The famous Glacier Lagoon – Jökulsárlón

I think it is safe to say that almost everyone knows what the Glacier Lagoon Jökulsárlón is. If not, we will tell you. The Glacier Lagoon is one of Iceland’s most visited places. The lagoon is located in South East Iceland, only 10 minutes away from Hali, our meeting point.

The lagoon is located next to rout 1, so it is hard to miss when you are driving, in either direction.From Reykjavik it is 372 km (or 230 miles). Time wise, it takes 4 ½ hours to drive but it all depends on the season you are driving in.

The glacier that forms the lagoon is called Breiðarmerkurjökull. Breiðarmerkurjökull is a outlet glacier from Vatnajökull. Although it’s been retreating since the late 19th century, Vatnajökull still covers 8% of Iceland and is Europe’s largest glacier.

Glacial lagoons are formed when the outlet glacier dig their way forward and deep in the earth. Than they start retracting and water gathers in the “holes” left and glacial lakes are formed. These lakes increase the melting on the outlet glacier and big ice chunks break off the glacier tongue; this is called calving. This was how Jökulsárlón is formed. If you want to read more about glacier formations check out this brochure; A natural laboratory to study climate change.

This picture is taken in late December. The front port of the glacier has already calved since then.

On our tours we visit the end of the outlet glacier Breiðarmerkurjökull, there we see the calving of the glacier. During the summer, on our GA summer tour we hike to the area and during the winter on our Blue Ice Cave Tour we go there.

In front of the Breiðarmerkurjökull, where the glacier lake starts, it is around 300 meters deep which makes it the deepest in Iceland. The icebergs that float in the lagoon can be enormous, but we only see 10% of it. From Jökulsárlón, you can also see the highest mountain top in Iceland, Hvannadalshnjúkur, which is 2.109m high.

glacier lagoon iceberg

The icebergs are constantly moving, the whole day. It all depends on the wind direction how and where they are located in the lagoon.

Jökulsárlón and it’s icebergs flow into the Atlantic Ocean. Some of the chunks of ice end up on the black sanded shore. That beach is called “The Diamond Beach”, to read more about that, click the link 😉

diamond beach

You can visit the Lagoon all year-round where you can see the blue icebergs floating, maybe even some seals chilling on top. Seals are not the only animals that you can see there but number of seabirds also. The Arctic tern and Arctic skua. The birds feast on the fish that are in the lagoon.

The marked hiking trail between Jökulsárlón and Fjallsárlón is recommended as a scenic trip through unforgettable surroundings.

It is also a popular film location, like maybe the whole island? But it has been featured in many movies, tv shows and even music videos. The first international movie was actually filmed at the Glacier Lagoon and it was no there than the James Bond, A View To a Kill, also the Bond movie Die Another Day and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

glacier lagoon icebergs

We would say that the lagoon is never the same, don’t matter how often you visit it. Each visit is unique.

As previously mentioned, Jökulsárlón is only 10 minutes away from our meeting point, so you can visit is either before or after our tours. It’s a perfect place to spend a good amount of time there.