Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is a tremendous spectacle that you simply’ll need to expertise in your journey to Iceland. It’s a 5-hour drive (with out stops) from Reykjavik however well worth the journey and might be mixed with a couple of nights away from the capital as there are numerous different sights alongside Iceland’s south coast. You will discover it by driving alongside the nation’s foremost ring Route 1 ring street, between Höfn and Skaftafell – a stunning drive with gorgeous views of waterfalls and glaciers en route.
Situated on the sting of the Vatnajökull National Park in southeastern Iceland, the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is the place the Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier, certainly one of thirty outlet glaciers from the Vatnajökull ice cap, makes its method in the direction of the ocean. There is ample free parking within the neighborhood of the lagoon, plus a parking lot near the seashore to the south of Route 1.
The glacier as soon as reached the Atlantic Ocean however has since receded by about 5 miles, leaving a lake between the glacier snout and the ocean. Since the Nineteen Seventies, the dimensions of the lake is claimed to have elevated four-fold in dimension and is now regarded as the deepest lake in Iceland.
My images right here don’t do it justice however it’s such an iconic, unimaginable view that the placement has been used for motion scenes in two James Bond motion pictures (A View to a Kill and Die Another Day), in addition to in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Batman Begins. Keen followers of the US TV collection Amazing Race can also recognise it.
It’s right here that Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier meets the water and calves. Calving is a means of glacial ablation (melting) which sees lots of ice break off from the glacier and enter the water. These icebergs might be of various dimension and float within the lagoon earlier than finally melting utterly inside the lake or making their method out in the direction of the Atlantic.
Had we extra time, we’d have taken one of many cruises on the lagoon however after our Katla ice cave tour and snowmobiling journey on Mýrdalsjökull, sadly there simply weren’t sufficient hours left within the day. You can take a cruise on a big amphibian boat or, for an expertise that means that you can get even nearer to the towering ice bergs, trip on smaller rib boats (zodiac excursions). If, like us, you might be unable to suit this into your schedule, you possibly can nonetheless benefit from the scene from the water’s edge.
This breathtaking lagoon can also be a wealthy sea habitat for gray seals. Sometimes they are often seen on the resting on the floating icebergs however preserve your eyes additionally on the lake as there’s a great probability you’ll see some bobbing round towards a backdrop of superb Arctic surroundings.
Seals can apparently additionally typically be seen on Diamond Beach, altough none have been current on the time of our go to. Diamond Beach is only a quick 5-minute stroll from the lagoon alongside a path that runs underneath the Route 1 bridge. It’s the place the icebergs that float from Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon are washed again onto the shore, after making their technique to the ocean.
Of course, having skilled extra melting, they are typically a lot smaller by the point they’re washed up onto the seashore.
Nevertheless, all this glacier ice scattered throughout the shorline, battered by the waves from the ocean, is in itself fairly a sight.
Ice with a excessive bubble content material tends to be fairly white in color and translucent…
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…while ice with a low air content material tends to be crystal clear – virtually glowing like jewels within the sand – therefore the identify Diamond Beach.
These clear chunks of ice, endlessly weathered by the ocean’s ebbing tide, are actually fairly a sight, significantly when the sunshine catches them.
Their glassy texture contrasts fantastically with the seashore’s black volcanic sand.
If you possibly can, ensure you embody Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach in your Iceland itinerary to see Mother Nature at her best. It’s a major drive to get there, nevertheless it’s a magical place that makes it greater than well worth the effort.
My suggestion can be to not try to do the journey as a day journey from Reykjavik however as an alternative to take a couple of days travelling alongside the south coast as there’s a lot to see on this a part of Iceland.
Planning a visit to Iceland your self? You can watch a video from our journey to Iceland right here. You’ll see footage from Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach between 4m 59s and 5m 12s:
Disclosure: Our journey to Iceland was additionally sponsored by Helly Hansen.