Everything to know about Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

The unique blue and black ice melting in the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Located on the edge of Europe's largest glacier, with only a small distance separating it from the Atlantic Ocean, the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon stands as Iceland's grandest and most breathtaking glacial lake. This remarkable destination gets the award of being the largest and deepest among Iceland's many glacial lakes. Atop its sparkling waters, icebergs gracefully float, surrounded by sheer peaks, rugged lava fields, and picturesque black-sand beaches.

The Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon attraction draws visitors from across the world who come to marvel at this natural wonder. Discover more about this gem in Iceland.

Fun Facts About  Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Iceland 

If you’re curious about this iconic lagoon in Iceland, these are some fun facts that’ll likely catch your interest.

  • Jökulsárlón is Iceland’s largest and deepest glacial lake.

  • The icebergs that make up the glacial ice could be over 1,000 years old. 

  • Each year, approximately 100 metres of ice break off from the lagoon. 

  • Jökulsárlón has been featured in several Hollywood movies, including the James Bond films.

  • The Icelandic Government purchased the lagoon for 1,520 million ISK in 2017.

How to get to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Located in southeastern Iceland, Jökulsárlón lies within the incredible Vatnajökull National Park, where you can explore additional attractions such as the Skaftafell Nature Reserve. Jökulsárlón lies 230 miles east of Reykjavik. The journey passes many landmarks, making it an ideal road trip destination. There are three main ways to get to the glacier lagoon.

1. By car 

The journey from Reykjavik takes approximately 5 hours to drive via the Ring Road (R1). It's important to check the conditions of the road before setting off on your journey, especially if you are travelling during the winter months. This self-drive tour will take you across some of the most stunning locations in Iceland such as the Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls, the mighty Mýrdalsjökull glacier, the black sand beach of Reynisfjara, and the infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano.

2. Public transport 

If you have a more relaxed timeframe and prefer to use public transport for the journey, there are a few options available. You can take buses from Reykjavik to Selfoss (a total of 3 buses) or opt for a domestic flight to the nearest airport to Jökulsárlón, Hornafjörður, and then take a bus (approximately 5 hours). It's important to consider the time of year and check schedules, as they can vary throughout the seasons.

3. Guided tours 

There are several options for those wanting to explore the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon on a guided tour. With transport and accommodation included, multi-day tours will give you more time to experience this incredible national park.

 two boats approaching an epic iceberg floating in Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

5 Things to Do at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

There are plenty of things to keep you occupied at Jökulsárlón, Iceland. What you do depends on how long you’re there for, but these are some of the best things to do at  Jökulsárlón.

1. Boat tours and amphibian boat rides

One of the best ways to explore this lagoon is by water. By boat, you'll navigate through the floating icebergs and learn more about how the lagoon was formed and what's in store for its future.

2. Photography

With numerous ever-changing icebergs at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, taking photographs offers a unique way to remember the surroundings. You're likely to capture an interesting shot as you explore the shores from different angles. 

3. Ice Caves

During certain times of the year, you’ll be able to explore the ever-changing ice caves. You can get up close and personal with the blue and black ice. Not only will you see the incredible structures formed by the ice, but you’ll also be able to hear, touch, and feel it. 

4. Diamond Beach

Jökulsárlón is located close to Iceland’s Diamond Beach, so visiting it is a must when travelling to the lagoon. The icebergs, which break off and float out of the lagoon, get washed ashore on this beach. As the name suggests, the black sand looks as though it’s scattered with jewel-like blocks, creating a captivating scene.

5. Glacier hiking

If exploring the lagoon is not enough, you can explore the glacier that feeds the lake - Vatnajökull. Your glacier tour will provide you with all the equipment you need to traverse the crevasses of this frozen blue wonderland.

Wildlife at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

The conditions and environment at the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon are a hotspot for wildlife. These rich waters are fed by both the tide and the glacier. Throughout the year, you'll find seals swimming or relaxing on icebergs. It is a safe haven for them, especially when Orcas populate the coastline.

Iceland’s Jökulsárlón is also a paradise for birdwatching, as many species live and feed in this area. You may be able to spot the famous Atlantic Puffin feeding when the tides bring in fish. Arctic terns use this area as a breeding ground; however, they are territorial birds, so make sure you keep your distance while exploring.


A seal and a pup laying on an iceberg in Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon in TV and Film

It's not only wildlife and tourists that come to this lagoon. Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon has been used as a location for several movies, music videos, and TV shows. The incredible scenery and icy waters make for interesting backgrounds to dramatic shows and movies. The most popular shows that have been shot here include James Bond films such as "Die Another Day" and "A View to a Kill". Both Game of Thrones and Tomb Raider have also been filmed here.

Accommodation Near Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Make the most of your time in Vatnajökull National Park by standing at a nearby hotel. Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon is perfectly situated near the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and nearby hiking areas. The Spa is the perfect place to relax and unwind after exploring. Fuel up at the restaurant, which is passionate about every dish it serves. 

What to Bear in Mind When Visiting  Jökulsárlón, Iceland

Jökulsárlón has a depth of over 650 feet (200 metres). The icebergs you’ll see are only the tip as 90% of it is below the water surface. The location’s popularity in the media often tempts visitors to try out scenes from movies such as swimming in the lagoon or climbing up the icebergs. But attempting this would be fatal. The iceberg can tip over due to cracks and quickly put you in a life-threatening situation, so do not attempt to do this.

Nearby Hotel Recommendation

Make the most of your time in Vatnajökull National Park by standing at a nearby hotel. Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon is perfectly situated near the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and nearby hiking areas. The Spa is the perfect place to relax and unwind after exploring. Fuel up at the restaurant, which is passionate about every dish it serves.