Project Description

Jökulsárlón is probably the best known, largest (18km2) and deepest (234m) glacial lake in Iceland. It is located at the south end of the Vatnajökull glacier between Skaftafell and the town of Höfn, and appeared for the first time only around 1934-1935. Jökulsárlón is near the sea and the combined action of the glacier, the river that flows into the lake and the ocean may transform it into an inlet. Projects have been put in place to prevent this from happening, as the only road around passes over the isthmus.

Among the Icebergs

On the main road from Reykjavik towards Jökulsárlón, we pass through the charming villages of Hella, Hvolsvollur, Vik and Kirkjubaejarklaustur, as well as the impressive Skogafoss waterfall, where we make our first stop. The weather is quite grayish and slightly rainy, but we are well equipped to deal with the vagaries of Icelandic weather.

Skoga river flows down from some 62 meters high cliffs, forming a magnificent waterfall with a width of about 25 meters. This is one of the most famous waterfall in the country and also one of the most visited as well as being used as movie sets for a few hollywood films. It is said that behind the waterfall was a hidden treasure chest dropped here by the Viking Þrasi Þórólfsson. A child once found the chest, but could only take a handful of its content before the chest disappeared. The treasure is now displayed in the Skógar museum. I’m tempted to go under the waterfall to see if the chest is there again, but the water looks quite cold… And my swimsuit stayed in Reykjavik, that’s bad luck!

We continue our journey and admire from far Hekla and Eyjafjallajökull volcanoes and Öræfajökull glacier before reaching the glacier lagoon. Upon our arrival, we have some time to admire this amazing region and walk on the black sand beaches around. It’s an exciting environment, constantly evolving as the glacial area massively withdrew. Suddenly, we hear a big cracking noise in the lagoon as a block of ice separate from another. I could just take a picture of it, awesome!

After a few minutes, it’s time for our boat trip on the lagoon! These boats are far from ordinary, as they are able to drive on a small distance on land and surf on the water. Here, our cruise really begins. We slowly make our way between these huge blocks of ice floating in the lagoon after being detached from the largest glacier in Europe, Vatnajökull. The colors are amazing and vary in many shades of blue, turquoise and white. This is a truly unique experience and I’m so busy admiring these amazing ice formations that I almost forgot to take out my camera! Along our cruise, we learn that the lagoon was the scene of two of James Bond movies, “A View to a Kill” and “Die Another Day” as well as a Batman movie “Batman Begins” and last but not least “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.”

After about one hour cruising on the lagoon, we go back on dry land and eat something in nearby cafeteria. We then leave this mystical place at the end of the day, with wonderful memories in mind! Despite a very changeable weather, this visit of the largest glacial lake in Iceland was magical. Difficult to describe how one may feel at the sight of those bluish-whitish blocks of ice and blackish sand beaches… You have to see it with your own eyes! Unfortunately we did not see any seals (it seems they are often swimming in the lagoon). A place of breathtaking beauty and a easy day trip from Reykjavik. Not to be missed!