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A Guide to the Best Beaches in Iceland


When thinking of Iceland, beaches are probably not the first thing that springs to mind. Hotter destinations are the places most famed for their beaches, while Iceland is better known for its unique cuisine and its dramatic landscape, including volcanoes and glaciers. However, there are many stunning beaches in Iceland. While some are known as places to relax or enjoy a stroll, others are perfect for enjoying a range of fun activities, including watersports. Here is a guide to the 10 best beaches in Iceland.


Grotta is a tied island that is connected to the mainland via a tombolo that becomes completely submerged during high tide. It is located in the Capital Region of Island at the extreme end of Seltjarnarnes. When the tide is low, it is possible to walk across to the island to its lighthouse. However, Grotta is off-limits from May through June as it is nesting season. The island is home to thousands of birds, so it is a bird watcher's paradise. Like many of Iceland's beaches, the beach at Grotta is black sand. It also has a hot pool and a wooden structure for drying fish. The best time to visit this beach is at sunset or sunrise.


While many of the best beaches in Iceland are known only for their natural beauty, Sandvik is also known for being one of the most popular surfing spots. It takes a brave person to attempt surfing along most parts of Iceland's coast due to the freeing waters and unpredictable winds. It is best if you understand the weather and sea conditions of the area before you attempt surfing. The best time of year to surf at Sandvik is between October and March. Even if you are not a surfing enthusiast, this beach's beauty means it is worth a visit. It has a wooden bridge that passes between two lava cliffs. If you are not afraid of heights, then it is an amazing vantage point to enjoy the views.


Set in a bay of golden sand is Breidavik, which is a beach close to the largest bird cliff in Europe. It is set against the backdrop of steep mountains, and the beach is overlooked by a farmhouse and a pretty white church. Besides the beautiful scenery, one of the main reasons tourists go to this beach is to see the puffins. From April to September, the beach is a breeding ground for the North Atlantic Puffin.


Along the South Coast of Iceland, all the roads lead to Jokulsarlon, which is a glacier lagoon. Breidamerkursander stretches for 18 kilometers along the shores of the lagoon to the foot of the Kviarjokull Glacier. It is a fantastic beach to visit if you are interested in seeing native Icelandic creatures, as it is home to Arctic foxes, seals, the great skua, and the Arctic tern. The Diamond Beach is a fracture of this lagoon beach.


Located on the South Coast of Iceland, Solheinmasandur is an impressive display of the country's volcanic nature. The black sand was formed centuries ago during a massive glacier outburst flood that was caused by an eruption of the Katla Volcano. It is a popular sightseeing spot and a great place to take photographs. An unusual and unnatural feature of the beach is the remains of a plane that came down in the 1970s.


According to Guide to Iceland, Vestrahorn is one of the best beaches to visit during your visit to Iceland. It sits at the foot of Mount Vetrahorn in the remote East Fjords on the headland of Stokksnes. There are many interesting sights along the beach, including a small lighthouse, a shipwreck, the remains of a N.A.T.O. radar station, and a replica Viking village that was built for a film set. More importantly, there are some stunning natural features, including lava dunes covered in grass against the magnificent mountain's backdrop.


Djupalonssandur is a rocky cove along the southern coast of Snaefellsness. The beach is covered in smooth black pebbles, which are known as the pearls of Djupalons, and they are protected in Iceland. It is a nice place to take a stroll, and stunning cliff formations surround the cove. An interesting feature of this beach is the remains of a British trawler. From the beach, you can also enjoy views of the Snaefellsjokull icecap.


Animal lovers should head for Ytri-Tunga, which is a beach close to a hamlet called Budir that is more than 95 miles from Reykjavik. It is probably the best beach if you want to see seals in their natural habitat. Groups of seals climb up onto the beach's rocks during low tide. Unlike many of the beaches in Iceland, the sands of this beach are golden, and there are soft dunes covered in wild grasses.

Reynisfjara Black Beach

One of the most famous beaches in Iceland is Reynisfjara Black Beach, which is close to Vik. It is one of the most photographed spots in the country, thanks to its fine, black sand and the unusual basalt columnar formation that has created an angular cave. It also has basalt sea stack formations, called the Reynisdrangear Peaks, just off the coast. To see the Atlantic Ocean's waves thrashing against them is an impressive sight. This spot is linked to folklore, as there is an old Icelandic tale that says the peaks were once trolls that dared to face the sunrise and were turned to rock.

Diamond Beach

So-called because of the views of the diamond-like icebergs in the Atlantic Ocean, Arctic Adventures describes Diamond Beach as one of the best beaches in Iceland. It is different from the golden, sandy beaches of exotic locations, as the sand on this beach is black. As pieces of the icebergs breakaway, the waves bring them crashing to the shore and break the shards of ice into thousands of pieces. It is a spectacular scene to see as the ice shards over the black sand appear to sparkle. A visit to this beach is a wonderful photo opportunity to capture this diverse country's natural beauty. You will find this beach in south-east Iceland by the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon.

Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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