Plan your trip to the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon Iceland, one of the most amazing locations in the country. You can admire the glacier and the icebergs detaching from it floating towards the sea... A perfect location by any weather! Here is a guide to help you plan your visit.
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Why visit the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon?
Jokulsarlon is a large lake that has been created by the melting ice from the glacier Breidamerkurjokull which is part of the huge Vatnajökull National Park. I know, crazy names!
It is considered one of the natural wonders of Iceland!
Today the Glacier Lake covers roughly 18km2 (just under 7 sq mi) which is 4 times bigger than in 1970!
The best part is that icebergs frequently detach from the glacier and float on the lake. And some of them head towards the channel that links the glacier lagoon to the sea.
To build your anticipation, you also check out the Jokulsarlon Lagoon webcam !
But before we go further, you can check the pronunciation of Jokulsarlon on Forvo (this will help you read the article lol).
Planning tips - Jökulsárlón Iceland
- It is located on the South Coast of Iceland (see my Region Guide). Between Vik and Höfn, right by Road 1
- Reykjavik to Jokulsarlon - under 5 hours' drive nonstop on Road 1
- Vik to Jokulsarlon = 2h30 drive
- Höfn to Jokulsarlon = 1h10 drive
- If you are traveling in Winter, check out my article about Jokulsarlon in Winter
- In Summer, the drive is very easy. You cannot miss it from Road 1 as you spot the icebergs from the bridge, parking is on the North of the bridge for the lagoon, South for the beach
- Jokulsarlon (with GPS coordinates) is included in my eBooks to help you easily plan your road trip:
Day Trip from Reykjavik
If you don't want to drive (especially in Winter), you can book a day trip to Jokulsarlon. The day will be very long, with most of the time on the road but you won't get bored as the scenery is amazing and constantly changing. Plus the tour will stop at the amazing Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls.
Check out program and price
Multi-days South Coast Tour
And to get to SEE MORE and spend less time on the road you can book a 2-day trip along the South Coast. You will get to see so much, it is amazing! Some of the best landscapes in Iceland!!!
Check out Summer program and price
Visiting Jokulsarlon Iceland
- Amenities: café, toilets, food trucks
- The view is right there. No walking required
- You can walk further along the lagoon or up the small hill to get a panoramic view
- I recommend having binoculars with you. Even though the iceberg come close, it is nice to be able to see all of them and see the details of the glacier tongue - check out my practical guide to finding your best travel binoculars.
- And Check out my complete article with detailed suggestions and tips on what to wear and pack for Iceland to stay warm and comfortable
- There are no accommodations at Jokulsarlon itself
- You can find a few hotels or guesthouses in the area, and 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 Jokulsarlon Lagoon
There is no best time of the year to see the lagoon. It is always amazing and the water is always flowing.
Best time of the day
Like most places, Jokulsarlon is even more magical at sunset as the colors change.
I had the opportunity to see it twice at sunset and sunrise - no sky on fire, but it was still fascinating, have a look:
Don't be stopped by the weather!
Wondering what the Jokulsarlon weather is? DON'T!!! The place is amazing whatever the weather. And anyway, it changes every hour.
Even with wind, rain or fog, the Jokulsarlon Lagoon delivers. The place looks mystical as if creatures would just come out from under the icebergs.
Here are examples to show you how great it is all the time:
What to do at Jokulsarlon lake
Simply watch & listen
Of course, the main activity is to walk by the lake shore and simply watch. If you have binoculars, I recommend bringing them to look at the icebergs, the glacier, and many seals fishing around.
Spend some time listening to the ice and you might hear a very loud noise when an iceberg separates from the glacier.
Be sure to wait and watch the changes. When the tide is high, icebergs are blocked in the Glacier lagoon Iceland. As the tides get lower, it is very impressive to see all those huge chunks of ice move quite fast towards the sea and sometimes break down. These icebergs float out to sea, and some of them get caught in the waves and wash up on the black sand of the nearby Jokulsarlon beach.
Compared to the other glacial lagoon Fjallsarlon, the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon is bigger and more active, and thus far more touristic. It is now the deepest lake in Iceland.
I recommend bringing binoculars to admire the textures and details in the icebergs (Check out my Guide to selecting the right binoculars for you)
Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon Boat Tour
In Summer and Shoulder Seasons, you can also get to see the glacier and icebergs even closer. Hop on a boat trip to marvel at the scenery!
RESERVE YOUR SEAT
Diamond Beach (Jokulsarlon Beach)
Another activity is to walk across from the bridge and discover the black sand beach called Diamond Beach.
No there are no real diamonds there (sorry), but some icebergs get pushed back to shore and shine like diamonds on the black sand.
Discover many pictures in my article dedicated to the Diamond Beach but here is one to give you an idea:
Photos - Icebergs in the Iceland glacier lagoon
You never know the quantity and size of icebergs you will see floating in the lagoon. Sometimes if you are lucky, a big chunk detaches from the glacier and drifts in front of you.
You will never be alone, but the good news is that there is enough space for everyone to set up their camera.
It is really an amazing place to photograph
Don't hesitate to stay nearby so that you can come back with different lights and weather conditions
I recommend having a powerful zoom to play with the icebergs. They are all different in shape and color. It is like looking for shapes in the clouds.
Don't forget warm clothes! Check out my Iceland Packing guide for tips.
I could have stayed hours admiring them. Some are pure white, some have black stripes and some are intense blue. See below, I even spotted the Titanic!
Such an amazing place to photograph!
Jokulsarlon in Winter
The experiences of the lagoon and the beach are quite similar in Winter and in Summer. It is just that the mountains are whiter and there might be more ice.
See my article about the Winter experience.
The main differences during the Winter months (November to March) are:
- the boat tour is not possible
- that the tours depart from the carpark to visit natural ice caves in the glacier. An unforgettable experience to book early to make sure you have a spot - check out my article to choose your ice cave tour.
Want to see more of Iceland's beauty?
A very unique place, don’t you think?