Jökulsárlón: A Glacier Lagoon Boat Tour and Diamond Beach


Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon icebergs

Going on a glacier lagoon boat tour at Jökulsárlón will probably be one of the highlights of your Iceland trip. Even if you decide not to partake in one of the many adventure boat tours available, you should still check it out. This natural wonder in southeast Iceland is your chance to see an Iceland iceberg up close and personal. The ghostly white pieces of ice floating in a sea of frigid turquoise water is one of the most striking images you’ll ever see.

All About Jökulsárlón

Jökulsárlón, which means “glacial river lagoon” in Icelandic, is something very rare indeed. It’s a large glacier lake at the edge of Vantajökull National Park which is filled with icebergs and flat pieces of ice. These chunks of frozen water make their way towards the Atlantic Ocean through a short waterway. Its water source is Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, which is part of the larger Vatnajökull glacier. The colors and ambience at the glacial lake are undeniably beautiful and breathtaking.

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon: What Causes It?

Did you know that 85 years ago, the lagoon didn’t exist? While it is quite beautiful, the cause of Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon is not so pleasant. Climate change has slowly caused global and oceanic temperatures to rise. Our glaciers are melting, and you may have even seen videos of giant ice sheets breaking off of them. These newly minted icebergs and ice floes head out to sea by floating slowly across the lagoon.

Giant iceberg floats across Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon

The lake started to form back in the 30s when Breiðamerkurjökull glacier began to recede from the ocean's shoreline. It has grown every year due to glaciers melting.

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon Boat Tour

One of the favorite activities of tourists and visitors alike is to take a Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon boat tour. You can book tickets and tours online and believe me; this is not an activity you want to miss. You’ll have expert guides taking you on an iceberg safari through the chilly waters of the lake. Make sure that you go with a licensed operator, and as always, it’s always better to buy local.

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon Winter Tour

If you’re here during the colder months, you won’t be able to take a Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon winter tour. All of the boat tours begin in May or June and end by October. Whichever month you end up going, be sure to bundle up, as you’ll be especially vulnerable to the elements while out on the boat. And be on the lookout for wildlife, While there are fish year-round, you can sometimes spot the seals that come to swim in the lagoon’s waters during the colder months.

The Jökulsárlón Beach

Also known as the Diamond Beach, you’ll find this curious sight across the road from the lagoon. Not all of the chunks of ice make it out to the Atlantic Ocean; some are left on the shores of the black sand beach sometimes called Jökulsárlón beach. Diamond Beach, Iceland is a great highlight of the area.

Diamond Beach also known as the Jökulsárlón beach

Other Activities Near the Glacier Lagoon

Did you think that a boat tour of the lagoon was the only thing to do in the area? Wrong! There are actually a couple of other adventure activities

The Jökulsárlón Ice Cave

Because we’re located so close to Vatnajökull glacier, there’s another really cool (no pun intended) activity available to you. From November to March in Jökulsárlón, ice caves are nearby and you can take advantage of this. The blue ice caves in Vatnajökull are another unforgettable experience to have while you’re traveling in Iceland by campervan.

A Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon Kayak Expedition

Can you magine going between the giant icebergs in a kayak? You can do just that with a Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon kayak outing. There’s also the possibility to do a raft tour on Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. In addition to the standard amphibian boat tours, there are Jökulsárlón raft tours where you go right up to the icebergs and touch them.

How to Arrive

It’s quite easy to get here as the glacier lagoon is right off the Ring Road (Route 1). You can see it from the highway, so it’s impossible to miss. Doing a South Coast and Jökulsárlón day tour is entirely possible, especially if you’re staying in Vík. I wouldn’t recommend directly making the drive from Reykjavik to Jökulsárlón though, because it’s least five hours one-way. And this is assuming the weather cooperates, which it often doesn’t. Plus, you’d miss so many amazing stops along the way!

Jökulsárlón: A Glacier Lagoon Boat Tour and Nearby Activities

This area is one-of-a-kind and will leave you in awe. Bring your camera to take lots of pictures. Whether you choose to take a lagoon boat tour, explore the Jökulsárlón ice caves, go kayaking, or just head to the Jökulsárlón beach to admire Iceland’s “diamonds”, you’re sure to have a great time.

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