The sun hangs low in the sky, while the delicate chunks of ice that litter the black sand shores of Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon shimmer against the emerald green and crystal blue waves of the Atlantic ocean. In the distance, a family of seals pokes their little heads out the water. The mouth of the bay serves as the final stop before the icebergs make their last death march out into the ocean. There is a reason that Lonely Planet put this lagoon on their world’s must-see list: it is stunning.
It should be to no one’s surprise to learn that Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is located in Iceland. The country is synonymous with stunning landscapes and dramatic backdrops that elicit a feeling of adventure from her visitors. The landscape of Iceland, for me, is most effectively split into two main categories: landscapes and glacial-scapes. I don’t know if I’ve invented a new word, but Oxford English Dictionary can give me a call if I have. Glaciers hold a special place in the hearts of both Iceland’s inhabitants and its visitors.
Icebergs and glaciers evoke power, mystery, and antiquity. Glaciers once covered the planet, and now, due to climate change and pollution, we are struggling to hold onto the remaining few; icebergs are notoriously dangerous despite their benign outwardly appearance, and due to their hidden size are mysterious. Iceland has many hot spring and lagoons, and tourists often come seeking their relaxing and healing powers. The Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon rests on the opposite end of the spectrum: visitors come to enjoy the wildlife and hopefully catch a glimpse of an iceberg beginning its journey into the ocean, definitely not to swim.
Visitors of Jökulsárlón often find themselves lost in thought while they watch the silky smooth water ripple alongside them. For the best and most intimate experience, I recommend taking an amphibious boat tour. Amphibious boats are essentially boats with wheels that can drive on land then directly into the water. These tours allow you to interact with the landscape in a way which otherwise may be impossible (this is mainly because amphibious boats often sit closer to the water, so you feel immersed in your surroundings).
On your boat tour, you may be lucky enough to encounter a pack of sunbathing seals, schools of arctic fish, and even some majestic seabirds. The famous Glacier Lagoon is renowned for both the geological phenomena that take place here and the diverse fauna that lives here. My favorite fact about the lake, in regards to geological events, is that it never freezes. Couldn’t tell you why, but it’s interesting to think about, especially in a place that gets as cold as Iceland.
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon: A Nature Wonder in Iceland
I recommend taking a day trip to Jökulsárlón if you are close to the southern region. If you are staying in the capital, Reykjavik, it’s possible to take a day trip, albeit a long one. The Glacial Lagoon is situated roughly 400km (about 250 miles) south of Reykjavik off Highway 1. It is nearly 250km (150 miles) if you are coming from Egilsstaðir on the other side of the island. If you are coming from Egilsstaðir the easiest way to get there is to take Route 1. Whichever way you decide to come from, come to enjoy the tranquil waters of the lagoon and take a tour to get up close and personal with the environment. I promise you won’t regret it.