Reynisfjara and Diamond Beach
Just before the town of Vik (great coffee/sandwich shop and outlet mall), lies one of Iceland’s most popular beaches. With its black sand, Reynisfjara Beach welcomes you will dramatic beauty and powerful waves. So much so that the latter has warnings to not get close as people have been washed away. The sand, created from heavily eroded volcanic rocks, is really millions of very small pebbles that are black. Just listening to the pounding waves and the mesmerizing tinkle as the waves recede is hypnotic and therapeutic. The other interesting sight here are the basalt columns of rock, called Langsamur, which are unique and otherworldly. It’s easy to climb up on the column and just meditate to nature’s symphony around you.
Located right off the ring-road, this is one of the best known waterfalls in Iceland. It is a must-see place on the south coast and stunning to behold. There are some amazing photo opportunities from behind the waterfall, but make sure you bring a poncho as you will get soaked from the walk.
Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon and Diamond Beach
This was our favorite place on this entire visit to Iceland. For the Lagoon, there are several spots to part off the main highway (1) and a short hike to the cliff’s edge bring you unforgettable views of the a massive lagoon filled with all manner of calves, pieces of the nearby giant iceberg that have broken off. The shapes and sizes vary but the contract of the dazzling white and glacial blue is stunning. We preferred the views from walking from the highway vs. the touristy and crowded area near the main car park. Although, it is worth going there as you can walk down to the water’s edge.
The aptly named Diamond Beach is where these pieces of ice eventually wash out into the Atlantic. Since the island is volcanic, the sand here is nearly black, providing an excellent canvas for the white and blue chunks of ice. You can walk up to the ice and the beach itself is strewn with ice as far as the eye can see.
Just a bit farther back down the road is another place to visit which is the Fjallsárlón Iceberg lagoon. This one has boat tours you can take to get right up next to the iceberg and see calving up close. We chose to do the hike instead and walked around while seeing massive chunks of ice break off. The iceberg here is much better preserved and stunning to look at.
Overall, Iceland was an amazing holiday in terms of incredibly unique landscapes and the convenience of being able to drive ourselves on well-connected roads. The ability to stop often to take phots or fly the drone is fantastic for shutterbugs like us.