The Fjallsarlon glacier lagoon in Iceland is the little brother of the famous Jokulsarlon.
It is definitively worth a stop because you are closer to the glacier!
Below is my guide to help you plan your visit with tips, map and photos.
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Why visit the Fjallsarlon glacial lagoon in Iceland?
Fjallsárlón is a glacier lake, also called lagoon, from the glacier system of Vatnajökull. Located in South Iceland, it is not right along Road 1 thus people overlook it and rush to the famous Jökulsárlón.
Have a look:
Is the lagoon of Fjallsarlon worth visiting?
In my opinion, absolutely yes. I think a stop here is really worth it as you are closer to the glacier, with interesting background mountains and surrounded by significantly less tourists (although more and more). You can enjoy a quiet moment. It breathes peace and tranquility.
It is not always filled with icebergs, but when there are stop they sometimes land on the shore and epic pictures!
About the name + How to pronounce Fjallsarlon?
Lon means lagoon, Fjall means mountain and sar means river - so 'Mountain river lagoon' (from what I understood, but I cannot cross reference to confirm).
You can listen to the pronunciation HERE.
More photos after the planning tips.
PLANNING TIPS & Map - Fjallsarlon, Iceland
How to get to Fjallsarlon - Map and Location
- 10km west of Jökulsárlón, from Road 1
- A road towards inland with a small sign leads to the glacier which you can see from far away (1.5 km North of Ring road)
- Vik to Fjallsarlon = 2h15 drive
- Jokulsarlon to Fjallsarlon = 15min drive
- Höfn to Fjallsarlon = 1h10 drive
- Below is a map to help you get oriented and located Fjallsarlon
This location is included (with GPS coordinates, map of region and planning info) in both my travel guide eBooks that help you easily plan your Iceland road trip:
- Free access
- There is a large parking area
- You can walk up to a viewpoint area - it is quite impressive, and you can see the glacier wall very well
- The path down can be slippery. Pay attention.
- There can be big variances in the number and size of icebergs. But it is always nice. If there are none or little icebergs you can see the details of the glacier. If you have many icebergs well, you have those pictures below
- In Summer do not get too close to the big Skuas bird. They are protecting their nests and can dive bomb towards you if you get too close
- Restaurant - You can find food at the Fjallsarlon Frost Restaurant in Summer (bistro-style with views of the glacier)
- Glacier lagoon Boat tours are proposed to get closer to the glacier - Book your seat
- And Check out my complete article with detailed suggestions and tips on what to wear and pack for Iceland to stay warm and comfortable
Best time to visit Fjallsarlon
- Facing South / South East, beautiful light all day long - but better in the morning for photography
- The Glacier lagoon can be visited all year long - it is always a great stop
- Remember that in Iceland, the weather can change quickly
- If visiting in Winter, be careful as the path down to the shore can be slippery
Accommodation near Fjallsarlon
- There is no accommodation right at the lagoon
- You can stay West at the Fosshotel Glacier lagoon - Check out photos and availabilities
- You can head East (after Jokulsarlon) to the Skyrhusid Guest House - Check out photos and availabilities
- For more options and restaurants, you would have to stay either in the town Vik (see options) or in the town Höfn (see options)
Need to rent a car in Iceland?
- Option 1 - Local experts - Iceland has a lot of specificities and the offerings of local companies are adapted - you can compare cars and prices of quality local brands on this expert Icelandic website
- Option 2 - International Brands - compare offers on RentalCars.com
- Book early to have a large choice of vehicles!
Fjallsárlón lagoon - pictures from viewpoint and shore
Even if you don't have time on your itinerary for a full visit. You can already enjoy great views from the viewpoint above the carparK.
Here are panoramas. It looks small but don't be fooled by the photo, it is very impressive!
As you can see you are quite close to the glacier tongue.
The path to the shore and avoiding the crowds
The path down is well indicated.
Most people will stop at the bottom of the path. If you want to be more alone, walk to the right for a few hundred meters. Le lake is quite large and you can get icebergs to yourself (they spread evenly on the lagoon).
From the shore
I took a lot of photos of the beautiful Fjallsarlon but it is very hard to render the beauty and charm of the place.
The Fjallsarlon lagoon is quieter than Jokulsarlon because it is a closed lagoon. There is no river going to the sea.
Therefore you have more chances of enjoying reflections.
A photographer's paradise
It was funny to watch all those tripods along the lagoon. This was truly a photographer's paradise
Fjallsárlón - glacier, lagoon, icebergs, wildlife and geology
Fjallsarlon is the lagoon that forms where the glacier melt. At this location, it is Fjallsjökull, one of the arms of the giant glacier Vatnajökull.
Large icebergs break away from the ice wall and drift on the lagoon until they melt.
The lagoon is also fed by the Breida River (from the glacial lake Breidalon).
It was for me the first time I was able to touch icebergs (until my visit to Diamond Beach). What a crazy experience! Some of them have strange shapes.
No iceberg is alike. They all have different shapes and colors.
In regards to wildlife, you can see interesting birdlife, especially in Summer:
- Skuas protecting their nest in Summer and eating the weaker birds and their young
- seals - you may spot the top of the head of a seal as it bob in and out of the water
Fjallsarlon boat tour (zodiac)
As I wrote earlier, the 2 main advantages of Fjallsarlon is that
- you are closer to the glacier tongue
- it is a lot less touristic
And if you want to get even closer to the wall of ice, you can enjoy a boat tour.
The zodiac boats will take you on a thrilling adventure and you may see ice falling from the glacier!
The ride lasts about 45 minutes.
Book your seat.
Fjallsarlon in Winter
In Winter the experience is different.
Compared to Jokulsarlon, the lagoon of Fjallsarlon freezes in Winter.
You won't enjoy icebergs, but it is still a fantastic stop. The views of the glacier tongue are much better than in Jokulsarlon.
Fjallsarlon vs Jokulsarlon?
I recommend visiting both Icelandic glacier lagoons, but if you have limited time the essential comparison points are:
- Crowds - Jokulsarlon is way more crowded than Fjallsarlon
- Views - At Fjallsarlon the glacial lagoon is not as wide, so you are closer to the mountains behind, and I preferred their shapes
- Icebergs - the advantage of Jokulsarlon is that the water flows to the sea, so there are a lot more movements for the icebergs than at Fjallsarlon
- Boat tours - you can join a boat tour at both lagoons to get up close to the glacier tongue - book your boat tour at Fjallsarlon
Want to see other highlights nearby?
- The famous Jokulsarlon lagoon and its iceberg - read article
- Diamond beach with icebergs on black sand - read article
- The Svartifoss waterfall and its basalt columns - read article
- The impressive waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss (read article) and Skogafoss (read article)
- The "feather canyon" of Fjadrargljufur - read article
- Or read my complete article about South Iceland
Planning a trip to Iceland?
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