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Heinabergslón is a glacial lagoon found within Vatnajökull National Park, located on the South Coast of Iceland.Credit: PhotoVicky. 

Heinabergslón is a little-known glacial lagoon in the south of Iceland.

It can be found within Vatnajökull National Park, located on the South Coast. The glacial lagoon’s outlet glacier is Heinabergsjökull, itself a part of Vatnajökull.

Location of Heinabergslón

Heinabergslón is a less popular, and less known, glacial lagoon than its more famous counterpart, Jökulsárlón, but equally as beautiful.

Jökulsárlón is, without doubt, both the favourite for locals and visitors alike, though this often leads to guests overlooking the many other glacial lagoons found within Vatnajökull National Park.

One of the major reasons as to why Heinabergslón is less visited is because it is found off the beaten path, requiring a short hike to reach it.

This is in stark contrast to Jökusárlón, which can be found directly by the Ring Road, otherwise known as Route 1. Heinabergslón is located approximately 30-minutes drive east of Jökulsárlón.  

Because of Heinabergslón’s isolation, the glacial lagoon makes for a scenic and quieter alternative to Jökulsárlón, one of the major reasons as to why kayaking and sailing tours are popular here. In short, there’s rarely any traffic on the water but one solitary group, if any.

Just like Jökulsárlón, the lagoon can be characterised by its still and tranquil ambience, its vibrant wildlife and, naturally, its stunning surrounding scenery.

This wildlife includes nesting Arctic Terns throughout summer, and seals throughout the year. The seals can be seen in the water and hauling out on the icebergs. The terns, meanwhile, nest inland, and should be avoided while doing so; they are notorious for dive-bombing the heads of any who get to close to their eggs.

What is a glacier lagoon?

Glacier lagoons are formed when the meltwater of a glacier erodes a basin at the bottom of an outlet and gathers within it. Most of these are rather small and dirty, due to the fact that glaciers hold a lot of sediment in them (largely, in Iceland, because of the volcanic ash that gets frozen into the ice every few years).

Both Jökulsárlón and Heinabergslón are much clearer, however, due to their size; Jökulsárlón is particularly large, being the deepest lake in Iceland.

These two are also notable for their vast icebergs. Other glacier lagoons may have chunks of ice, but in these lagoons, they can reach the size of multi-storey buildings.

Warning

Glacier lagoons are beautiful, but should be appreciated only from a distance. Heinabergslón and Jökulsárlón are both near-freezing in temperature, and the icebergs within them constantly rotating and moving.

For these reasons, it is both illegal and incredibly irresponsible to stand on any iceberg within them. A weight imbalance could cause them to flip quickly, trapping you beneath. As is widely known, icebergs are much larger underneath the surface than on top of it, and their shape unknown.

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