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Last updated: 26 June, 2023
Expert travel writer: Oliver Berry

This glacial lagoon in southeast Iceland is a unique sight. Shimmering under the great ice cap of Vatnajokull, the lagoon is filled with icebergs, which glint in a rainbow of icy colours, from snow white to translucent blue.

Simply wandering around the lagoon’s edges is an experience in itself, but the best way to explore is to hop on a guided boat cruise. Steering through the enormous icebergs allows you to see them up close and appreciate their shape and colours. Around the mouth of the lagoon, look out for seals diving for fish.

The icebergs are shards of the nearby Breidamerkurjokull glacier, which cleave off into the lagoon, and are pushed towards the sea as the glacier moves down the valley. It’s well worth walking down to the beach at the mouth of the Jokulsa river, where icebergs wash up onto the black volcanic sands. For obvious reasons, it’s dubbed Diamond Beach.

Unsurprisingly, Jokulsarlon is a favourite location for film crews: Lara Croft, Batman and James Bond are just a few of the big-name movies which have used it as a backdrop.

Price from: £35
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 6+
Frequency: monthly
When: All year around
Duration: 1 night

Getting there & doing it

The lagoon is a long drive from Reykjavik. You’re better off making a day trip of it from somewhere like Hotel Ranga on the south coast.

Boat trips depart frequently – every half hour between June and August – and last about 30-40 minutes. You can pre-purchase vouchers online, or just buy a ticket when you get there.

There are two types of boats – amphibian boats are larger and slower, but more stable. More expensive Zodiacs are smaller, faster and more nimble and can get closer to the icebergs.

Wear warm clothes and bring waterproofs – the boat trips take place on Zodiacs and other open boats so you’re exposed to the elements.

There are usually a couple of food trucks parked up near the lagoon serving excellent lobster rolls and fish and chips.

When to do it

Tours operate from May to mid-November, weather permitting, departing frequently throughout the day.

Sunset is a wonderful time, as the icebergs glow in magical colours. The experience quality is heavily weather dependent, so if the weather is bad, don’t bother.

Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

South Coast and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon Day Tour from Reykjavik

Reykjavik

South Coast and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon Day Tour from Reykjavik
On the South Coast and Glacier Lagoon Tour you will spend the day experiencing firsthand the invigorating diversity of the Icelandic landscape. From views of Vatnajokull glacier, Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls to the sparkling hunks of ice found on the Diamond Beach at Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. On your way to the glacier lagoon, you will pass through the South Coast region of Iceland, a land of magnificent waterfalls, striking black sands, massive glaciers and volcanoes interspersed with farms. You will have unforgettable views of Skaftafell wilderness area in Vatnajokull National Park and drive through the starkly beautiful black sand expanse of Skeidararsandur. Just before reaching the lagoon you will also have a view of Iceland’s largest active volcano, Oraefajokull.

Price: €160

Min age: 0

Rating 4.41 / 5 [489 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Day Trip to the Glacier Lagoon: Jökulsárlón from Reykjavik

Reykjavik

Day Trip to the Glacier Lagoon: Jökulsárlón from Reykjavik
Experience a day full of glaciers, icebergs, and waterfalls at Iceland's jewel. This guided day tour takes you along the south coast of Iceland with views of glaciers, black sand coastline with great Diamond beach, the small village of Vik for dinner and the nearby amazing rock formations.

Price: $179

Min age: 6

Rating 4.66 / 5 [378 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Small-group Glacier Lagoon (Jokulsarlon) Day Trip from Reykjavík

Reykjavik

Small-group Glacier Lagoon (Jokulsarlon) Day Trip from Reykjavík
- Discover “The Crown Jewel of Iceland,” Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, an area of stunning icebergs, glaciers, mountains, ocean and black sand beach.  - Walk among icebergs on so-called "Crystal" or "Diamond" beach - very often there are plenty of icebergs washed offshore, a perfect photo opportunity for everyone! - Walk behind one of the most wonderful waterfalls in Iceland - Seljalandsfoss! - Make a stop at the southernmost village of Iceland - Vík and admire the sea stacks by the beach. - Admire this unique "feather" canyon Fjadrargljufur. - Visit old turf church at Hof and feel like in a hobbit time. And all in the comfort of a small group.   So don’t delay any longer. Hurry now and secure your seats on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Price: $211

Min age: 0

Rating 4.68 / 5 [87 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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South Coast and Glacier Lagoon: Jökulsárlón with Boat Tour from Reykjavik

Reykjavik

South Coast and Glacier Lagoon: Jökulsárlón with Boat Tour from Reykjavik
Experience a day full of glaciers, icebergs, and waterfalls at Iceland's jewel. This guided day tour takes you along the south coast of Iceland with views of glaciers, black sand coastline with great Diamond beach, the small village of Vik and amazing rock formations. Take a boat ride that takes you up close and personal with floating icebergs.

Price: $226

Min age: 6

Rating 4.58 / 5 [247 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon 2 Day Tour & Optional Glacier Hike

Reykjavik

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon 2 Day Tour & Optional Glacier Hike
This small group two day tour gives you the time to take in the impressive Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls, the Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach. You’ll hike on the Falljökull glacier, getting unbeatable views of the ice fall. You’ll be mesmerised by the giant icebergs floating around the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, as well as the large crystals of ice washed up on the nearby Diamond Beach. You get to explore the moss covered Eldhraun lava fields and incredible Fjaðrárgljúfur gorge. Outside of months with midnight sun there’s a chance you’ll even be able to see the Northern Lights dancing across the sky. This tour includes accommodation and delicious buffet breakfast at the modern Lilja Guesthouse (or equivalent), which has spacious rooms and private bathrooms. From November to March this tour changes to the winter version, which includes an ice cave tour. Check out our Glacier Lagoon & Ice Cave 2 Day Tour if travelling in winter!

Price: $519

Min age: 10

Rating 5 / 5 [139 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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2 Day Tour to Jokulsarlon with Glacier Hike & South Coast Waterfalls

Reykjavik

2 Day Tour to Jokulsarlon with Glacier Hike & South Coast Waterfalls
Join this tour along Iceland's south coast to discover its stunning glaciers, lava fields, volcanoes, strong rivers and waterfalls. You will also see an amazing black beach scattered with icebergs, next to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. The stunning Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon is where huge icebergs float in ice cold water and seals swim around them. The highlights of the tour are a boat tour in Jokulsarlon the glacier lagoon in front of the biggest glacier in Europe which is located in the most amazing National park in Iceland AND a walk on blue ice in Solheimajokull. Our glacier guides are professionals and they will provide you all safety equipment needed for the Glacier Hike (crampons, ice axes, etc) and teach you how to use them in a correct way. The scenery and views from the Glacier is stunning and you see ice sculptures and the deep crevasses of the glacier in a very clear way.

Price: $539

Min age: 8

Rating 4.97 / 5 [108 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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2-Day Tour: Blue Ice Cave, Jokulsarlon, Black Beach, and Waterfalls

Reykjavik

2-Day Tour: Blue Ice Cave, Jokulsarlon, Black Beach, and Waterfalls
Enjoy this 2 day tour from Reykjavik and see the majestic South Coast. One of Iceland's most breathtaking sights, you will travel in comfort on board an air conditioned or heated minibus and stop at places like the Blue Ice Cave, waterfalls, and the iconic Reynisfjara, a black sand beach. This tour also includes breakfast, a professional guide, and overnight accommodation.

Price: $629

Min age: 8

Rating 4.91 / 5 [208 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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2 Day Ice Cave & South Coast: Glacier hike, Jokulsarlon lagoon & Northern Lights

Reykjavik

2 Day Ice Cave & South Coast: Glacier hike, Jokulsarlon lagoon & Northern Lights
Come to see most popular and unique locations in Iceland's South Coast and experience the world's rarest natural phenomenon: a blue ice cave which you will reach by hiking on the glacier, under Vatnajökull, Europe's largest glacier. In this 2-day tour you'll visit all attractions that make Iceland the best travel destination: powerful waterfalls, black sand beaches, Jokulsarlon, the one and only glacier lagoon, and will go hunting for the mighty northern lights.

Price: €690

Min age: 8

Rating 4.72 / 5 [129 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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2-Day South Coast Waterfalls, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and Hike from Reykjavik

Reykjavik

2-Day South Coast Waterfalls, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and Hike from Reykjavik
Experience all of what the Icelandic South Coast has to offer in this 2 day tour. Visit amazing sights such as Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Diamond Beach, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach and the famous waterfalls. Create some great memories while participating in our glacier hike where you have the opportunity to channel your inner Viking! You will join a boat ride among the icebergs!

Price: €690

Min age: 0

Rating 4.76 / 5 [110 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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3 Day Summer South Coast, Golden Circle and Jökulsarlon glacier lagoon

Reykjavik

3 Day Summer South Coast, Golden Circle and Jökulsarlon glacier lagoon
Come on a 3-day excursion with us to see the famous Golden Circle and the South Coast. Experience the beauty of our glacier lagoon Jökulsárlón, hike on Europe's largest glacier and have your eyes meet with powerful waterfalls and stunning nature.

Price: €800

Min age: 13

Rating 4.96 / 5 [59 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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3-Day Tour: Golden Circle, Blue Ice Cave, Jokulsarlon, and Waterfalls

Reykjavik

3-Day Tour: Golden Circle, Blue Ice Cave, Jokulsarlon, and Waterfalls
Join this 3 day group tour to the Golden Circle and along Iceland's south coast to discover the stunning unique natural Blue Ice cave, glaciers, lava fields, hot springs, volcanoes, strong rivers and magic waterfalls. After being picked up in Reykjavik in the morning in a Wi-Fi-enabled minibus, your next three days will be spent exploring the many natural wonders of the South Coast of Iceland with your English-speaking guide. Breakfast will be included in the cost on this trip.

Price: $909

Min age: 8

Rating 4.85 / 5 [42 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Our writer’s recommended tour operators to book with

Glacier Lagoon

Glacier Lagoon

Iceland

Long-running outfit offering tours on tours on their four amphibian boats, or the faster and more nimble Zodiacs (for closer iceberg viewing).

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Iceland

Iceland

Seljalandsfoss waterfall in Iceland

From volcanoes and glaciers to black beaches, geothermal pools and the Northern Lights, Iceland is one of the world’s wildest, weirdest destinations. A paradise for adventurous travellers.