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, and maybe add a Jokulsarlon Boat Tour or a visit to the Crystal Ice cave if traveling in Winter.
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ABOUT 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 Vatnajokull National Park. I know crazy names!
It is considered one of the Natural Wonders of Iceland but...
...before we go further, you can check the pronunciation of Jokulsarlon on Forvo (this will help you read the article lol).
It is located on the South Coast of Iceland (see my Region Guide). Between Vik and Höfn, rich by Road 1 - see instructions to get there in further section.
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 !
Jokulsarlon vs Fjallsarlon
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.
HOW TO GET TO Jökulsárlón Iceland
Access to the Jokulsarlon Glacier lagoon from Reykjavik takes 5 hours via the main Ring Road all the way.
You can rent a car and Visit Jokulsarlon on your own. It is an Easy drive
- Reykjavik to Jokulsarlon - under 5 hour drive non stop on road 1
- 120 km east of Kirkjubæjarklaustur on the Ring Road until you reach a one-lane bridge (see photos below)
- 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
- GPS coordinates are available in both eBooks: Experience Iceland and the Ring Road Guide
Day Trip from Reykjavik
If you don't want to drive (especially in Winter), you can book a day trips to Jokulsarlon. The day will be long, with lots of 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.
Multi-days South Coast Tour
And to get to SEE MORE and spend less time on the road your 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!!!
In Winter, a similar tour (but over 2 or 3 days since days are shorter) will include a trip to the amazing Crystal Ice Cave (photo later in the article in the section What to do)
WHEN - Best time to see Jökulsárlón Lagoon Iceland
There is no best time of the year to see the lagoon. It is always amazing and the water always flowing.
Best time of the day
Like any 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:
WHAT TO DO at Jokulsarlon Iceland
Of course the main activity is to walk by the lake shore and simply watch. If you have binoculars, I recommend bring them to look at the icebergs, the glacier, and many at seals fishing around.
Spend some tims listening to the ice and you might hear a very loud noise when an iceberg separate 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.
I recommend bring binoculars to admire the texturer and details in the Icebergs.
Walk to 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 gets 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:
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
In Winter - Jokulsarlon Ice Cave
And in Winter you can book a tour from Jokulsarlon to the amazing Crystal ice cave, considered the most beautiful one in Iceland. Such a unique experience! - RESERVE YOUR EXPLORATION (this is popular and sells out)
BEST WEATHER to see Jokulsarlon Lagoon Iceland
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 out of under the icebergs.
Here are examples to show you how great it is all the time:
PHOTOS - Icebergs in the Iceland glacier lagoon
Photographing the Jokulsarlon 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
Don't forget warm clothes! Check out my Iceland Packing guide for tips.
It is really an amazing place to photograph
Don't hesitate to stay nearby (see advice at the end of the article) 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 shapes and colors. It is like looking for shapes in the clouds.
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!
INFO & PLANNING TIPS - Jokulsarlon Lagoon
Visiting Jokulsarlon Iceland
- Amenities: café, toilets
- No hotel very close by - see options below
- 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
Want to see more of Iceland's beauty?
Discover more things to do and places to see in Iceland in my online Iceland Destination Guide.
A very unique place, don’t you think?
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