Lake of Ice – Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon (and Crystal Beach)

If you’re still looking for more icy things to do in Iceland after an Ice Cave Tour in the Vatnajokull Glacier, then you don’t have too far to see more. Just 30 minutes east of the town of Hofn, you can visit the spectacular Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and beautiful Crystal Beach.

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon is a lake of icebergs formed by the receding Breioamerkurjokull glacier. As the glacier recedes, huge chunks of ice break off and flow into the lagoon (and eventually into the ocean). It is also the deepest lake in Iceland at over 800 feet deep.

We actually went to the lagoon two times. The first time we got there, it was getting dark, so we didn’t get to spend too much time walking around. It was also pretty foggy, so the visibility was limited to a few yards. Nonetheless, it was still very pretty and had a very ethereal feel. There were very few people around so it was pretty quiet, and you could hear the cracking of icebergs slowly colliding into one another. Yet, the water is also very still but occasionally we would see a few pieces of ice peacefully drift by.

The next day, after we did our ice cave tour, we decided to check out Jokulsarlon again with more daylight and hoped for better weather. This time, luck was on our side! When we arrived, the lagoon was clear of fog and revealed the incredible scale of the lake! IT IS HUGE! There were much much bigger icebergs than what we could see from our first visit.

I knew Iceland weather is very fickle and could change any second, so I quickly set up a drone to get a few passes of the lagoon. Sure enough, 10 minutes later, a heavy fog rolled back into the lagoon and completely obscured the lake, but not before getting some amazingly beautiful footage.

There are plenty of vantage points where you can get a great look of the lagoon. Best of all, it’s free! If you do want to get a look IN the lagoon, there are boat tours available but only in the summer time. The ice, however, will be much smaller compared to what you can see in the winter! Once you are done with the glacier lagoon, you can walk nearby to the next natural spectacle.

Crystal Beach

Crystal Beach, also known as Diamond Beach, is the beach area at the mouth of the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. When the ice fragments from the lagoon flow into the ocean, many of them will be pushed back onto the beach by the waves. These fragments vary in size and very often are incredibly crystal clear, thus retaining its name, and sit in stark contrast with the black sand of the beach. With the waves crashing into the ice fragments, it gives photographers endless opportunities to capture various natural elements.

There are two parts of the beach you can visit. The beach left of the mouth of the lagoon is the main beach people will visit with generally larger fragments, while the beach right of the mouth will have far fewer people but smaller fragments. In fact, when we were there (on the right side), there was no one else on the beach with us and allowed us to enjoy the serenity of waves crashing into the ice to ourselves. Either way, you will be treated to a beach filled with crystals.

The Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and Crystal Beach are breathtakingly beautiful sites. They are havens for any photographer and every visitor of Iceland should make a visit!

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23 comments

  1. Wow! It looks so cold but regardless so so beautiful. I’ve seen a few photos of this recently and I’ve never wanted to visit Iceland more than I do now. 🙂

    1. It is a bit chilly in winter. If you go in spring and summer, there are still icebergs in the lagoon, just smaller. 🙂

  2. Wow these are some beautiful photos! Iceland has been on my travel bucket-list for awhile now, but I haven’t heard of the Lake of Ice! Thanks for sharing; I will be bookmarking this article for when I get a chance to go 🙂

  3. I’ve been to Iceland three times (lol) but haven’t seen the glacier beach (double lol). Will have to make it there some day.

    1. Lol, well this was my second visit and I’ll definitely be going back there! Still have to visit the north and inner part of the country

    1. We went in late November. It was about 35 degrees F, so a bit chilly and it can get colder. You can visit in the spring/summer when temperatures will be warmer, but the ice will be noticeably smaller

    1. Thanks Mike! It is an amazing place, one that we can’t get enough of. We’ll probably end up making another trip back pretty soon.

  4. Pics are great! And that Glacier Lagoon.. Really interesting! 🙂 Love the color of ice on your photos, it’s almost surreal. Thanks for sharing, enjoyed it. 🙂

    1. It is a bit chilly in the peak of winter, so maybe try around March, when the temperatures are a little higher and may get a little better weather.

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