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Reynisdrangar is a breathtaking series of rock formations off the south coast of Iceland. You’ll find them on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world—Reynisfjara—just outside the village of Vík. Witness this spectacular sight for yourself on one of our tours below.
An aerial view of Reynisdrangar sea stacks
Best time to visit
All year round
Distance from Reykjavík
190 km (118 mi)
63.40525, -19.0277

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Everything to know about Reynisdrangar before your visit

Reynisdrangar is the name of the mysterious series of sea stacks that emerge from the ocean close to Reynisfjara, on the south coast of Iceland. They’re part of what gives this black-sand beach—voted among the most beautiful in the world—its strange atmosphere and charm.

But what are the Reynisdrangar sea stacks, and how were they formed?

Well, if you believe the legends, these rocks are actually the petrified bodies of trolls. One night, it’s said, trolls were trying to pull a ship out to sea. But they misjudged the time and the sun came up sooner than they expected. As a result, they were immediately turned to stone. Some people say that you can hear these rocks moaning even now, as the trolls yearn to return to the mountains.

It’s a story that captures the magic of this place. But the reality is that these rocks were the product of natural processes that are just as fascinating.

The history of Reynisdrangar

Reynisdrangar is believed to have been formed in a volcanic eruption 18 million years ago. This would have spat hot rock from the land into the sea, where it would have piled up in spectacular cliffs. However, over time, that rock would have been eroded by the continuous crashing of the sea’s waves. Now, as a result, there are only those strange triangular pillars left in the sea.

The distinctive geometric columns that you see in the cliffs on the beach would have been formed in the same process. As the lava from the eruption cooled, these regular columns would have been created. And just like the sea stacks, they would have been eroded over hundreds of thousands of years too.

An interesting question is: what will the Reynisdrangar view look like in future? Like much of Iceland, this is a live landscape that’s being changed by volcanic, glacial, and coastal processes. The Reynisdrangar you see in a hundred years might be very different!

The quaint Vík village, characterized by its iconic red-roofed church standing prominently in the center, with the majestic Reynisdrangar sea stacks piercing the horizon in the backdrop.

Other sights in the area

Reynisdrangar is in one of the most beautiful areas in Iceland. While you’re here, you should definitely spend time exploring the surrounding region.

Some of the best sights aren’t very far away at all. For example, there’s Reynisfjara beach, from where you will see Reynisdrangar. This black-sand beach is known as one of Iceland’s most beautiful (in fact, it’s often named as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world). With its mysterious sands, gorgeous cliffs, and powerful waves, it’s truly a magical place.

Flanking Reynisfjara is the mountain known as Reynisfjall. At 340 metres (1,115 feet), this mountain towers over both the black-sand beach and the Reynisdrangar basalt columns. If you have the energy, you can climb to the top and enjoy the view from the cliffs. It’s an exceptionally beautiful place, with views over two of the best-known sights in Iceland.

You can also enjoy a view of the Reynisdrangar sea stacks from Dyrhólaey peninsula, the southernmost point in all of mainland Iceland. Here, you’ll find a lighthouse standing over the cliffs, with views east and west over the surrounding coastline.

If you want another perspective on Reynisdrangar, you can get one in Vík, the delightful village where you might well stay the night. From the village’s own black-sand beach, the sea stacks can be seen on the horizon. This is also the best place from which to climb Reynisfjall.

There’s a lot more to do in Vík too. In fact, it’s a popular place to stop along the south coast, with pubs, restaurants, and plenty of accommodation options. While you’re here, visit the Icelandic Lava Show, the only place in the world where you can see lava in a controlled environment.

The silhouette of Reynisdrangar sea stacks set against a dramatic sky, where radiant sunset rays pierce through dense clouds, casting fiery hues across the horizon.

How to visit Reynisdrangar

Reynisdrangar is at the heart of the south coast of Iceland. It’s only a short distance from the village of Vík, one of the most popular stopovers on this coast. Overall, it’s really easy to reach.

If you are coming from Reykjavík, the journey is roughly 190 kilometres (118 miles) to Reynisfjara beach. It should typically take about 2.5 hours one way. If you’re driving, there is a car park that is free of charge right next to the Reynisfjara beach.

But there is a more convenient way to visit: on a tour of the south coast. This way, you’ll see the best of the region without having to drive. And you’ll have the pleasure of meeting like-minded travellers along the way.

Alternatively, you can see Reynisdrangar from Vík itself. For example, take a stroll down to the black-sand beach close to the village, or try the hour-long walk up to the cliffs of Reynisfjall. From both locations, you’ll have a great view of this most breathtaking of geological forms.

Whichever way you visit, it’s worth being aware of basic safety precautions. For example, the sea at Reynisfjara is notoriously wild, with strong waves that can catch you by surprise. All visitors are advised not to turn their back on the sea, nor to get too close. There have been fatalities here.

It’s also smart to be prepared for the weather. Whether you’re climbing up to the top of the Reynisfjall cliffs or just walking along the beach, wear sturdy shoes and a waterproof jacket, at the very least. The weather can change very quickly.

All you need to know about Reynisgrangar

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