NatureBeachesGolden Sands: Best Beaches to Visit in Iceland
Sunrise over Vestrahorn mountain at Stokksnes Black Sand Beach in Iceland
Go Car Rental Iceland travel writer Leah BIlquist
By Leah BIlquistJun 4, 2024 • 15 min read

Golden Sands: Best Beaches to Visit in Iceland

Calling all beach lovers! Iceland has so many sandy treasures for you to explore. There is truly something for every traveler, from striking black beaches to golden sandy shores. Iceland’s beaches are located all over the country. So you can visit one, or all of the best beaches in Iceland, by taking a road trip. From famous locations to unknown treasures, we got you covered. Enjoy a full beach day in the land of fire and ice. So what are you waiting for? Grab your beach towel and let’s hit the road!

Djúpalónssandur Beach

The Djúpalónssandur Beach is part of Snaefellsnes, a beautiful black sand beach in Iceland

Situated north of Reykjavik on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula is Djúpalónssandur Beach. Known for its captivating black pebbles, it is a beach that shouldn't be missed.

This Icelandic beach is famous for its backdrop of lava rock cliffs, creating a beautiful sight! For that reason alone, photographers visit from all over to capture a photograph of it.

Djúpalónssandur Beach has a historical past. You can even see the remains of an ancient British trawler from its shipwreck in 1948. It is one of the best beaches in Iceland for tourists and history lovers.

How To Get To Djúpalónssandur Beach

You can reach Djúpalónssandur Beach by renting a car and driving three hours north of Reykjavik. You will spend your time driving along the scenic Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

Drive Ring Road until you reach Borgarnes, which is about 43 miles or 70 kilometers from Reykjavik.

There you will drive another 43 miles or 70 kilometers until you get to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Drive on Route 54 until you see signs for Djúpalónssandur Beach.

Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach

Near Vik, the most beautiful black sand beach of iceland: Reynisfjara Beach

Chances are if you heard of Iceland you heard of the famous Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach. It is one of the most popular beaches in Iceland! It even frequently tops lists of the best beaches in the world.

Admire the Reynisdrangar basalt columns and massive sea stacks, which shoot 66 meters or 217 feet from the ocean floor. When the lava from eruptions cooled down, the unique rock formations were formed.

Then walk along the black sand by enjoying the Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach Trail. Which is a 0.8-mile long hike. This unique hiking trail will bring you to the beach as you walk along the sea. There are educational signs located along the way, which explain the beach and the history behind it.

How To Get To Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach

Take the two-and-a-half-hour drive southeast of Reykjavik to Southern Iceland. The beach is easy to get to since it is located along the infamous Ring Road. You will drive the road for 110 miles southeast of Reykjavik.

Turn off Ring Road and onto Road 215, which is a paved road that will take you to the parking lot.

Want to learn more about Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach? Read our full guide!

Rauðasandur Red Sand Beach

In the Westfjord: the amazing red sand and turquoise water: Rauðasandur beach

Iceland has more than just black sand beaches for you to marvel at. The country also has a red sand beach, Rauðasandur. The beach is nestled in the remote region of the Westfjords. A beautiful place to enjoy your Iceland beach vacation.

The beach’s red and gold sand draws visitors from all over the country. The sand appears red due to the crushed scallop shells, which are combined with black volcanic minerals.

When the tides change the colors change with it. Making the red and gold sand illuminate differently throughout the day.

You can hike along the surrounding cliffs on the marked trails and viewpoints. The remoteness of Rauðasandur Red Sand Beach in Iceland is one of the best reasons to visit!

How To Get to To Rauðasandur Red Sand Beach

You can reach this hidden gem by taking a 5-hour road trip with your Iceland rental car to the Westfjords. From Reykjavik, you will take Route 1 for 122 miles or 197 kilometers until you reach the town of Búðardalur.

Then you will turn onto Road 6, also known as Road 60. Drive this road for 27 miles or 60 kilometers. Then make a left turn onto Road 619, also known as Rauðasandsvegur.

Take this road for 6 miles or 10 kilometers until you see parking signs for Rauðasandur Red Sand Beach.

Diamond Beach

Next to the Jokulsarlon glacier, the most wonderful beach of Iceland: Diamond beach

Have you ever wanted to admire glistening ice chunks that resemble shiny diamonds? Well you can, by visiting the striking Diamond Beach. This top Icelandic beach is a literal gem, and we will tell you why!

Diamond Beach is a Breiðamerkursandur glacial plain that is fed from the JökulsárlónGlacier Lagoon. This means there are 1,000-year-old icebergs that float in the water and even wash up on the beach. You can see hundreds of them bobbing around while glistening in the water.

The beach itself has eleven miles of striking black sand for you to walk along. The blank sand combined with the icy glaciers creates an out-of-this-world scene. You will truly feel like you are visiting another planet.

Photography here is a popular activity and many travel from all over just to take a shot. Sunset is the most beautiful time to visit since the colors ricochet off of the icebergs.

You can visit Diamond Beach any time of the year too. While summer is the most popular time to visit, winter brings its own beauty. You may even see the Northern lights shine through the icebergs if you are lucky enough!

We have even put together a guide to Diamond Beach, which will help you plan your adventure!

How to Get to Diamond Beach

Take the five-hour drive from Reykjavik to Diamond Beach. This 235-mile scenic drive will take you along Iceland’s breathtaking south coast.

It is such an easy route too since you will drive Ring Road the entire time. That means you can add in some extra spots along the way.

Breidavik Beach

In the westfjord, the pretty Breidavik Beach with its black sand

We are covering all of the colors today when it comes to beautiful beaches in Iceland. This is why Breidavik Beach earns a spot on our list. This beach is famous for its golden sand.

When the days are sunny and the water is bright, the beach has a tropical vibe to it. For that reason alone, many come here to have a beach vacation, right in Iceland.

This is also an amazing area for birdwatching. Breiðavík is near the Látrabjarg birdwatching cliffs. Puffins come here to migrate and rest on the rocks during summer. In my opinion, admiring puffins while laying on a golden beach seems like the perfect Iceland beach holiday.

How to Get to Breidavik Beach

To reach Breidavik Beach, take a road trip from Reykjavik to the remote Wesfjotds. This five-and-a-half-hour drive will bring you north along Ring Road.

You will then stay left onto Route 60 and continue west until you reach Breidavik Beach. Drive over the mountain pass before reaching Hótel Breiðavík. Once you see the hotel, the beach is a few minutes away.

Stokksnes Black Sand Beach

Next to Hofn, in the south-East of Iceland, the prettiest black sand beach: Stokksnes Beach

While all of Iceland’s beaches are gorgeous, some have a historic past. Stokksnes Black Sand Beach in Southeast Iceland is one of those places. So of course we gave it a place on our Iceland beach guide.

The Stokksnes Peninsula is one of the earliest places Icelanders settled. They came to the country in the 9th century. Stokksnes was used as a base for the British Army in World Word II too.

While the beach is beautiful to admire during the day, things can get a little creepy at night. The beach is said to have had the most shipwrecks in Iceland.

Haunted documentary filmmakers come here to capture the beach's spooky moments. They have reported seeing footprints in the sand that led straight into the way. So it is no wonder why Stokksnes Beach earned the nickname of the “Sea Of Ghosts".

If you want to avoid haunting sightings visit during the day! The beach has a scenic lighthouse that sits towards the end of the causeway. Stokksnes Lighthouse is a fun place to explore and take pictures.

Whether you want to visit at night or during the day, Stokksnes Black Sand Beach is worth the trip.

You can read our entire guide to Stokksnes Black Sand Beach for extra tips.

How to Get to Stokksnes Black Sand Beach

Get in your Iceland rental car and hit the open road to the Stokksnes peninsula. This 6-hour drive will bring you to Iceland’s south coast.

When leaving Reykjavik, you will take Ring Road for 280 miles or 451 km. Then you will turn onto Route 99 towards Höfn.

Drive about 4 miles or 7 km towards the Stokksnes radar station. Once you see the infamous Viking Cafe you will know you arrived! The beach will be right behind it.

Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach

The most beautiful beach of the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik: Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach

Take a Mediterranean-style vacation when visiting Iceland by spending your day at the Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach. Thanks to its proximity to Reykjavik, the beach has the nickname “Paradise in the City”.

The beach is located in the historic town of Nauthóll, which was built in 1850. The ocean sits at the end of an old airplane runway that was used for Seaplanes in World War II.

This beach is special because it is one of the few swimming beaches in Iceland. This makes it one of the top Iceland beach attractions!

Spend your day laying out and soaking up the sun before taking a dip into the man-made lagoon. The water in the swimming area is around 60° F or 15°°C in summer.

After swimming, make your way over to the Sedation Pool. The long rectangular pool sits behind the beach. You will be able to view the ocean right from the geothermally heated hot tub.

In addition, there is a smaller Beach Pool that sits right next to the ocean. This pool is cooler which is a refreshing transition from the Sedation Pool. You can even feel the mist of the waves as you are soaking.

There is a small entrance fee of $6 or 810 ISK to access the beach. This gives you access to their changing facilities, hot pools, and more!

How To Get To Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach

One of the best perks of this beach is that it is only a five-minute drive from downtown Reykjavik. Take the quick 2-mile or 3.4 km road trip over to the beach. You can even leave your Iceland rental car at your hotel and take a long walk if you would like.

If you choose to drive, go northwest on Vonarstræti toward Suðurgata. Then you will make a left turn onto Suðurgata.

Once you reach the roundabout you will take the third exit onto Route 49. From there you will make a right turn onto Nauthólsvegur.

Then you will take the first exit on the next roundabout. From there you will continue until you see signs for the Geothermal Beach!


Near Vik, the Sólheimasandur beach is fabulous thanks to a crash plane

In 1973 a tiny DC plane crashed onto the black sand beach of Sólheimasandur. Luckily everyone on board survived the crash landing. Today, the shell of an airplane sits on the vibrant blank sand beach. This is why Sólheimasandur Black Sand Beach is a must-visit beach in Iceland

This adventure is less of a beach day and more of a thrilling hiking experience. You will hike for 2 miles to access the DC-3 Plane. It does sit right next to the water, nestled in the sand. Once you feel the ocean breeze on your face you will know you are getting close.

You can have a unique beach day here. Pack your favorite snacks and a towel to sit out and admire the plane. If you are feeling courageous you can even climb on top of it. Or sit where the cockpit used to be.

Some even hike here to see the Northern Lights, thanks to the minimal light pollution in the area. It may not be one of Iceland's typical black beaches, but it truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

We have written up a guide for Sólheimasandur that breaks down how you can enjoy a full day here!

How To Get To Sólheimasandur

Take the two-hour and fifteen-minute drive south of Reykjavik.

You will simply head southeast on Ring Road, which you will drive the entire time. Continue until you see the sign for the Parking Area.

You will begin your hike from the parking area.

Dyrhólaey Beach

Next to Vik, the best view point of the south of Iceland: Dyrhólaey Beach

Spend some time enjoying the southernmost point in Iceland, the Dyrhólaey Peninsula. The peninsula is already famous for its rock arch and birdwatching. But, there is another gem here, Dyrhólaey Beach.

This beach is just west of the infamous Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach. On a clear day, you can see the basalt columns and sea stacks in the distance.

The black sand beach has the nickname Endless Beach. That is because you can see it stretch for miles and miles! Spend your time walking down the beach while admiring your surroundings.

To How To Get To Dyrhólaey Beach

The beach is easily accessible since it's only two and a half hours' drive from Reykjavik.

You will drive down east on Ring Road for most of your drive. Then you will reach road 218, where you will turn immediately before. Drive the road until you come to the end where there will be an optional turn.

If you want to visit the beach go to Lower Dyrholaey you will continue to drive straight down the road.

You can make a right up the hill to explore upper Dyrhólaey. We recommend doing both since the whole peninsula is breathtaking.

The Dyrhólaey Peninsula is a trip of its own. Our guide will help you explore the entire area.

Safety Comes First, Aways.

Iceland’s beaches have a reputation for being dangerous. This is because of the random sneaker waves that come out of nowhere. These waves have taken the lives of tourists in the past. Most of the fatalities happened at Reynisfjara Beach, Iceland’s most popular tourist area.

We don’t want you to be scared to visit the beaches, since there is a way to explore safely. Most importantly, never turn your back on the water. Also, do not get too close to the water.

You can enjoy and photograph the beaches from a safe distance and still get the same beautiful outcome.

Since the black sand beaches are not swimmable, you should not get in the water, ever. Only get in the water if there is a sign saying it is safe to do so.

The waters in Iceland are rough, which is why most are unswimmable. The offshore currents and arctic water are just a few reasons to avoid getting in.

If you are planning a beach day, just set your beach up far back from the water. That way if a sneaker wave comes you will still be at a safe distance.

It is rare to experience one but things do happen. Iceland is a volcanic country with intense weather. Which also makes it one of the most beautiful places in the entire world.

Rental Vehicles for Visiting Iceland’s Beaches

Now that you have a list of Iceland beaches to explore, you can reserve your rental vehicle. We have plenty of options when it comes to vehicle types. Here is an overview of each type!


If you are hitting the beach solo or with your favorite person, reserve a small rental car. These vehicles are compact, cozy, and reliable.

They are ideal for driving on paved roads around Iceland. Fortunately, most of the beaches on our list are accessed by paved roads.

Want to learn more? Check out our guide on our standard rental cars!


Our midsize rental vehicles are a little bigger than our standard vehicles. That means you can bring anywhere from 3-4 people to your Iceland beach day.

These vehicles are still great for 2 people too who need more luggage space.


Depending on which beach you visit, a 4X4 SUV may be better for you. Our fleet of SUVs is infamous for handling gravel roads and rough terrain. They are also reliable if you hit rough weather or rainstorms.

Most of our SUVs are 4X4 vehicles too, so you can drive Iceland’s mountainous F-Roads. Our SUVs are built for adventures and thrill seekers!

Read our guide on why an SUV rental can be necessary in Iceland.


It is time to bring the whole family to Iceland’s beaches! You can do this with ease by reserving one of our Minivans. These large vehicles can fit 7-9 people comfortably.

Did we mention you will also have plenty of room for all of your beach necessities? That means back the cooler full of favorite snacks and local cuisine.

Want to know what the Best Family Minivan to Rent in Iceland is? Check out our guide.


Iceland has so many beaches for you to enjoy, and they are all just a road trip away. Spend your day soaking up the sun while admiring the views of the ocean in the distance. We couldn’t think of a better way to spend your holiday!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you bring back sand from Iceland?

Don’t be that tourist! It is actually illegal to bring home sand from beaches or anything from nature in Iceland.

Are diamonds found in Iceland?

No, there are not any diamonds in Iceland. This rumor started thanks to Diamond Beach! Which is already on your list after this article.

Are there swimmable beaches in Iceland?

The only swimmable beach in Iceland is the Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach. So pack your beach bag and get ready to swim in Iceland’s waters!