In 1991, the US journal Islands Magazine counted this beach as one of the ten most beautiful beaches on Earth. Its stretch of black basalt sand is one of the wettest places in Iceland. The cliffs west of the beach are home to many seabirds, most notably puffins which burrow into the shallow soils during the nesting season. Offshore lie stacks of basalt rock, remnants of a once more extensive cliffline Reynisfjall, now battered by the sea. There is no landmass between here and Antarctica and the Atlantic rollers can attack with full force. According to folklore, they are former trolls who tried to drag their boats out to sea only to be caught by the rising dawn. The sea around them is rather wild and stormy, so travelers will not be surprised to discover a monument to the memory of drowned seamen on the beach.
The cliffs by the township of Vik in Iceland
The cliffs by Vik, Iceland.
Contemporary legends note the story of a husband who found his wife taken by the two trolls, frozen at night. The husband made the two trolls swear to never kill anyone ever again. His wife was the love of his life, whose free spirit he was unable to provide a home for; she found her fate out among the trolls, rocks, and sea at Reynisfjara.
The village was affected by volcanic ash during the 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull.