Two things our kids really wanted to see on the trip to Iceland were the black sand beach and puffins. Opportunities to see both were about an hour drive from our Airbnb, so after visiting the Seljalandsfoss waterfall on our first day in the southern part of Iceland, we continued on to Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach near the fishing village of Vik.
The contrast of black sand against blue sky and crashing arctic waves was a jarring sight to see. It’s unlike what we’re used to when we go to a sandy shoreline where land meets the ocean.
As if the black sand and smooth stones that sparkle in sunlight weren’t enough to marvel at, there’s a giant mass of green mountain that reaches out and touches the edge of the beach, along with the Reynisfjara sea stacks jutting out of the water near the beach, neither of which are anything like we’d see at home. The beach plants were different from what we find in dunes on the east coast of the US, too; I love these little succulents in the foreground.
Where the land mass meets the sea is a mass of basalt columns that blow my mind in their rectangular geometry, almost like crystals but on a much larger scale. The blackness of the sand also made it hard to get the exposure right on my camera :D.
A few minutes up the road from the black sand beach is the Dyrhólaey promontory where you can often see puffins, along with getting great views of the beach we were just on. We drove over, and to get away from the crowds who gathered at the easy to access spot from the parking lot, we attempted a hike to the top of one set of cliffs. Instead, we ended up in a cold windy cloud that soaked us and provided no visibility.
We headed back down to the easy to access spot and saw puffins immediately 😍. I don’t have a telephoto lens; I had to rely on zooming in on the raw image file from my 35mm lens, so these photos aren’t as high resolution as I wish they were, but they’ll do for memories.
The puffin cliff had some beautiful views as well. We really lucked out getting a sunny day for all of this.