Rauðisandur beach is on the South side of Iceland’s Westfjords Info Link and is south facing.  Rauðisandur is also spelled Rauðasandur and features “Red Sand”.   The redish coloured sand is significant and celebrated by the Icelanders because the black sand can be found on the majority of Iceland’s beaches. Like many Icelandic place names, Rauðisandur could be named after an early Viking settler called Ármóður the Red (Ármóður rauði Þorbjarnarson).

vestfirðir strandir

west coast beaches
On a clear day you can see across Breiðafjörður to the mountains of Snaefellsnes Peninsular. It is not far from Patreksfjörður and it is just some minutes driving from Latrabjarg puffin cliffs. People come for the colour of the sand because everywhere else in Iceland has black sand beaches. Driving down to Rauðisandur beach can be horrible  for passengers without a fearless sense of death. There is a very steep, winding road from the mountain pass down to the beach and it is quite narrow. From the bottom of this road, there is about a 10 minute drive to the car park.  This is past the black church.  Then there is about a 20 min walk to the beach.


Rauðisandur Beach

The sand is pink in places.

Legend of the red head and the wizard

In 1243 the lived a red haired lady beneath the mountains near where the Rauðisandur church is stood today.  She used to feed fish to a cat that belonged to the local wizard.  Legend has it that the cat and the lady were so close that they were able to shape-shift, so that the cat could become the woman and make a Skonsatunfisk (an Icelandic tuna pizza).  Like-wise, the red haired woman could become a cats and chase the mice along the red sands of Rauðisandur beach.  And this is what gave the sand its red colour.

The red – pink colour is actually because the sad is crushed scallop shells.  The Westfjords is one of the oldest parts of Iceland and hasn’t had any volcanic activity in recent times.  You might see black sand here in layers and according to the times and chaos of the waves.  This could be from Snæfellsjökull Volcano whose last eruption was over 2000 years ago.

More local info…

Photo Tips

The beach is around 7 miles in length and all my photos here were taken roughly from the middle.  You can improve on them by walking to either end and maybe getting some elevation and foreground in the mountains or rocks. I like to shoot towards the West because the mountains are a bit more interesting in the distance.  Either direction can look good with low clouds, moonlight or some evening colours in the sky.  This is a place you would typically visit in the Summer because I wouldn’t want to attempt the mountain track in icy conditions and I have lots of experience both with this road and icy conditions.  It’s just not worth it for a fairly plain, albeit colourful beach.  In mid-Summer, the mid-night sun is going on in the North and can’t be seen from Rauðisandur beach.

Rauðisandur abstract

Long exposure abstract photography.

Black sand at Rauðisandur

Black sand at Rauðisandur

Multi-day tours

These are multi-day photo tours that include Rauðasandur.  If conditions are good Rauðasandur beach is an amazing landscape photography session.

Custom Photo Tour

If you want something that is not listed or you want see Iceland at your own pace on a bespoke tour, our Custom Photo Tours go to all parts of Iceland.

Summer: Wonderful West

The magical lure of Iceland’s Westfjords is the steep mountain fjords packed with RAW nature and wildlife.

Landscape Photography

Here are some more landscape photos of Iceland.

Cotton ball sky

Crazy sky over the sea stacks at Vik on the return leg of our 5 day Winter workshop. Shot with 135mm from the sea cliffs at Dyrholaey.

Djúpalónssandur Snæfellsnes

The Djúpalónssandur bay is on the Southern shore of the Snæfellsnes peninsular and quite close to Snæfellsjokull volcano which has added to the Icelandic landscape.

Rock vs Moon

Behind the mountains

This picture was taken around 3.30 on a Summer morning. This was a private tour through the Southern Highlands of Iceland. The area for our adventure is known as the Fjallabak Nature Reserve and is a huge wilderness between the Myrdalsjokull and Eyjafjallajokull glaciers and the Landmannalaugar hiking zone. In fact the whole area is a hiking zone and includes the world famous Laugarvegur trail which is a demanding trek through volcanic and glacier landscapes for 53km.

Lómagnúpur Mountain

Lómagnúpur Mountain is in the South East Iceland between Kirkjubæjarklaustur and Skaftafell National park. It is named after the Lómag – a bird that frequents the cliff face.

Snaefellsnes tour