Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon

  • Jokulsarlon is simply a great place to stop while driving the ring road selfdrive
  • For photographers, it is a wealth of motives as the foreground is ever changing
  • The lagoon is full of life and is filled with herring, trout, salmon and krill drifting from the sea with the tides.

 

Jökulsárlón is a large glacial lake or a lagoon in southeast Iceland. It is one of Iceland's most popular tourist attraction, and not without reason. The lagoon is one of a handful of places where you can get near a glacier without entering the wilderness or the Icelandic highland. It is easily accessible located on the Ring Road, the main road around Iceland.  Lón means a lagoon and Jökulsárlón is usually full of icebergs breaking away from the large glacier tongue Breiðarmerkurjökull, which is part of the glacier Vatnajökull, the largest ice cap in Europe. It is a tourist attraction that visitors are more or less stunned after viewing and watching for a few hours.  Watch our VIDEO of the lagoon.

A stunning work of nature

Some centuries ago the glacier tongue reached the coastline by the Atlantic Ocean. Gradually, the glacier started melting and thus declining and forming the lake on the sandy shore.  The lake is getting larger, and the glacier tongue is retreating.  In the seventies the lake was eight square kilometers, today the lake covers 18 square kilometers and is Iceland's deepest lake approximately 248 meters.  The fascination revolves around the ongoing icebergs falling from the glacier tongue, falling into the lagoon, melting,  rolling and floating the one and a half kilometer towards the Atlantic ocean. Sometimes overcrowded with icebergs each with its character and form and sometimes almost empty. It is like viewing and following nature's working hours.Although many glacier tounges are retreating because of Global Warming Breiðamerkurjökull is retreating faster because of the warmer sea forcing its way into the lagoon at high tides.  But then again one of the effects of Climate changes is an increase in ocean temprature in the northern hemisphere. 

Access to the Jökulsárlón lagoon is as simple as it gets and often in movies

If you travel the Ring Road, Road Nr. 1, you can not miss Jökulsárlón as it is practically on the main road between Skaftafell and Höfn.  It is by any measure an impressive sight and has been a setting for many internationally acclaimed films: A View to a Kill, Die Another Day, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Batman Begins, as well as, the reality TV series Amazing Race. At one point in time, it was such a popular setting for films that it was nicknamed the Bond Lagoon.  For photographers, it is a wealth of motives as the foreground is ever changing and the background also as it is consistently affected by weather in the mountains and glaciers surrounding the lagoon.

A lot of life in the cold and deep lagoon

Although many visitors might think of the lagoon as a lifeless lake it is far from the truth. The lagoon is full of life and is filled with herring, trout, salmon and krill drifting from the sea with the tides.  Often a large number of seals are playfully enjoying the day in the water, and thousands of seabirds are nesting nearby, especially the Arctic terns, skuas, gannets, and puffins. And after you finish enjoying the lagoon, a walk to the shore, the Diamond Beach is worth the time you spend viewing the melting icebergs moving around on the pebble beach. 

Watch the icebergs float in Jökulsárlón iceberg lagoon

Sailing on the lagoon is an experience like nothing else and unforgettable

Several tour companies offer sailing along the lake, which is an experience you are not likely to forget. Be sure to bring your camera along as the lagoon almost always delivers stunning photos. There is always a new form of iceberg around the corner.

Below is the location of Jökulsárlón on the map of Iceland