Experience Iceland’s Insta-Worthy Black Sand Beach Bliss

Experience Iceland’s Insta-Worthy Black Sand Beach Bliss

Beaches with brilliant white sands are gorgeous, no doubt. But have you ever seen black sand beaches?

There you are, dressed in coloured clothing that floats around in the breeze. A wide shot captures your brilliant spot of colour against the vast black sand. The beautiful white arches of the water complete the shot as it hits the shore.

Looking for scenic black beach options? Here are some of the best black beaches you cannot afford to miss out on.

Iceland’s Beach Bliss Attractions Around the Beach
Stokksnes Beach

The Black Pearl Beach

  • Black pearly pebbles on the beach
  • Arch-shaped beachfront
  • Lava rock formations
  • Rugged cliffs
  • Ancient fishermen lifting rocks
  • Bird’s eye view of the beach from a cliff

The Diamond Beach

  • Black sand beach
  • Glistening “diamonds” made of ice-chunks
  • Glacier lagoons and tide pools
Reynisfjara Beach
  • Black sand beach
  • Basalt columns
  • Sea stacks
  • Lava rock formations
  • Beach cave
  • Vik church
  • Waterfalls
  • Glaciers
  • Bird’s eye view of the beach from Dyrholaey
  • Black sand beach
  • Plane wreck exhibition
  • Mountain landscape
  • Glaciers
  • Skogafoss waterfall

Stokksnes Black Sand Beach

Stunning black sand with a backdrop of scenic mountains and glaciers. Huge green grass clusters and a glistening endless waterbody. This is what you get to play around with when taking your shots at Stokksnes.

The distant Vestrahorn mountains will give you a stunning backdrop when it is well-lit or in the evening. However, you can get clear shots of the glacier during the day when there’s enough light.

The best part about Stokksnes Beach is that it is rarely crowded. You’ll have the freedom to experiment with various shots. It makes you feel like you’re on a big island, all on your own.

black sand beach, sand beach
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Tips For Great Shots at The Stokksnes Beach

The best shots of the Vestrahorn peaks are taken when reflected on the water. With a wide-angle lens, capture the mountain and its reflection on the beach. Such a shot would be even more magnificent when the peaks are hit by the sunset’s glow.

Long exposure shots work wonders, too. Especially when the water gives off a glassy reflection along the shoreline.

Did you know? In the summer (June to August), iceland experiences “Midnight Sun”. This is a phenomenon where there are 24 hours of light.

This is usually the best time to chase iconic shots, whether late in the night or early morning. Shots in the Midnight Sun have a characteristic pink, purple, and blue haze. The colors make the shots glorious.

You can get shots of the beach and mountains with slight snowfall. For these, visit Stokksnes during Autumn.

The vegetation patches will feature gorgeous shades of red, orange and gold. The color changes as they transition to winter.

Chasing shots of the great Northern Lights over the Vestrahorn mountains? Visit Stokksnes Beach in the Winter.

Amazing northern lights in winter, Stokksnes,
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How To Get To Stokksnes Beach

This scenic beach is near Hofn in Southeast Iceland. It’s a 6 hours’ drive from Iceland’s capital along the Ring Road Route.

Djúpalónssandur Black Pearl Beach

Fancy shots of yourself enjoying luxurious black pearls? Djúpalónssandur gives you that, with a backdrop of scenic cliffs and endless lava formations.

Then visit this arch-shaped beach at the foot of the Snæfellsnesjökull glacier.

If you’re looking to enjoy nature in its un-spoilt form, this beach is it. The symphony of the black pearly pebbles as you walk upon them and the raging waters are soothing. This, coupled with sights of rugged cliffs and lava rock formations, shows you nature at its roughest.

Black Pearl Beach
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Djúpalónssandur was once home to a thriving fishing village. In fact, the remains of their activities, four ancient lifting stones, are still on the shore.

The stones were used to assess the suitability of the fishermen for the raging waters. The fishermen would try to pick the stones up. These stones range from 50lbs to 339 lbs. The ones who were able to pick the 339 lbs stones were considered the strongest.

For a bird’s eye view of the white waves hitting the black beach’s shores, climb one of the cliffs. You can also check out the Söngklettur. It is a natural lava rock monument with a stunning reddish hue in the early evening.

How To Get To Djúpalónssandur Black Pearl Beach

You can access the Djúpalónssandur shelter cove via the Útnesvegur Road Intersection nr. 574. Turn south when you get to Dritvíkkurvegur Road nr. 572. The beach is about 204 km from the capital, a 2 to 3 hours drive. The cove has a parking lot, which the beach is a short walk from.

Breiðamerkursandur – The Diamond Beach

Picture this; large chunks of glistening ‘diamonds’ against a wealth of contrasting black sand on a sunny day. Now that is a shot that will get anyone to double tap!

This beach gets its name from the countless chunks of ice that wash up the shore from the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. The scenery is especially mesmerizing in the summer. Enjoy watching the ice chunks glisten with different hues in the sunlight.

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
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One of the best aspects of  Diamond Beach is that it’s an all-year-round spot. The scenery is amazing all year round.

Tips For Awesome Shots at Diamond Beach

The hues on the ‘diamonds’ are always so impressive when hit by sunlight. As such, if you want great photos of them, visit the beach at sunrise or sunset.

Diamond Beach, Iceland
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For scenic photos of the black sand beaches against the white of the water edges, plan for early evening shoots. You can also take pretty good shots with the gigantic clear blocks of ice. Most of them look like enormous rough diamonds.

How To Get To Iceland’s Diamond Beach

This beach is a 5-6-hour drive from Reykjavík on Iceland’s South Coast via Ring Road. It is an hour’s drive north of Hofn.

Reynisfjara: The Famous Black Sand Beach

This is the most famous black sand beach in Iceland. It features enormous basalt columns and rocky sea stalks off the shoreline. It also has breathtaking volcanic rocks. The beach is scenic throughout the year.

Black Sand Beach, Iceland
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The face of the Garðar cliff features hexagonal basalt columns. The columns form a spectacular backdrop, especially for wide shots. They are home to nesting seabirds.

The columns are the perfect spot for bird photography in Southern Iceland.

The cliff has also had its fair share of pounding by the raging ocean waves. So hard has the pounding been that it has carved out the stunning Hálsanefshellir cave.

A panoramic photo of the basalt columns, the cave, and the gorgeous black sand is spectacular. It can easily win landscape photography contests.

Stuðlaberg basalt columns on Reynisfjara beach near Vik
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This is one of the black sand beaches that has become famous worldwide. It’s been a filming location for globally acclaimed films. Some of the films are Star Wars, Game of Thrones, and Star Trek.

Tips For Great Photos At The Reynisfjara Beach

The scenery at Reynisfjara black sand beach is fantastic all year round. You can get great silhouettes of the sea stacks during sunset. However, if you visit Iceland in the height of summer, take note that sunrise occurs at around 3 am.

If you decide to take sunset photos of the sea stacks, the best shots are from the eastern side.

Reynisdrangar rocks
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July and August are great months to visit Reynisfjara Beach. This is because the weather is not too erratic; the rainfall is at its least. You get great shots, especially during Midnight Sun.

Summer is the best season to capture cute photos of puffins, fulmars, and guillemots. Bird photos are best taken in the evening. This is because during the day the birds are fishing at sea. They only return in the evening to roost.

Dyrholaey; Volcanic Sand Beach Viewpoint

For a scenic bird’s eye view of the black sand on Reynisfjara Beach, check out Dyrholaey cliff. It’s a 10 minute drive from Reynisfjara. Dyrholaey overlooks Reynisfjara Beach.

Dyrholaey Arch rock formation and sea in Iceland
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The elated ground gives a backdrop of mountains and volcanic rock formations. You can also see the Myrdalsjokull glacier. The glacier completes a spectacular panoramic photo of the gorgeous black sands.

This is one of the towering cliffs around the black sands beach. It features a lighthouse, which makes for spectacular evening shots.

Bonus Photoshoot Spots Near Reynisfjara’s Black Sand Beaches

Reynisfjara is one of the most ideal locations to shoot the great Northern Lights. This is if you want to capture them dancing over the magnificent Reynisdrangar sea stacks. The lights look spectacular as they reflect on the surface of the water against the black sand.

How To Get to Reynisfjara Beach

Reynisfjara Beach is on the southern coast of Iceland, 2 hours’ drive from Reykjavik via the Ring Road.

The two-hour drive has loads of attractions. There are some waterfalls: Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss. The Mydralsjokull and Eyjafjallajokull glaciers are breathtaking. They give beautiful backdrops for quick shots en route to the beach.

Solheimasandur Black Sand Beach

This beach is only 20 minutes from Reynisfjara Beach. Solheimasandur is particularly famous for its 1970’s plane wreck. This plane makes for unique beach photos.

U.S. Navy Airplane Abandoned
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The plane wreck has become a popular exhibition and an eerie landmark. Especially for tourists on a quick visit.

Photos at Solheimasandur have mountainscapes and glaciers as backdrops. This is in addition to the endless black sand beaches . The Skogafoss waterfall is only a few meters from this beach.

Take Enviable Black Sand Photos While Staying Safe

Iceland’s beaches are known for their “sneaker waves”. These are powerful waves that can creep up on you if you are not cautious. As such, even as you look for the best angles, it is advisable to always be on the lookout even at low tide. Swimming on the beaches is forbidden.

Black sand beaches are only one of nature’s gifts that Iceland has to offer. You need a few weeks to explore this scenic land and experience the best of what the country has to offer.

Featured Image from: Flickr by Diana Robinson

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Staff Writer