waves break.

The currents in this area are intense, and an unexpected wave can drag you into the sea at any time, even on a non-stormy day. Many tourists die every year from not following these rules. The waves are not always huge but they are extremely powerful, and that is why many people are overconfident and don’t believe such small waves can do as much harm. We want you to enjoy Iceland and this beautiful beach, so please do it safely.

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