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On the south coast of Iceland, Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon is the island’s deepest lake. But that’s not what draws the crowds to this isolated spot. Vast lumps of ice float in the clear water, some as big as buildings, and create a scene that most people associate with the frozen Arctic.
RIB boat speeding across the iceberg-filled glacier lagoon

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Northern lights over a lake in Iceland.

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    An iceberg peacefully floating on the glacial Lagoon Jökulsárlón in the south coast of Iceland.
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      A woman looking at the calm icebergs floating on the glacial lagoon
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        Exploring Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

        Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon facts

        The ice that floats in Jökulsárlón comes from the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, an outlet of Vatnajökull. If you are lucky, you might hear the great crack of ice breaking off from this vast sheet during a boat trip on the water. Some visitors are surprised by how small the lagoon is, but it is constantly growing.

        In fact, Jökulsárlón didn’t exist before 1930, and it has quadrupled in size over the last fifty years – unfortunately, this is a testament to the warming world. At the moment, the edge of the lagoon is less than a kilometre from the sea, but it creeps closer to Diamond Beach every year. Jökulsárlón has been the backdrop to Hollywood blockbusters, TV series and music videos.

        Hiking and Boating at Jökulsárlón

        It is a short walk from the car park to the shore of Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon where you can watch the icebergs drift silently by. Some people just visit for around half an hour to take in the scenery before hitting the road again. But you can easily fill two to three hours at Jökulsárlón. One of the most popular ways to see the lagoon up close is to take an amphibious boat trip out onto the water. With this option, you can immerse yourself completely in the scenery and even touch the smooth surface of an iceberg. Smaller boat tours by Zodiac are also available.

        Those that like to explore while keeping two feet on land can follow the trail around Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. 4.4 kilometres of walking trail show off the lagoon from every angle and allow you to escape from the crowds.

        For a real adventure, you can pair a visit to Jökulsárlón with an ice cave tour on Breiðamerkurjökull glacier – the source of the glacier lagoon’s floating chunks of ice. A Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon ice cave adventure awaits with natural frozen tunnels that snake through the glacier and can be explored with a professional guide.

        Sights around Jökulsárlón

        Just across the road from the glacier lagoon, you’ll find the famous Diamond Beach where orbs of ice scatter across the black sand like carved pieces of glass. The wild Atlantic Ocean laps at the shore, pulling the chunks of ice out to sea. When the golden hue of sunset hits the beach, it is a photographer’s dream as the ice shards seem to glow in the light.

        Jökulsárlón sits on the south coast of Iceland so between here and Reykjavík there are loads of natural wonders to explore.

        Marking roughly the halfway point between Reykjavík and Jökulsárlón, most south coast tours include a stop at the coastal village of Vík where miles and miles of black-sanded beach stretch along the shore and a picturesque red-roofed church sits atop a hill.

        Reynisfjara, the queen of all black sand beaches of Iceland located a stone’s throw from Vík and is another ultimate stop on any south shore trip.

        A short distance from Vik, you’ll find the beguiling waterfalls of Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss just off the main road – two most popular stops along the south coast route to Jökulsárlón.

        A little closer to the glacier lake, Skaftafell National Park has waterfalls to explore and hiking trails galore. Skaftafell is the ultimate paradise of glacier and ice cave tours on the epic Vatnajökull glacier.

        If you are planning to stay overnight near Jökulsárlón, you’ll find accommodation in the fishing town of Höfn, which sits out on a peninsula around an hour’s drive away.

        All about Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon