Diamond Beach Iceland (real name Jokulsarlon beach) is one of the most magnificent and fun spots for tourists and photographers alike in the country. This is where you can observe sparkling icebergs escaping the lagoon and washing up on the back sand beach. This is a surreal place where you are surrounded by small and huge blocks of ice of many shapes and colors over black sand. Below are photos and tips to plan your visit to the iceberg beach in Iceland.
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ABOUT Diamond Beach Iceland
What is Diamond beach a.k.a. Jokulsarlon black sand beach
It is the black sand beach with the impossible name, you know, the "Iceland Black Beach with Ice"
About the Icebergs...
When the Breidamerkurjokull glacier releases icebergs they float on the lagoon and some make their way through the channel. Then some of them can be pushed back towards the coast and end up on the black sand. The ice, opaque white, black or deep blue contrasts with the white waves and the black sand making this location very unique.
About the black sand...
The black sand beach is formed from a volcanic rock. Sand and pebbles are tiny fragments from the basalt lava that covered the area.
About the name Diamond beach...
It is called Diamond beach Iceland, because some of the icebergs really shine like diamonds on the back sand
But no, there are no real diamonds on the beach... sorry 🙂
Visit the Jokulsarlon Black Sand Beach whatever the weather
Jokulsarlon is known for its large glacial lagoon with icebergs floating around. Most people stop at the lagoon on their Iceland Road trip.
But many do not venture on the other side of Road 1 towards the sea, where some of those icebergs are pushed back on the black sand beach by the waves.
As you are reading this, DO NOT MISS IT WHATEVER THE WEATHER!
See for yourself, even in bad weather:
It is definitely on of the Best stop on the Icelandic Ring Road.
HOW to get to Jokulsarlon Beach Iceland
Iceland's Diamond Beach location
- Diamond Beach is just the nickname. It is actually Jokulsalron beach. You can find it along Road 1 on the South Coast of Iceland
- Located between Vik and Hofn (but closer to Hofn).
- Vik to Diamond Beach - 2h30 drive
- Höfn to Jokulsarlon Beach - 1h10 drive
- It is right by Road 1 across from the Jokulsarlon lagoon (It is not the shore of the lagoon. It is really a beach on the ocean)
Option 1 - Self-Drive
You can rent a car and drive there by yourself.
- Reykjavik to Diamond beach - 4H30 drive non stop on Road 1
- Vik to Jokulsarlon Beach - 2h20 drive
- Höfn to Diamond Beach - 1h drive
- You cannot miss the place, as you drive on Road 1 you will see a one lane bridge going over water with icebergs on one side 🙂
- Park on either side of the bridge on the beach side and walk towards the sea
- Diamond beach Iceland (with its GPS coordinates) is included in my eBooks to help you easily plan your unforgettable road trip:
Option 2 - Day Trip from Reykjavik
If you don't want to drive, join a day trip from Reykjavik, that will take your to the magnificent waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss. At Jokulsarlon, manage your time to walk to the Beach and see the icebergs.
Or you could book a private tour to suits your needs 🙂
Option 3 - Multiday Trip of the Iceland South Coast
To have more time to spend surrounded by all those landscapes, consider a 2 or 3 day trip. You will see so much, it will be unforgettable! Both example below stop at Jokulsarlon, so you can share your time between the Lagoon and the beach
WHEN - Best time to see Diamond Beach in Iceland
There is no best time of the year. The Icebergs detach from the glacier all year long and the lagoon does not freeze so they escape and land on the black sand beach all the time.
They do melt faster in Summer but we are not talking 40°C here... In September, I saw some huge ones!
Best moment of the day
Of course the light at sunrise and sunset make them sparkle in a special way but even in the fog it is a magical place. Whatever the weather or the time, I recommend you stop to see if there are any on the beach
You never know how many icebergs you will find and how big they will be... This is a surprise! Sometimes they are small and sparse, sometimes they are everywhere and huge. It depends how much has separated from the glacier, and how the tide ans sea were when they made it to sea.
SO take your chance!
Small and spare icebergs:
COLORS - The Icebergs on the Black Sand beach
On the Icelandic Diamond Beach you can find icebergs of all colors. You have:
- The white transparent ones
The icebergs look white because the snow is compressed creating bubbles and crystal edges that equally reflect all wavelengths (learn more)
- The blue ones (my favorites)
When the iceberg is under water, the air bubbles are washed away. When this ice is seen under the sun, the longer wavelength (red and yellow) are absorbed and blues and greens are reflected.
- The ones with black
I did not see one with a lot of black. The one being photographed below has a little. It is due to volcanic dust being trapped in the ice.
HOW to photograph the icebergs at Jokulsarlon Black Sand beach
At Jokulsarlon beach you can get really close to the icebergs and even touch them!
Sometimes there are so many on the beach, that you can be alone photographing one.
- Take the time to pick your icebergs
- Be really careful with those close to the water - the waves are unpredictable and can suddenly come up - wear waterproof shoes and think about having someone next to you while you focus on your camera and subject - you can check my guide to what to wear in Iceland to help your pack
- Play with the movement of the waves with long exposure
- Don't forget to zoom in to get the texture of the iceberg
- Wait for the weather to change - you know the saying in Iceland: "if you don't like the weather, just wait 5minutes"
PHOTOS - Iceland Diamond Beach in Photos
And here comes a selection of my favorite icebergs and photos of Icebergs at Diamond Beach in Iceland:
WHAT - Other activities around the Iceberg beach Ieland (incl. Crystal Ice Cave)
Once you are done admiring those icebergs (although it is hard to get bored and to force yourself to leave...), there are other activities you can do around Jokulsalron:
Admire the Jokulsarlon lagoon
On the other side of the bridge, the main attraction is the Lagoon. If the weather is clear you can see the glacier tongue of Breiðamerkursandur and you can see the icebergs floating by you. See photos on my article about the Jokulsarlon Lagoon.
Jokulsarlon Boat Tour (May to Mid Oct)
During Summer and the shoulder seasons, you can go on a boat to approach the icebergs and the glacier tongue closer. And maybe you will see one detach and splash in the water!
Crystal Ice Cave near Jokulsarlon (in Winter)
In Winter you can combine your diamonds with some crystals LOL
The Crystal Ice Cave is one of the most magnificent sights in Iceland. A really unique experience! Access requires a 4WD - Small group tours depart from Jokulsarlon but spots are limited.
INFO & TIPS - Jökulsárlón beach Iceland
Visiting Jökulsárlón beach
- Amenities: café, toilets on the Lagoon side (North of the bridge)
- A few minutes of flat walk on sand to reach the icebergs
- Sometimes there are not icebergs on one side of the channel but there are on the other
- The amount of ice on both side is not predictable. It can vary dramatically from day to day and at different tide levels
- Sometimes there is no ice at all. Go check out another place and come back later!
- And Check out my complete article with detailed suggestions and tips on what to wear and pack for Iceland to stay warm and comfortable
Hotels near Diamond Beach Iceland
There are no hotels right by Diamond Beach. Which is great as it protects the site. However you can stay not far to be able to appreciate it at sunset and sunrise or during the midnight sun in June 🙂
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Have you ever been so close to icebergs?