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Jökulsárlón Claimed


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Jökulsárlón lagoon is the deepest body of water in Iceland. Its surface is strewn with small chunks of ice, and massive icebergs and surrounding it lies the amazing Diamond Beach.



Above it stands the impressive Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, continually depositing more ice to the lagoon. Altogether, the location of Jökulsárlón is one of the most popular spots to visit in Iceland as its spectacular and unique views are without equal.

How to get to Jökulsárlón

The journey starts from Reykjavík, by way of Road 1, and takes approximately 5 hours of driving to get there. If one allows for a bit longer drive, there are a multitude of locations along the way worth making stops for.

The famous Seljalandsfoss waterfall is one such location, and the lesser-known gems of Kvernufoss waterfall and Múlagljúfur canyon are others.

Múlagljúfur canyon

Regardless, once the southern tip of the massive Vatnajökull glacier has been crossed, one of its outlet glaciers, Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, comes into view. The drive towards Jökulsárlón is full of picturesque sights, but approaching the lagoon gets even better.

Icefall glacier

At the top is the spectacularly crevassed glacier Breiðamerkurjökull, an outlet glacier and something that is known as an icefall glacier. In essence, the glacier grinds down the slope, slowly turning mountains into dust and delivering a steady flow of meltwater and icebergs into the Jökulsárlón lagoon. The icefall glacier is responsible for the famously black sands of Diamond Beach but also for creating the lagoon itself.

Remarkably, Jökulsárlón lagoon did not exist at all before the 20th century. The earliest known appearance of a body of water where the lagoon stands today is in 1935. It could only be described as a small pond at that point in time, but since then, it has grown exponentially, quadrupling in size since the ‘70s.

Today it has a depth of close to 300 meters and covers an area of about 18 km2, making it, as previously mentioned, Iceland’s deepest body of water. Though the behaviour of the icefall glacier follows a natural process, man-made climate change has accelerated the process even further.

Glacial lake at the head of the Breidamerkurjokull glacier.
Jökulsárlón at the head of the Breidamerkurjokull glacier.

Climate change

Following the warming of the climate, the glacier has started to melt at an increasing speed. In fact, experts estimate that in a matter of decades, the icebergs decorating the surface of the lagoon and the black sand beach around it will disappear completely.

Spectacle for eyes and camera

Despite this concerning future, Jökulsárlón remains a spectacle for the eyes and the camera. Once arriving at the lagoon, it is quite possible to take boat tours all around it. That way, visitors can get an up-close view of some truly stunning and huge icebergs that float on the lagoon’s surface.

The backdrop of dramatic mountains and glaciers and the Diamond Beach around it also add much to the visual feast. In visiting Jökulsárlón lagoon, it is easy to see why it remains one of Iceland’s top locations to visit for tourists and locals alike. The landscape is beautiful, dramatic, and otherworldly all at once.

Guide to photographing Jökulsárlón

If you are looking for the perfect guide to photograph this lagoon and the Diamond Beach 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 Jökulsárlón by Mads Peter Iversen be sure to follow him on YouTube and like his updates 😉

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