Extreme Iceland Tour: Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach

Reynisfjara Beach

I had many questions about the Extreme Iceland Two-Day Tour that I booked for June 2017. I wanted to know what to pack, what to wear, food choices, Internet service and more. Here I will share my experiences about the trip so that you will know what to expect if you go. Click here for all posts about Extreme Iceland.

The Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach near the town of Vik at the southernmost point on the island is one of the highlights of any trip to Iceland.

The black sand beach stretches for several miles. At the popular east end, near a mountain with a sea cave and basalt columns, two pinnacles (sea stacks) rise dramatically from the sea. Never again, perhaps, will you see so many unique natural features in one place. The beach is mesmerizing and almost unbelievable. Aron, our Extreme Iceland tour guide, said we had one hour at this beach, and that included lunch.

First, An Important Note About Safety at Reynisfjara

As beautiful as it is, Reynisfjara can actually be a very dangerous beach. Our tour guide Aron emphatically warned us about “sneaker waves” that have killed several people at the beach. Sneaker waves are powerful rogue waves that regularly appear among the “ordinary” waves. The waves “sneak up” on people and drag them out to sea. If I remember correctly, Aron said that approximately every 17th wave is a sneaker wave. The latest casualty was a tourist in January 2017.

Black Sand!

The black sand consists of tiny fragments of basalt lava from volcanic activity on the island.

The basalt columns at Reynisfjara Beach are a popular photo op and a natural resting place. But be careful here too. Sneaker waves will sometimes reach the columns. In 2016, a man standing on the columns was killed when a sneaker wave swept him off the columns and out to sea.

The “sea stacks”  (known as Reynisdrangar) at Reynisfjara Beach.

The basalt sea cave (Hálsanefshellir Cave) at Reynisfjara Beach is another popular photo op. A portion of this cave collapsed in 2013 (see photo here).

Birds at Reynisfjara Beach include puffins, fulmars and guillemots.

Walking on Reynisfjara Beach is almost like walking on another planet, or in an episode of Game of Thrones.