Black Lava Beaches on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in Iceland

One of the most interesting things that we’ve seen in our travels are the black lava beaches in Iceland. There are several of them on the island, but we visited the ones that are on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. They are especially interesting when seen during winter when the black of the lava contrasts with the white of the snow. As time goes by, the larger lava rocks slowly erode to an almost sandy appearance, but it is still quite rough. We stood for quite some time just watching the waves pounding against the rocky shore, the power of nature in all of its glory.

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Amazing Black Beach
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Lava Rocks on the Shore
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Lava Cliffs

To get to the black beaches on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, you go into the Snæfellsjökull National Park and head toward the Malariff Lighthouse. From there you simply continue to the shore where the beaches line the coast. You will also get a chance to see the twin peaks of Lóndrangar, which are huge lava rocks along the shore that have survived years of erosion. As we continued down the coast away from Malariff, we came across even more dramatic lava rocks on the shoreline. The lava has been carved into sheer cliffs with the waves crashing along their base. Even further along the coast, we came across large lava fields along the shore that almost looked like we had been transported to a foreign planet.

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Rocky Lava Coastline
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Waves Rolling Ashore
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Rugged Lava Carved Out by the Ocean

Visiting the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, which has been described as Iceland in miniature, is definitely something that should be seen during any trip to Iceland. For many reasons, seeing the black beaches along the coast is something that we found extremely beautiful as well as geologically fascinating.

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Snow, Lava, and the Ocean
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Rock Formations at Lóndrangar
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Alien Landscape Along the Coast

 

Lóndrangar and the Malariff Lighthouse on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in Iceland

One of our favorite memories in Iceland was driving around the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. It was recommended to us by the staff at the hotel and it was certainly one of the highlights of our trip. The Golden Circle is certainly an absolute must, but you will be surrounded by crowds and tour buses while driving around the peninsula, at least in winter, will have you enjoying the natural beauty of the island on your own. Two of our favorite sights while driving around the peninsula was Lóndrangar, which is a pair of volcanic rocks that jut up along the coast and the Malariff Lighthouse located nearby. It is also a perfect place to see the “black beaches” of Iceland, which are beachs covered in black volcanic rocks.

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Lighthouse at Malariff
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Amazing Black Beach
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Lava Rocks on the Shore

Seeing the twin peaks of Lóndrangar is certainly an amazing sight and pictures don’t truly do it justice. Centuries of erosion have left these volcanic rocks looming over the edge of the coastline. The entire area is volcanic crater that has been enveloped by the ocean and now only lava rocks remain. We were fortunate to see Lóndrangar from two angles, first looking at them with the ocean sitting behind them and then later from the Malariff Lighthouse. Since we were there during the winter, the black lava rocks really stood out against the snowy landscape and glacial mountains off in the distance.

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Rock Formations at Lóndrangar
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Blue Sky and Lighthouse
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Lóndrangar with Ocean in the Background

Next we drove to the Malariff Lighthouse, which is truly dramatic and well worth visiting. You are able to walk all around the lighthouse, which stands as a lonely sentry to protect ships from crashing into the rocky coast. As we arrived, the cloudy skies temporarily parted to provide an amazing backdrop to the white lighthouse. It is supposed to be a great location to see different water birds and even seals, but perhaps the weather was too cold for even them during our visit.

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Sun Along the Shore
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Rough Water
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View of Lóndrangar from the Lighthouse

After walking around the lighthouse, we continued on to walk down to the shoreline and see the waves crashing against the lava lined coast. It certainly provides a sense of how powerful the ocean can be in this rugged land. It also provides evidence as to the clear need for the lighthouse when you see the waves splashing high above the rocks along the shore. Iceland is such a beautiful country and this little snippet of the coast will give you a true sense of the destructive forces that have created not only Iceland, but the world as a whole.

The Black Beaches of Iceland

There was so much spectacular scenery as we drove around the southern and western parts of Iceland. As we drove along the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, we really enjoyed seeing the black beaches, which are basically lava flows that extend into the ocean. The peninsula is often referred to as “Iceland in miniature” because it has everything from beaches, volcanos, glaciers, and an abundance of wildlife. Seeing the beauty of the beaches is a reminder as to the forces of nature and how these forces continuously interact with one another. For this week’s Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, Colors that Start with the Letter B, we are sharing a few of the photos that we took of those amazing black beaches and lava flows in Iceland.

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Amazing Black Beach
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Rugged Coastline
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Black Lava in the Surf
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Lava Eroded into Cliffs
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Looking Down the Coast
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Dramatic Coastline
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Road along the Coast
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Powerful Lava Flows