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 beach. Below are photos and tips to plan your visit to the iceberg beach in Iceland.
Navigate back to the complete Iceland Travel Guide
This article contains affiliate Links (info on the Disclosure page). If you purchase using my link, I get a commission at no extra cost to you.
ABOUT Diamond Beach Iceland
Jokulsarlon is known for its large glacial lagoon with icebergs floating around. Most people stop at the lagoon on their Iceland Road trip.
But do not miss the beach on the other side of Road 1.
Diamond beach (a.k.a. Jokulsarlon black sand beach) is the black sand beach with the impossible name, you know, the "Iceland Black Beach with Ice"
It is a fascinating place where you can see icebergs sparkle on black sand!
One of the best things to do in Iceland.
- 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 black sand.
But no, there are no real diamonds on the beach... sorry 🙂
It is definitely one of the Best stops on the Icelandic Ring Road.
Planning tips - Jokulsarlon Beach Iceland
Iceland's Diamond Beach location - Option 1: road trip
- Diamond Beach is just the nickname. It is actually Jokulsarlon beach. You can find it along Road 1 on the South Coast of Iceland
- Located between Vik and Höfn (but closer to Höfn).
- Reykjavik to Diamond beach - 5h drive nonstop on Road 1
- 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)
- You can rent a car and drive there by yourself. The drive is easy. Park on either side of the bridge on the beach end 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 you to the magnificent waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss. At Jokulsarlon, manage your time to walk to the Beach and see the icebergs.
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 examples below stop at Jokulsarlon, so you can share your time between the Lagoon and the beach
Visiting Jökulsárlón beach
- Amenities: café, toilets and food trucks on the Lagoon side (North of the bridge)
- A few minutes of flat walk on sand to reach the icebergs
- Sometimes there are no icebergs on one side of the channel but there are some on the other side
- The amount of ice on both sides 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
Where to stay near Diamond Beach Iceland
- There are no accommodations at Diamond Beach
- You can find a few hotels or guesthouses in the area, these will allow you to get there for sunset, sunrise or the northern lights faster - see options
- I stayed at the Hotel Smurlabjorg, 30 min drive East of Jokulsarlon. It was clean and practical (see my review in the accommodations article)
- Otherwise, you can choose to stop at the small towns of Vik or Höfn on your road trip, where you will have more choices - see the best rated accommodations in Vik and the best rated in Höfn
Need to rent a car for your road trip in Iceland?
- You can choose from some great local companies - Iceland has a lot of specificities and their offerings are adapted - you can compare cars and prices of quality local brands on this expert Icelandic website
- Otherwise you can compare offers from international companies on RentalCars.com
- Book early to have a large choice of vehicles!
Best time to see the 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 and sea were when they made it to sea.
SO take your chance!
Actually, the best time to see it is after a storm as it can be covered in icebergs!
Visit under any weather
Even with the fog and the rain, it is worth visiting.
The weather should not stop you from going. Plus, you never know, 10 minutes later the sun might be shining!
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 5 minutes"
Iceland's Diamond Beach in Photos
And below is a selection of my favorite icebergs and photos of icebergs at Diamond Beach in Iceland:
Other activities around the Iceberg beach
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!
RESERVE YOUR SEAT
Jokulsarlon Ice Cave (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.
SEE MY ARTICLE to choose your tour
Diamond Beach in Winter
The beach remains accessible in Winter.
Actually, the experience is quite similar. It is just that the mountains in the distance are whiter.
Learn more on my article about Jokulsarlon and Diamond beach in Winter
Want to see more of Iceland's beauty?
Note: If you don't want to book everything yourself, consider booking a Self-Drive Tour Package (see my article to help you choose)
Have you ever been so close to icebergs?