We had been advised by our guidebook that nothing can prepare you for driving around the corner and first seeing Jökulsárlón’s milky blue lake filled with the calved offspring of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier.

icebergs Jökulsárlón
On the edge of Vatnajökull National Park, the lake is considered one of the scenic wonders of Iceland

Right on the Ring Road, it’s easy to get to and thus was comparatively busy with tourists despite us getting there at 8:30am. You can take a boat in amongst the ice bergs if you want an up close and personal experience but you’ll find plenty of ice sitting just a few metres from the lake edge.

Seal Jökulsárlón
Swimming isn’t recommended unless you have blubber. The occasional seal patrols amongst the bergs. Fish are frequently seen jumping out of the water to escape a pursuing predators; sea birds perch on the ice and eider ducks lounge on the shore.
Daniela Jökulsárlón
Seven degrees Celsius means several layers are required.
icebergs 2 Jökulsárlón
Some of the icebergs drift very close to the lake edge. The majority become stuck on the lake bed where they melt down into smaller chunks and gradually float out towards the mouth of the lake. Some bergs show streaks of glacial till and other deposits from their long journey down the glacier. Occasionally a large glacier will move, sending waves lapping at the shore.

It’s hard to believe that only 70 years ago the glacier face dropped icebergs almost directly into the sea, but it has now retreated several kilometres. The lake itself doesn’t look deep, but is actually almost 250m deep in places.

ice on beach 2 Jökulsárlón

On the other side of the road, large chunks of ice are smashed around in the surf, some of them ending up stranded on the beach. You can even eat the ice if you’re game; it tastes of, well, nothing!

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