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Jökulsárlón: Sailing Among the Icebergs

Depending on the time of year, it may be challenging to find actual ice in Iceland.

Photos of floating icebergs at Jökulsárlón remind people that despite the rolling lava fields and lush green landscapes in the summer months, there is in fact quite a bit of ice around the island. A few Nordic Visitor employees (i.e., those nice people below) recently went on a Ring Road inspection trip and stopped off at the gorgeous glacier lagoon.

Nordic Visitor at Jökulsárlón
Icelandic travel experts Þór (aka Thor), Linda Ýr and Alex. While Nordic Visitor provides the detailed itinerary, emergency travel helpline and road map with all Iceland self-drive tours, the flag is completely up to you.

 

At Jökulsárlón you can view glacial landscapes up close with chunks of ice scattered about and towering walls of ice jutting up from the sea. It's a unique and spectacular sight that begs to be photographed. The picturesque glacial lagoon is situated at the southern edge of the Vatnajökull glacier and is regarded as one of Iceland’s greatest natural wonders. The lagoon is not very wide, but it is up to 250 metres deep, which makes it the deepest in Iceland.

Jökulsárlón ice, by Linda Chandler
Jökulsárlón ice, photographed by NV traveller Linda Chandler. The blue colour of glacial ice is the result of oxygen compression over many years.

 

Huge chunks of ice regularly calve off the glacier and make their way to the sea via the glacier lagoon. The icebergs vary in size, shape and color and float along the icy water. Some ice makes it to shore and the images are striking-clear ice resting atop black sand and stones.

Icebergs on the beach by Jökulsárlón (Photo: Michael Howe)
Pro tip: go across the highway from the lagoon to meander between large icebergs on the beach. (Photo by NV traveller Michael Howe)

 

If you would like a closer look at the icebergs, there are tours available on amphibious boats from May to October. The view from the shore is special, but boat tours onto the lagoon to navigate the maze of icebergs is unforgettable.

Jökulsárlón amphibious boat
It takes a special vehicle to ferry passengers from land to lagoon at Jökulsárlón. Hence the amphibian boat.

 

During the excursion, you sail among the huge icebergs, get to taste the 1,000-year old ice as a guide breaks off a piece of an iceberg, and if you are lucky, you may even spot some seals bobbing in the lagoon.

Seals at Jökulsárlón
Seals take a break from swimming in the glacier lagoon. (Photo by NV traveller Michael Howe)

 

Jökulsárlón is a popular destination throughout the year and a memorable one. A word about safety, though, the water in Jökulsárlón is frigid and the icebergs flip and roll on their own without warning, so please do not wade into the water or attempt to climb on the ice. Enjoy from a safe distance!

Peaceful moment at the glacier lagoon
Regardless of whether you take a boat tour, plan to spend a good amount time at Jökulsárlón. (Photo by NV traveller Susanne Frei)
 

So, you want to experience these icebergs?

We don’t blame you. While making your way to Jökulsárlón you can see some gorgeous south Iceland scenery on the side!

Check out one of Nordic Visitor's most popular Iceland tours to experience unique natural attractions, including the famous glaciers:

Have something else in mind? We’re Iceland travel experts. Let us know what interests you and we’ll put together a customised itinerary to your liking!

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Post by: Jenna

Originally from New York City, Jenna Gottlieb made her first trip to Iceland in 2007, promptly fell in love with the island and relocated in 2012. She lives with her Icelandic husband in West Iceland.

 

More posts by Jenna

Getting there

We'd love to give you the same amazing travel experiences as you read about in our blog! To visit the destinations and attractions mentioned in this post - and to discover a few new highlights along the way, check out these recommended Nordic Visitor tours.

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