Crash landing at Sólheimasandur

How to drive to Solheimasandur crash landing (Sólheimasandur)

Commonly referred to as the land of fire and ice, Iceland is not only home to some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes but harbors a wealth of mysterious travel gems that entice people from all over the world to visit and discover.
The Solheimasandur Plane Wreckage site is a travel gem that draws attention and a place we were keen to discover. After our research and some awe-inspiring photographs, we were eager to visit this unique site with Lagoon Car Rental and see what all the fuss was about. Sólheimasandur is home to a United States navy DC plane which crashed in 1973 after the aircraft ran out of fuel. Thankfully everyone on board survived and more than 40 years on, the remains of the plane are still standing for people to see.

Plane crash in sólheimasandur
The plane crash at Sólheimasandur

Solheimasandur is my second stop of three here in Iceland. The plan is to visit:

Upon arriving at the location, we were made aware that local landowners had restricted access to the site by car (due to some misbehaving tourists) therefore if you are making your way here, make sure you are prepared for the long 4km walk there and back. The walk roughly equates to 40 minutes each way, and it is also useful to know that despite the straight hike the terrain is uneven so appropriate footwear is recommended as well as warm clothing depending on the forecast when you visit. We visited in April, and we were thankful for packing extra hats, gloves, and scarves as we encountered varying weather conditions on the way there.

Back to our hike, and after around 30 minutes struggling through battering winds we could see something peering over a black sand dune, could it be, had we finally reached our destination? We could see the plane sitting on the black sand contrasting with the blue sky making the location appear all the more dramatic and haunting. Feeling as though we had landed on the moon or our own sci-fi movie set we could see the wings and tail of the plane were missing and the fuselage was crumbling most likely due to the intense weather conditions. People from all over the world have carved their names into the body of the plane, and inside, while there is not much left, you can climb in and get a feel of what the aircraft might have looked.

After spending a good hour, climbing inside, enjoying the quiet and trying to capture the plane in all of its glory we decided that we got our shots and it was time to make our way back. The site was most certainly nothing like I have ever seen before, it seemed almost otherworldly. The only downside would be the walking distance as it was quite tiresome but hopefully, in future, the road will be opened up to the public again which would eliminate this problem.
All in all, if you’re an avid photographer, science fiction lover or even love discovering remote new places I recommend a flying visit to DC-3.

How to drive to Solheimasandur crash landing

  • As you drive down the ring road towards Vík, you’ll come across a left turn on the road 221 – don’t take this turn off.
  • Instead, continue along for a further 2 km, until you come across a gate on your right side with a parking area.
  • The orange posts will help you come across it, as they can be seen from afar.

A travel story by Asad Iqbal on how to drive to Solheimasandur crash landing