One of the prime stops along Iceland’s Ring Road, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, is the place to get close to glacial ice. Ride the amphibious boats out into the lagoon for the best experience.
Iceland just does not disappoint! Even in mid-summer, we were expecting snow, ice, fog, and chilly weather. We had it, but we also walked around in just a long-sleeved t-shirt, enjoying the sun on our backs as we hiked up to the moraine of glaciers. However, the day that really felt like we were in Iceland was the day that we visited the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.
Turning off the road, immediately you see a river with icebergs floating down it and eventually out to sea. What’s better than that? It was also the first place we stopped that was overrun with tourists. The parking lot was packed full of overlanders, trucks, and cars. The tiny coffee shop with only a couple of toilets had us waiting in line no less than ten minutes each.
It was all work it, though. We walked down to the water’s edge and there were plenty of icebergs, glowing blue at the bottom and a thick milk white towards the top, maybe with a little soot on top of that. The sky was cloudy and a bit foreboding, so it added to the otherworldliness of the scene.
We marveled at the shaped, the jags, crags, and indentations that a thousand years of erosion and water will do to an iceberg. We stopped to pick up smaller pieces and heard the crackle of the ice.
Iceberg Envy from our Amphibious Boats
Unlike the Blue Lagoon, this is not a place to get in the water, so we were drawn to these yellow bus-boats that discharged a group of tourists about every ten minutes. We had to do it. Look, there’s no water at all at the loading zone. We drove on dry river bed before we plopped right into the lagoon.
Doesn’t this look like fun? We had about 20 people on board, and our guide relaxing up front kept telling us to sit down, because we were all so excited!
Finally we are floating in the relatively still water. There were no waves until one of the guides went whipping past us in his rubber skiff. Admittedly I was a little perturbed, because I liked the still water for my shots, but found out he was checking not only the safety of the route but also picking us up a large piece of thousand year ice to suck on.
Our French guide was a little put out on the size of the ice cube she was given, but dutifully chopped it into bite-sized pieces for us all to suck on. It was very refreshing.
We rode around the lagoon, and I was a little miffed that we didn’t get closer to the glacier. That was for the more expensive and faster boats, so they could get away if the ice starts to calve.
The short boat ride only lasted about 30 minutes, but we really loved it. If we go back, we’ll take the more expensive and longer ride, but this was a great intro. Plus, as we returned it was starting to rain, so we timed it perfectly.
Who can beat seeing all these icebergs floating in the river. It was pretty amazing!
Have you been to Iceland? The Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon? What were your impressions?
Author Bio: Corinne Vail is a travel photographer, food lover, and a perpetual traveler who has been travel writing for over 14 years. For many years she lived overseas in Germany, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and the Netherlands teaching the children of the US. military. She’s visited over 90 countries, and she’s not stopping anytime soon.