Variably sized light tan, dark tan and white small fragments of sea shells with occasional larger darker fragments characterize this beach that stretches for over 10 kilometers. Depending on lighting, sand color varies in color from red, orange, and yellow to brown. 

Rauðasandsvegur beach sand consists primarily of broken bits of shells that vary from white to light tan to reddish brown with occasional light purple grains. A small scattering of very small dark gray to black sand fragments are likely remnants of volcanic origin from thousands of years ago. 

Geographic Overview

  • Rauðasandsvegur Westfjords Iceland 1
  • Rauðasandsvegur Westfjords Iceland 2
  • Rauðasandsvegur Westfjords Iceland 3
  • Rauðasandsvegur Westfjords Iceland 4

A remote oasis of serenity and tranquility located in the remote Westfjords region, Rauðasandsvegur beach is a 10 km long stretch of reddish sand that displays different shades from pink to peach to brownish red depending on the direction of the light. This sand consists of remains of scallop and other shell fragments that have accumulated over dozens of years. The unusual sand color compared to other beaches in Iceland reflects a long history of volcanic inactivity. The water here is cold and not ideal for swimming. The adjacent cliffs are home to millions of seabirds. The nearest village is 20 km away.

Raudasandsvegur Sand Map
Sand Location

See where this sand sample was collected on Google Maps.

Earth Map
Virtual Sand Tour

Explore an interactive map of Rauðasandsvegur Beach on Google Earth.

This lower magnification shows the spectrum of light tan to darker reddish tan shell fragments that give the beach sand its reddish-brown color. The majority of these shell fragments have rounded edges reflecting years of smoothing by wave action.

This higher magnification of beach sand consists of a variety of broken shell fragments including translucent, white, tan, and brown sand grains with occasional small fragments of mottled gray and black remnants of an ancient volcanic activity. A larger white fragment with faint linear grooves in the upper center of the image is a fragment of a sea urchin spine that has been worn smooth by wave action. 

Aside from relatively few tiny black sand grains, this sample includes a mixture of larger and smaller mollusk shell grains.  Most grains are light tan to darker reddish tan providing the rationale for naming this the Red Sands Beach.