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Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

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.

Icebergs leaving Jokulsarlon 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.

Icebergs in Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon.

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.

One of the famous yellow amphibious boats waiting to load passengers at Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon.

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.

Riding aboard the amphibious boat on the way to 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!

Lone boater skims across the water in front of icebergs in the lagoon.

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 guide has fished out a nice chunk of ice in Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon.

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.

View of the glacier that feeds into the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon.

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 amphibious boat heads down the gravel road to Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon.

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.

Icebergs heading out to sea under the bridge at Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon.

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.

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon.

Marta Kulesza

Wednesday 14th of January 2015

This looks incredible!!!!! I really want to go to Iceland. Is it as expensive as people say it is?

Corinne Vail

Thursday 15th of January 2015

Marta, Iceland can be very expensive, but I did write a post on how to save money traveling the country. We absolutely loved it and thought it was worth every penny!

Bianca (@ItsAllBee)

Monday 24th of November 2014

Looks beautiful. The icebergs look like blue form!

Corinne Vail

Monday 24th of November 2014

Bianca, Thanks! They were beautiful.

Adrian of Adrian's Travel Tales

Saturday 22nd of November 2014

What a BEAUTIFUL adventure. I stopped over in Iceland but didn't get a chance to explore. It's very high on my list, it looks so gorgeous in your pictures!

Corinne Vail

Monday 24th of November 2014

Adrian, We were not disappointed in Iceland at all. It totally delivered everything and more than what I was expecting....Go again and stay awhile!

Phoebe @ Lou Messugo

Saturday 22nd of November 2014

Corinne, following on from my comment on your "hot and steamy" Iceland, this was another place where the weather was so foul that for the only time I was actually fed up with it. It really didn't do justice to the gorgeous colours I knew were out there in the ice and the horizontal rain made it very hard to photograph! I tried and got the camera so wet that it didn't work for hours afterwards and I thought it was permanently broken. It was also the one place where my teenage son had a strop and refused to get out of the car for yet another soaking! He said he could see enough from the car which I didn't agree with, but as teens go he's not so bad and it was his only sulk in the whole time we were in Iceland! Because of the weather we didn't take either tour and said we'd try to go back, but the rain only got worse so there was no point at all in returning. Luckily for me I'd seen the lake a few times before when I was a teenager but it was a big shame for the rest of my family.

Corinne Vail

Saturday 22nd of November 2014

Phoebe, How disappointing! I don't know that it would have been so great in the rain...we just barely missed it, and the clouds were great. (You gotta love a teenager!)


Friday 21st of November 2014

That giant ice cube is awesome!! I also love how she chopped it up into little pieces for everyone :) So neat!

Corinne Vail

Saturday 22nd of November 2014

Alli, It was pretty funny...and refreshing!