Photo: Jon_chica, YFS Magazine, Adobe Stock

9 Reasons To Visit Iceland’s Black Sand Beaches

The majestic scenery alone is reason enough to visit Iceland, but here's a look at 9 reasons you should book your trip asap.

Iceland is best known for its glaciers, geysers, and the Northern Lights, but its black sand beaches are quickly becoming famous as well and so are the hotels near Vik. If you’re thinking about taking a trip to this beautiful country, make sure you don’t miss out on any of these amazing black sand beaches. Here are 9 reasons why you should visit Iceland’s black sand beaches when you travel there.


1. Famously hot pools

Swim in natural warm water pools, also known as hot pots. These rock-formed pools are located across various parts of Iceland, but they are most often found on private property or at a hotel. There are two famous hotspots: The first is called Blue Lagoon, a relatively new tourist destination. The second is Myvatn Nature Baths, which has been around for generations and continues to be popular with locals and tourists alike. Both spots are fed by natural springs and boast views of lava fields and volcanoes in an icy setting. There’s nothing quite like it.


2. Geothermal activity all-around

Geothermal activity is one of Iceland’s major draws, and these black sand beaches are no exception. The dramatic cliffs and surrounding lava fields, formed during several volcanic eruptions in modern history, contribute to their overall allure. What’s more, research has shown that bathing in water with high concentrations of minerals like calcium can help relieve joint pain caused by osteoarthritis. Soak up some healing waters at these amazing black sand beaches on your next trip to Iceland. You won’t regret it.


3. Authentic nature destination

Unlike Yosemite or Yellowstone, your trip to Iceland’s black-sand beaches won’t be bogged down by overstimulation and crowds. The vast, seemingly desolate landscape and lack of neon signs are part of what makes it so appealing. In fact, you might be one of only a few tourists there at any given time. But that doesn’t mean you have to forgo amenities altogether—there are plenty of places along black sand beaches in Iceland where you can grab a bite or even stay overnight if you so choose.


4. Affordable accommodations for less than $50 per night

Affordable travel is all about maximizing your options. So if you want to visit one of Europe’s most beautiful countries on a budget, it’s important to stay near or in Reykjavík, the capital and largest city in Iceland.

You can find affordable hotels that are still close enough for day trips to other parts of Iceland. If you’re comfortable doing your own research, good hotels can be found for as little as $50 per night — that’s less than half what you might pay in a similar place in Europe. This will let you take advantage of everything there is to do and see, without breaking your bank account.

Photo: Boyloso, YFS Magazine, Adobe Stock
Photo: Reykjavík | Credit: Boyloso, YFS Magazine


5. Breathtakingly beautiful scenery

Located on Iceland’s southern coast, Reynisfjara Beach is easily one of the best beaches in all of Europe. The surf crashes against black cliffs dotted with basalt columns; above, a lunar-like landscape of towering rocks and boulders looms overhead. Just inland is a huge rock called Reynisdrangar: from below it looks like three monstrously large trolls frozen into stone. In reality, these shapes are volcanic basalt columns—formed when molten lava cooled quickly and fractured into jagged pieces (known as pillow lava). It’s rare to see so many breathtaking features in one place.


6. Budget-friendly activities

The first thing that comes to mind when talking about a vacation is spending money. But believe it or not, you can have a good time without breaking your budget. The secret? See Iceland in winter, since flights are much cheaper during the off-season and low-season activities are plentiful and inexpensive. If you’re into geothermal baths, take advantage of free public access in Reykjavik.


7. Impressive scenery year-round

While beaches are ideal during warmer months, they’re not all created equal. In Vík í Mýrdal, you’ll find a beach that feels like a different place entirely in winter than it does in summer—with icebergs floating by instead of tourists. If you plan on visiting, come between June and August for optimal warm-weather black sand beach enjoyment. Regardless of when you decide to go, it will be difficult not to get caught up in nature’s beauty at Vík—especially when glaciers are looming overhead or waterfalls are roaring from behind. There is no bad time of year for a trip.

Photo: Reyniskirkja Church | Credit: Rudolf Kirchner, Pexels
Photo: Reyniskirkja Church | Credit: Rudolf Kirchner


8. An other-worldly escape from the ordinary

Experiencing a place that’s so foreign from anything you’ve ever seen will be exciting and unforgettable. Stepping out of your car or plane onto black sand beaches with small, colorful houses everywhere will make you feel like you are on another planet. It will be surreal, but that feeling is what makes it worth it. Even better? The fact that some of these black-sand beaches are among the world’s best surfing spots. Some of them can get crowded at times though, so if you’re looking for something more secluded then head towards Vík í Mýrdalur in southeast Iceland which has its own black-sand beach surrounded by tall cliffs.


9. An opportunity for enjoyable solo travel

There are so many things that we do that inhibit our ability to get away and be on our own for a little while. Vacations and business trips usually involve some amount of socializing, but if you can swing it, try taking a mini-sabbatical where you can work from anywhere or stay in your room or cabin and cozy up with your favorite book or relax and enjoy some quiet time.


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