Activities at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
An unforgettable trip at Blue Ice Cave, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, and Diamond Beach
Even if the name of the country may suggest you expect a lot of snow, ice, and cold weather, Iceland is not really like this. I am not going to lie, the weather may be extreme sometimes, but it is not like this the whole year. Especially in the summertime, there is a lot of light and sunny days because of the polar day. That means that the sun sets for only 2 hours after midnight. Despite that, there are not a lot of sunny beautiful days in the winter, so if you do not go out to enjoy them, you will get sólarsamviskubit, a rough translation for this means sun-guilt. Yeah, you will feel guilty for not enjoying a sunny day in the winter. They are so rare.
But what you can do around Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon? Let’s find out!
During the wintertime
If you want to spend some time in the wintertime in Iceland, you can go on a tour to the Blue Ice Cave, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, and Diamond Beach. Here are some fun activities you can do there even if it is a sunny or cloudy day.
Exploring a Blue Ice Cave.
Ice caves form naturally in the winter. In Iceland, they can be found on the south coast and at Breiðamerkurjökull, the glacier tongue which feeds Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. The process of forming is the same for all ice caves. They begin as crevices in the glacier. As the glacier melts, water finds its way into these crevices, making them expand and melt faster than the glacier itself. Over time, tunnels form and this tunnel will continue in this freezing and melting cycle. Sometimes, the tunnel disappears altogether and other times, it becomes a gigantic hole. When all the right elements are in place, a cave appears. This is the typical formation of all glacier ice caves.
What makes the ice cave blue is the refraction of the light. Glacier ice is compact ice with little or no air within. As light passes through the glacier, only the wave-length of the blue light makes its way through the ice, making them appear blue. The more compact the ice is, the bluer it will appear. On certain occasions, there has also been purple, red, and yellow ice.
So you can start the day by going on a tour and exploring a blue ice cave. The meeting point for the tour is usually Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. All you need to take with you is waterproof clothes, some snacks, a lunch pack, something to drink, your adventurous spirit, your camera, and all your photo gear. You will be mesmerized by the beautiful texture and patterns that water has formed inside the cave.
Do not go to explore an ice cave on your own. It is illegal to go to the ice cave and onto the glacier without a guide. The only reason is that the glacier is treacherous terrain. If you are not familiar with the landscape and not trained to react properly, you might find yourself in life-threatening situations.
The most interesting thing about the ice caves is that the shape and look of the ice cave are different every year. So if you went last year do not think that this year it will be the same. You will find a completely different ice cave every year.
So as I mentioned earlier take your camera gear, you will take a lot of pictures. A blue ice cave is a photographer’s paradise and even you are not a photographer you will not leave the ice cave without taking some photos. Check out our exploration tours in a blue ice cave.
Visiting Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
After you explore the blue ice cave, go to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and enjoy the beautiful landscape that glacier blocks have made into the lagoon. The same as the ice cave, the glacier lagoon is constantly changing so you will see something different even from a day to another.
You can take pictures from different spots and enjoy this unique landscape, but do not adventure into the water or step on an ice block, you will put yourself in danger.
During the winter, the lagoon is partially frozen and when it is snowing the ice blocks are covered in snow. If you are lucky and there is a sunny day you will find out why the glacier lagoon is also named Crown Jewel of Iceland.
Visiting Diamond Beach
Not far away from the Glacier lagoon, on the other side of the main road is Diamond beach. A black sand beach is woven by ocean waves with many beautiful ice blocks which slipped from the lagoon into the ocean.
If there is a sunny day, ice blocks will reflect the sunlight just like there are diamonds on the beach. That is actually where the name of the beach came from. But if it is cloudy outside and the wind is blowing, you will see how the waves break into large blocks of ice and create spectacular views. Do not adventure close to the water if there are waves, it might be quite dangerous.
Diamond beach has its own charm. It changes almost every day as the ice blocks may melt, broke or be carried away by waves. So you will get a different landscape every time you will visit it. During the winter you may not see every time so many ice blocks or big ice blocks as the glacier is frozen in the cold.
Do not miss the winter sunset at the diamond beach. The sky will be painted in such breathtaking colors and you do not want to miss such an opportunity to take a stunning photo.
As the days are shorter during the winter, this kind of tour is perfect for going outside and being active on a winter day. If you are interested in a tour you can have a look at our available tours on the website.
During the Summertime
Blue Ice Cave
In the summertime, you cannot explore any ice caves. That is because is really dangerous as the glacier is melting in warm weather and the walls or the roof of the ice cave are unstable. But close to the location of Blue Ice cave is Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon where you can do a lot of fun and interesting activities during summer.
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
During the summertime, the glacier lagoon is not frozen so there are almost everyday boat trips on the lagoon. There are two options for boat tours on the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon during summer.
Amphibian boat tour. This trip takes about 30-40. During the excursion, you sail among the huge icebergs in the picturesque scenery of Jökulsárlón. On the boat, you get to taste the 1000-year-old ice and if you are lucky you might even see some seals. There is also a guide on the boat who will explain to you the geology of the glacier lagoon. More details and prices for this tour you will find here.
Zodiac Tour. For this boat tour, you have to check-in 30 minutes before departure and the whole tour duration is 1 hour. During this trip, you sail among the huge icebergs in the picturesque scenery of Jökulsárlón. On the Zodiac tour, we are able to cover large areas of the lagoon and get closer to the icebergs than on the amphibian. When possible the Zodiac goes almost all the way up to the glacier (as close as safe).
As this tour approach more to the icebergs, all passengers are provided with flotation suits and a life jacket. If this tour aroused your curiosity already, check our zodiac tour for more details.
Not far away from Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon is Fjallsárlón lagoon. And there can also be done two types of boat tours.
Fjallsárlón is an isolated glacial lagoon in the realm of Vatnajökull. Iceland’s tallest volcano, the Öræfajökull glacier, looms above the lagoon and reaches down to the water where icebergs break off into the lake and drift serenely around before melting.
Photography Private Boat Tours. Even if you are a pro or an amateur photographer you can choose a photography private boat tour on the Fjallsárlón lagoon. Take all your camera gear since you have a lot of space in the boat, you will be able to take the best shots here.
There are two options for this tour: the classic tour or the luxury tour.
The classic tour takes about one hour and thirty minutes and you will be taken all the way to the edge of the glacier while your guide explains the formation of the glacier, the surrounding landscape, and the community of people that was formed around it.
The luxury tour takes about two hours, and a picnic follows it in Fjallsey. The island is right by the edge of the glacier, making it perfect for a picnic. So after you take your best shots you can relax and enjoy some champagne and the food you will found in the picnic basket. Have you decided which one you choose? Take a look here for more details.
Fjallsárlón – Iceberg boat tour. This tour takes one hour and thirty minutes and you will be sailing to the edge of the glacier. During this tour, you will find out more information about how the local farmers were struggling with the forces of nature back in the day and how they created a communion with nature. Take a look at our boat tours and join us in this adventure.
Going to the diamond beach during summertime is a really beautiful experience. If you are lucky you will find big blocks of ice laying on the beach under the warm rays of the sun. As the weather is warmer the glacier is melting and big blocks of ice come off into the glacier lagoon and then are carried by the waves all the way to the black beach. But it may happen to not find big blocks of ice on the beach but tiny ‘ice diamonds’ shining under the sun. No matter the size of the ice blocks, the diamond beach will always shine under the warm sun.
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