• mcp avatar

    By - visited on 23 November 2012

Who can resist a lake full of huge, blue ice cubes? Certainly not us. Whilst researching the Iceland road trip agenda, one attraction that features prominently is Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon. From photos on the web, it was difficult to gauge how best to experience it. There are companies offering sightseeing tours on large boats, and others offering trips on small rigid inflatables (RIBs). Out of the two, we always favour the option which has the least amount of tourists and the best ability to get up close and personal, so the RIB was always going to win our vote.

We contacted icelagoon.com the day before our arrival to enquire about availability, and in mid-November, we weren't concerned about it being fully booked as every other attraction beforehand had been very quiet. Their reply set the alarm bells going ... "Sorry, we're closed for the season, the lagoon is almost frozen over" ... {cough, whimper}. What did that mean? Had I completely screwed up on the road trip planning? They advised that another company might be operating their amphibious boat trips, but to call on the day of visit.

The day before our Jokulsarlon day trip we made an impromptu turn off Route 1 to see the neighbouring Fjallsjokull glacier lagoon. Despite bad weather, it was very impressive and there were some beautiful cracked ice shards bunched up on the shoreline (see the first photo below). This was a small taste of the more impressive sights to come.

As you near Jokulsarlon on Route 1, you see a line of glacial moraines piled up, shielding views of the lagoon. These end just before the bridge which crosses the lagoon's exit into the Atlantic Ocean and it's at this point that you get your first views of the blue floating icebergs. Spectacular! Possibly enough to crash the car, so the driver needs to stay composed until they navigate safely into the car park. There's a small gift shop / cafe, but not much else. The amphibious boat was loitering, wondering whether to go out. We scanned the lagoon and quickly decided that most of the icebergs were bunched up along the western shoreline. Clearly in early winter the ice does not melt quickly so there was much more to see from the shore than, say, visiting during summertime. We donned our waterproofs and backpacks and hiked our way around the shoreline with the hope that we could make it to the glacier and back. The photos below tell the rest of the story.

A must-see if visiting Iceland for more than a short break. It was one of the highlights of our two week Iceland trip.