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Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon – A Must See in South Iceland

After our honeymoon, we could NOT stop talking about Iceland. Looking back at pictures, talking about that delicious reindeer dish we had in Egilsstaðir, and talking about the highlights of the trip. Other than seeing the Northern Lights (obviouslyyy, #1 lifetime bucket list item!) the one place we both decided as our favorite was Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.

A lot of people overlook this attraction in exchange for other popular sights in Iceland such as the Golden Circle and all of the amazing waterfalls. Don’t get me wrong, those places are so amazing and definitely worth every moment! But do yourself a favor and don’t stop your journey in Vik. Keep driving that vehicle Eastward! (Actually what you should probably do is just take your whole year’s worth of vacation time, and then ask your boss for an advance on your vacation time for next year and just spent as much time in Iceland as you can. Too dramatic? You won’t regret it!)

 Are you visiting Iceland and wondering what to do along the beautiful South coast? Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon is on the top of my list for favorite places in Iceland! Make sure you drive a couple extra hours to see this awesome sight. | Life With a View
When we were planning our honeymoon, we had a hard time narrowing down our list of things to do. However, from pictures I had seen, I knew that Jökulsárlón was a must see. Especially because the icebergs breaking off into the lagoon come from Vatnajokull, the largest glacier in Europe. This glacier is an amazing sight to see in itself!

Jokusarlon Glacier Lagoon | Life With a View

I will admit, we got very lucky with the weather on the day we visited the lagoon. In true Iceland form, it was cold and really windy BUT there were like three clouds in the sky and the sunshine was beautiful so I was in heaven.

Jokusarlon Glacier Lagoon | Life With a View

The first thing we did was walk down to the ocean across from the lagoon, known as the crystal beach. As the icebergs break off the main glacier, they float around in the lagoon and eventually down the river and out to sea.  Some of the pieces stay ashore on the beach. The contrast of the black sand with the ice pieces makes for amazing photos! With the sun blasting through the pieces of ice, the ice chunks were super bright and lit up – it was amazing!

Jokusarlon Glacier Lagoon | Life With a View

After spending plenty of time on the beach and hundreds of photos later, we headed back towards the lagoon for our scheduled tour.

Ice Lagoon offers two options for tours – Amphibian Tour and Zodiac Tour. The Amphibian boat fits more people and is slightly less expensive. The Zodiac tour is with a smaller boat that is able to get closer to the icebergs and even goes right up to the glacier – definitely worth the upgrade! The tour was very informative, and I would recommend it if you’ve never taken a guided tour about glaciers.Tours operate from April-October and depart at scheduled times throughout the day.
It’s especially important to book a tour in advance if you are traveling in peak tourist season between June-September. You can reserve a spot and purchase tickets online at icelagoon.is

READ MORE:   Iceland Tours: Snorkeling the Silfra fissure

Jokusarlon Glacier Lagoon | Life With a View

You even get to eat a piece of the glacier – that’s a 1,000 year old piece of ice!

Jokusarlon Glacier Lagoon | Life With a View

Okay, so I’ve been to New Zealand, I’ve seen glaciers, I’ve done a boat tour, I’ve even jumped in the glacier lake! (Yes it was approved and supervised. Yes, it was 33 degrees. Yes it was unimaginably cold.) I even have the video to prove it:

Jokusarlon Glacier Lagoon | Life With a View

But THIS. PLACE. Words definitely can’t describe it, and a picture looks pretty, but it still doesn’t even capture it’s magnificence. There’s a reason we put it on a 40″ canvas above our couch as soon as we got home!

Jokusarlon Glacier Lagoon | Life With a View

Yeah, the blue sky and sunshine was definitely a big bonus that day 😉

Jokusarlon Glacier Lagoon | Life With a View

So really, do yourself a huge kodak moment favor and make sure your Iceland itinerary includes Jökulsárlón. Just remember that Iceland will never disappoint you for driving a little further!
 FYI:
-The best time of the year to see the full beauty of the lagoon is May-October. After that, less pieces are breaking off the glacier, so there are less icebergs in the lagoon.
-The best time of the year to see the full beauty of the crystal beach is November-March. This is when more of the icebergs will stay washed up on the beach.

Question: Do you have a hard time picking a favorite when you travel somewhere? Would you ever jump into freezing cold glacier water?!

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  • MARIA LAURA LORENZO
    April 24, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    Hi Jeannie!
    After making a lot of research I think that i´d do the following tours during my stay:
    Day 1: I arrive early in the morning and already have the Blue Lagoon tickets, and then go to Reykjavic at the late afeternoon
    2: Free day to visit Reykjavic with city tour
    3: Golden Circle
    4: South coast tour
    5: Jökulsárlón glacier
    6: Snaefellsnes peninsula
    7: I leave early in the morning

    My question for you is: I notice that some companies visit Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, Vik and Reynisfjara while during the Jökulsárlón glacier and others do Skaftafell Nature Reserve, Svartifoss Waterfall and Jökulsárlón
    So I don´t know is the best thing is trying to combine a more complete south tour instead of doing two. If I put the two togheter I´d not visit Sólheimajökull. If I combine the two I´d have a free day, is there anything else to see? (The ‘Game of Thrones’ Filming Location or Reykjanes area)

  • Karo
    March 9, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    HI! Me and my 2 childRen See going to reykjavik on Oktober 5-12. We have Rente a VW polo… we want to drive the golden circle and to vik. Do you tjink it is ok Not to rebt an 4×4?

    • Jeannie
      March 29, 2017 at 5:46 pm

      Hi Karo! You will be fine in a 2wd on the Golden Circle and to Vik and back to Reykjavik. Have a great time in Iceland with your kids!

  • Karen Radtke
    October 19, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    Since we will be doing the total ring road over 3 weeks June 2017 we definitely plan to visit Jokilsarlon. Need a suggestion on accommodations. We are spending fiirst two nights Near Selfoss – self catered, Golden circle, next two nights Vik, still looking for accommodations and then on towards Jokulsarlon. We were thinking we would stay near Hofn for two nights and double back to Jokulsarlon. We don’t want to jump beds each night. So is Hofn a good central location for two nights before we head into the East Fjords. any suggestions on location in or around Vik as well as Hofn?

    • Jeannie
      November 7, 2016 at 2:30 pm

      Höfn is a great place to stay, but an hour+ from the lagoon. There are a lot of guesthouses along that stretch, but I haven’t stayed in many myself. I always use booking.com to find places to stay!

  • Sharon Gavin
    April 27, 2016 at 1:33 am

    Hello Jeannie, My daughter learned today that she will have an internship in Solheimer Ecovillage June through August. So excited! We want to visit her, of course, but will only have seven days’ time to do so in late June. We will be with her for one weekend. What should we do with her? Should we book one hotel room, or move around a bit more and book more than one? Will we need reservations at that busy time of year or should we just take our chances? Thank you so much for the information!

    • Jeannie
      April 29, 2016 at 8:18 am

      Hi Sharon! How awesome that your daughter has this opportunity!
      My advice is always to see as much as you can. With her location, you could either head along the South coast to Jokulsarlon or do the Snaefellsnes peninsula – both are doable in a weekend.
      I do suggest booking a hotel room ahead of time, summer is the busiest travel time in Iceland and a lot places actually fill up!

  • Danielle
    March 15, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    Hi Jeannie!

    I will be in Iceland in August and foolishly already booked a room in Reykjavik for our 3 day stay. I am having doubts that I should maybe look into staying elsewhere for at least one night. Could recommend a good town close to this glacier that may be nice for a 1 night stay? Thanks!

    • Jeannie
      March 20, 2016 at 1:39 pm

      YES! I’m totally a fan of getting out of the city, just drive see and do everything you can in the 3 days! Kirkjubæjarklaustur is a town close to the glacier lagoon that has a couple of guesthouses and a hotel. It’s still about an hour from the lagoon, but there are a ton of things to see along the way that you will want to stop at 🙂

  • Kristy Logan
    November 17, 2015 at 5:23 am

    MUST SEE MUST SEE!!

    • Jeannie
      November 17, 2015 at 7:47 am

      You will, you will! 😉