How To Find Iceland’s Famous Sólheimasandur Plane Crash
Sólheimasandur Beach, Iceland
I’m sure you’ve seen photos before. Twisted wreckage from an old airplane crash in Iceland on Sólheimasandur black sand beach. Here are the directions to find it.
It’s one of Iceland’s most iconic & haunting photography locations. On Saturday Nov 24, 1973 a United States Navy Douglas Super DC-3 airplane was forced to land on Sólheimasandur’s black sand beach in the south of Iceland after experiencing some severe icing.
Luckily all crew members survived the crash, but the airplane’s fuselage was abandoned. Now it’s become a photography dream location.
If you don’t know where to look, it can be a difficult place to discover on your own. Below you’ll find driving directions to the plane.
Airplane Wreckage In Iceland
The 40 year old weather-beaten aircraft has become one of Iceland’s most dramatic photography spots due to its remote location on a desolate black sand beach. It looks like a scene out of some post-apocalyptic zombie movie!
The wings & tail are missing, it’s full of holes, and the crumbling fuselage is covered with wind-blown black sand. You can see a photo of the plane before the crash here.
I spent a night at this airplane crash site in my Happy Campers Van to capture photos of the Northern Lights. Luckily the aurora activity was very strong that night with clear skies, which can be rare in Iceland.
Photographers traveling through Iceland shouldn’t miss this spot!
To capture Northern Lights above the airplane wreckage, face North (inland), dress warm, and keep your eyes to the sky all night. Check out my guide to photographing the northern lights in Iceland.
Directions To Crash Site
The Sólheimasandur airplane wreckage is located on Iceland’s South coast between Skógafoss waterfall and the town of Vik. After driving past Skógafoss going East on Route 1, you’ll cross a bridge with blinking yellow lights and a dirt access road to Sólheimajökull Glacier on the left.
The road sign here [PHOTO #1] marks the glacier access road. From this point, keep driving East for about 2 kilometers and keep your eyes open for another dirt road turnoff with a gate on your right [PHOTO #2].
It should be the only opening in the fence after the bridge. If you end up driving over a 2nd bridge, you’ve gone too far.
Driving On The Beach
Once you pass through the small gate, you’ll see a yellow sign that indicates the track is recommended for 4×4 vehicles only. However unless the road is covered with fresh snow, you should be fine without it.
This beach road is packed down pretty well, (more gravel than sand) and a two wheel drive car will make it if driving slowly. There are some big potholes, so just be careful and take it easy.
The drive out to the plane from the main road is about 4km long.
Left At The Fork
There’s one fork on the dirt road, and you’ll want to stay left here. It’s only a few hundred yards past the gate. After that the road heads straight onto the barren black sand beach towards the ocean.
Someone has actually installed road markers on each side of the track, so it’s easy to follow even at night. Keep driving until you see the crashed airplane, about 4km.
You won’t spot the wreckage until the last minute because it’s hidden behind a sand dune near the edge of the ocean. Happy airplane hunting! ★
Turnoff GPS Coordinates
Airplane GPS Coordinates
Map From Skógafoss Waterfall
Location: Sólheimasandur Beach, Iceland [Map]
Car Rental: Happy Campers
Accommodation: Click Here For Deals in Iceland
Useful Tips: Check the weather forecast for clear skies & spend the night if you want shots of the Northern Lights. The plane is in the middle of nowhere though, make sure you don’t run out of gas or lock your keys in the car. It’s a long walk back to civilization.
Recommended Guidebook: Lonely Planet Iceland
READ NEXT: Iceland Photography: Land Of Fire & Ice
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