All about The Glacier Lagoon
Wherever you go in Iceland, you’re never far away from jaw-dropping landscapes and incredible images for your Instagram.
But even in this land of stunning scenery, visiting the Glacier Lagoon (Jökulsárlón) is an extraordinary experience!
Prepare to be astonished by the sight of immense icebergs floating serenely in a vast meltwater lake, sculpted by the wind and the waves into fantastic shapes.
The Glacier Lagoon looks like a real-life film set, and that’s because it’s been featured in several Hollywood movies, including two James Bond films and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider!
Here’s everything you need to know about the Glacier Lagoon.
Where is the Glacier Lagoon?
The Glacier Lagoon is in southeast Iceland, about 375 kilometers from Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík. Driving there will take about six hours altogether.
What’s the Glacier Lagoon like?
The Glacier Lagoon lies right next to the Ring Road, the famous route that circles all of Iceland in a 1330-kilometer loop.
That makes it easy for anyone to enjoy the view, as you can see it from the car park!
As soon as the tour arrives, you can start exploring! On clear days, you’ll see the edge of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier far off in the distance.
But your gaze will be drawn to the multicolored icebergs swaying with the wind and the tides, a mesmerizing parade of glittering ice giants slowly making their way out to sea.
Some of the icebergs are striped with black ash, which is evidence of the frequent volcanic eruptions in Iceland. Looking at them is like looking back in time!
Watch closely! The icebergs often topple over with a mighty crash, sending waves around the lagoon and waking up the seals that like to bask in the sun here.
But most of the time, the Glacier Lagoon is a peaceful and tranquil place that will live long in your memory!
How did the Glacier Lagoon get made?
You might be surprised to know that the Glacier Lagoon is very young indeed – it’s less than 80 years old!
The lagoon covers an area of about 18 km2, but it’s increasing in size all the time.
The Breiðamerkurjökull glacier tongue is part of the vast Vatnajökull glacier system, which covers over a tenth of Iceland.
However, climate change has seen Iceland’s glaciers retreat, and the Glacier Lagoon began its formation when the Breiðamerkurjökull tongue reduced in length.
It used to reach where the Ring Road is, but it is shrinking, sometimes as much as 500 meters a year.
The meltwater that was left behind is now Iceland’s deepest lake!
Calving begins with a fracture at the glacier’s leading edge. Then, with more erosion by wind and water, the crack deepens until the weight pulls it away from the glacier tongue.
What facilities does the Glacier Lagoon offer?
A fine café offers simple snacks and drinks, with restroom facilities. In the summer, there are other options, including a food truck offering lobster soup and langoustine sandwiches!
You can enjoy the Glacier Lagoon in all its glory from the shores. But if you want to get even closer to the icebergs, you can book an optional amphibious boat tour.
This 45-minute trip will take you in amongst the bergs, so you can appreciate their majestic scale at close quarters! Kayak and RIB tours are also available.
When is the best time to visit the Glacier Lagoon?
Icebergs “calve” from the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier tongue as soon as the spring thaw begins, so the best time to visit the Glacier Lagoon is from April onwards.
When winter arrives, the lagoon will freeze over, trapping the icebergs in place until the subsequent thaw.
So, our Glacier Lagoon tours follow that natural pattern, with trips to Jökulsárlón available for booking when the spectacle is at its greatest!
As with all trips in Iceland, the weather is the most critical factor; of course, it’s very unpredictable. So we’ll read the weather forecast to ensure you have the best experience possible.
What should I bring with me to the Glacier Lagoon?
Bring a camera. Or your smartphone. You’re going to take a LOT of pictures!
As always, dress in layers that are comfortable and easy to take off. It’s a long drive, and the temperatures will vary, so you need to be prepared.
Bring scarves, gloves, hats, windproof pants, and sturdy shoes.
Depending on the season, you might need all of these!
- Thermal undershirt
- Thermal leggings/tights
- Thick socks
- Long-sleeved shirt
- Warm fleece
- Touch screen gloves (to access your phone’s camera) and mittens
- Heavy-duty waterproof parka
We offer a range of Glacier Lagoon tours for you to choose from, with different schedules and formats.
So no matter your plan, there’s sure to be a Glacier Lagoon tour that suits you!
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