How To Find Iceland’s Famous Sólheimasandur Plane Crash

Airplane Wreckage Iceland
Famous Plane Crash in Iceland
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.

UPDATE: Since writing this post, local landowners have banned access to vehicles driving on the beach. You now have to walk 4km to the plane from the road. So not quite as easy as it used to be.

It’s one of Iceland’s most iconic & haunting photography locations. If you’re looking for some great travel inspiration, you’ll find it at this cool spot!

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 travel 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 Crash Iceland
Mysterious Airplane Wreckage

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.

Northern Lights Iceland
Epic Spot For Northern Lights!

Directions To Crash Site

The Sólheimasandur airplane wreckage is located on Iceland’s Southern 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 turn off 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.

Plane Wreckage Directions Iceland
PHOTO #1: Road Sign After 1st Bridge
Plane Wreckage Directions Iceland
PHOTO #2: Gate & Turnoff that Leads to Plane
Plane Wreckage Directions Iceland
Four Wheel Drive Only? (you don’t need it)

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.

UPDATE: Since writing this post, local landowners have banned access to vehicles driving on the beach. You now have to walk 4km to the plane from the road.

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

63.4912391,-19.3632810

Airplane GPS Coordinates

63.459523,-19.364618

Map From Skógafoss Waterfall

Travel Planning Resources For Iceland
Location: Plane Crash Map

Packing Guide

Check out my travel gear guide to help you start packing for your trip. Pick up a travel backpack, camera gear, and other useful travel accessories.

Book Your Flight

Find cheap flights on Skyscanner. This is my favorite search engine to find deals on airlines. Also make sure to read how I find the cheapest flights.

Rent A Car

Discover Cars is a great site for comparing car prices to find the best deal. They search both local & international rental companies. Also read my tips for driving in Iceland.

Book Accommodation

Booking.com is my favorite hotel search engine. Or rent apartments from locals on Airbnb. Read more about how I book cheap hotels online.

Protect Your Trip

Don’t forget travel insurance! I’m a big fan of World Nomads for short-term trips. Protect yourself from possible injury & theft abroad. Read more about why you should always carry travel insurance.

Suggested Reading: The Little Book Of Hidden People

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How To Find Iceland's Famous Sólheimasandur Plane Crash! More at ExpertVagabond.com
How To Find Iceland's Famous Sólheimasandur Plane Crash! More at ExpertVagabond.com

READ MORE ICELAND TRAVEL TIPS

I hope you enjoyed my guide to the Sólheimasandur plane crash! Hopefully you found it useful. Here are a few more wanderlust-inducing articles that I recommend you read next:

Any questions about visiting Iceland’s plane crash? Are you traveling to Iceland anytime soon? Drop me a message in the comments below!

THANKS FOR READING

Hi, I’m Matthew Karsten — I’ve been traveling around the world for the last 9 years as a blogger, photographer, and digital nomad. Adventure travel & photography are my passions. Let me inspire you to travel with crazy stories, photography, and money-saving travel tips.
Matthew Karsten
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