Travel Diaries: Iceland’s Black Sand Beach & Eyrarbakki (Day 3)

Day Three

Everyone woke up bright and early this morning to pack up and explore the scenic area around our hostel in Skorgar. Conveniently there was a waterfall, called Skógafoss, located behind the hostel, so we drove our van over to check it out. When we parked the van and started walking towards the staircase next to the waterfall, it began snowing like no other.

In a matter of minutes the area went from brownish green to completely white!  Despite the sudden snowfall, we still hiked up to the top of the waterfall and later walked to the base of it. The views in Skórgar were utterly beautiful and seeing the waterfall first thing in the morning definitely pumped us up for the rest of the day.

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We left Skógar around 9 am and started on our way to Vik, which was southeast on the coast. Before arriving to Vik, we stopped by a small gas station and were pleasantly surprised by how delicious the chocolate croissants were for being so cheap. After our quick breakfast we drove to Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach and spent the majority of the morning there.

Saying the beach was beautiful is such an understatement because everything was so breathtaking. Having never seen a black sand beach before, I spent quite a bit of time just admiring the sand and collecting some to take back home with me. Reynisfjara also had crazy waves that would crash on shore and make foamy white tides that would contrast with the black sand beautifully. The whole time I just kept on thinking how much the beach reminded me of an Oreo!

The waves were violent looking when you’d stand and watch them, but you had to be careful of the “sneaker waves” that had the ability to sweep you out in the cold waters. There were several warning around the beach to warn visitors of the dangers of these waves because several people have died from being swept away by them!

My favorite part about the black sand beach was outrunning the waves as we ran from section to section of the beach that were harder to reach because of the waves, but if you timed it just right you could sneak into the caves and explore. It was slightly dangerous though because the waves were quick and the sand was soft, which slowed you down as you ran, but it was tons of fun. I was slightly sad when I stepped in a deep spot that held water and soaked my foot. I had to deal with a soggy sock  for the rest of our visit at the beach.

Regardless of the dangers of the waves, the adrenaline rush of sprinting away from them was awesome. We also got the chance to climb around on some of the basalt columns that were on the cliffs and later we walked down the “calmer” part of the beach, just enjoying the amazing views.

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Photo courtesy of Lesley Cline

After we finished walking around, we decided to drive over to the other side of the beach to get a view of it from the cliffs and to also see a lighthouse. The drive up to the top of the cliff proved to be a little more treacherous than expected since the road was narrow and filled with large potholes, but the views from the top were pretty spectacular.

There were several spots where you could see the other side of the beach (which was separated from the part of the beach we’d previously been on by the cliffs), but the coolest part was getting to have a bird’s eye view of everything around us. The lighthouse at the top was small and simple. Sadly, we couldn’t go inside, but you could peek through the windows to see the inside.

The cliffs were fairly larger than we’d thought so we spent some time exploring the area. Birds were scattered across the edges of the cliff and there were bird nests all the way down the sides. Though there were a lot of birds, they didn’t really care about the tourists wandering around and for the most part they didn’t bother us. The cliffs themselves were up pretty high and there were a couple times I wanted to look down the side but I got too scared of falling. We spent a good 45 minutes on the cliffs before we decided to head out and go find somewhere to eat lunch.

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We began to drive northeast towards our next destination of Eyrarbakki, which was where our next hostel was. Along the way there we stopped by another gas station to have some lunch since it was the cheapest food option we could find. It was called Bjkork and the food was actually really good. They had a special going on for unlimited soup so we all enjoyed what we suspected to be a broccoli cheddar. After lunch we continued on our way and around 5 pm we made it to our hostel, Bakki Hostel & Apartments.

To our surprise, the town of Eyrarbakki was a cute little fishing village that had some of the prettiest houses I’d seen so far in Iceland. The homes were every color you could think of and no two houses looked alike.

Once we checked into the hostel we spent about an hour or so wandering around the town. The only strange part about Eyrarbakki was that it seemed to be empty because we only saw a couple residents walking around. One of the residents was a little boy on a bike that scared me half to death when he road by me! Despite the almost “ghost town” feel, we all enjoyed looking at the wide array of houses and how curiously they were painted.

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After we had explored the town for a while, we headed back to the hostel to relax and hang out. Once we were back we decided to head to nearby city named Selfgoss for dinner. We ended up finding a quaint little pub called Kaffi Kurs that had great BBQ and wonderful Icelandic draught beer.

Not wanting to head to bed early, we stopped by a grocery store to pick up some beer only to find out that they don’t sell beer at grocery stores in Iceland! (But they do sell nonalcoholic beers!) We drove to a liquor store only to find that it had closed at 6, which had been 2 hours prior. Though we were sad we couldn’t bring back any beer, we headed back to the hostel to have a game night with some of the board games they had at the hostel.

To our surprise, the front desk worker had beers that we could buy from them! Excited, we spent the night playing Catan and enjoying some Viking beer. Overall the day was wonderfully spent on the beach and wandering around a cute town.

Also, all photos in my post that are labeled with * were taken by my friend Chris Dovletoglou!

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