Raudisandur Beach, also known as Red Sands Beach, is a beautiful red beach in a remote and secluded spot in the Westfjords of Iceland. Eponymous to its name, the beach consists of a spree of red sand stretching 1 kilometer. Unlike other beaches of Iceland that are black, the beaches at Westfjords are golden or pink. Raudisandur is red, and you may witness different ancillary hues like yellow, blue, and orange while traveling through the exquisite location.
The shades of Raudisandur, although majorly red, differ with daylight and weather. Like its shades, the beach’s sand also ranges in grittiness from very fine to feet-hurting chips and seashells. The sand of Raudisandur Beach gets its color from pulverized scallop shells. Now that we know the basics of Rauðisandur, let us try and gauge its geographical specificity.
Raudisandur Beach in Iceland has an expanse of 10 kilometers from Latrabjarg bird-cliff in the west toward the Skorarhlior mountainside in the east. It is undeniable that reaching Raudisandur is a challenging feat as the road leading to the place comprises gravel. If you are coming from the Westfjords ferry at Brjanslaekur, you should follow Road 62 west toward Patreksfjorour.
Secondly, starting from Reykjavik – the Icelandic capital – you need to drive on Ring Road 1, turn toward the north, and pass through Borgarnes. After driving for a few kilometers and crossing Borgarnes, you need to take a left and head toward Road Number 60. After that, you will reach Vattarnes. Passing through Vattarnes, you need to run toward Route 62 and drive to the left on route 612. After going for a while, you will reach Raudisandur Beach. It is noteworthy to mention that the journey from Reykjavik to Raudisandur can be undulating as there are steep drops. So, make sure that you are an expert driver while making this journey alone.
The road that leads to Raudisandur is not concrete and instead is composed of gravel. The various aspects of the journey to Raudisandur include:
The road leading to the beach is deemed one of Iceland’s most challenging roads to trespass. The steep hills and poor gravel road make driving a thrilling experience. After reaching the mountain, you can park your car in the small parking lot. Amid the red sandy beach, you can also find a small café where you can sit and relish the sea tides. You can also observe various fantastic campsites next to the beach.
The GPS coordinates of Raudisandur are - GPS 65°28’28.5″N 23°59’42.0″W.
The red beach of Rauðisandur Beach is located beside Latrabjarg, which is Europe’s highest bird-watching cliff. These cliffs are the abode of millions of sea birds such as razorbills, gulls, fulmar, and puffins. The migratory birds – puffins – also fly to the region between May and September each year. You can observe and enjoy the presence of many of the sea birds by sitting at Raudisandur itself. Similar to all other beaches of Westfjords, Raudisandur is an excellent place for seal-watching. You can easily spot grey and harbor seals hauling out on the sands or bobbing in the water.
Another fantastic natural aspect of Raudisandur Beach is that it is a fantastic place for whale watching. However, it is not assured that you will catch a glimpse of a whale, but you never know what might be your lucky day at Raudisandur.
The sandy and ethereal-colored sands of Raudisandur are natural phenomena caused because there is no volcanically active substance underneath the region anymore. In summers, the beach gives off a tropical and Mediterranean vibe. Walking along the beach until you reach the sea is worth it as the sea provides the best views of the red sand beach and its surrounding areas. The soft sand coupled with gritty seashell residue often serves as a warehouse of precious objects washed ashore by the sea. People even find whalebones sometimes.
Raudisandur Beach is also known as the Red Sand Beach of Iceland. But some people are of the opinion that it got its name from an early settler of the area – Armor rauoi Porbjarnarson, or Armor the Red. Raudisandur changes its color with daylight, and the primary reason for this fascinating alteration is the shattered scallop shells accumulated on the beach over the centuries. As the scallop shells are reflective substances, they reflect the sun’s light on a sunny day and the beach appears to be glowing.
Although the red sands of Raudisandur are world-renowned, the color of the sands entirely depends upon the time of the day you visit. In case you visit Raudisandur Beach on a cloudy day, the color of the sand will seem gray and muddy. On the contrary, if you see the beach on a sunny day, the sand will seem to have red and pinkish hues. The color of the sun on a sunny day is so breathtaking that you feel like you are in paradise.
Despite having an immensely tranquil and serene ambiance, Rauðisandur has been the crux of one of Iceland’s most notorious crimes. The Murders at Sjounda took place at the Sjounda farm just beside Rauðisandur in the early parts of the 19th century. The tale with all its reality seems like extraction from a dark, romantic novel.
It is said that in the early 1800s, two families resided on the small farm of Sjounda. Bjarni Bjarnason lived with his wife Guoron Egilsdottir, and Jon Porgrimsson lived with his wife Steinunn Sveinsdottir. The first covert and poignant death in the place occurred in 1902 when Jon went missing. People believed that he jumped off a cliff. Three months later, Guoron unexpectedly expired. Surprisingly, the local priest could not pinpoint anything unusual about her death. It was only in the autumn of 1802 that Jon’s body washed up on the shore of Raudisandur Beach, but none of his bones were broken, and the initial hypothesis that he jumped or fell off cliff was dismissed.
Gradually, the nearby villagers began talking, and there was a buzz of foul play. A few days later, Bjarni and Steinunn admitted that they had brutally murdered their spouses. Both of them were sentenced to death. However, Steinunn passed away in prison, and Bjarni was executed, and his head and hands were cut off. The famous murder mystery novel – The Black Cliff by Gunnar Gunnarsson – is based on this true story.
Even though you decide to spend 10 minutes or 3 hours at Raudisandur, your journey to this beautiful Icelandic location is worthwhile. The particular aspects of the place include:
Now that we have listed the unique aspects, let us examine the best things to do at Raudisandur. Iceland.
Franska Kaffihusio, alternately known as the French Café, is a tiny café overlooking Rauðisandur. They serve the most delicious and tasty Icelandic waffles. One prime reason to visit Rauðisandur is to go to Franska Kaffihusio and enjoy delightful coffee with tasty meals. The place has a unique vibe that matches immaculately with the serenity of Raudisandur and makes you fall in love with the whole place even more.
The beauty of Raudisandur is otherworldly in a literal sense. Even if you don’t want to indulge in any activities in the location, simply observing its beauty is enough to give you peace of mind. A long walk on the beach with the sea beside it is indeed a sight straight from a romantic movie.
You can indulge in a relaxing walk on Raudisandur Beach, and it will be, undoubtedly, an ethereal experience. The soft and gritty sand coupled with course seashells can offer you an experience of treasure hunting as they hide many precious objects at times.
You can also observe the old ruins of Sjounda farm, where the grisly crime scenes happened in the 1800s. The beautiful Saurbaejarkirkja church is also a treat to the eyes and something that you should not miss if you visit Raudisandur Beach.
Raudisandur is a haven for bird watchers as sea birds hoard the place. You can see a variety of seabirds like gulls, fulmars, etc. while visiting Raudisandur. The cliffs of Latrabjarg are famous for being the most prolific seabird colony of Europe. Therefore, Raudisandur becomes an ideal place for bird watching. You should take your camera along and click photographs of these birds, as well.
Iceland’s beloved animal – the seal – is found all over Raudisandur, and you can easily watch them from the beach. They are entertaining and a sight for sore eyes, in all honesty. You can spot hundreds of seals blissfully sunbathing on the shore. Moreover, if you are lucky, you might spot a whale as well.
The best way to capture optimal pictures of the 10-mile Raudisandur Beach is by taking photographs roughly from the center of the place. You can improve your images by walking to either end of the beach or capturing the scene from an elevation. You can shoot the west where mountains are visible. Moreover, you can try and capture the moonlight, low clouds, evening sky colors, and the beautiful sand of the beach. If photography is your primary motivation to visit Raudisandur, we recommend that you visit the place during the summer.
You can visit Raudisandur Beach at any time of the year. But it is noteworthy to keep in mind that the gravel road and the steep 180-degree turn on the roads may become dangerous during rainy and winter seasons. Moreover, it would be best if you visited the place on a sunny day with low tide.
You can reach Raudisandur Beach in any regular car. But, as the roads are gravely and undulating, we recommend that you opt for a strenuous vehicle. While looking for rental cars, make sure that you tell the service providers that you are looking for a car that can cross the tensed stretches of road that you need to cross before reaching Raudisandur Beach, Iceland.
Now that we have analyzed and laid out a lot of information about Raudisandur Beach, let us see a few of the enticing places near the area.
In conclusion, Raudisandur Beach, Iceland, is an ideal place for every travel enthusiast. If you want to enjoy Icelandic landscapes and get some vibes from a tropical location, visiting Raudisandur should be your priority. It is also essential to highlight that Raudisandur is an excellent location if you love animals and birds. Lastly, the historical mysteries associated with the area make it all the more fascinating. So, plan your vacation to Raudisandur and enjoy a unique Icelandic experience.