If you could only visit one black sand beach which one would you choose?

djúpalónssandur black sand beach

The classic answer is certainly Reynisfjara, a black sand beach on the South Coast of Iceland. Its location off of Route 1 makes it ideal to visit on a drive along the coast, where you can also see some of Iceland’s other major attractions, such as the waterfalls Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss.

The beach is also notable for the striking basalt formations that can be found there, in addition to its view of Dyrhólaey, an arched rock formation in the sea. Note that Reynisfjara can also be a very dangerous place to visit. In the past years, numerous visitors have been swept out to sea by so-called “sneaker” waves, which can reach much farther up the beach than expected. Visitors to Reynisfjara are advised to always keep an eye on the waves and to stay 30 m, or about 100 ft, from the waves.

Reynisfjara tourists
Golli. Tourists at Reynisfjara

Reynisfjara has become incredibly popular in recent years, but another option for the traveller looking to beat the crowds is Djúpalónssandur, a black sand beach on the Snæfellsnes peninsula.

Like Reynisfjara, Djúpalónssandur beach is a day trip away from the capital region and it is also located near other iconic sites. In addition to the dramatic, natural beauty there, Djúpalónssandur is also home to a wrecked fishing trawler. For the history buff and aspiring strongman, four lifting stones can also be found near the beach. The area was once a bustling fishing hub, and sailors would lift the stones to test their strength. In order to qualify for work on a fishing boat, a sailor would have to be able to lift a certain stone to prove his strength and ability to “pull his own weight.”

djúpalónssandur black sand beach iceland
Djúpalónssandur – Golli

 

 

 

Search Continues for Two Missing Persons

Search and rescue teams will continue to search for Andris Kalvans on the Snæfellsnes peninsula and Rima Grunskyté Feliksasdóttir near Dyrhólaey in South Iceland today, RÚV reports.

Andris Kalvans went hiking in Heydalur, in the Snæfellsnes peninsula, a week ago. Kalvans is in his fifties and lives in Reykjavík. Search and rescue teams have been searching for Kalvans since last Monday. The search was temporarily suspended yesterday afternoon. As weather conditions are expected to improve, around 100 search and rescue members will resume their efforts today.

The search for Rima Grunskyté Feliksasdóttir, who has been missing since before Christmas, will also continue. Rima is believed to have fallen into the ocean by Dyrhólaey promontory in South Iceland. Rima had recently moved to Hella from Vík í Mýrdal.

Increasing Danger of Landslides in Iceland

Reynisfjara

Experts say landslides are becoming more common in Iceland, partially around glaciers and along the island’s south coast. Geologist and landslide researcher Þorsteinn Sæmundsson told RÚV there is a need to increase monitoring of areas which are at risk of such geological events, especially those which happen to be popular tourist sites.

“Rockfalls and landslides are of course natural geological processes where external forces are evening out the earth,” says Þorsteinn. “But now, since 1990, there appears to be an increase in large landslides [in Iceland]. Whether that’s exactly connected to climate change or not, that’s of course difficult to say.”

Risk of flood

“We are seeing an increased frequency of landslides and rockfalls on glaciers,” says Þorsteinn. Landslides that occur above outlet glaciers such as Svínafellsjökull carry additional danger. They may cause sudden tidal waves by displacing water in the glacial lagoons below. It’s a simple question of physics, Þorsteinn explains. “You can try it yourself at home, you can fill your bathtub with water and jump in, and then you’ll see how the water goes out.”

A large crevasse which has formed above Svínafellsjökull outlet glacier in South Iceland is one location being carefully monitored by experts for this reason. “We are producing a risk assessment there which is in the works,” says geologist Jón Kristinn Helgason of the Icelandic Met Office. Jón says that increased occurrences of large landslides are encouraging more research and monitoring at the institution.

Svínafellsheiði
[/media-credit] Crevasse in Svínafellsheiði above Svínafellsjökull.

Danger to tourists

Non-glacial areas are also becoming more prone to landslides. Þorsteinn says the most likely reason is warming soil. “With that, slopes which we have until now considered to be stable become suddenly unstable.” The South Coast of Iceland, which features the world’s most powerful waves, is also of concern, including popular tourist sites such as Dyrhólaey and Reynisfjara black sand beach. “While the nature there is both beautiful and magnificent, it’s also incredibly dangerous,” says Þorsteinn. “This is a changed situation which we need to take seriously and monitor.”

Lost in Space to Film in Iceland

Netflix series Lost in Space has received the green light from the Environment Agency of Iceland to film at Skógafoss and Dyrhólaey in South Iceland, RÚV reports. Around 100 people will be involved in the filming, which is to take place over several days at the locations.

Skógafoss waterfall is one of the most visited sites in South Iceland. The Environment Agency placed the fall on a list of sites in danger last year due to the impact of increased tourism. Filming at the location will take two days. The crew was granted permission to build a 20m2 platform over the river which will be secured with legs dug into the gravel. The application states it will be necessary to restrict access to the waterfall while filming is underway. In response to this, the Evironment Agency has asked the crew to limit the time of filming in consideration of visitors, most of whom only visit the fall once in their lifetime.

The crew also received permission for filming on the beach east of Dyrhólaey, another popular tourist site on Iceland’s south coast. The Environment Agency granted the project permission for off-road driving in order to transport equipment to the site, as well as digging three to five holes on the beach where electric smoke machines will be placed. The Environment Agency pointed out to the production team that the project may encourage other visitors to the area to engage in off-road driving. The location is a popular tourist site and therefore it is important to clarify the area is closed to all other off-road driving.

Gullfoss waterfall is the third and final shooting location for the project. Located on the popular Golden Circle route, the fall will be filmed from the lower platform using a drone. The show’s second season can expect high viewership – 6.3 million viewers tuned into the first season during the first three days of its release, according to Variety.