Graenalon Glacier Lagoon Travel Guide
Graenalon glacier lagoon in Iceland, spelled Grænalón in Icelandic, is a shrinking glacier lagoon in South Iceland.
Located near Skaftafell Nature Reserve, Graenalon glacier lagoon is an excellent addition to this 10-Day Self-Drive Tour of the Ring Road and Snaefellsnes or a 6-Day Summer Vacation of Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. Those who love camping can also add the lagoon to their 8-Day Self-Drive and Camping Trip of the Ring Road.
Most lagoons have expanded as Icelandic glaciers recede due to the changing climate. Yet Graenalon glacier lagoon is unique in that it is shrinking, offering a constantly changing landscape to visitors. The lagoon is one of the more secluded lagoons in South Iceland, making it ideal for hikers, nature lovers, and photographers.
Nature of Graenalon Glacier Lagoon
The breathtaking views of glacier lagoons create some of the most memorable experiences for travelers to Iceland. Each Icelandic lagoon has its unique charms, resulting in unique experiences. For those who want to avoid crowds and immerse themselves in nature, the Graenalon glacier lagoon is the perfect place to visit.
Graenalon glacier lagoon, which roughly translates to Green Lagoon, is one of the hidden gems of South Iceland. Its waters come from the nearby glaciers. Also, Skeidararjokull, an outlet glacier of the Vatnajokull ice cap, acts as a natural dam for the lagoon.
The Shrinking Graenalon Glacier Lagoon
In the past, Graenalon was almost as large as the nearby Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. However, instead of expanding, like other glacier lagoons due to climate change, the opposite is happening in Graenalon.
The Unique Beauty of Graenalon Glacier Lagoon
Despite the lagoon's small size, visitors are rewarded with a unique but fantastic view of the lagoon and its icebergs. Unlike the usual color of most lagoons, which are opaque azure, Graenalon's water within is murky brown instead. Moreover, on its waters are jagged icebergs which often wash up on shores, such as what happens at Diamond Beach, making it an excellent location for photographers.
Like the nearby Skaftafell Nature Reserve, the area around the Graenalon glacier lagoon offers glorious hiking trails with panoramic views. Moreover, ice caps surround the lagoon due to its proximity to the Vatnajokull glacier. In summer, the area transforms magically and is spotted with otherworldly flora often untouched by humans.
The lagoon is located on an off-the-beaten-path and is only accessible through hiking or riding a helicopter. As a result, hikers and photographers visiting the area experience beautiful uncrowded views. Moreover, the peace and tranquility offer visitors a respite after visiting Iceland's more crowded attractions.
Getting to Graenalon Glacier Lagoon
Graenalon glacier lagoon takes around four hours of driving from Reykjavik and is a short drive off the southeast part of the Ring Road.
Once at Graenalon, prepare yourself for a challenging journey. The most popular ways to reach Graenalon are hiking, riding a helicopter, or using a 4x4 vehicle. Fortunately, the trails to Graenalon offer a rewarding view of this part of Iceland.
For hikers, be prepared for a lengthy treek. Also, don't forget to wear warm and waterproof hiking clothes and boots. The best time to climb is during the day when the trail looks more beautiful due to the light hitting the ice.
Travelers who want a more convenient way to explore may wish to hire a private guide to make their hike easier. Also, the area surrounding Granelaon is constantly evolving, which makes hiring private guides more efficient. .
Other Glacier Lagoons Near Graenalon
Graenalon glacier lagoon is one of the more off-the-beaten-path lagoons in South Iceland. However, for those who want to explore other glacier lagoons that are easier to access, there are some located nearby.
Just south of Skaftafell Nature Reserve in the Vatnajokull National Park, you'll find two other glacier lagoons that are just as thrilling, Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon and Fjallsarlon glacier lagoon.
Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon is located in the same area as Graenalon, around 32 miles (53 kilometers) away. Jokulsarlon is the most famous glacier lagoon in the country and is located at the Ring Road, or Route 1.
This Icelandic lagoon separates the ocean and Breidamerkurjokull, an outlet glacier of Vatnajokull. Thus, you're sure to see a lot of icebergs that have gathered over the years floating in the lagoon.
The icebergs at the lagoon are also notable due to their coloration and size. Most icebergs are primarily white, and some are color blue, with hints of black due to ash from past volcanic eruptions.
You can get closer to, and even touch, the icebergs on an amphibious boat tour, a zodiac boat tour, or a kayaking adventure.
Fjallsarlon Glacier Lagoon
Another lagoon nearby is the Fjallsarlon glacier lagoon, which is around 31 miles (50 kilometers) from the Graenalon glacier lagoon.
Fjallsarlon glacier lagoon is located at the base of Iceland's largest glacial volcano, Oraefajokull. The drifting ice of different shapes at Fjallsarlon lagoon are parts of Oraefajokull's glacial wall that broke off.
Just like other glacial lagoons, there are also a lot of boat tours in Fjallsarlon. The boat tours will allow visitors of the place a closer view of the beautiful blue and white ice in the area.