HOW TO FIND THE SOLHEIMANDUR PLANE CRASH WRECK IN ICELAND
When I first started researching places to see in Iceland, I couldn’t help but feel quite lost initially. Do you guys often feel that way too when you’re travelling somewhere new? Even though I felt overwhelmed, I still persevered. I bought Lonely Planet’s Iceland Guide, I spent hours researching online and I took about 3,741 screen grabs of Iceland on Instagram. Amongst this research I came across a plane crash wreckage at Sólheimasandur’s black sand beach in the south of Iceland. Little did I know, this is actually one of Iceland’s most fascinating and iconic photography locations. So what actually happened? On the 24th of November in 1973, a United States Navy Douglas Super DC-3 airplane was forced to crash land. Thankfully, all onboard survived. However the wreckage was left behind.
I’d seen plenty of photos on Instagram about the plane wreckage but I couldn’t find any specific information on how to find it. When we got to Reykjavik, we asked a few locals for directions and when we began our epic adventure around the Ring Road, it was easily our most anticipated thing to see on our hectic itinerary. So if you want to know how to find the Sólheimasandur plane crash wreck in Iceland, read on...
How to find the Sólheimasandur plane crash wreck in Iceland
- The Sólheimasandur plane crash wreckage is located off the Ring Road on the South Coast of Iceland between Skogafoss waterfall and the very cute town of Vik.
- If you are driving from Reykjavik driving east on Route 1, Skogafoss will be on your left. If you are driving from Vik driving west on Route 1, you won’t pass Skogafoss (I really hope this makes sense). Refer to the map below if you need some visual assistance. The blue line shows the journey from Skogafoss to Sólheimasandur black sand beach and before you get to the beach, you will find the plane wreck.
- When you drive past Skogafoss, continue east on Route 1 and you will cross a bridge with subtle blinking lights and then you will drive past a dirt road to Sólheimajökull Glacier on the left. Note: If you have gone across a second bridge from Skogafoss, you’ve gone too far.
- Keep driving for about two or so kilometres east until you see another dirt road on your right, and turn off onto this road. You’ll have to drive through an unmarked gate and over a metal grid to keep cattle from crossing the Ring Road.
- Once you turnoff, drive for a little bit and when you come to a fork on the dirt road, veer left and then head straight towards the black sand beach. There are yellow markers signing the way, but we found most of them had been knocked over and they weren’t particularly bright and therefore not overly easy to see. Regardless, just keep driving straight and in the direction of the beach. And you’ll soon come across the plane wreck woo hoo!
A few things to note • You don’t need a 4WD to drive to the plane wreckage however the road is very bumpy and there are a lot of rocks, so if you’re not in a 4WD you’ll need to take it slowly. • I really, really hope no one else is at the plane wreck when you are. I was really surprised to see about three or four cars of people exploring the plane and surrounds when we got there. If this happens, and you want to get a photo with just you and the plane, be prepared to wait. • Absolutely feel free to climb all over the wreckage, it’s part of the experience and it’s a hell of fun. Just be careful if you climb to the top, it gets slippery if it’s wet or if it’s been snowing. • If you want to take a really unique photo, don’t just stand in front of it. Do something different. When we went, we had another group turn up and watch me as I danced along the top. It was super embarrassing! And it was snowing. And it was freezing. But it was definitely worth it.