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Ultimate Guide to Vik and Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach


 Vik, Iceland

The southernmost village in Iceland, Vik, is home to incredible black sand beaches, charming, colorful houses and a historic church nestled on a hilltop. This tiny and unassuming, yet beautiful village located along Iceland’s South Coast has steadily become one of the most photographed locations in the country.

Situated between the buzzing capital of Reykjavik and the famous Vatnajokull National Park, Vik is the perfect place to spend a night or two during your exploration of Iceland’s incredible South Coast. Let’s explore more about Vik and the unmissable sights to see here at this traditional Icelandic village!

All About the Icelandic Seaside Town of Vik

 With a population of around 300, Vik is a tiny, village in South Iceland that rests in the shadows of Myrdalsjokull Glacier, which sits above Katla Volcano. Nestled in a mountain valley directly in front of the Icelandic coast, Vik is surrounded by incredible nature.

Due to the village’s tiny size, you might find it surprising that it has become such a tourist hotspot. As well as its own picturesque landscape, Vik’s proximity to both the natural wonders of Reynisfjara Beach and Vatnajokull Glacier makes it the perfect place for a short visit.

Around 2.5 hours from the Icelandic capital, Reykjavik, by car, Vik is known to be the warmest village in Iceland, although only by a degree or two. It can also be one of the rainiest spots on the island, so we recommend packing a raincoat, even if it’s summer!

Town of vik, Iceland

Top Things to Do in Vik, Iceland

Curious about the best things to do around Vik, Iceland? We’ve compiled a list of our favorite activities and attractions to see around Vik, so you don’t miss out on any of the incredible places to visit and things to do in this remarkable Icelandic village.

Visit Vik’s Black Sand Beach: Reynisfjara

Vik’s black sand beach is called Reynisfjara, which is undoubtedly the area’s star attraction. The most famous black sand beach in Iceland, Reynisfjara has earned this title for a reason! The volcanic black sand, imposing basalt columns and crashing waves of Reynisfjara Beach can’t help but make a striking impression on everyone who visits here.

You might have heard of the incredible basalt columns that you can see in Iceland. Well, the most spectacular of these can be found in Vik on Reynisfjara Beach. Lining the beach is a row of towering, dark, hexagonal basalt rocks, carved from the island’s volcanic activity. The volcanic sand combined with these basalt columns truly makes visiting Reynisfjara feel like stepping into another world!

While admiring the incredible views at Reynisfjara, be careful not to get too close to the water. This beach is famous for sneaker waves, which are incredibly dangerous waves that can suddenly surge further up the beach than expected. The strong Atlantic waves crashing at Reynisfjara can be incredibly powerful and should always be treated with caution.


Experience a Lava Show in Vik

Inspired to learn more about Iceland’s incredible landscapes? You’re in luck because Vik is the only place in the world where you can witness a live lava show! A trip to the Icelandic Lava Show is a must when in Vik. This incredible presentation recreates a volcanic eruption by superheating real lava until it reaches a staggering temperature of 1100ºC (2000ºF) – wow!

One of the most unique and highly-rated attractions in Iceland, the fantastic lava show in Vik is sure to be a memory you won’t soon forget!

Explore Reyniskirkja Church

The most iconic landmark in Vik, the wooden Reyniskirkja Church, sits atop a hill overlooking the picturesque village nestled in the mountain valley below. Built in 1929, this red-roofed white church is a favorite photography spot for visitors, both for the striking church itself and the incredible views afforded from the hill.

Reyniskirkja Church is also known as Vik i Myrdal Church, so you may see these names used interchangeably – useful to know, so you don’t go looking for two different churches!

See the Northern Lights in Vik, Iceland

During the winter season, you might be lucky enough to spot the dazzling Northern Lights dancing across the sky above Vik and Reynisfjara Beach. Beautiful enough during the day, these incredible locations seem to shine even brighter when lit up by the magical colors of the aurorae.

With its small population and remote location, Vik is a great place to spot the Northern Lights away from the light pollution of Iceland's cities. Reynisfjara Beach is another fantastic location to view these incredible lights, shining brightly against the black volcanic sand.

 Northern Lights in Vik, Iceland

Take a Dip in Vik Swimming Pool

Fancy a quick dip? You can enjoy bathing in two outdoor pools at Vik Swimming Pool, while admiring the incredible mountain views as you swim. These heated pools are a great place to relax during your busy day of exploring. There’s also a hot tub, cold tub and sauna, so you can have a full-on spa day in the foothills of Vik’s mountains!

Attractions Near Vik, Iceland: Dyrholaey Peninsula and Solheimajokull Glacier

So, while in Vik, what other nearby attractions are worth visiting? Well, further down the coast from Reynisfjara Beach is another unmissable sight in South Iceland: Dyrholaey. The 120-meter tall Dyrholaey, which means ‘door hole’ in Icelandic, is a striking peninsula that arches into the sea and offers incredible views of the coast.

Small ships and boats can sail through the opening during low tide, and you can walk across the top of the arch during daylight hours (if you’re not afraid of heights, that is!). There’s also a beautiful lighthouse at Dyrholaey, as well as fascinating wildlife.

If you want to explore a glacier near Vik, you’ll be pleased to know that you don’t have to travel far. Vik is actually located just south of the mighty Myrdalsjokull ice cap. The glacier of Solheimajokull is an outlet of this bigger ice cap, located close to the village. You can take a guided glacier hike at Solheimajokull or even try your hand at some ice climbing at Solheimajokull if you’re feeling extra adventurous!

Vik is the perfect location for a day trip to nearby natural wonders, including Katla Ice Cave, which you can visit on a guided tour. For those travelers looking for hot springs near Vik, you’ll have to travel a little further, we’re afraid. There are many amazing hot springs across Iceland that are well worth a visit during your vacation.

Dyrholaey Peninsula

Best Places to Stay in Vik, Iceland

There’s a whole range of hotels, hostels and apartments in Vik to suit every traveler and every budget. If you’re looking for the best hotels in Vik, Iceland, check out our selection of top places to stay during your trip:

  • Hotel Kria – The cozy Hotel Kria is situated in the perfect location to explore Vik, with stunning mountain views and a wonderful restaurant offering traditional Icelandic cuisine.

  • Vik Apartments – Want more room and privacy during your stay? At Vik Apartments, you’ll have a whole two-bedroom apartment to yourself, including cooking facilities and a private bathroom.

  • Puffin Hostel, Vik – If you’re looking for a budget-friendly accommodation option, we can recommend Puffin Hostel, where you can choose between a single, double, triple or quadruple room.

  • Black Beach Suites – Enjoy spectacular sea views at the luxury Black Beach Suites. These studio apartments are the perfect place to stay to experience Vik in the ultimate comfort.

  • Hotel Vik i Myrdal – Built from a mixture of basalt, wood, glass and concrete, this family-run, modern hotel takes its architectural inspiration from the surrounding natural landscape and offers a range of comfortable rooms for your stay.

Places to Stay in Vik, Iceland

Best Restaurants in Vik

As with any popular travel destination, there are several wonderful places to eat in Vik, as well as a few tourist traps that you’ll want to avoid. The last thing you want is to be waiting in line behind busloads of day trippers!

It’s best to be clued-up on the top restaurants in Vik before you head there for your day out. If you’re looking for an authentic culinary experience, here are some of the most highly-recommended restaurants in Vik:

  • Sudur Vik – A rustic favorite offering a range of classic, homemade Icelandic dishes and incredible views of the village.

  • Halldorskaffi – Located in a historic Vik house, this locally owned and operated establishment serves a range of hearty and delicious meals.

  • Strondin Bistro and Bar – The simple menu, including tasty pasta, fish and salad dishes, makes this restaurant the perfect lunch spot in Vik.

  • Vikurskali – Want a quick bite to eat? This is the best place for casual, homemade food, including grilled burgers.

  • Smidjan Brugghus – Sample some delicious pub grub at this microbrewery that serves craft beers and even beer cocktails!

Best Restaurants in Vik

Top Travel Tips For Visiting Vik, Iceland

Before you head to Vik and start exploring all the magical sights here, why not take a quick look through our top travel tips to make sure you have the best experience possible?

  • Wear waterproof outer layers – No matter the season, we recommend wearing waterproof outer layers. This is important not only because Vik is famous for being one of the wettest areas in Iceland, but also because Iceland itself is well-known for its unpredictable and changeable weather. When an unexpected rain shower hits, you’ll be very glad for your waterproof clothes and shoes!

  • Pack a change of clothes – If you plan to spend a lot of time exploring the great outdoors in and around Vik, a change of clothes is a great addition to your backpack for the day. This is especially true if you’re going to visit Reynisfjara Beach, as the spray from the sea can quickly soak you. Make sure you spend the rest of the day warm, comfortable and dry by bringing a change of clothes along with you.

  • Bring a spare camera battery and/or phone charger – With so much to see and photograph, it’s not uncommon to quickly run out of battery! A spare camera battery could be just what you need in the middle of the day to make sure you can take as many pictures as your heart desires. A portable phone charger can be another lifesaver, especially when the weather is cold, as this tends to cause batteries to run out quicker than normal.

  • Always read and respect the signs – When visiting Iceland, you’ll most likely be exploring landscapes that are very different to those you’re familiar with at home, and Vik is no exception. It’s extremely important to read and respect any signs that have been put up to keep you safe. For example, there are signs at Reynisfjara Beach to warn people to stay away from the seashore due to the danger of sneaker waves. Make sure to heed these warnings to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

views at Reynisfjara

  • Book ahead of time – If you plan to visit any restaurants or attractions while in Vik, we highly recommend that you reserve your place beforehand. This is particularly important during the peak tourist season of summertime, as tickets and tables tend to sell out quickly. You can plan your itinerary ahead of time and make sure your place is reserved, so you can have the best day possible exploring the charming village of Vik!

Explore Vik and its Black Sand Beaches on Your Very Own Iceland Adventure!

A visit to the volcanic black sand beaches and dark basalt columns of Vik and Reynisfjara is sure to take your breath away. Inspired to explore these incredible and otherworldly landscapes for yourself?

Making your dream Iceland vacation a reality is actually easier than you think! Once you’ve chosen your accommodation, you can reserve your rental car in Iceland, ready for the trip of a lifetime. Don’t forget your camera to capture all the magical sights and natural wonders you’ll see along the way!