The most popular tour in Iceland is the Golden Circle tour, but did you know that Iceland has got a beach with glistening ice chunks, which sparkle like diamonds?
I try to go there every year to check out the "latest" versions of the ice diamonds glistening on the black beach, Breiðamerkursandur. Visiting this beautiful beach is one of my favourite things to do here in Iceland!
Now, the first photo is Iurie's photo, he is, of course, a genius with the camera and directs photo tours in Iceland. You can see my amateur photos below ;) But the ice diamonds on the beach are so breathtaking that everybody can take a beautiful photo here.
Glistening ice chunks
The Breiðamerkursandur ice Diamond beach is by Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon in southeast Iceland, about which I have written another travel-blog.
Jökulsárlón is one of Iceland's greatest wonders of nature, the Crown Jewel of Iceland- and right by Iceland's ring road number 1.
Glistening ice chunks on the beach
It is a breathtaking experience visiting the lagoon - just like entering a magical world. Entering this area is a WOW moment, and no matter how many times I visit this area it always has the "wow" effect on me :)
Jökulsárlón lagoon and Breiðamerkursandur never look the same as on my previous visits and I never know what nature has in store for me here!
Eystri-Fellsfjara - the real name of the beach
The glacier's name is Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, and huge blocks of ice calve from the glacier, and large chunks of iceberg float in the lagoon.
The real Icelandic name of the ice Diamond beach is Breiðamerkursandur or Fellsfjara - Eystri-Fellsfjara or Vestri-Fellsfjara depending on which side of the glacial river Jökulsá you are visiting. It should be marked with the Icelandic name on Google maps and not with the name Diamond beach.
The Diamond beach is a made-up name for tourists, as it is more catching than the real Icelandic topographical name, but it should not replace it.
Ice chunks on the black beach
My co travel-blogger Jórunn came up with the name Diamond beach, and the staff at the office of Guide to Iceland wanted to see if it would catch on and become a tourist attraction, as everybody was visiting the glacial lagoon, but very few people visited Fellsfjara and saw the beautiful, polished ice chunks on the black sand.
I had tons of photos of the sparkling ice chunks on Breiðamerkursandur beach, as I had visited it often and usually been alone on Breiðamerkursandur, so I took on the task of writing the first travel-blog about this beach with the ice Diamond beach in the title.
Glistening ice on the beach
The name caught on really fast and everybody wanted to visit the ice Diamond beach; now it has become one of the most popular tourist attractions.
The state-run radio station RÚV called me last year to ask me how this name came about. I am shy so I don't do interviews, but told them to contact the office of Guide to Iceland.
Ice chunks on the beach
My friend Magnús, who was back then the head of the content department of Guide to Iceland, gave them an interview.
You can see the news article here below; it is in Icelandic though:
Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon
The Jökulsárlón lagoon only appeared around 1935 and has grown to around 18 km2 as the glacier is melting. Here you will find the lowest point below sea level in Iceland - and the lagoon has become the deepest lake in Iceland with a depth of around 248 meters.
Let's be very careful here and never try to step on the icebergs in the lagoon as they can capsize, leaving you stuck beneath them, which is fatal. Let's also warn other travellers about this danger as I have witnessed this inexplicably foolish behaviour more than once.
The icebergs floating under the bridge on their way to the sea
The icebergs then float down the river and into the Atlantic ocean, where some of them get washed ashore and sparkle on the black beach like diamonds, after having been polished by the waves.
Many of the icebergs have an astounding bright blue colour and one can follow them from the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, where they float under the bridge on ring road 1 and down to the sea.
The icebergs floating to the sea from Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon
Some of the ice chunks are polished by the sea and wash ashore again. The ice-chunks on Breiðamerkursandur make for outstanding photo opportunities, like the photo below, which belongs to my chilling on an iceberg photo series ;)
It is freezing though leaning up against an iceberg like this but makes for a good photo.
Chilling on an iceberg
Always be very careful here and only lean against the icebergs, never crawl up on them. And always watch out for the incoming tide and the waves so you don't get stuck and carried out to sea!
It almost happened to a couple of tourists recently:
Ice chunks on Vestri-Fellsfjara
There are smaller ice chunks to be found all over the black sands, which look like sparkling ice diamonds in all sizes and shapes.
The ice chunks take on so many forms and colours; ranging from transparent to white, to the most amazing blue colour, and some of the ice is black; it is truly like visiting an art gallery. And it has always got "new" art, as it were - one never knows what to expect.
Glistening ice chunks on Eystri-Fellsfjara
Sometimes the black beach is covered with smaller ice diamonds, and sometimes big chunks of white and blue ice cover the beach - with glistening ice diamonds in between the bigger ice chunks.
I have been here in January, May, June, July, August, September, and November and have always been blown away by the beauty of the polished ice chunks on Breiðamerkursandur beach.
It is of course at its most beautiful when the sun is shining, but once during my visit, it was raining cats and dogs, and I was soaking wet, but it was still a lovely visit.
Glistening ice chunks on the beach
When my travel-blog got posted on the Guide to Iceland Facebook website a woman commented on my post and told me that she had got engaged on this beach, so she actually got a real diamond ring on this beautiful beach :)
My photo below is taken in heavy rain in September, but it for sure doesn't spoil the experience. And I could see that the other visitors on the beach were equally thrilled by this experience.
Loads of ice on Eystri-Fellsfjara
Breiðamerkursandur beach was covered in large blue and white ice chunks taking on all forms. And the ice diamonds were glistening in between the ice chunks.
I noticed a man peeing in the sea, only to be taken by surprise by a wave, so he was jumping up and down there all wet and cold. The waves come in unexpectedly, so let's not be caught off guard!
Glistening ice on the black beach
There are 2 parking lots on the south side of ring-road 1, on both sides of the bridge, so you can visit both Eystri-Fellsfjara and Vestri-Fellsfjara. And there is only a couple of minutes walk down to the sea. So it is very accessible.
You can also walk under the bridge from the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon to reach Eystri-Fellsfjara.
But let's remember that we are right by the cold Atlantic ocean, so let's be very cautious here.
Inside the Sapphire ice cave - these caves are open from November-April
The south coast of Iceland has got so many beautiful attractions that even if you visit in the summertime when there is almost unlimited daylight, then you should consider staying over for the night. Then you will get to see the ice diamonds in a different light.
I have joined a guided tour to Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon and written another travel-blog about my experience of that tour.
The Black Diamond ice cave in Breiðamerkurjökull glacier
And if you want to see what a winter visit to the glacial lagoon and the Breiðamerkursandur beach might look like, then I recently wrote a travel-blog about my winter visit to Jökulsárlón and Breiðamerkursandur beach:
In the wintertime, you can also visit the beautiful ice caves. In the winter of 2021, I visited both the Sapphire ice cave and the Black Diamond ice cave in Breiðamerkurjökull glacier.
This beautiful beach is located in southeast Iceland some 377 km away from Reykjavík.
Also check out the nearby Fjallsárlón glacial lagoon, on which you can also join a boat tour and sail amongst the icebergs. High up on my list is to join a boat tour on this serene lagoon and I will hopefully do so soon.
Fjallsárlón glacial lagoon
I am sure that you will enjoy visiting the beautiful Breiðamerkursandur - the Eystri-Fellsfjara and Vestri-Fellsfjara beaches as much as I do - have a lovely time, but let's always be careful here.