Iceland is a place known the world over for its stunning scenery, explosive volcanoes, and massive glaciers. But did you know that Iceland beaches are also quite famous as well? From the black sand beach in Reynisfjara near Vik to the Diamond Beach close to Vatnajökull, they are all spectacular. And Iceland’s elements of fire and ice only add to the landscapes along our shores.
Let’s take a look at some of the best beaches in Iceland. You can’t go swimming at most of them, but you should still visit nevertheless. The spectacular combination of features is one that you will not find in many places around the world.
Reynisfjara: The Black Sand Beach in Iceland
While many of the world’s most beautiful beaches are known for white sand or golden sand, Iceland is different. Our country’s midnight-hued volcanic black sand beaches are special in their own right. You’ll find black sand beaches in Iceland scattered all around the country. And some of our most striking ones are in the southern volcanic zone along the South Coast.
Reynisfjara beach is probably Iceland’s most well-known black sand beach and one of our most popular tourist attractions. It’s also the black beach in Iceland from Game of Thrones.
So what makes Reynisfjara beach Iceland so special? In addition to the dark sands, this beach in Iceland near Vik features sea cliff walls made of hexagonal basalt columns. These unique geological wonders along with the Reynisdrangar sea stacks make for some pretty impressive views. Just watch out for sneaker waves as they can come up from nowhere and drag you out to sea.
Djúpalónssandur Beach Iceland: The Black Lava Pearl Beach
Another black beach in Iceland is Djúpalónssandur. It’s a sand and pebble beach In Snaefellsnes Peninsula close to Snaefellsjökull National Park.
When visiting Iceland and driving around the Ring Road, the peninsula is a one or two-day detour that absolutely warrants a visit. If you have limited time during your trip to Iceland, I highly recommend visiting Snaefellsnes. It’s known as Iceland in miniature thanks to the high concentration of typical Icelandic sightseeing highlights. In addition to Djúpalónssandur black beach, There are also glaciers, volcanoes, magnificent waterfalls, quaint fishing villages, basalt rock formations, hidden hot pots, and more.
Djúpalónssandur is known as the Black Lava Pearl Beach because each black pebble looks like a beautiful black pearl. As you hold them in your hand you’ll feel like you’ve discovered some gorgeous volcanic treasure. It’s a small cove less frequented by tourists, so it offers a more intimate experience than Vik’s black beach.
Solheimasandur: The Plane on a Beach in Iceland
This is one of the more haunting sites you’ll encounter during your Iceland trip. When you visit the beach you’ll come across the remains of a Douglas DC-3 military plane that crashed here in 1973. All that remains of the downed aircraft on this famous plane wreck site is the fuselage. It was abandoned long ago after the pilot was forced to crash-land here. Luckily, everyone survived.
The juxtaposition of the white plane carcass set against the dark backdrop of the black volcanic beach makes for a powerful and memorable sight. It’s no wonder that this is such a popular spot for travel photography. It was also featured in Justin Bieber’s “I’ll show you” video, which was entirely filmed in Iceland.
You used to be able to drive directly to the crash site, but as it grew in popularity that has changed. Now you’ll need to walk around 4 km (2.5 miles) to arrive at the wreckage. You can stop here on your way to Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls as a neat detour.
The Diamond Beach Iceland
If Reynisfjara beach was forged from fire, then the Diamond Beach Iceland has ice as its main feature. The Diamond Beach gets its name from the huge chunks of ice that have washed up on its shore. The smaller ones resemble diamonds, which is why it’s often referred to as the black diamond beach Iceland. Apologies if you had your hopes up of coming to Iceland and getting rich from treasure along the shoreline!
The chunks of ice come from Jökulsárlón lagoon, which sits directly across the highway. As the large and small icebergs make their way out to sea from the glacier lagoon, some of them get washed back to shore. For this reason, it’s also called the iceberg beach in Iceland.
Breidavik Beach Iceland
This is a breathtaking beach in Iceland Westfjords. If you plan on visiting the Látrabjarg birdwatching cliffs, make a stop by this lovely little hidden gem. Breidavik (Breiðavík) beach Iceland has turquoise water lapping up against golden sands.
Many people say that it’s Iceland’s best light-colored beach and it’s easy to see why. In addition to the jewel-toned water, the backdrop features a typical Icelandic church set on the top of a grassy green meadow. It really doesn’t get more picturesque than that. Take a stroll on the beach either before or after you head to see the puffins and guillemots of Látrabjarg bird cliffs.
Nauthólsvík: The Geothermal Beach Close to Reykjavik
If you’re into the warm waters of Mother Nature’s hot tubs (hot springs in Iceland), then you’ll definitely want to visit Nauthólsvík. This little piece of heaven is a geothermal beach close to Reykjavik city center. It doesn’t have the dark volcanic sand like many of Iceland’s beaches, but rather is a golden sand beach.
This is actually a man-made beach that was opened in 2001 and approximately 530,000 tourists and residents visit every year. The lagoon was built using high sea walls and creative engineering. It was constructed in a way to combine hot geothermal water with cold seawater from the Atlantic. The overall effect is a bathing zone with overall pleasantly higher temperatures.
6 Best Iceland Beaches
It’s true that many people come to Iceland to experience both summer’s Midnight Sun and winter’s Northern Lights. The country’s beaches are yet another natural wonder that gives you a great reason to visit. Check out the diversity and come see Iceland’s beaches for yourself.