If you are looking to travel to Iceland, it’s most likely you have already seen pictures of the twisted airplane wreckage on the black sands of Sólheimasandur. Whether you already know the story behind the plane, are looking for directions or is something you’ve just learnt about, then we’ve got all the info you need. It’s worth noting that if you’re planning a trip across Iceland’s stunning southern coast then this is a worthy stop along route. In fact, from Reykjavík you can combine this trip with visiting the magnificent Skógafoss waterfall.
Airplane Wreckage In Iceland
On Saturday 24th November, 1973 a United States Navy Douglas Super DC-3 airplane was forced to make an emergency crash landing on the black sandy beach of Sólheimasandur after running out of fuel. Fortunately all crew managed to survive the impact, but the plane was simply abandoned and never recovered. It was later on they discovered the reason of the crash was simply due to the pilot switching to the wrong fuel tank in error.
The once forgotten dented and bruised airplane that has been punished by the harsh Icelandic weather has now become a dream location amongst photographers. All that is left of the United States Navy cargo plane is the fuselage that has remained untouched since it crashed more than four decades ago. With smashed out windows, the fuselage is completely gutted of seats and any hallmarks of a military aircraft. Crumbling holes along with a missing tail and wings makes it very eery place to be, especially in such a remote location.
Directions to Plane at Sólheimasandur
Unfortunately due to inconsiderate tourists, the local landowners have decided to close the path leading to the DC plane wreckage due to people driving off road into the sand even though they had marked out a clear path to follow. For the time being you are required to walk 4km to the plane wreckage from the road. More details can be found here.
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.
You will discover the Sólheimasandur airplane wreckage on Iceland’s South coast. Driving on Route 1, you will need to go past the Skógafoss waterfall where you will cross a bridge with yellow flashing lights, to your left you will see a dirt road to Sólheimajökull Glacier. After crossing the bridge you will need to keep driving for another 2km where you should soon discover another dirt road turnoff with a gate on your right. Here you will discover an opening in the fence from the main road where you will now need to park up somewhere sensible as access to the airplane wreckage by car is prohibited by landowners.
Airplane GPS coordinates are as follows (63 27.546-19 21.887) otherwise, please view this map for accurate directions.
Without using any GPS coordinates, you may have trouble finding the airplane wreckage as there is a large sand dune in front of the plane which effectively keeps the wreckage hidden until you are only short distance away.
We hope you enjoy your experience here, when we went it was very quiet with only one other person there and I hope it stays this way.
Article written by Adam Boston
Discover the most inspiring travel stories, must do adventures, and photography of the world seen through the eyes of Adam. Uncovering what the world has to offer, from one country to another.