In southern Iceland, where the glacier meets the ocean, the traveler can find the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, teeming with icebergs. It’s become, for sure, one of the most beautiful, unique and famous wonder of the Icelandic landscape.
Year after year, thousands of tourists traveling the Ring Road visit this lagoon, but what exactly makes it so special?
- Location – right below the impressive Vatnajökull glacier which is melting and has been retreating for more than 100 years. Many chunks of ice weighing tons break off from the main glacier body and float out into the ocean through the lagoon. Some of these icebergs might end up on the shores of the lagoon, to the visitors’ delight, others reach the ocean and a small chunk of them, the lucky ones, get washed ashore on the famous Ice Beach.
- Uniqueness – The icebergs are always one the move because of the cold wind (which at times can be very strong!) blowing from the glacier towards the ocean. The lagoon never looks the same on any given day, not to mention over a year.
- It’s still an active process – The glacier has been retreating for almost a hundred years, it used to go out all the way to the sea, while now it’s about 7 km inland. What’s even more interesting is that the lagoon gets deeper and wider every year, both due to the melting but also due to the powerful underwater currents. It’s been reported that the lagoon is now 300 meters deep!
Jökulsárlón in the movies
Jökulsárlón is so amazing that it attracts the eye of many Hollywood directors who film here blockbuster movies such as Interstellar, Batman Begins, Tomb Raider or James Bond.
What to do at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon
Glacier Lagoon offers daily boat tours during the summertime. There are two kinds of boat tours:
- Amphibian Tour – It’s the tour we booked and took us around the icebergs floating in the lake. We were lucky enough to see a seal chilling in the lagoon waters! The trip takes about 30-40 minutes and you’ll have a tour guide that will explain what’s what with the lagoon. When we took the tour it was 5500 ISK (about 45 EUR). It’s recommended that you book in advance- this tour is highly sought after and there’s little chance to be able to buy your ticket on the spot.
2. Zodiac Tours – with a RHIB, which takes you even closer to the icebergs and to the foot of the glacier, where it all begins. These tours cost 9500 ISK (approximately 78 EUR) and, even tough they might seem expensive, they’re worth it and they’re always sold out. We tried to book this tour about a week before and it was sold out, so buy it early.
In the winter time, you can book a glacier caving tour below Vatnajokull through the caves dug by the rivers formed by the melting glacier in the summertime.
For me, this half day spent at the lagoon was magical and I will always cherish these memories. I forgot about the cold and the fierce winds which could topple you off your feet and enjoyed this magnificent place.