Visit Djupalonssandur Beach Along Western Iceland's Snaefellsnes Peninsula
The Snaefellsnes Peninsula is a magical stretch of glaciers, volcanoes, lava formations, fishing villages and more. Known as “Iceland in Miniature”, the region is said to encapsulate the very essence of Iceland in a small Atlantic peninsula.
Located just 2 hours from Reykjavik, the Snaefellsnes Peninsula has been steadily gaining popularity as a beautiful and convenient region to explore. There are plenty of things to see in the area, with one of the highlights being the beautiful Djupalonssandur Beach.
Comprising a black pebble beach, Djupalonssandur Beach was once home to one of the Peninsula’s biggest fishing village. To get to the beach, you’ll have to pass through a fantastical field filled with moss-covered lava formations. A path, known as the Nautrastigur path, cuts through this field, bringing you on a fascinating journey among towering lava structures.
Wander through this out-of-this-world landscape filled with lava formations of all shapes and sizes. It feels just like a page out of a storybook, where a giant troll would jump out from behind a rock any minute!
Doesn’t this look just like a mossy wonderland where fairies hide?
Don’t miss out peeking through Gatklettur, a large rock with a hole through which the Snaefellsjokull glacier volcano can be seen.
At the beach, you’ll notice multiple pieces of wreckage strewn over the pebbles. These are the remains of the ‘Epine GY 7’, a British trawler that was wrecked at sea in 1948. The wreck claimed the lives of fourteen men and only five men were saved. The remains have been kept on the beach as a tribute to the fishermen that lost their lives in the blizzard that night.
You’ll also notice some large stones innocuously laid out in a row. These are known as the Aflraunasteinar, ancient ‘lifting stones’. These stones are known as Fullsterkur (“Full Strength”) weighing 154 kg, Halfsterkur (“Half Strength”), Halfdraettingur (“Weakling”) and Amlooi (“Useless”) at 23 kg. The sailors that rowed out from Dritvik to fish tested their strength by lifting these stones.
To be certified suitable for sea, a sailor had to be able to lift the heaviest stone onto a platform that comes up to hip level. Any man that couldn’t lift the stone was deemed unsuitable for life as a fisherman. Give it a try and see which of the stones you’re able to lift!
Colloquially known as the ‘Black Lava Pearl Beach’, Djupalonssandur Beach is made out of small black pebbles. These smooth pebbles are called the Djupalonsperlur, otherwise protected as the ‘Pearls of Djupalon’. It’s said that travellers shouldn’t take any pebbles away from the beach to avoid running into misfortune!
Locals wax lyrical about two types of mystical creatures that live in Iceland: Hulufolk, the hidden people, and Alfar, the elves. Interestingly, over half of Iceland’s population believe that they exist! Djupalonssandur is associated with plenty of Icelandic folklore surrounding these creatures. Songklettur, a large red rock on the shores of Djupalonssandur, is seen as a church for the elves.
Whether you believe in these tales or not, locals will advise you to show respect for these elf locations. As such, you shouldn’t climb on them or make a ruckus around the area. Legend has it that if these rules are disrespected, the elves’ wrath will be incurred and they’ll steal something that holds great significance to you as part of their revenge.
These rock formations on the beach are also thought to be Kerling (the Troll Woman) and Karl (the Troll Man), two trolls that were turned into stone.
Djupalonssandur was once home to sixty fishing ships with Dritvik cove, a nearby bay, offering a natural landing spot for these vessels. Do take note that the waters here are known to be volatile and rough; swimming here is hence prohibited at all times!
Djupalonssandur Beach is located about 2 hours and 50 minutes away from Reykjavik, and is best explored by car.