Djúpalónssandur is an arched-shaped bay of dark cliffs and black sand, located on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in western Iceland.
History & Monuments
The location was once home to a prosperous fishing village, similar to other abandoned hamlets and ports of the area such as Búðir and Hellnar. These thrived back when the Snæfellsnes Peninsula functioned as one of the most active trading posts of the island, but now are simply centres for tourism.
Fascinating remnants of this period are found in the form of four ancient lifting stones that still occupy the beach. The stones range in weight from 23 kg (50 lbs) to 155 kg (342 lbs) and were used to test the strength of fishermen. Their names are Amlóði (useless), Hálfdrættingur (weakling), Hálfsterkur (half-strong) and Fullsterkur (full-strong). Even today, you can see how you would have fared working on Iceland's dangerous seas by trying your luck at lifting these stones.
In 1948, the English trawler Epine GY 7 from Grimsby shipwrecked on the shore, with fourteen dead and five survivors. The rusty iron remains of the vessel remain scattered on the beach, now protected as a monument to those who perished.
Environment & Surroundings
The Snæfellsnes Peninsula boasts countless natural wonders, where locals and travellers both flock on a daily basis to enjoy the unique landscape and stunning coastlines. Djúpalónssandur’s black pebble beach is particularly stunning with its rocky coastal lava formations, which include a large lava rock with a hole in the middle through which you can directly spot the Snæfellsjökull glacier volcano.
Behind the rocks are two freshwater lagoons called Djúpulón and Svörtulón, with the former serving as the namesake of the bay. Though believed in olden times to be bottomless, the water bodies were later revealed to reach the depth of just five metres.
Lagoons such as these are held in high regard amongst the Icelandic people, and Svörtulón is thought to possess healing properties, especially after having been blessed by Bishop Guðmundur góði ('the good') in the late 1100s.
A natural monument of the area is Söngklettur, or “singing rock”, a large lava rock with a reddish hue that resembles an elfish church. Other rock formations of folklorish appeal rest close by, including the alleged trolls-turned-to-stone Kerling and Lóndrangar.
When visiting Djúpalónssandur, take heed that these are treacherous waters and the Atlantic Ocean’s powerful suction can easily carry you out to sea. This beach is not one for wading, but enjoying from a safe distance, especially if the weather is stormy.
The video below shows the power and shocking speed of sneaker waves that occur at locations such as Djúpalónssandur and Reynisfjara in the south.
The glistening pebbles that make up the beach known as Djúpalónsperlur, or “pearls of the deep lagoon”, are gorgeous to look at and might seem appealing to stone collectors, but they are protected by law and should not be removed from the area by visitors.