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Visiting Vik and its Black Sand Beaches


Vik Black Sand Beaches

When choosing which black sand beach in Iceland to visit, you’ll be spoilt for choice! However, one of the country’s best areas for stunning black sand beaches is, without a doubt, the small coastal village of Vik in Southern Iceland.

The incredible Vik beaches in Iceland are famous for their dramatic scenery, towering basalt rock columns, crashing waves and volcanic sand. Let’s explore all you need to know about visiting these Vik beaches in Iceland to make sure your trip is the best possible experience!

Black Sand Beaches Near Vik

There are two black sand beaches near Vik: the famous Reynsfjara and the lesser well-known, but still beautiful, Vikurfjara. Both of these black sand beaches are definitely worth a visit when in the Vik area.

Reynisfjara Beach

Perhaps the most famous black sand beach in the world and consistently rated one of Earth’s most beautiful beaches, Reynisfjara is truly breathtaking. Lined by striking columns of black basalt rock and covered in volcanic sand, Reynsjara is a must-see during your time in Iceland.

This black sand beach near Vik is a famous photo spot for visitors and is perfect for a brisk seaside walk, as Reynisfjara stretches on and on for several kilometers, taking around an hour to traverse by foot.

vik beaches iceland

As you look out to sea, you’ll see the impressive Reynisdrangar, which are unusual, tall basalt rock formations in the water. Legend says that these were trolls who tried to lure ships to shore, but went out too late and got turned to stone in the sunlight.

Famous also as a Game of Thrones filming location, Reynsfjara is a popular stop on many guided tours of Iceland. Voted one of the world’s top 10 non-tropical beaches to visit by National Geographic in 1991, Reynsfjara sure has many claims to fame!

Vikurfjara Beach

Located opposite Reynisfjara, this Vik black beach is the much lesser known of the two. Offering similar basalt rock columns and black sand views, Vikurfjara is the perfect beach to visit to escape the crowds and enjoy an idyllic stroll among a spectacular landscape.

Vikurfjara is actually slightly closer to the village of Vik than Reynisfjara, making both of these Vik black beaches easy to visit after exploring Vik itself. With parking spots available right on the beachfront, you can simply take a short trip to this black sand beach in Vik during your Iceland itinerary to soak in the beautiful black sand beach views.


‘The Black Sand Beach of Vik’

Have you heard people referring to ‘the black sand beach of Vik’ and wondered what and where exactly that is? Actually, ‘the black sand beach of Vik’ is another name for Reynsjara! You may hear these names interchangeably, so it’s helpful to know that they are, in fact, the same place!

How Did Vik’s Black Sand Beaches in Iceland Form?

Now you know a little more about Vik’s black sand beaches, you might be curious about how these incredible beaches formed. Well, it’s all due to the volcanic activity taking place in Iceland. As the island’s volcanoes erupt and spew lava across the land, it eventually meets the sea, rapidly cooling down to form black volcanic sediment.

This sediment is solid at first, but is gradually eroded and broken down over thousands of years into the black volcanic sand that we see today. The churning ocean waves, harsh winds and other extreme environmental conditions speed this process up, eventually creating the awe-inspiring black sand beaches of Vik.

Katla Volcano is at the heart of the volcanic system in Southern Iceland, where Vik is located, with its last major eruption occurring in 1918. One of the largest volcanoes in Iceland, eruptions from Katla led to the natural creation of black sand beaches near Vik over millennia.

black sand beach in iceland

When to Visit Vik’s Beaches in Iceland

You can visit Vik’s beaches at any time of year, but you might want to plan your trip to avoid the peak tourist times and harsh weather conditions. First of all, we recommend checking the weather forecast in Iceland to make sure you avoid traveling to the black sand beaches in Vik during a storm or any other unfavorable weather conditions.

The shoulder seasons of spring and autumn offer a good balance of fairly quiet conditions with fewer tourists and milder weather, whereas you may find the beaches particularly chilly during winter. When visiting Vik’s black sand beaches during the winter months, make sure to wrap up extra warm with a hat, gloves and scarf.

During summer, we recommend arriving at the black sand beaches near Vik before 10am if possible, as Reynsifjara can become very busy during these peak tourist months.

What to Do at Vik’s Black Sand Beaches in Iceland

Looking for some recommendations of how to spend your time at Vik’s black sand beaches in Iceland? Look no further! Here are some of our favorite activities to do at these incredible black sand beaches in Iceland:

  • Take photos – Visiting Vik’s black sand beaches is, for sure, a major photography opportunity, with stunning, panoramic views everywhere you look. If you have a professional camera, make sure to bring it along to capture these amazing, otherworldly sights!

  • See the Northern Lights – If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Iceland during the peak Northern Lights season from November to February, you’ll have a very high chance of spotting these dancing aurorae during your trip. This colorful light show is even more magical when enjoyed against the backdrop of Vik’s black sand beaches. Whether you choose a Northern Lights Vik tour or you prefer to go on a self-driving Northern Lights hunt, this is an amazing activity to enjoy at Vik’s stunning beaches.

Iceland's Northern Lights

  • Watch the puffins – For those visitors who will be in Iceland between May and August, you’ll be able to see the cute and fascinating puffins making their nests on the cliffs at Vik’s black sand beaches. During their breeding season, the puffins head onto land, with the basalt rock cliffs at Reynisfjara being one of their favorite places – cute!

  • Go on a walking tour – Taking a guided tour along Reynisfjara is a brilliant way to learn more all about this incredible volcanic beach, while enjoying the sights and sounds of this wonderful place. With a range of tours to choose from, you can take whichever option you fancy – you can even take a horse riding tour of Vik’s black sand beaches if you’re a keen rider!

How to Get to Vik and its Beaches

So, how exactly do you get to Vik and its black sand beaches? It’s actually very easy! Located just off the country’s main road, the Ring Road in Iceland (or Route 1), the black sand beaches in Vik are highly accessible for visitors.

Reykjavík to Vik, Iceland

If you’re traveling from Reykjavík to the black sand beach at Vik, you’ll need to drive for around 2 hours and 30 minutes along Route 1 to reach Reynsfjara. When taking this route, you’re in for a treat! The Reykjavík to Vik, Iceland route is incredibly stunning, with awe-inspiring landscapes everywhere you look.

When you get to the turning near Vik, you’ll need to turn right and take a road called Reynishverfisvegur (Route 215) for just less than ten minutes to reach Vik’s black sand beaches.

vik black beach

Hotels in Vik, Iceland

Vik is a great location for an overnight stay during your trip along Iceland’s popular Southern Coast. If you’re looking to stay overnight in Vik, here are a few options for hotels in Vik to take a look through:

  • Puffin Hostel, Vik – First up, if you want to find a hotel in Vik on a budget, you can check out Puffin Hostel. With single, double, triple or quadruple room options, there’s something to suit everyone at this hostel, which is located in the center of the village, only around ten minutes by foot to Vik’s black sand beaches.

  • Hotel Vik i Myrdal – A comfortable and modern hotel in Vik, Hotel Vik i Mydral is a family-run accommodation, which takes its architectural inspiration from the stunning volcanic landscapes near Vik. With a range of rooms, a restaurant and bar, and an amazing location in the middle of nature reserve only ten minutes from Vik’s black sand beaches, this hotel is a great option for your stay in Vik.

  • Vik Apartments – For a luxury stay in Vik, we recommend Vik Apartments. Here, you’ll have a whole two-bedroom apartment, including a private terrace, bathroom and kitchen. Best of all, it only takes five minutes to walk from these lovely apartments to Vik’s black sand beaches!

Top Travel Tips For Visiting Vik Beaches, Iceland

When visiting Vik beaches in Iceland, there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind. These top travel tips for visiting the black sand beaches near Vik will help keep you safe and enjoy your time at these incredible places!

  • Beware of sneaker waves – The most important thing to be aware of when visiting Vik’s black sand beaches is the possibility of sneaker waves, which Reynisfjara is particularly known for. These strong, powerful and sudden waves head further on the shore than the average wave and can hit the beach with no warning, having sadly dragged people out to sea in the past. Many videos of sneaker waves on Vik’s black sand beaches show tourists taken by surprise and knocked over by these dangerous waves. It’s really important to remain on guard by never turning your back on the ocean and staying a safe distance away from the water.

Reynisfjara beach

  • Don’t go swimming – Needless to say, the waters at Vik’s beaches in Iceland are definitely not safe for swimming. There are strong Atlantic undercurrents in the sea at Vik that cannot be seen from the shore, making these waters extremely dangerous for swimming. Instead, you can soak in the incredible views safely from the shore, away from the crashing waves.

  • Use a camera strap – Make sure to keep your camera on a secure strap when visiting Vik’s black sand beaches. The sand itself is fairly difficult to walk on, meaning you can lose your balance easily, and we’re sure you don’t want to get your beloved camera covered in sand, or worse: seawater! Using a strap will ensure your camera stays clean and dry.

  • Avoid climbing the basalt rocks – Although they may look tempting to climb, the stunning basalt rocks at Reynisfjara are often very slippy due to both spray from the seawater and their naturally smooth surface. This makes them very dangerous for climbing, so it’s best to enjoy the spectacular rocks from the safety of the beach instead.

  • Be respectful of the wildlife at Vik’s beaches – You might be able to spot puffins and seals at the black sand beaches near Vik. While these animals are undoubtedly cute and fascinating to watch, it’s important to keep a respectful distance away from them to avoid disturbing any natural processes.

  • Wear waterproof clothing – As there can often be spray from the sea in the air at Vik’s black sand beaches, we recommend wearing waterproof outer layers and shoes. A good-quality waterproof coat, waterproof trousers and shoes are the perfect attire for an enjoyable and comfortable trip to Vik’s beaches in Iceland.

See the Beauty of Vik Beaches in Iceland For Yourself!

Ready to plan the adventure of a lifetime? Let’s get started with organizing your very own perfect Iceland vacation, so you can witness the beauty of Vik’s black sand beaches for yourself!

First of all, you can check your accommodation options and explore affordable and reliable cars to rent in Iceland, so you’re all set for an epic road trip adventure! Iceland is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination due to the beauty of the island’s landscapes, including the incredible Vik black sand beaches, so we highly recommend securing your bookings in advance to avoid disappointment. We can’t wait to see you soon!