The Glacier Lagoons in Iceland – An Ultimate Guide

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Iceland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world that showcase the wonders of nature. The mesmerizing beauty and gigantic sites make this one of the most prominent and attractive tourist spots around the globe. Iceland is home to luscious green forestry, tall mountains, rhythmic rivers, mystical trails, geysers, magical waterfalls, extravagant volcanoes, beautiful northern lights, and breath-taking glaciers. From the traditional culture to hospitable native people, everything in Iceland is comforting enough to offer you a great stay!

The lustrous glacier lagoons filled with icebergs offers an eye-captivating site to individuals who love to travel in the winter wilderness. The picturesque site caters to the interest of almost every hiker, explorer, trekker, and adventure enthusiast. Most of these glaciers have a lake with icebergs at the base of the glacial outlet. The nation has approximately eleven percent of the surface covered with ice, which interests many onlookers. Some of the majestic glacier lagoons include the iconic and renowned Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.

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Fjallsárlón glacier lagoon in south Iceland

Know What Glacier Lagoons Are!

The first glacier lagoon began to form in Iceland about 10,000 years ago, which marks the end of the last ice age. The glacier lagoons are lakes that form at the base of a glacier or the glacial outlet. In the simplest form, it is defined as a lake with vast chunks of melted ices from a gigantic mountain or glacier. The increasing number of these mystical and magical blue glacier lagoons in Iceland interest tourists and explorer and offers a lot of opportunities to enjoy and seek them out.

These naturally crafted lakes are notable for their coloration, which is due to the sediment-filled in the glacier ice. Undoubtedly, it is a beautiful and picturesque sight to enjoy, but it is the outcome of a dramatic and concerning climate effect. There have been places or sites like Langjokull in Iceland with glacier lagoons that are expected to disappear in the coming 150 years.  Another renowned and eye-captivating glacier lagoon site is the Jokulsarlon, which is the classic example of the alarming climate change. Until 1935, there were no signs of the formation of the gigantic glacier lagoon, but with a radical rise in the temperature, the glacier started to melt and settled as a lake at the base.

The Best Time to Explore these Glacier Lagoons

Due to rising temperatures, explorers and adventure enthusiasts are primarily visiting these glacier lagoons before they disappear or lose their aesthetic appeal. These glacier lagoons are the perfect site to capture with your friends and family as they offer a magical side of mother nature. If you want to immerse yourself into this dramatic and incredible beauty fully, the best time to visit Iceland is from May to October. You can go on guided boat tours around the lagoon and sail amongst the seals and ice bergs to offer a breath-taking experience. If you’re planning for a two- or three-days winter getaway along the South Coast, then visiting Jokulsarlon can be a fruitful experience. In summer, you can drive or rent a car from Reykjavik to reach Jokulsarlon, which takes approximately five hours. You can enjoy the Blue-ice caves or boat rides through the gigantic glacial outset. Most of these glacier lagoons are not accessible in winter from November to March due to unprecedented weather and freezing temperatures, but Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon is located next to the Ring Road (Road nr. 1) so it is accessible all year.

Sólheimajökull glacier lagoon

Some of the Renowned Glacier Lagoons

From the Bluest to the largest, Iceland embrace extravagant glacier lagoons that offer mind-shattering sight that every spectator would cherish for the rest of the lifetime. Be it southern or northern Iceland, most of the parts have breath-taking glacier lakes or lagoons to showcase the best this nature has to deliver. These glaciers provide an endlessly beautiful white landscape which can be dangerous in challenging weather conditions.

When visiting some of the lagoons, you need to hire a certified glacier guide who can lead the path for you and is equipped with the right tools and equipment to help you enjoy, recuperate and rejuvenate in the stunning and incredible picturesque site by following necessary safety measures. Here are some stunning glacier lagoons that you need to experience while visiting Iceland.

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon in south east Iceland

Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon is known as Iceland’s natural crown jewels with icebergs lying on the lake like diamond dazzling through sunlight. Jokulsarlon embraces many icebergs that sometimes wash up on the shore of the Diamond BeachEvery year many explorers, travelers, and adventure enthusiasts visit this beautiful glacier lagoon to enjoy the picturesque beauty. Individuals, enjoy the boat tour among the seals and ice bergs through this massive glacier lagoon. Jokulsarlon is one of the well-known and most popular filming sites of Iceland, catering to the interests of every adventure aficionado. This glacier lagoon has the deepest lake of Iceland, and it connects with the ocean that results in the compositing of freshwater and sea to form a mixture that gives a unique Greenish-Blue color. Other than seals, Jokulsarlon is home to some incredible fish that can be caught in the winter by flocking the ice.

Graenalon Glacier Lagoon

It is known to be a unique glacier lagoon that is shrinking despite the extreme weather conditions.  The mesmerizing sight captivates the interests of many photographers. This glacier lagoon is located on the north-west of the Skaftafell, far from the coast, and is also surrounded on three sides by ice-caps. You will be drenched in nature as this glacier lagoon has hiking trails around to complete the breath-taking sight. It offers an aesthetical and rejuvenating way to be far from the city lights, crowd, and commotion.

Breidarlon Glacier Lagoon

Breiðárlón glacier lagoon

Often overlooked by the visitors is the Breidarlon glacier lagoon, which is situated right beside the famous Jokulsarlon. Though it is not as well-known as its neighboring lagoons, it offers an incredible view of the surrounding area. The glacier tongue of the Breidarlon glacier lagoon touches Vatnajokull, which is the largest ice cap in Europe. This beautiful ice lake offers an awe-inspiring sight and enhances the aesthetic appeal of the surrounded area. Tourists and photographers love this place for its gentle calmness, less crowd, and unique landscape structure.

Hvitarvatn Glacier Lagoon

Hvítárvatn glacier lagoon and Langjokull glacier

Hvitarvatn is the second largest and most beautiful glacier lagoon in Europe. It embraces the sixth largest lake of Iceland with approximately 84 meters of depth. You can visit Hvitarvatn in summer or on-season to enjoy the icebergs and unobstructed views across the beautiful water. This glacier lagoon does not have many icebergs, which is a positive sign if you love watching silent and calm water waves. It is the source of the glacial river Hvita which runs through southern Iceland. Hvita river is one of the most popular tourist spots in Iceland as it features one of the three-point of the Golden Circle, Gullfoss waterfall. With less dramatic and gentle surroundings, you can enjoy river rafting with your whole family and friends in Hvítá River. 

Fjallsarlon Glacier Lagoon

girl sitting on a stone with a view over Fjallsárlón glacier lagoon in south Iceland

Despite being in proximity to major tourist sites of the southern and eastern Iceland, Fjallsarlon is not a famous glacier lagoon among visitors. It is connected with the Breidarlon glacier lagoon by a short river and offers an excellent and peaceful site. It gives a mesmerizing and relaxing place away from the city at the height of summer. You can also enjoy watching some stunning wonders of nature – the migrating seabirds, including the beautiful Arctic Terns and Skua. Be careful while watching these birds as they are very protective of their nest, eggs, and young ones. At Fjallsarlon glacier lagoon, you feel closest to nature as it offers a magical sight of a glacial river, Öræfajökull volcano, migrating bird, and most exceptional hiking trails.  

Kaldalon Glacier Lagoon

The Kaldalon glacier lagoon is located in the Drangajokull region in the Westfjords. The ice lake is not very popular among tourists as it is located in the far north of the country. The place is an absolute favorite among nature lovers and photographers as you will not find many tourists here due to the remoteness. It offers a perfect sense of peace when surrounded by the best of nature, where one can relax, rejuvenate, and recuperate. Kaldalon is mostly not accessible in winter because of its freezing temperature and remote location. If you’re planning to visit this incredible glacier lagoon, you can also stop by the Hornstrandir nature reserve, which is situated in the least popular area of Iceland. Kaldalon glacial lake offers a treat to those who are passionate about wildlife with its flourishing and unique flora and fauna.

Heinabergslon Glacier Lagoon

Glacier Lagoon Kayaking in Iceland, kayaking between icebergs

Heinabergslon is located in the eastern region of the country and is not one of the most famous glacier lagoons among the tourists. The reason for its low popularity is said to be the not-so-accessible location. Heinabergslon is a situated far from the mainland and has poor connectivity with the prominent areas, including the capital. Heinabergslon glacier lagoon is the closest possible alternative of the ever-famous Jokulsarlon ice lake. It embraces a clear, Blue-water body with impressively large icebergs that offer a breath-taking sight. You can go on magnificent kayaking tours on Heinabergslon glacier lagoon. 

Things to Keep in Mind While Traveling to Any of These Glacier Lagoons

Traveling to glacier lagoons is a fantastic feeling that withholds the excitement of watching glistering icebergs, beautiful sea birds, and animals, but it is utterly essential to be safe and prepared of the roads you’re expected to travel. Make sure you plan and research about the place or glacier you’re planning to visit. As glacier means ice lake and iceberg, it is important to choose the time and season rightly beforehand to avoid any unprevented circumstances. When traveling with kids or young ones, ensure that the glacier is safe and accessible for them. It is highly recommended by tourists and Iceland officials to travel to these beautiful glacier lagoons in summer due to their availability and pleasant weather. Though one can never predict the weather of Iceland, it is important to note that the weather or atmosphere is far better than what you will experience in winter.

Make sure you have accessibility to the weather information of the area you’re traveling to along with a right and accurate road map when traveling via road. If possible, hire a local guide, who can help you with safe travel and exploration of the picturesque sites. Traveling to glacier lagoons means cold winter breezes and icy winds, so make sure you wear or carry along with robust, thick, and warm layers of clothes. If you’re traveling with kids, ensure beforehand that your kids are warm enough to withstand extreme weather conditions.

As many of these glacier lagoons have boat touring option, it is essential to go through all the safety standards to remain safe and secured during your thrilling voyage. Glacier lagoons like Fjallsarlon and Jokulsarlon witness some stunning migrating sea birds that stay in these places throughout summer to lay eggs and hibernate. So, while consuming nature’s beauty does not get closer to the birds, if you closely encounter any, because you can harm them and as they are super protective, they can hurt you back as well. Similarly, do not try to feed or play with the winter animals like seal, as you might disturb their livelihood, which results in you becoming the predator in their lives.

Other extremely important things to keep in mind includes not swimming in these natural ice lakes. It is not a great idea even if you are a professional swimmer because it can be really dangerous to swim in an icy lake filled with enormous icebergs. Also, do not try to climb or walk on top of an iceberg because you can create a dock with your weight and fall inside the lake, which are as deep as 200 meters. No matter how fancy it might look but do not try to imitate or mimic anyone by climbing, jumping, or walking on the icebergs, which are only 10 percent visible from the ground level, the rest 90 percent are inside the deep glacier lagoon.

Enjoy the best flora and fauna present around these glacier lagoons to consume the incredible wonders of mother nature. These beautiful ice lakes offer an eye-captivating site that you should experience ones in your lifetime. Iceland is a place that has many stunning landscapes that offer you a great visual treat that you can cherish for the rest of your life!

Glacier Kayaking Adventure at Heinabergslón glacier lagoon in south Iceland
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