Visiting the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon in Iceland
Iceland isn’t called the ‘Land of Fire and Ice’ for nothing; indeed, simply make a visit to the South Coast’s Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon for a wonderfully icy experience. Located approximately 5 hours away from the capital of Reykjavik, the Glacier Lagoon is best explored on a multi-day South Coast adventure.
Containing icebergs that are over a whopping 1000 years old, Jokulsarlon was first formed in 1934 when the Breioamerkurjokull glacier started retreating.
Jokulsarlon is naturally formed from melted glacial water and grows every year. In fact, its size has already increased four times since the 1970s! However, as Jokulsarlon increases in size, the retreating glacier is, unfortunately, an ominous consequence of the effects of global warming. The lagoon is connected to the sea; icebergs hence break away from the glacier and land in the lagoon, before being washed out to sea or ashore onto the Breioamerkursandur Black Beach, also colloquially known as the Diamond Beach.
Hence, don’t be surprised if the glacial lagoon or glacier lagoon looks different every time you visit!
Feast your eyes on icebergs of all shapes and sizes. Some pieces of ice might even be languidly floating around in the lagoon! If you’re wondering about the beautiful blue colour of the icebergs, this is caused when the long-wavelength light from the sun is absorbed – rather than reflected – by the iceberg. The light refracted through the ice hence returns as a startling luminous blue.
The black stripes comprise sediments picked up by the icebergs.
You might also recognise Jokulsarlon from a few movies – the films ‘Die Another Day’ and ‘A View to Kill’ from the James Bond franchise, as well as the ‘Tomb Raider’ movie were filmed right here! If you’re lucky, you might also even see some seals in the lagoon during your visit.
For a more intimate experience, hop onto a boat to navigate the lagoon. Do note that these boat rides usually only operate from April to mid-November, as the lagoon entirely freezes over during the deep of winter. Check this website for more information.
This boat ride will bring you close to the icebergs and even give you a chance to hold a piece of 1000-year-old ice in your hands.
You can even taste the ice if you wish – it’s formed from pure glacial water!
You can go on an Amphibian boat ride, which will bring you on a relaxing ride around the lagoon, accompanied by a guide who will give you commentary about the lagoon’s history and geology. This ride will last for about 30 to 40 minutes. If you wish to get a more comprehensive experience, the 1-hour Zodiac boat ride covers a larger area of the lagoon and brings you as close as possible to the glacier.
The Amphibian and Zodiac boat rides cost ISK5900 (~SGD57) and ISK10500 (~SGD101) respectively for adults; children enjoy discounted prices.
The glacier lagoon is also a great sunset spot. Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon is truly one of Iceland’s most stunning gems – make it a must-visit the next time you’re in Iceland!