Jokulsarlon Tours | Guide to Iceland

Jokulsarlon Tours
Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, 'The Crown Jewel of Iceland,' is famed for glittering icebergs, playful seal colonies and stunning views of the adjacent glacier. Jökulsárlón tours maximise your time at the lagoon and the nearby Diamond Beach, providing an unforgettable sightseeing experience.

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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.

Frequently asked questions

When is the best time to visit Jokulsarlon?

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

What activities can I partake in around Jokulsarlon?

In winter, Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon is the meeting point for ice cave tours, and in summer, you can join a boat tour here, which will take you sailing out on the glacier lagoon itself.

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

Driving to the lagoon from Reykjavik takes approximately five hours. A return journey will thus take approximately ten hours. Though it is possible to spend a full day doing this drive, it is advised to take a multi-day guided tour, or split the journey with an overnight stop along the route.

What is the Diamond Beach?

The Diamond Beach is the stretch of coastline south of Jökulsárlón. Its official name is Breiðamerkursandur, however, it gained its nickname from the glistening diamond-like icebergs that wash up on the shore. It can be walked to from the lagoon in just five minutes, though most people will drive across as there is a road between the two sites.

What accommodation is available in Jokulsarlon?

There are many accommodation options in nearby towns. This includes hotels, hostels and campsites in the areas around Jökulsárlón. As Jokulsarlon itself there is only a small gift shop and some food vans.