When you think of a trip to the beach, you most likely envision golden sands. However, when you’re in Iceland, you will find an entirely different type of beach. The black sand beaches in Iceland are the most prominent ones located around the country. These fantastic beaches are beautiful in their own right and will quickly become one of the highlights of your visit.

How Are Black Beaches Formed?

As expected, black sand beaches in Iceland are formed from volcanic rock, much like the rest of the island. As lava cools and solidifies, it creates black rock that is ground down by the elements to create the infamous black sand beaches. 

What Are the Best Black Beaches in Iceland?

As you embark on your journey through Iceland, you are more likely to find black sand beaches than any other type. However, there are certain black sand beaches in Iceland that stand out and attract more visitors – and for good reason. Here are the top black beaches to add to your itinerary.


If someone mentions the ‘black beach’ in Iceland, chances are they are referring to Reynisfjara. Located just west of Vik í Myrdal, Reynisfjara features impressive basalt columns and rock formations. According to folklore, these formations are trolls who were caught out in the sun and turned to stone. Much of the sand is formed from Katla eruptions.

Reynisfjara is one of the easiest black beaches in Iceland to visit as it is located close to the Ring Road. Many tours also stop at the beach if you prefer not to drive yourself.

When visiting Reynisfjara, it’s important to note the risks. Sneaker waves are common and can catch visitors off guard. Please heed the warning signs and lights posted at the beach, never turn your back on the water, and stay well away from the waves.


Diamond Beach (Breiðamerkursandur)

Breiðamerkursandur, commonly called Diamond Beach among visitors, is one of the most popular black sand beaches in Iceland. It is found in southeastern Iceland across from Jökulsárlón. The beach earned its English name from the pieces of ice that frequently wash up on shore, creating the appearance of diamonds against the black sand.

Breiðamerkursandur is also part of Vatnajökull National Park, a protected area that covers most of the western part of the country. Visitors to the beach should be mindful of the tides as they can affect how much ice is present on the beach. Ice ‘diamonds’ can be found on the beach in every season, but it’s important to note that results will vary day to day.

Diamond Beach (Breiðamerkursandur)


If your itinerary includes Snæfellsnes, Djúpalónssandur should be on your list. The beautiful walk from the parking lot to the beach is a journey in itself ending at one of the best black sand beaches in Iceland. You can also find four lifting stones that invite visitors to test their strength.

Djúpalónssandur is scattered with the remains of the Grimsby fishing trawler called Eipine. The boat wrecked off the shore in 1948, and the remains were left untouched as it is considered a graveyard for the 14 lives lost.

This black beach in Iceland is also known for dangerous sneaker waves. Visitors are encouraged to use caution when visiting, and wading is not advised.


Sólheimasandur is another of the black beaches of Iceland located along the south coast. This beach is also a glacier outwash that fills with flood waters when eruptions happen under Mýrdalsjökull. However, this beach is most well-known for the DC-3 plane wreck. This abandoned US Navy plane crashed in 1973 and was left on location.

Visitors are encouraged to use caution when visiting Sólheimasandur as some tourists have died due to poor weather conditions. The walk from the parking is long and there is no shelter from the weather, so please check the forecast before hiking. Transportation is sometimes available, making a visit to this beach more accessible without the long walk.



Stokksnes is a peninsula in southeast Iceland at Vestrahorn, one of the country’s most prominent mountains. This black sand beach is dotted with patches of green grass that make it an attractive place for photographers, especially with the majestic mountain in the background. You can also visit the nearby Viking Village, an older movie set.

Due to its more remote location, Stokksnes is a beach many visitors miss on their way by. While this beach charges an entry fee, it’s well worth it to take in the beautiful surroundings and break up your drive around the Ring Road, allowing you to take some amazing photographs to share when your journey is over.



Along the southeast coast, visitors can spend a little time at Hvalnes, or Whale Point, for a more secluded Iceland black sand beach. This beach is part of a nature reserve found halfway between Höfn and Djúpivogur. This thin strip of black sand beach is bordered by the ocean on one side and a lagoon on the other, revealing beautiful reflections from Eystrahorn.

Visitors will most likely find themselves more isolated at this beach as it is not well known. However, it is just off the Ring Road, making it easily accessible. It’s an excellent alternative if you don’t want to stop at the more popular Stokksnes.


If you’ll be visiting the north, you’ll find no shortage of Iceland black sand beaches. Just to the east of Sauðárkrókur, visitors can stop at Borgarsandur, a recreational area with fantastic views of Skagafjörður. This beach features dunes and marram grass, making it a unique area to explore.

In addition to the amazing views and hiking opportunities, there is a shipwreck at this black sand beach. The Ernan was pulled from the Sauðárkrókur harbor in 1970. This beach is accessible year-round. Please be mindful of the flora and fauna and stay on marked paths to preserve the area.

Lake Kleifarvatn

While many of the Iceland black sand beaches on this list are along the ocean, Lake Kleifarvatn also features black sand. This lake is one of the largest on the Reykjanes peninsula and is a popular spot for fishing in the summer. This lake is unique as the water comes and goes through underground tunnels rather than a river or spring.

Visitors can find this black sand beach while driving Road 42 which cuts through the Reykjanes peninsula. It’s a great place to stop while touring the other sights on the peninsular, especially if you’re looking for a great view while you enjoy a picnic.

Lake Kleifarvatn


Sandvík is located in the northeast of Iceland along Vopnafjörður. This Iceland black beach is found along the innermost part of the fjord and is an excellent spot for families to enjoy a day on the beach. The beach is a great place for bird watching, collecting seashells, and taking in the beautiful surroundings.

Visitors to Sandvík may see the remnants of a supply ship that ran aground in 1982. This wreckage is visible during low tide. While visiting this area, particularly in spring, visitors should be aware of the Hofsá river, which can overrun its banks and create areas of quicksand.

The black sand beaches in Iceland are a sight that should not be missed. While you can find black beaches in other locations around the world, the beaches in Iceland are truly one-of-a-kind primarily due to their breathtaking surroundings.

What better way to enjoy these and other black sand beaches in Iceland than with the best campervan rental to help you get around?