Jokulsarlon, which translates to “glacier river lagoon” is one of the most breathtaking sights I’ve ever seen. The icebergs originate in Vatnajokull National Park, where huge pieces of icebergs break free and linger in this lagoon until they drift off into the sea. My whole family consider this to be one of our coolest days in Iceland. (No pun intended!) Here’s my plan for a fun day at Jokulsarlon:
Jokulsarlon is a 4 ½ hour drive from Reykjavik, and a 5-hour drive from the airport. (We decided to stay near Vik to make our drive shorter.) Again, there are lots of guided tours available but I absolutely recommend renting a car to do it. Driving in Iceland is a piece of cake (and I’m the most nervous driver…ask my husband!) Along the way you will want to stop when you see huge glaciers appear around the bends.
My husband couldn’t get enough of glaciers and we even went down tiny dirt roads to see how close we could get to them.
When you finally get to the lagoon take a while to let it all sink in. It is unbelievable and you’ll feel like you’re standing in a postcard. Take it in from several angles, including from the top of the little hill.
Then head down towards the water and actually feel the icebergs. (Or put them on top of your head…why wouldn’t you?)
Next, go on a boat tour inside the lagoon. The boat will take you as close to the icebergs as the guide feels is safe, since icebergs can flip at any moment. We heard a thunderous crash as one flipped while we were out there. The icebergs are amazing and the guide was informative and even kept the kids entertained.
My girls even got to eat an iceberg that was thousands of years old!
When you’re done, drive down to one of the beaches where the lagoon meets the sea so you can get up close with the icebergs. On these black sand beaches, icebergs wash right up onto shore and you can feel them, stand on them, and take some pretty incredible shots. Watch the icebergs drift into sea and keep a lookout for some furry little seals. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
It was a perfect day in Iceland and one we’ll never forget!
Tips for Planning Your Day
-Make sure you book your boat tour ahead of time, especially in high season.
-There is a snack bar there. We had the most horrible sandwiches but there were snacks like muffins and coffee. Not the place to get a good lunch, but maybe just a snack.
-Wear lots of layers on the boat.
-The beach is immaculate so keep it that way…bring out what you bring in!