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Frequently Asked Questions

About Jokulsarlon Tours

Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon is found along the South Coast of Iceland and is often regarded as 'the Crown Jewel' of the country. This dazzling lagoon sees large icebergs floating peacefully toward the ocean, having broken away from the adjacent glacier, Breiðamerkurjökull. Five minutes from the lagoon, one can find the Diamond Beach. Both attractions are popular stops on sightseeing routes along the South Coast.

1. When is the best time to visit Jokulsarlon?

Jökulsárlón is a prime attraction throughout the year, offering an entirely different experience with each passing season. 

2. What activities can I partake in around Jokulsarlon?

In winter, Jökulsárlón is the departure point of ice cave tours, and in summer, you can join a boat tour which takes you sailing on the glacier lagoon itself.

3. How long does it take to drive to Jokulsarlon from Reykjavik?

Approximately five hours. Driving to the lagoon from the capital and back will thus take approximately ten hours. 

4. What is the Diamond Beach?

The Diamond Beach is the stretch of coastline south of Jökulsárlón, nicknamed after the glistening diamond-like icebergs that perpetually wash on the shore. Its official name is Breiðamerkursandur, and can be walked to from the lagoon within five minutes.

5. What accommodation is available in Jokulsarlon?

There are many hotels, hostels and campsites surrounding Jökulsárlón.

6. Can I sail on the Jokulsarlon?

Amphibious boat tours run on the glacier lagoon from May to October, and zodiac boat tours run throughout October.

7. What should I wear for a visit to Jokulsarlon?

Since Jökulsárlón is a glacier lagoon, the area can be cold. We, therefore, recommend wearing warm clothes, a hat, a scarf and gloves. 

8. Is Jokulsarlon crowded?

Yes, especially during the summer months. There is, however, plenty of space in which to spread yourself out.

9. Can I reach Jokulsarlon in a normal car or do I need a 4WD?

Jökulsárlón is on Route 1, and can thus be reached in a normal car.

10. How was Jokulsarlon formed?

Jökulsárlón began forming in 1935 as the glacier Breiðamerkurjökull retreated and melt water filled the space it left behind. The lagoon is growing in size every year as the glacier continues to retreat.

11. Do any animals live in the lagoon?

Many playful seals live in Jökulsárlón and in the waters off the Diamond Beach. Arctic terns and skuas also nest in the area, and are known to be very protective of their eggs, often dive-bombing visitors who come too close. 

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Visiting Jokulsarlon

Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon is a stunning attraction that is always a favourite of visitors and locals. The lagoon is made up of a mixture of fresh water and sea water and iconic for the giant icebergs that dominate the landscape. Standing at up to 30-metres tall, the icebergs are cast in contrasting milky whites and fantastic electric icy blues.

Breiðamerkurjökull glacier crawls forward with intimidating force and weight, collecting in its margins glacial deposits of black sand and gravel which make striking patterns on the ice and subsequent icebergs. As the glacier retreats, it continuously creates icebergs of over 1000-years old ice that are often patterned by ash from historical eruptions. No two iceberg are the same, and you could spend hours finding fascinating shapes with no end to photographic opportunities. However silly this sounds, please do not try to stand on the icebergs as it is extremely dangerous.

The lake started taking form around 1935 when the glacier began to recede due to warming temperatures and is now the deepest in Iceland at 248 m (814 ft). Over the last 15-years, the lake is said to have doubled in size, and it is predicted that as the glacier continues to recede, it will leave a dramatic fjord behind. Sadly, warming global temperatures and the shrinking of glaciers are especially visible and Iceland, providing only further impetus to catch these icy wonders while we can.

Jökulsárlón is conveniently located on the Highway 1 road between Skaftafell nature reserve and the picturesque town of Höfn. If you are driving the ring-road around Iceland, this is a stop you do not want to miss and a destination you will want to include if you are planning a visit to the South Coast. Many tour operators offer guided trips to the lagoon if you are not driving yourself, most often combined with other exciting attractions such as the waterfalls of South Iceland. If departing from Reykjavík in the winter, do consider how much you time you have, because although a fantastic destination for the northern lights, you may not want to drive all the way back to the capital in icy conditions in the dark.

You can enjoy this wonder of Iceland from the shore or if you would like to get up close and personal with these ancient icy giants you can take a zodiac boat or amphibious boat tour guided by an expert. Around the corner is the legendary Diamond Beach where the icebergs sometimes wash up, glistening in the light in stark contrast to the black sandy beach they upon which they rest.

The golden hours of sunset and sunrise are exceptional times to witness this ethereal lake, especially if you are passionate about photography. Whatever time you visit, you can spend hours mesmerised by the luminous ice, and you could return several times and always be guaranteed a unique scene.

Jökulsárlón is appropriate for any age and budget and is a guaranteed unforgettable experience leaving you in no doubt of why it is called the Crown Jewel of Iceland.

Jökulsárlón has been used as a Hollywood location for such movies as James Bond films A View to Kill and Die Another Day as well as Lara Croft Tomb Raider and has featured in popular US television show, The Amazing Race. It is easy to understand why as the serene procession of ice is hypnotising and the plentiful wildlife of seals and birds only adds to the wonder.

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