#reynisfjara

Iceland is truly a geological wonderland.  For geologists, the island is a significant source for research offering more variety of places to study than most places on the planet.  Some of the geological wonders are also one of our most popular attractions, like basalt column stacks and all kinds of basalt column formations. Although this beautiful structure, originating in basalt lava, is found in many places in the world, Iceland is probably the best place to find many beautiful basalt columns. At least where the distance between them is relatively short.

Basalt column places that you will enjoy

Visitors who have traveled to Iceland sometimes send us photos, articles from their tour and videos to share. This is much appreciated and wonderful since we love hearing from people who travel our country and are prepared to share their experience. Almost all of the messages that we get are very positive and even up to a point where it is almost unbelievable. Sometimes when we are on the road, we ask people visiting Iceland about their experience.

Sjoerd van der Verff traveled to Iceland last summer from June 11th to June 24th in 2016

Most of the natural wonders attractions in Iceland have easy access and are relatively straightforward to view and visit. Some of the places need caution as they have high cliffs, powerful rivers, boiling water, dangerous waves, landslides and slippery ice.  Some areas require more caution than others and all visitors to such places should read warning signs and take notice of the warnings.  One such place is Kirkjusandur beach east of Dyrhólaey arch in the Southern Region in Iceland.  It is a fascinating and beautiful place that can turn lethal in seconds. The beach is stunning and wonderful to visit and walk when the tide is low and the weather is calm. Preferably not windy. Even on such a day a walk near the cliffs on the beach can be dangerous as the cliffs can burst with a landslide at any time.  Especially after days of rain.

Don't not enter the Kirkjufjara beach when tide is high

There are two parking lots to view Dyrhólaey arch. One at the highest point by the small lighthouse and the other one is a bit east by Kirkjufjara beach.  From the parking lot you have an excellent view to Dyrhólaey arch from the cliffs and you also have a spectacular view of the Reynisdrangar stacks and Reynisfjara beach to the east.  From the parking lot, there is a narrow path down to Kirkjusandur beach with two to three meter small cliffs on both sides.  This is the only entrance to the beach. The beach is located under a much higher cliff with the immensely forceful the Atlantic Ocean on the other side. Anyone entering the beach should understand that waves are not equal in size. Every 15th or 20th wave there is a much larger wave that stretches much farther inland than others, and that is the highly dangerous sneaker wave.  So even if the waves seem calm and innocent on a day with high tides, a much larger one is due at any time floating up the walking path. On such a day, especially when the winds are strong and the tide is high no one should enter the Kirkjusandur beach. If a wave from the Atlantic Ocean grabs you, the fight is extremely tough.  Enjoying the view to the east and the west from the parking lot is great and gives everyone great photographic opportunities.

Access is easy from the Ring Road in the Southern Region

Entering the parking lot to Kirkjusandur beach is the same road as the road leading to Dyrholaey arch.  On the Ring Road Nr. 1 you turn south to Dyrhólavegur road Nr. 218. This Road will lead to both parking lots to view Dyrhólaey and Kirkjufjara.  

Some of the places need caution, one such place is Kirkjufjara

Reynisfjara Beach has in recent years become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland. And for a reason as the spectacular beach has a lot to offer.  It is a beautiful black beach stretching on a three-kilometer reef to the west from the parking lot by the service center.  With the Atlantic Ocean on the south side and Dyrhólaós lagoon on the northern side.  The large black pebble beach, consisting of black sand and pebbles, is a joy to view and by taking a short walk along the reef, you can find a peaceful spot and face the breeze from the Atlantic ocean even when the beach is floating with people.  From the easternmost part of Reynisfjara beach, you have a great view of the spectacular Reynisdrangar basalt stacks right off the shore. 

A place with spectacular view in any direction

While viewing the stacks you also have one of the most spectacular basalt column formations in Iceland right in front of you.  A place that one could almost believe was designed thousands of years ago with selfies on a phone camera in mind.  On a good clear day, even the view from the beach to the north is spectacular, to the mountains and the glacier Mýrdalsjökull.  And also to the west where another spectacular natural wonder Dyrhólaey, the southernmost part of Iceland, stretches out to the Atlantic ocean.

A place where forces of nature have fought their battles for thousands of years

Although a beautiful place of natural wonders it is also a meeting place of natural forces. Throughout the centuries and even thousands of years, and day by day, the Atlantic Ocean attacks the land and bit by bit takes part from and reshapes the beach, cliffs, and stacks. Everyone must remember that although the waves might look innocent, they are very powerful and sometimes highly dangerous. A caution is needed, especially when the tide is high and the winds are strong.  We also must remember that the waves are not equal in size. Every 14th to 20th wave from the Atlantic ocean is considerably larger the other waves and floods farther up on the beach.  The waves are very deceiving and everyone needs to take care and risk taking is not recommended.

Access is quite straight forward and easy

Like many natural wonders in Iceland access is simple from the Ring Road Nr. 1. It is located on the south shore west of the small village of Vík.  When traveling from Reykjavík the capital of Iceland you take a turn south on the road Reynishverfisvegur Nr. 215 and drive approximately 6 kilometers. This is the only road to Reynisfjara beach, and you can not access this place from the village Vík.
 

Reynisfjara Beach has in recent years become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland

The Atlantic Ocean is quite the sculptor, much apparent in various locations around Iceland. Reynisdrangar, just south of the dramatic black beaches of Vík village are three spiky basalt sea stacks rising from the ocean 66 m into the air.  Legend has it that the three stacks were formerly two trolls dragging a three-mast ship towards land throughout a night. Alas, it was a slow maneuver and the night wasn't long at that time of year. At the break of dawn up rose the Sun and cast its rays on the trolls, instantly turning them into stone. The stack next to land, Landdrangur, is the fogy, Langsamur the ship is in the middle with the old hag, Háidrangur, at the rear end.

Photogenic stone trolls

This disaster was, by no means the end of the trolls. Even today you can hear their wails and laments when you drive from Vík village to observe them up close. They never have and never will accept their destiny. So close to their warm and cozy home in Mount Katla, the most ferocious volcano in Iceland and all their labor lost.  But fortunately for us, the two trolls and their looted ship are incredibly photogenic and always worth visiting. 

Be on alert and aware of the DANGEROUS waves on the beach

Although both folklore story and landscape are fascinating for the camera and anyone's imagination, you must remember if you visit Reynisdrangar, either from the east side from Vík or from Reynisfjara on the west side, that the ocean and the waves are often extremely DANGEROUS. Much more dangerous than trolls.  Especially when the tide is high and winds are strong. The waves might look innocent and calm as they softly crawl in and cover the beach, but they are often quite strong and demanding on the way out; almost unpredictable. Everyone visiting should read the signs and understand that the waves are not only dangerous in high tide and strong winds.  Everyone visiting Reynisfjara should BE CAREFUL.

Reynisdrangar, just south of the dramatic black beaches of Vík village