Visit the famous plane wreck in Iceland
Iceland is of course known as the “Land of Fire and Ice,” thanks to its many volcanoes and glaciers. However, there are some other interesting and somewhat unusual attractions, and one of them is the plane wreck on the black Sólheimasandur beach on Iceland’s southern coast. It’s about a 20 minute drive from Vik but initially we yelled to the Soup Company in Vik as we first stopped for some lunch before visiting the wreckage. The Soup Company is a great place to try Iceland’s famous hot red lava soup. It’s their beef stew, which is full of flavor and comes in a bowl of black lava bread with yogurt on the side. But they make many other soups, too, like Icelandic lamb stew, fish curry soup with Icelandic cod and shrimp, and Indian winter soup (with carrots, onions, lentils, coconut cream, crushed pineapple, and Indian herbs and spices). If you can’t decide, just choose the tasting menu (for one) where you can try three soups in three dishes. Whatever you choose, they are healthy and filling, and you’ll refill your bowl if you want more! Feeling suitably refreshed, we hopped back into the car and made our way west along Route 1 to see the wreckage. But first, I will give a little background on the incident. In 1973, a US Navy transport plane had a hard time and crashed ashore in Solhaimasandur. The plane was flying from Höfen-Hornavjordur Airport to Naval Air Station Keflavik, after delivering supplies to the radar station in Stokksnes. Although reported as the wreckage of the Douglas DC-3, it is actually the remains of a converted Douglas C-117. Various theories abound about the cause of the accident. The Flight Safety Network states that the plane experienced a severe freeze, which caused the crew to be unable to maintain altitude, forcing the plane to land. Some say, however, that the accident occurred because one of the pilots failed to switch between fuel tanks, resulting in the plane running out of fuel and having to land. Apparently there was thick fog and visibility was so poor that there were times when the crew could not see the tips of the wings. There is even confusion as to the date of the accident. Several reports say it crashed on November 24, 1973, however the Icelandic newspaper Morgunblaðið, on November 22, 1973, reported that it crashed the day before the publication date. The November 21, 1973 date appears to be accurate and corroborated by the Aviation Safety Network summary. Whatever happened and on what date, every crew member survived without major injuries and the remains of the plane were abandoned ashore. The US Navy then stripped the plane of anything of value, but the main fuselage still lies where the crash site was. It was formerly used as a storehouse by a farmer whose land was wrecked, and for target practice by local fishermen (which are the bullet holes you might see), but it has since become a tourist attraction in its own right, perhaps helped by the coverage it received in music videos and on TV (see below). You used to be able to drive all the way to the crash site, or even stay there all night, but both are no longer possible. Although it is on private land, you can still visit it and there is a large car park just off the main 1st Ring Road. Important note: If you are reading this article anywhere other than a luxury travel blog, it is possible that this content was stolen without permission. Please note the web address above and contact A Luxury Travel Blog to report this issue to them. Thank you for your help in combating content theft. Most people visit from here on foot, but there is an option to take the Plane Wreck Shuttle. Although people waited a little while for it when we were there, he soon realized that it wasn’t working. In the past there was an option to rent a ‘fat bike’ but we didn’t see any evidence of this at the time of our visit. A sign informs visitors that it takes 3-4 hours to walk in both directions. This doesn’t sound entirely realistic in my opinion – on a good day, I think it can be done one way in about 30 minutes if you’re walking fast or in an hour if you’re walking at a more relaxed pace. However, perhaps a generous time estimate is given for good reason because the weather can change quickly and can negatively affect vision, so it’s best to err on the side of caution. Be warned – an American tourist died in 2017 near the plane, as did two Chinese tourists in their early twenties in 2020, presumably hit by bad weather. So it’s a good idea to check Iceland’s weather service (vedur.is) before heading out. And don’t forget Iceland’s emergency number 112. The path to the wreck is marked more clearly nowadays than in the past, with the help of occasional reflective markers in the ground, hopefully reducing the risk of people getting lost. . While walking, it’s not very exciting – you’re basically walking over an ice drift plain that looks like this. Eventually, after about two miles of this almost post-apocalyptic landscape, the track’s path veers to the left and the plane appears in the distance. When we arrived, there were people climbing everywhere. I’ve read that this is illegal but I’m not sure if it’s true. Regardless, I wouldn’t recommend it – first, there are parts of the plane that don’t look very stable; Second, it wouldn’t be a great place to slip and sprain your ankle (or worse, break a leg); And third, he is not very considerate of other people who are visiting and want to take pictures. While plane wreckage is very interesting to see and look around, I don’t think you’ll need that long in there once you see it. It’s a gorgeous sight in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by mile after mile of nowhere – just black sand as far as the eye can see. You can see inside the dilapidated fuselage. The aircraft appears to have served in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars before being deployed to Keflavik Airport in Iceland. Unlike many Iceland attractions, the plane wreck is unlike itself in that it is entirely artificial, providing a stark contrast to its pristine natural environment. This surreal scene – a gray fuselage set against a black background and often a gray sky, looks more like a scene from a science fiction movie that makes it a reality. This is also why, of course, it represents a photographer’s paradise. For a number of years, the local Icelandic people did not consider the wreck to be something of international interest and fascination, but rather discussed its removal because it was a stain on an original, untouched landscape. Given its continued popularity nowadays, it seems highly unlikely that this will ever happen. However, I’m sure many would be skeptical about the attractiveness of visiting this wreck given the many natural wonders you can visit in Iceland instead. This is perhaps the other scene in which the wreck is set and also the mystery surrounding the incident that adds to the plot. One thing is for sure, the publicity that the wreck has received through various media has definitely increased awareness and interest in the site. Perhaps most famously of all, Justin Bieber’s video for I’ll Show You shows him skateboarding over her. Watched from 2 minutes and 11 seconds. The music video for Gerua’s song in the Bollywood movie Diwale sees actors Shah Rukh Khan (also known as SRK) and Kajol on top of the plane. Watched from 1 minute 31 seconds. And the music video for the song Let Me In, from the Korean girl group Loona, also features the plane. Watched from 53 seconds. Mercurio by Emis Killa is another wreckage show music video. Watched from 1 meter and 38 seconds. Finally, the wreckage also appears when Mikael encounters it in the Netflix sci-fi drama, Katla. Planning a trip to Iceland on your own? You can watch a video from our trip to Iceland here. You can briefly see footage of the wreckage between 5pm and 23, 5pm and 29sec: Disclosure: Our flight to Iceland was also sponsored by Helly Hansen.