Rauðasandur beach or Red Sands beach is a beautiful red beach in a very remote area in the Westfjords of Iceland. Most beaches in Iceland are black, but the beaches in the Westfjords are golden or pink.
Rauðasandur is kind of reddish in colour and the name of the beach is most likely derived from the colour of the sand. But the name can also derive from the settler in this area, Ármóður rauði Þorbjarnarson or Ármóður the Red.
The sand changes in colour from being yellow to red to black.
Rauðasandur beach stretches for ca 10 km from Látrabjarg bird-cliff in the west towards Skorarhlíðar mountain side in the east. The roads in this part of the Westfjords are not paved. The road leading to Rauðisandur is a gravel road, winding and steep so drive it slowly. Some call it the most frightening road in the Westfjords, but to me it looks ok, just very winding.
Once down the mountain Rauðasandur can be reached from both the right hand side and the left hand side, where there is a camping area. There is a couple of km's drive and the car can be parked at a small parking lot.
By the parking lot there is a map explaining how to get to the beach. Handwritten on it in Icelandic were directions that there is a 1 km's walk to the beach and a shallow rived has to be waded.
Funny troll signs lead the way :) Ok, now, wading a shallow river - how shallow and how wide is that river and where is it?
We walked for ca 30 minutes by the ocean seeing Rauðasandur on the other side, wondering when we would get there. French tourists followed us, wondering the same thing, how to get to the red sandy beach on the other side of the ocean.
All of a sudden I spotted a man walking on the ocean in the distance. It was a surreal sight - it looked like he was actually walking on water. I walked faster so I could ask him how to get to the other side.
The man was the farmer in this area and had been to the beach to collect whale bones from a whale which had stranded on the beach 2 years earlier. His daughter made artwork from the whale bones.
The farmer said that it was easy to pass the river (ocean) and that it was shallow. It was indeed shallow and easily passable but ice cold.
Although it is a bit difficult getting here, driving to this remote area of Iceland, driving down the steep mountain, walking for half an hour and wading the cold ocean/river, it is so worth it when you reach the destination, the red sands.
It is just lovely being here in the tranquillity and beautiful nature. And one can take beautiful photos here.
A crime story is related to this area. By the farm Sjöundá around 1800 there lived two married couples. Bjarni and Steinunn, the husband from one marriage and Steinunn, the wife from the other marriage, had an affair.
They ended up murdering their spouses. They were placed under arrest and trialled for the murders. They were found guilty and sentenced to death. Bjarni was executed in 1805 in Norway but Steinunn died in prison in Reykjavík.
You can reach Sjöundá from the camping place on the east side of the sand.
This is also a historical place for Icelanders and all of us had to learn by heart a poem in school which is directly related to this area.
It is a poem by our beloved poet, Matthías Jochumsson, on Eggert Ólafsson, who drowned in 1768 off the shore by Skor on the eastern part of Rauðasandur.
You can take an 8-Day Self Drive Tour | The West Fjords | Snæfellsnes Peninsula. There is also a guided tour operating from May-August which takes you to both Rauðasandur and Látrabjarg sea-bird cliff. These tours start from Patreksfjörður town and are operated by Westfjord Adventures.
Here you can see the exact location of Rauðasandur on the map.
I have written several other travel blogs on the beautiful Westfjords of Iceland and will adding many more: