Imagine peacock blue and arctic white 2,000-year-old icebergs floating beneath the highway bridge, then carried to sea, then dashed on the beach by the waves – this is Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.

Stepping into an Ice Age for a few hours

The Jokulsarlon Lagoon, azure , pristine , famous for icebergs that break off into the water , almost strategically placed like sculptures so the crowds of tourists could gawk at their beauty.

Located about 4-5 hours away from the capital , it’s absolutely worth the drive .Luckily, Diamond Beach sits just opposite the Lagoon, meaning once you’re there, you can enjoy the unique magic of each location via only a ten minute walk across Ring Road 1.

As you get close to the lagoon, you begin to glimpse pieces of blue behind the rocky banks. You get stunned with the view driving to the parking lot : occasionally an iceberg floated beneath the highway bridge, was carried to sea, then was dashed on the beach by the windswept waves.

A big part of southeastern Iceland lies beneath the ice field of Vatnajokull, which moved toward the ocean down a series of fingerlike canyons. The Lagoon is part of Iceland’s largest national park, Vatnajökull National Park, and thanks to its stunning glacial views has been used in numerous Hollywood films. Here, you’ll watch in awe as icebergs break away from the towering glacier, float through the lagoon and eventually, out to sea. At both the Beach and the Lagoon, you’ll witness the true changing nature of Iceland, as the ice formations appear in various shapes, sizes and colours, from the transparent, glittering diamonds to picture-perfect whites and blues.

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon on a boat

The best time to visit the Glacier Lagoon for clear-sky photography and to get up close and personal with the icebergs on a boat tour, which will take you up to the glacier’s edge (weather permitting), is during the summer. Which is exactly what we did , we sailed through the lagoon for about an hour , lifejackets on , getting really close to towering ice cliffs . some carried a sooty layer of glacial soil, others had striations of azure and white .

You might even find yourself sharing this special moment with some of the local seals! (we didn’t ) If your goal is to capture memories of your once-in-a-lifetime trip, you’ll get that perfect, uninterrupted photo early in the morning or as the sun sets, as the lagoon can be overrun with tourists during the day.

Diamond Beach

A Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon bonus trip

Diamond Beach and the Glacier Lagoon are without a doubt some of the best, unique settings that the country has to offer, and everybody needs to add these to their travel bucket list. It is important, however, to remember during your time in Iceland that Mother Nature can be unpredictable. So long as you come prepared with layered clothing and stay off the icebergs, no matter how tempting it may look to climb them, you’ll be sure to have a safe and magical experience to remember.

Here is the priceless experience : holding the cocktail-size ice cubes (some 2,000 year old ones)that had washed up on shore and throw them back to the sea.

Diamond Beach is a beautiful black sand beach that will take your breath away, no matter how many times you’ve been. The changes in weather and the icebergs melting and forming new shapes means you’ll be greeted with different scenery every time you visit. For a true ‘wow’ moment, head to the beach in the height of the day’s sunshine, so the sunlight will transform the ice into true sparkling diamonds, which is where the nickname comes from! Alternatively, during winter time, the lack of light pollution makes this spot a great place to watch the impressive Northern Lights.

Final thoughts

When you think of Iceland, you picture vast, jaw-dropping natural landscapes, with crystal clear waters and iridescent glaciers. Outside of the typical Golden Circle, the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and nearby Breiðamerkursandur – known as Diamond Beach – are some of Iceland’s greatest beauties, providing just this image. It’s of little wonder that they have become a haven for tourists and photographers hoping to experience the true Iceland and capture the very best of the country’s namesake ice formations.

Diamond Beach and the Glacier Lagoon are without a doubt some of the best, unique settings that the country has to offer, and everybody needs to add these to their travel bucket list. It is important, however, to remember during your time in Iceland that Mother Nature can be unpredictable. So long as you come prepared with layered clothing and stay off the icebergs, no matter how tempting it may look to climb them, you’ll be sure to have a safe and magical experience to remember.

How to get there

Although these sites are about 5-6 hours from the capital, they are still some of the most visited in Iceland and are worth the trip. They can be easily reached by guided tour or rental car.

Would you like to visit Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon ?