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Sólheimasandur is a vast and sweeping black sand plain located along the southern coast of Iceland. It’s known for its eerie and unique landscape, characterised by its flat, barren expanse of black sand. One of the most famous attractions within Sólheimasandur is the wreckage of a United States Navy DC-3 plane that crashed on the sand in 1973.
Sólheimasandur Black Beach  Waves Caressing the Shoreline Against a Snow Mountain Backdrop

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        The Sólheimasandur plane wreck is one of Iceland’s more unexpected tourist attractions

        In 1973, a U.S. Navy Douglas DC-3 plane crash-landed on the stark black sands of Sólheimasandur, and the plane’s shell remains on the sands, a popular photo opportunity for many travellers.

        Sólheimasandur is located along the southern coast of Iceland, near the village of Vík. The area is easily accessible by car, but it’s important to note that a walk is required from the parking area to reach the plane wreck site.

        Visitors should park their car at the “plane wreck parking lot” and walk 4 kilometres to the plane’s location. The wreck’s parking area is about 9km from Skógar on Route 1, about a 10-minute drive. The hike is approximately 1 hour each way on a well-marked path. For those who don’t want to walk, a shuttle service provides about a dozen departures to and from the wreck daily. The shuttle takes about 15 minutes each way.

        Indeed, the wreckage of a Douglas DC-3 aeroplane is the main attraction at Sólheimasandur. The plane crashed on November 24, 1973, due to severe icing, and miraculously, everyone on board survived. The aircraft remains mostly intact and is a unique sight against the stark backdrop of the black sand and ocean.

        Sólheimasandur’s landscape is stark and otherworldly, with the black sand stretching as far as the eye can see. The view of the surrounding mountains, ocean, and wreckage makes the hike a unique experience.

        It’s important to consider safety before embarking on a hike. While the walk is relatively flat, it can be challenging due to the exposed and often windy conditions. It’s important to dress appropriately and, bring enough food and water, have sturdy footwear and appropriate clothing for the weather conditions.

        The stark contrast between the wreckage, the black sand, and the sky makes Sólheimasandur a popular destination for photographers. Many visitors make the trip to capture dramatic and haunting images of the plane wreckage against the desolate landscape.

        Due to the site’s popularity, designated paths and signs guide visitors to the wreckage while minimising the impact on the delicate environment. It’s essential to stay on marked trails and respect the rules to ensure the preservation of the area.

        Sólheimasandur is close to several other attractions and points of interest that are worth exploring.


        Reynisfjara Beach

        One of Iceland’s most famous black sand beaches, Reynisfjara offers dramatic coastal views, basalt columns, and the Reynisdrangar sea stacks rising from the ocean. However, it’s important to be cautious of the powerful waves and currents in the area.


        Dyrhólaey

        This cape offers panoramic views of the surrounding coastline, Reynisfjara Beach, and the ocean. It’s also a popular spot for birdwatching, particularly puffins during the summer months.


        Skógafoss:

        A short drive from Sólheimasandur, Skógafoss is one of Iceland’s most iconic waterfalls. The waterfall drops about 60 meters and is known for its stunning beauty and the possibility of spotting rainbows on sunny days.


        Seljalandsfoss:

        Another epic waterfall in the area, Seljalandsfoss, is unique because you can walk behind it, offering a truly immersive experience. The view behind the curtain of water is an extraordinary photo opportunity.


        Gljúfrabúi:

        A waterfall located near Seljalandsfoss, this hidden gem offers a unique experience as you can enter a narrow gorge to view the waterfall from within.


        Glacier Hiking:

        The Sólheimajökull glacier, an outlet glacier of the larger Mýrdalsjökull ice cap, is nearby and offers opportunities for guided glacier hikes and ice climbing experiences with professional tour companies.


        Vík:

        The small village of Vík is located not far from Sólheimasandur and is a convenient base for exploring the surrounding attractions. It’s a picturesque town with colourful houses and a church perched on a hill.


        Solheimajokull Volcano Museum:

        Learn about Iceland’s volcanic activity, history, and geology at this museum, which provides insights into the area’s unique landscapes and volcanic features.

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