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Iceland's World-Famous Reynisfara Beach Should Be on Your Bucket List, Here's Why
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Iceland's World-Famous Reynisfara Beach Should Be on Your Bucket List, Here's Why

Picture of Camille Buckley
Updated: 29 June 2018
Reynisfara is the black-sand beach on Iceland’s south coast that everyone is talking about. Located just behind the quaint fishing village of Vík í Mýrdal, the site is well-worth travelling the 180-kilometer distance from Reykjavík. Perhaps one of the most photogenic landscapes in the whole island, the site holds a mesmerizing array of geologically significant structures. Combine the landscape with a night-time view of the Aurora Borealis and you are most likely to have found a truly magical scene.

Visitors can take part in a variety of local guided tours, which include expert assistance in photographing the Aurora Borealis at the site. There is also the possibility to take guided horseback rides along the black-sand beach, offering a timeless experience.

Reynisfjara Beach-Iceland Golden Circle Tour-Iceland
Jennifer Cauli / | © Culture Trip
Reynisfjara Beach-Iceland Golden Circle Tour-Iceland
Jennifer Cauli / | © Culture Trip

Enormous basalt stacks line the beach in one area, with the crashing waves of the Atlantic ocean constantly roaring onto the black sand. The distant basalt stacks are also out in the surf, creating an eerie presence of timelessness of epic proportions. The distant stacks are home to thousands of seabirds who make their nests, making it a great location for birdwatchers looking to catch sight of Puffins, Fulmars, and Guillemots, among others.

Reynisfjara Beach-Iceland Golden Circle Tour-Iceland
Jennifer Cauli / | © Culture Trip
Reynisfjara Beach-Iceland Golden Circle Tour-Iceland
Jennifer Cauli / | © Culture Trip
Reynisfjara Beach-Iceland Golden Circle Tour-Iceland
Jennifer Cauli / | © Culture Trip
Reynisfjara Beach-Iceland Golden Circle Tour-Iceland
Jennifer Cauli / | © Culture Trip

An interesting folklore surrounds the place as well. These basalt sea stacks located off the shoreline, known as Reynisdrangur, were once upon a time living trolls who were engaged in trying to pull ships from the ocean. Distracted from tracking the approaching dawn, the trolls were quickly turned to stone. In another folklore tale, a local fisherman’s wife was kidnapped and killed by the trolls and in revenge, he followed the trolls to Reynisfara beach and froze them in the surf, ensuring they would never kill again.

Reynisfjara Beach-Iceland Golden Circle Tour-Iceland
Jennifer Cauli / | © Culture Trip
Reynisfjara Beach-Iceland Golden Circle Tour-Iceland
Jennifer Cauli / | © Culture Trip
Reynisfjara Beach-Iceland Golden Circle Tour-Iceland
Jennifer Cauli / | © Culture Trip
Reynisfjara Beach-Iceland Golden Circle Tour-Iceland
Jennifer Cauli / | © Culture Trip

Gazing upon Reynisfara is definitely worth your time, however, visitors must be aware of the potential dangers that are present at the beach. Many fatal accidents have occurred at the location with most involving the unsuspecting surf. The roaring waves are incredibly violent and contain a fierce undercurrent. With the black sand, it can be difficult to gauge the distance at which the waves are reaching the shore, often exceeding expectations and having sudden shifts in their reach. Visitors are advised to not turn their backs on the waves, especially while engaging in photographs and to keep a safe distance of at least 20 meters.

Reynisfjara Beach-Iceland Golden Circle Tour-Iceland
Jennifer Cauli / | © Culture Trip
Reynisfjara Beach-Iceland Golden Circle Tour-Iceland
Jennifer Cauli / | © Culture Trip
Reynisfjara Beach-Iceland Golden Circle Tour-Iceland
Jennifer Cauli / | © Culture Trip