The Sólheimarsandur airplane wreck


Most people have seen this plane before lying on a black sand beach and if you are planing to have a vacation in Iceland, you might want to go there yourself but where is it?

Lets start from the beginning. The airplane was owned by the United States air force and it’s a Douglas DC-3 C 117 Super Dakota and designed in 1950. Not being an expert in aviation, there are some different model numbers popping up for this plane. We believe the Icelandic newspaper Morgunblaðið has it right when they call the plane DC-3 C 117. There were 4 of these planes in Iceland at the time. They all came from the Korea war and they all had their mishaps here. One is now a summer cabin somewhere close to Höfn in East Iceland. Another one was destroyed when it went off the landing strip in northeast Iceland. A third one is now a museum piece in Keflavík.

The fourth is one lying on Sólheimarsandur was en route from Keflavik to Stokksnes in 1973, just east of Höfn with supplies. While flying there, the weather turned bad and they turned around but unfortunately, the weather in Keflavík had also turned bad and due to fuel levels, they had to make an emergency landing on Sólheimarsandur. All crew members survived.


The route to the crashed plane at Sólheimarsandur in Iceland

Read more: Roads in Iceland

The plane site itself is easy to find. If you are in Reykjavik, you take road nr:1 to the south (to Vík) and drive 155 km/96 miles. That will take you roughly two hours. When you have just under 2 km/1.2 miles left before you have to take a right turn onto a dirt road, you will pass this sign to the left:


Directions to the airplane wreck at Sólheimarsandur


It’s a straight forward drive on the famous ring road. After you pass Skógarfoss on your left, you have about 9km/5.6miles left to the turnoff to the left.

If you pass a second bridge, you have passed this place. When you have arrived at the turnoff, you will see this:


The turn to the crash site at Sólheimarsandur

GPS cordinates: 63.4912391,-19.3632810


There are no signs here so you have to keep an eye on your numbers and the road of course. This road is not suitable for ordinary cars. You will need a 4×4 to travel comfortably and not to get stuck and you need to KEEP ON THE ROAD. You will see the sign in the upper, left corner in the picture, informing you ordinary cars are not allowed on this road.

After a short ride (300m/315 yards), you take a slight left so you will drive along the filed to your right and from there it’s straight down to the beach. Remember that off road driving in Iceland is strictly forbidden so keep to the track. It’s just under 4 km/2.5 miles to the beach. The sand at the black sand beach is usually tightly packed but there are big pot holes here and there so drive carefully.


The crashed plane in Iceland. Lying on a black sand beach

GPS coordinates: 63.459523,-19.364618


So there you have it. A very easy drive in your 4×4 rental car and a fun ride too. Black sand beaches are very special to visit and there are not many of those in the world and is almost a must to visit while you are in Iceland. We think there are like three places or so in the world where you have black sand beaches so use the opportunity to visit ours. The GPS coordinates you see under the pictures, you can copy and paste them directly to Google Maps or Earth.


Happy travels!  #GoIceland


News update!

15/3, 2016

As of yesterday, the landowners where the road between the ring road and the plane lies are now shut because of off road driving. Vehicles have literally destroyed the fields surround the road. In a landowners meeting yesterday, they found no other way to stop this development than to close down the road, at least until the land dries up. Benedikt, one of the landowners says people drive like they want to, destroying the land and the farmers have no choice than to close down the road until they find a solution to the problem or the land dries up. Benedikt posted the picture below on their Facebook page and we clearly see how people are not keeping to the road.

The road to the crashed airplane is closed for now