ItineraryPlaces to VisitHistory Unearthed: Solheimasandur Plane Wreck Adventure
An aerial view of the abandoned DC plane on Solheimasandur beach in Iceland. The plane rests in the middle of a vast black sand beach.
Go Car Rental Iceland travel writer Leah BIlquist
By Leah BIlquistJun 5, 2024 • 10 min read

History Unearthed: Solheimasandur Plane Wreck Adventure

Solheimasandur beach in Iceland is a popular tourist destination known for its stunning natural beauty and unique features. One of the most notable attractions on the beach is the abandoned DC Plane, which has become an iconic symbol of Iceland's rugged landscape and adventurous spirit. In this article, we will explore the history and significance of the abandoned DC Plane on Solheimasandur beach.

The History of the Abandoned DC Plane on Solheimasandur Beach

The abandoned DC Plane on Solheimasandur beach is a former US Navy aircraft that crashed on the beach in 1973. Despite the crash, all crew members survived, and the wreckage of the plane was left on the beach as a reminder of the incident.

Since then, the plane has become a popular attraction for tourists and photographers, who come to explore its rusted metal frame and take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

The abandoned DC Plane wreckage on the black sands of Sólheimasandur Beach in Iceland

How Far is it from Reykjavik?

The abandoned DC plane on Solheimasandur beach is approximately 180 km (112 miles) from Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. The drive from Reykjavik to Solheimasandur parking lot takes around two hours.

Can you drive to Solheimasandur Plane Wreck?

No, it is not possible to drive directly to the abandoned DC plane on Solheimasandur beach. Visitors must hike along the beach to reach the wreckage, which is approximately 4 km (2.5 miles) from the nearest road. The hike takes around two hours to complete and offers scenic views of the surrounding landscape along the way.

How long is the walk?

The hike to the plane is on flat land and is relatively easy and a tad bit long. You will be trekking 4.6 miles total, out and back, mostly on the rocky black sand beach.

It takes an average of an hour each way to reach the wreckage. You will feel the mist from the ocean on your face when you start to get close. Then suddenly you will see it, the large white shell of the airplane on the black rocky surface.

When should you go?

If you are visiting in the fall or winter, you can even start your hike before sunrise. This will give you an added chance of spotting the northern lights. There is also something magical about watching the sun rise over the white plane shell.

What to do when you get there

Once you reach the plane, get ready to explore it! That’s right, you can even go inside and play around. While there is no cockpit left or seats on the plane, you can wander through and get a feel for what the passengers went through.

Once the plane crashed, the military decided to keep it there after stripping it down and removing anything that could damage the area. That is why it looks so ripped apart, in addition to the wear and tear from the weather over the years.

The fact that the shell is still there is a miracle of its own. Looking at the airplane in the condition it is today, you would think there would have been no survivors of the crash.

Be sure to be respectful when visiting this historic scene. There has been vandalism, including graffiti or trashing the area. Whatever you pack in, pack out, and together we can keep Iceland beautiful!

A Famous Area

Does this DC plane look familiar to you? You may have seen it before.

Celebrities have been using the site for photographs, videos, and more. Television shows that featured the plane are Top Gear America, which highlights the automotive industry and more. The Netflix series Katla was filmed here, which is fitting since it is a science fiction show.

Some favorite music videos featuring the plane wreck are Justin Bieber I’ll Show You. As well as Loona’s music video for “Let Me In”, which is an orchestral ballad song.

There was a music video for Gerua from the Indian Film “Dilwale'' that was shot here. It showed the actors standing in the wreckage. This caused a bump in tourism for Indian travelers looking to visit the same spot in Iceland.

If you are a George Hirsch fan, then take a look at his 2016 album cover. The beautiful yet eerie image was featured as the main image for his album Hijrah.

Check out this video of Justin Bieber in Iceland at the dc iceland plane crash.

What To Pack

You should always have the proper gear and attire when visiting Solheimasandur. This entails a light rain jacket or heavy winter raincoat, depending on the season.

The hike is not too long, but good hiking boots are always recommended, especially with the rocky surface. You will be walking on flat terrain with no shade, so proper sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat would be ideal. Also, bring more than enough water.

The sun is hot in every season, so hydration is key. The recommended amount of water for hiking is two cups, or 1/2 liter, for every hour.

In addition to water, snacks are a must. Granola bars, fruit, or salty and sweet items can help fuel you. These will also help replenish the salt your body loses through sweat.

You will be exploring by foot out in a place where there are not that many people. Just make sure to be prepared and to fill your backpack up with all necessary items. Besides, having a snack break at an old airplane crash site should be on your bucket list regardless!

Woman in winter clothes in front of the wreck of the crashed airplane in Iceland


The abandoned DC Plane on Solheimasandur beach is a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Iceland's rugged landscapes and stunning beaches.

Whether you're a photographer, history buff, or just looking for a unique adventure, the abandoned DC Plane is sure to leave a lasting impression. So why not make the hike to Solheimasandur beach today, and discover the beauty and significance of this iconic landmark for yourself.

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