Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon in Iceland. An adventure you'll never forget!

Jökulsárlón is today one of Iceland's best known and most popular natural wonders, and for a good reason. A magnificent view welcomes you as you arrive there and it's almost like stepping into a fairy tale landscape.

Jökulsárlón (literally "glacial river lagoon") is a large glacial lagoon in southeast Iceland, on the borders of Vatnajökull National Park. Situated at the head of Breiðamerkurjökull, it evolved into a lagoon after the glacier started receding from the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.

The lake has grown since then at varying rates because of melting of the Icelandic glaciers. The lagoon now stands 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 depth as glacial retreat extended its boundaries.

The size of the lagoon has increased fourfold since the 1970s. It is considered as one of the natural wonders of Iceland. The lagoon can be seen along Route 1 between Höfn and Skaftafell. It presents a picturesque parade termed as “A ghostly procession of luminous blue ice-bergs through the 17 km2 Jokulsarlon Lagoon”. Jökulsárlón has been a setting for four Hollywood movies - A View to a Kill, Die Another Day, Tomb Raider and Batman Begins - A postage stamp depicting Jökulsárlón was issued in 1991 with a face value of 26 krónur.

The tongue of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier is a major attraction for tourists. Tour operators conduct snowmobiles and jeep tours to visit the glacier along the winding iceberg studded Jökulsárlón Lagoon. The base station for visits to the area is at Joklasel, which is approached from Höfn. It is termed as Tourist Conveyor belt.

The lagoon is filled with fishes that drift in from the sea along with the tides. Seals gather in large numbers at the mouth of the lagoon to catch fish during the winter, which is a sight to watch. Large numbers of sea birds, particularly arctic terns, which nest nearby also gather to catch herring, trout, salmon and other fishes and krill.


The white cap of Breiðamerkurjökull glacier dominates the lagoon and its icebergs. Jökulsárlón is separated from the sea by only a short distance, and the combined action of the glacier, the river that empties from the lake, and the ocean may eventually transform it into an inlet of the sea. There are plans to prevent this from happening, since the only road in the area passes over the narrow isthmus.


Sterna (buses)
Vatnsmyravegur 10
101 Reykjavik
Tel.: 562-1011

More information about Vatnajökull Region
Jókulsárlón panoramic view

Berglind Rós
Mars 2014


  1. Hi David and Joanne,
    your blog looks amazing, thanks for sharing!
    We are a couple flying to Iceland from the 26th February to the 4th March. We are thinking about renting a 4x4 (which is better than a 2WD, right?). We are going to visit the south and a bit of the south-west. Regarding Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, do you think that we can drive there and visit it on our own? Or do you have to book a guided tour?
    We are a bit worried about the weather in general and crossing our fingers because we're not sure if road 1 is always going to be open.

    1. Hallo!

      Yes you can use a 2WD. The road to get to that area is the ring road : )


  2. Hello. Do you know if it is possible to arrive by car and rent a tour at Hofn

    1. Hallo!

      You can axctually drive up to Skaftafell and rent a tour there. Once done, head directly to Hofn : )


  3. Hello
    I am interested to go to Jokulsarlon but wondering, does it make senseto go on a one day tour returning to reykjavik , or is it better to get accomodation somewhere near (skaftafell) and head out the next morning ?

    it is early october that I plan to arrive

    1. Hallo!

      Driving from Reykjavik to Jökulsarlón can take 4h-5h depending on the road and weather conditions so it can be a bit tight. I would indeed recommend staying in Skaftafell, this way you can arrive early, check the glaciers, the national park and the lagoon the next morning as well as the diamond beach :)