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Diamond Beach


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A more picturesque location in Iceland than The Diamond Beach is hard to find. The beach is on the southern edge of a fantastic glacial lake or lagoon called Jökulsárlón (Glacier Lagoon), itself just south of the massive Vatnajökull glacier, on Iceland’s South Coast.

diamond beach

How to get to Diamond Beach

Taking Road 1 from Reykjavík, it will take around 5 hours of driving to get there. The time it takes to reach it and the fact that the surrounding area is filled to the brim with sights makes it well worth it to stay a night or a few close by for ample exploration time. You know you’ve reached it when the environment changes from green fields and farms to the black sands of the glacial plains, and the unearthly deep blue lagoon appears on the horizon.

The forming of “the diamonds”

Vatnajökull is the biggest glacier in Iceland and has several smaller outlet glaciers adjoining it. One of those outlet glaciers is called Breiðamerkurjökull, and its meltwaters form the vast and deep glacial lagoon of Jökulsárlón. The distinguishing feature about this lake and the beach surrounding it are the chunks and shards of ice floating on the lake and strewn all over the beach. Due to the clear ice resembling diamonds, the name stuck. The ice is continually chipping and falling off Breiðamerkurjökull which grinds forward towards the ocean.


This grinding of the outlet glaciers in the area created the characteristic black sands surrounding the lagoon. Millennia of mountains and rocks being ground into dust by the mighty glaciers. The meltwaters eventually flush it all out, collecting on the plain below and forming the black sands on the beach, collectively known as Breiðamerkursandur. The Diamond Beach is situated exactly on the edge where all these geological forces meet. As the tip of the much larger Breiðamerkursandur, the beach encircles the magnificent lagoon which washes its icy contents upon the beach.

Deepest lake in Iceland and climate change

The Jökulsárlón lagoon is the deepest lake in Iceland, reaching a seemingly impossible depth of almost 300 meters in places. More amazingly, the lagoon only appeared first in 1935 and was a lot smaller then, quadrupling in size since the ‘70s. The increase in size has followed a natural process of the glacier grinding into contact with the ocean. Still, as with so many such processes, it has been significantly accelerated due to climate change.

Preserving this marvel of nature for future generations is a must, the most recent estimates projecting the ice disappearing in a matter of decades.

Thrilling and photogenic location

Nonetheless, Jökulsárlón and the Diamond Beach surrounding it make for a thrilling and photogenic location to visit. The drive is a visual spectacle, but once there, it’s possible to take boat tours into the lagoon and get up close to the titanic icebergs floating there.

Then walking up and down the beach is a treat for the eyes as well as the camera. The deep dark black sands and the crystal clear large and small ice diamonds dotting the beach immediately transporting you to a different planet.

Guide to photographing Diamond beach

If you are looking for the perfect guide to photograph this beautifull beach and Jökulsárlón on your trip to Iceland be sure to watch this video bij Mads Peter Iversen. Mads is one of the most populair photographers on YouTube and has a range of videos about photographing in Iceland (and other top places). He explaines how to get to this top location, gives you tips to get the best out of your visit and what gear you should bring on your trip. Enjoy the video from Mads!

If you like the video about photographing Seljalandsfoss by Mads Peter Iversen be sure to follow him on YouTube and like his updates 😉

If you have been to Iceland and would like to write an article about locations you have visited don’t hesitate to sent us an email. We are happy to get your story and tips online!