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 absolute 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.
The Breiðamerkursandur ice Diamond beach is by Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon in southeast Iceland, on 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.
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!
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.
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.
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. 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:
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 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.
The icebergs floating under the bridge on their way to the sea
Please also read Nanna's article:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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, 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.
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 the diamond beach, so she actually got a real diamond ring on this beautiful beach! Very romantic :)
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.
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!
There is a parking lot on the south side of ring-road 1, just above the beach and only a couple of minutes walk down to the sea. So it is very accessible. But let's remember that we are right by the cold Atlantic ocean, so let's be very cautious here.
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 one night. Then you will get to see the ice diamonds in a different light.If you want to visit the Breiðamerkursandur-Fellsfjara beach then check out the following guided and self-drive tours:
I have joined a guided tour to Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon and written another travel-blog on my experience of that tour. 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:
This beautiful beach is located in southeast Iceland some 377 km away from Reykjavík. You can go there on a day trip in the summertime only, but in the winter time there is limited daylight, so it is best to find a place to stay close by, so you can enjoy this natural phenomenon in daylight.
Fjallsárlón glacial lagoon
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.
I am sure that you will enjoy visiting the beautiful Breiðamerkursandur-Fellsfjara beach as much as I do - have a lovely time, but let's always be careful here.