Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon and Iceland's sparkling Diamond Beach

Jökulsárlón is a magnificent glacial lagoon in South-Iceland right by ring-road 1. It is a breathtaking experience visiting the lagoon, like entering a magical world. The glacial lagoon is one of Iceland's greatest wonders of nature. I say "wow" every time I see the lagoon, no matter how often I visit. 

Jökulsárlón belongs to the Vatnajökull glacier national park. The glacier's name is Breiðamerkurjökull glacier and huge blocks of ice (more than 1,000 years old) are continually breaking from it and large chunks of iceberg float in the lagoon. 

Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon in south Iceland

The lagoon only appeared "recently", or around 1935, and has grown to some 18 km2 due to the melting of Icelandic glaciers. It is the lowest point below sea-level in Iceland. And the deepest natural lake in Iceland, around 248 meters deep.

The river used to run 1.5 km to the sea before 1950, but now it is much closer, and seals swim from the sea up to the lagoon and rest on the icebergs there. The water in the lagoon is a mixture of fresh water and sea-water as the tides bring 10 degrees C warm sea-water into the lagoon. Which is why there is some fish in the lagoon.

Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon in south Iceland

The ice-chunks take on so many forms and colours, ranging from transparent, to white, to the most amazing blue colour - some of the ice is black, it is like visiting an art gallery. And remember that only 1/10 of the iceberg is visible, which makes this an even more thrilling experience. 

You will find a café by the lagoon, which is open all year round - and in summer and fall, there are boat-tours on the lagoon. I have joined an amphibious boat-tour on my guided tour of the Jewels of the South Coast and can recommend it. It is a thrilling experience sailing amongst these both huge and small icebergs!

Here are the boat tours on offer on the Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon:

Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon and Iceland's sparkling Diamond Beach
Scenes from the James Bond films Die Another Day and A View to a Kill were filmed here.  Also Lara Croft - Tomb Raider.

Just a word of warning - don't jump onto the ice floating in the lagoon, some tourists have recently started doing this, but it is a dangerous play, and the ice can capsize leaving you stuck beneath it in the ice-cold water. So let's be very careful here.

Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon and Iceland's sparkling Diamond Beach

This life-threatening "play" is happening more and more, and on the 26th of November 2017, the police had to be called in to order a flock of tourist to get off the ice immediately. There was even a newlywed couple having their wedding photos taken out on the ice! Please heed the advice of the locals and never ever step on the ice in the lagoon!

Don't miss visiting the Diamond Beach! 

Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon in south Iceland

There is a bridge by the lagoon, and you can park on both sides of it and go towards the ocean as well where the icebergs meet the Atlantic ocean. Never park on the bridge though, I have seen that happening way too often. The bridge is on ring-road 1 and parking on the bridge literally cuts off traffic on the highway.

Once you reach the seashore, you will find ice-chunks which have been polished by the sea and have stranded on the black beach. They look like ice-diamonds! That is why we started calling this beach the Diamond Beach. And if you are lucky enough to visit the Diamond Beach on a sunny day you can hold the ice-chunks up towards the sun to make them look like shining gold!

Some of the icebergs have an astounding bright blue colour, and one can follow them from the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon and down to the sea. The ice-chunks by the sea make for excellent photo opportunities, making it one of Iceland's most popular beaches.

Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon and Iceland's sparkling Diamond Beach

I have added another travel-blog just on the Diamond Beach, as this beach is a favourite of mine here in Iceland :)

I visit the Diamond Beach every year and cannot wait to see what the chunks of ice look like, as each time I visit this beach is different, just like an art gallery.

It wasn't until the last couple of years that people started visiting the Diamond beach, and I was alone here during my visits. I am glad that we were able to introduce this beautiful place to our foreign visitors so that more people can enjoy the brilliant ice diamonds on this black lava beach :)

Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon and Iceland's sparkling Diamond Beach

The lagoon is at its most beautiful in the sun, and I always pray for sun when I visit it. But it is breathtaking in any kind of weather. My photos are taken on my many visits through the years, and the one below is taken in November when the light is scarce here in Iceland.

There were big blue chunks of ice on the beach, one of which looked like a light blue sofa made of ice.  It was very pretty, but it was also freezing to sit in it. But since 2013 I have created a photo-series called "chilling on an iceberg" as such photos look pretty cool, even though I am freezing my butt ;) 

Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon in south Iceland

On that November day we were driving from Reykjavík - and seeing that the lagoon is some 350 km away from Reykjavík, we stopped in Kirkjubæjarklaustur village and stayed there for the night. We were lucky to get some rays of sun before the dusk set in.  

Here you can see the location of Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon and the Diamond beach on the map.  And a webcam of this area.

Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon and Iceland's sparkling Diamond Beach

The beautiful Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon and the South-coast of Iceland is such a popular place to visit and we have a myriad of guided tours to this area, f.ex: 

I recently joined an excellent guided tour called South Coast Tour - Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon - Vík & Waterfalls. You can also rent a car in Reykjavík and drive there by yourself.

Have a lovely time at Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon and the Diamond beach and stay safe in my country :)

Contact Regína