Iceland’s south coast boasts the constantly changing Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon, where blue, white, turquoise and black streaked icebergs shift and creak about in an icy dance. The icebergs are 1,000-year-old chunks of the retreating Oraefajokull glacier that have broken off and are floating out to sea.
The lake has grown at varying rates because of melting of the glaciers. It is now 1.5 kilometres away from the ocean’s edge and covers an area of about 18 km2. It recently became the deepest lake in Iceland, at over 248 metres, as glacial retreat extended its boundaries. The glacial lagoon is a part of Vatnajokull National Park.
The mystical lagoon is enormous and has provided the backdrop for many major feature films and programs including ‘Batman Begins’ and most recently ‘Game of Thrones.’
The lagoon is open to the sea and contains a mixture of salt and freshwater, giving it a unique blue-green color. During summer months boat rides on the lagoon are offered and there are opportunities to hike around the perimeter year round. There are seals hanging out atop the icebergs during winter and the lagoon supports many species of fish, as well as some of the rich birdlife Iceland is famous for.
The Lagoon is also a popular spot for Northern Lights hunters, since it offers a great setting for beautiful pictures.
The Diamond Beach
Nearby Jokulsarlon is a sand beach named Breidamerkursandur. It is often called ‘The Diamond Beach’ because of the glaciers from Jokulsarlon that have washed up on the sand where they lie and sparkle like diamonds.
Make sure you check out the Diamond Beach in addition to the lagoon itself. Being able to feel and even sit (or lie!) on the crystal-like glacier chunks is an unforgettable experience. Plus, it can make for some unique and fun photos. Just you and your friends, chilling with a huge chunk of sparkling ice.
How to get to Jokulsarlon lagoon
Jokulsarlon is located 80 km west from the village Hofn on the south coast. Stay on the main road and you will surely see it from the car once you approach it. There is no way you will miss it.
Is there an entrance fee to Jokulsarlon?
Like with most other places in Iceland, you do not have to pay to see Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon. However, if you feel like getting more up close and personal, we recommend you take a boat ride to the lagoon itself, and for that you naturally will have to pay for.
Check out our complete guide to the South Coast.