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Although there are many great travel experiences to be had in Iceland, the beach at Vik has to be one of the most underrated.
This is simply a magical spot. Driving east from Reykjavik, this is a turnoff just before the Ring Road winds around one last big hill to reach the small, charming town of Vik. From the Ring Road, you drive five minutes or so south toward the coast. There is a small parking lot there.
So much to see! The beach itself is fascinating: From the parking lot, it starts off of black volcanic sands, and then it turns into black and grey rocks--oval and round, often very smooth. Offshore, you can see the Reynisdrangar rock formations--spooky spindles of rock sticking out of the sea a short ways offshore. Supposedly these were formed when trolls attempted to drag three ships onshore.
On the beach, you have the remarkable basalt columns known as the "organ pipes" because that's what they look like. Although these columns are tempting to climb, particularly to get closer to the puffins during the summer months, they can be very slippery. In addition, climbing them disturbs the puffins from nesting. Icelanders have reported that people have died falling off these cliffs in an attempt to get near to the puffins.
Further round the cliff from the puffins is a spectacular basalt cave, which the advancing tide may cut you off from as waves crash on the shore with the Reynisdrangar offshore. To the west, you can see the natural rock arch of the Dyrholaey area. Above you (in the summer at least), puffins zoom in and out of thier burrows. No wonder Islands Magazine rated it the most beautiful non-tropical beach in the world.
This beach is a photographer's paradise and a great family destination to spend a good hour or so.