The glacial lagoon Jökulsárlón is another of the landmarks of Iceland. Thanks to the efforts of nature, almost every corner of the northern country can be called its calling card. Everything here is so beautiful and unusual. Jokulsarlon is relatively young but rapidly growing lagoon, today it is the largest in Iceland. It is also the most beautiful and the most popular.
The area of the lagoon’s water surface grows every year and is now almost 20 square kilometers. The creation of this miracle of nature began in the 30s of the twentieth century. As a consequence of global warming, the Vatnajöküdl glacier (one of the largest in Europe) began to move. Slowly but steadily he slipped down to the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, leaving behind pieces of melting ice cliffs. That’s how the name of the new lake was born – the “ice river lagoon” – Jokulsarlon. The river has long turned into a fantastically beautiful lake, where hundreds of ice floats haphazardly on the blue mirror of the reservoir. It is located in the southeast, between the two national parks Höfna and Skaftafetl, a little away from its progenitor, the Vatnajöküdl Glacier.
To get to the lagoon is simple, although a bit far. By car you have to drive from Reykjavik to the east along the highway F1 (the main and the only one in Iceland) about 400 km. And it is only one way. But do not be intimidated. The roads are good, and behind the window you will be accompanied by unique landscapes. Be sure to put a few extra hours in your itinerary to see everything as best you can.
The bus tour takes about 16 hours each way. In this case, the bus stops near all the important attractions, and you will have plenty of time to enjoy them. And there are more than enough places of interest on the way: black desert lava fields, soft moss-covered smoking plains, snow-capped peaks, rocky ledges, beautiful waterfalls, black beaches of the Vic. By the way you will also pass the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, which scared the whole of Europe in 2010 and covered a good half of Iceland with black ash, including the emerald ice floes Jokulsarlon. Even one trip to Glacier Lagoon is a great experience.
In the parking lot near Jokulsarlon all conditions are created for guests. There is free parking for cars; café, where you can have a delicious and expensive full lunch with first, second and coffee; toilet and souvenir store; motor boat and amphibious boat tours.
As you approach Laguna, you may at first experience some disappointment. But that’s only until you get to the bridge. Here, when the lagoon opens in all its glory, you can’t help but sigh in delight. This is one of the most stunning places in all of Iceland! Jokulsarlon is especially beautiful on a sunny day, at ten or eleven o’clock, when the sun is over the glacier and the lagoon is illuminated by a warm yellow light. And, of course, during sunrise and sunset – huge blocks of blue ice shimmer in saturated colors in the rays of the unabashed sun never tire of surprising us.
But the weather in Iceland is not always sunny. Don’t worry about that, the color of the icebergs is stunning even in a little rain. By the way, after the recent eruption of Eyjafjallajökull there are icebergs with graphic black veins. This is incredibly beautiful! The soul rests here. Realizing that the ice in front of you is millions of years old, you want to sit down and just watch. All worries and problems disappear into the background, only you and Eternity itself remain. The panorama of the lake, like our life, changes every second… And it will never be the same as it was a moment ago.
The colors of the icebergs, smoothly floating and gradually diminishing as they approach the ocean, are amazing. They shine with some special, magical light from within. It seems impossible. Well the ice cannot be of such color! Maybe inside each iceberg shines a little fairy? And isn’t she cold there?
But the lagoon won’t let you linger. Walking along the shore, you can admire the games of sea seals, frightened seals and many birds. And if luck turns to your face, you can see a whale, which decided to check out the tourists on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. The tide brings a lot of small fish into the lake, from trout to herring, which the rest of the lagoon’s inhabitants feed on.
Be sure to go to the ocean beach on the back side of the bridge to see a stunning picture – the ocean pushes ice blocks of translucent ice onto the black sand. Don’t forget your camera, it’s a rare sight!
As you might have guessed, it’s cold near Glacier Lagoon, even in the summer. The cold comes in waves from the ice, literally penetrating you to the bone. There is also often a strong wind here. So take warm and windproof clothes with you. For the forgetful tourists caring (or enterprising?) Icelanders provided rental of warm coveralls.
You have a wonderful opportunity to sail among the ice and icebergs of Jokulsarlon in inflatable motorboats or large amphibious boats.
The former are more vertical and can take you further into the realm of ice, but they are also more expensive. Note that these are not just rides, but tours. The boat captain will tell you about the formation and history of the lagoon, the movies that were filmed here (Lara Croft, Batman, James Bond) and many other interesting things. It costs about 40 dollars for 40 minutes.
Glacier Lagoon is a place you want to return to again and again! It’s cold, windy, but so beautiful! By the way, what without the scientists with their not so good predictions. They promise that the whole glacier will melt already in this century, so hurry up to see this miracle with your own eyes and not only on photo! By the way, we are stopping here during our “Mars Landing” trek through Iceland. Join us!