Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon - map, access, sightseeing, interesting facts

Icebergs on the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon

Top favorite in Iceland

There is something extraordinary about swimming among the majestic icebergs. It would seem that these are only small fragments of the glacier that broke away from it and are slowly drifting along the calm waters of the glacial lake. However, when you stand face to face with such a "crumb", it turns out to be really the size of a mountain.
Up close, the icebergs look impressive. Giant chunks of ice are trapped in the waters of the lagoon, and the tides and the wind push them lazily from place to place.

I looked at them with admiration. They rose many meters above my head. The boat weaved between them, and sometimes they blocked almost the whole world from me. I tried to imagine their actual sizes. It is known that there is about 7 times (!!!) more under the surface of the water than what we see above the water. It is hard to imagine and hard to comprehend.
"Tiny" ice crumbs, several meters high, were approaching the very side of the boat. The clear water of the lagoon allowed us to see deep beneath its surface. I leaned overboard to see a large piece of a several-meter-long piece of ice hiding under the water. What protruded above the water surface, compared to what I saw under the water, was really only the tip. The ice bite grew heavily under the water, reaching far in, and deep in the waters of the lake.
The relationship between what we see above the water and what is hidden below the surface is well presented in the graphic below:

Iceberg - an illustrative proportion between what we see on the surface and what is hidden under the water.
Graphic authors: Uwe Kils (iceberg) and Wiska Bodo (sky), source: Wikimedia Commons

Wow! I just muttered under my breath ... How beautiful it is!
Floating mountains, and among them me ... an ant with a small camera. I took a few photos and then soaked up this amazing icy atmosphere. I never thought for a second that it was the middle of summer, and here in the icy land I am wandering among ice cubes the size of a large, several-story building. The crisp air tasted great, the emotions were enormous, and the blood was hot.
In retrospect, when today I wonder what made the greatest impression on me in Iceland, the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon would be in TOP 3. I don't know where: first, second or third. It does not matter. I cannot imagine visiting Iceland without visiting this place.

Icebergs on the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon
Iceberg in Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon

One hundred years of melting

It's hard to believe that 90 years ago Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon did not exist yet. The largest Vatnajökull glacier in Iceland, a fragment of which in this part is separately called Breidamerkurjokull, reached here, all the way to the coast.
The year 1934 is assumed to be the beginning of the formation of the lagoon. Since then, the melting of the glacier is faster than its growth and the rate of advancement. As a result, the glacier's head continually recedes inland, and the melt water accumulates in the steep valley that remains, creating an ice lagoon.
Currently, the area of ​​the lagoon exceeds 18 km2 and is growing significantly each year. From 1970 to today, its area has increased fourfold.
Jokulsarlon lagoon is 248 meters deep and is currently the deepest lake in Iceland.

Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon
Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon

The glacier retreating process is clearly shown in the picture below. The image was made of two photos: the current satellite image (from 2021), which I downloaded from Google Maps, and educational material that I found on the site Vatnajokull National Park.
I put them on the right scale and got a visualization of how the glacier head has retreated over the last 100 years.
The last line (red) shows the status from 2016. The satellite image clearly shows the edge of the glacier front from 2021 (then the satellite image from Google Maps was taken). Thus, we can perfectly observe the change that has occurred over the last 5 years.

The process of glacier retreat (melting) in the last 100 years
Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon

The process of retreating the glacier is ongoing, so when you go to see the glacial lagoon you will see a completely different state than what I saw. This place looks different almost every day.
The fate of the icebergs breaking off the glacier is doomed. They slowly melt in the waters of the lagoon and then hit the iceberg graveyard, which is located on a nearby beach, called Diamond Beach.
O Diamond Beach a separate entry was created and I encourage you to read it. You will learn the further history of the monumental icebergs from the Jokulsarlon lagoon.

There is quite a crowd here between the icebergs
Some icebergs are really concrete
Imagine how much is still under the water!

Visit the Jokulsarlon lagoon

The lagoon and the head of the melting glacier can be viewed from the shores of the lagoon, or by sailing on it by boats, pontoons or amphibians. Only authorized vessels can swim on the lagoon and it is not possible to swim independently.

You can sail on the lagoon on pontoon boats ...
… Or with amphibians.

There is a large parking lot for tourists right next to the lagoon and at the starting point of the amphibians floating on the lagoon.
Swimming on the lagoon takes place only in summerwhen the waters of the lagoon thaw. In winter, access to the frozen waters of Jökulsárlón lagoon is not possible.

In winter, tours start from the same locationduring which you can see ice caves and take place glacier walk.

The lagoon is very popular and in summer it may be difficult to buy tickets for a swim on the lagoon at a convenient time for you. Such a difficulty should be taken into account.
One solution may be to buy a trip online. However, I do not guarantee that it will always be possible.

Some tour operators offer their own tours as part of their ticket pool, which they have guaranteed (or pre-purchased). Usually they are a bit more expensive, but often it is so much more profitable to add a pair of crowns and experience an amazing cruise on the lagoon than to travel half the world and leave with nothing.

You can check the availability of tickets on the Internet at this link: cruises on the Jokulsarlon lagoon, glacier walks and ice cave tours - [click].

The link is prepared in such a way that, depending on the season, it presents the visiting possibilities available at the moment. In summer, you'll experience lagoon cruises, and in winter, glacier walks and ice cave tours.
If you do not have your own car in Iceland, you can even find round trips lasting several days, organized by transport from Reykjavik.

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Parking at the Jökulsárlón lagoon

Location of the Jokulsarlon lagoon on the Iceland map

There is a large parking lot for tourists right next to the lagoon and at the starting point of the amphibians floating on the lagoon. The coordinates of the parking lot can be found further in the text
Parking is free, there are free toilets, a small gastronomy and ticket offices.

Parking at the Jökulsárlón lagoon, GPS coordinates:
64°02’52.4″N 16°10’47.8″W
64.047901, -16.179938 - click and route

Accommodation near the Jokulsarlon lagoon

The part of Iceland with the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon is one of those that, due to its remoteness from the capital, are the least visited by tourists. If you've arrived here, you will definitely need an overnight stay.
So I have prepared a special link that arranges the search results according to the distance of the hotel from the Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon. The further you go, the lower you go in the search results. Just click and look for accommodation near the glacial lagoon of Jökulsárlón

In addition, below you will find some interesting, specific proposals for accommodation I found.

Reynivellir II - [click]

Gerdi Guesthouse - [click]

Skyrhúsid Guest House - [click]

Iceland sightseeing itinerary

The entry you are reading is an element prepared by me Iceland sightseeing plan. Most likely, everything you need to prepare for your trip to Iceland can be found in this entry. Weather, accommodation, car rentals, tourist attractions and a map of a trip around Iceland ... all in one place: Iceland - map and sightseeing plan, tourist attractions, excursions, the most beautiful places - [click]. Be sure to read!
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