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Location: southeast Iceland
Area: 18 km 2 (6.9 sq mi)
Nearest Airport: Keflavik Intl Airport
How to reach: Reykjavik- 4H30 drive nonstop on Road
Famous for: large glacial lake
Months open: All year
Best time to visit: summer and early autumn
The Ice or Diamond Beach and Jokulsarlon are the two most breathtakingly beautiful sites of Iceland. The large glacial lake of Jokulsalon located in southeast Iceland is found at the edge of the Vatnajokull National Park and is at the head of the Breidamerkurjokull glacier. The size of this wondrous lake has been drastically increasing over the recent years, mainly due to the melting of the glacial ice. The icebergs gather at the shallow mouth of the lake forming mesmerizing views and opening up a vista of unseen landscapes. The outstanding view of the 3000 feet domed ice cap is surreal coupled with the movement of the ice bergs that are affected by the tide and currents. The Diamond Beach on the other side of the road is a black sand beach where the ice crystals and ice cubes are washed up by the sea and placed on the black sands. With the interplay of the sunlight, especially during sunrise and sunset the Ice Beach sparkles creating one of the best ever visions the eye can behold.
The huge blocks of ice are breaking away from the Breidamerkurjokull glacier and the lagoon has reached the lowest mark below sea level in Iceland with a depth of 248m. The cold water in the lagoon is mixed with the sea water and hence one can spot the seals and fish. The glacier once stood at the edge of the Atlantic but has started receding inland due to considerable melting since 1970 onwards.
Things to do
Jokulsarlon along with the Ice or Diamond Beach is one of the most serene and tranquil places in Iceland. The sound of the icebergs floating and hitting against one another is wonderful so is watching the vast expanse of the ice cap soaring up against the sky. The icebergs are both white and blue in color depending on the air trapped inside and the reflection of light, leading to a splendid array of subduedly toned floating icebergs. The Jokulsa River is one of the shorter rivers of Iceland and connects the glacier to the sea. The coffer dam or bridge is built over the river. The lake is also home to various fauna, including seals that gather at the mouth of lagoon to catch fish. Sea birds, such as, the Artic terns, are seen fishing for the wide array of fishes found here, including the salmon, trout, herring, krill and more. The Skua or gull like bird is the predator bird, killing the gannets and puffins too. Sometimes the tide carries a school of herring or capelan that make a much invited feast for the birds of the lake. Commercial boating began on the lagoon after the release of the James Bond movie, A view to a Kill which was shot here. Today one can embark on the boating experience to view the lagoon closely. The Diamond Beach besides the lagoon can technically be reached by walking over if the weather permits. The Diamond Beach is located to the east of the mouth of the lagoon from where the icebergs usually wash up to its shore. The breathtaking beauty of the beach however lies in its washed away ice crystals that are of varying sizes and shapes. When held against the sunlight they look like shining gold and diamonds and their sheer presence strewn across the dark lava beach makes the Diamond Beach a surreal and almost divine landscape. Needless to say, the Ice or Diamond Beach makes for some of the best photographs and memories. Jokulsarlon and the Diamond Beach are hence a must visit if one plans to travel to Iceland. The magnificent beauty of the ice cubes and icebergs is not only breathtaking but also aweing and absolutely oozing with grandeur and grit. And just imagine if the Northern Lights are caught against such splendid backdrops! Well, one cannot ask for more.
How to reach
Jokulsarlon and the Diamond Beach lie along the National Highway 1, a major ring road and hence is very accessible by road. Highly efficient public transport can also take one to the glacier lagoon or one can drive. The distance between Jojkulsarlon and Reykjavik is 380 km.