Jökulsarlón Glacial Lagoon
Continuing Day 2 of the Highlights of Iceland road trip, aka Glacier Day!
Next Stop: Jökulsarlón Glacial Lagoon
Jökulsarlón Glacial Lagoon is set at sea level, so the tide rolls right up onto the beach. Pieces of ice are always breaking off the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier and being pushed onto the black sand beach. There are several boat tours to take you among the glaciers, but even the free access will get you close enough to touch some ice.
Get up close and personal with some glaciers
I thought I was pretty close to the glaciers at the last stop, but at Jökulsarlón Glacial Lagoon, you can walk right up to the icy cold water and see the massive glacier chunks floating slowly. It was still a gray and slightly rainy day, but the the colors of the ice were incredibly vibrant, even without the help of the sun.
I was delighted to discover that seals just swim around these glaciers and play. When I spotted the first one, I thought it was incredible, as if I had caught something rare. I quickly realized there were several seals, just chillin. (Pun intended.)
The Jökulsarlón Glacial Lagoon is a very popular spot, so it was full of tourists snapping photos and setting up tripods on the beach, but somehow the entire place (minus the incredibly long bathroom line) was really tranquil. It seemed like everyone was really absorbing the intense scenery and soaking up every second of the experience.
I’ve seen a good amount of beaches in my life, but I have never seen anything like the glacial beach at Jökulsarlón Glacial Lagoon. Across the road from the massive glaciers, you can walk right onto a black sand beach where icy waves crash onto shore, bringing giant chunks of ice to rest, making the beach look like one giant ice sculpture exhibit.
The waves were highly unpredictable. Sometimes they would barely touch the edge of the sand, and others would crash with such force that they would send visitors running from the rapidly approaching water. In fact, while I was trying to be all artsy and document the waves, one particularly strong one came in. As soon as I realized it, I tried to run, but found that a small pond was only a few feet behind me, boxing me in. I accidentally kept my video rolling the whole time, so here’s that blooper for your enjoyment.
Listen closely and you can hear me gasp, say “ohmygod” and then just screaming as the literally glacier-cold water soaked my shoes and pants.
I tried to be cool and take a video of waves crashing into pieces of glaciers, but totally underestimated the reach of the icy waters. My camera was still on as I tried to run away, then you can hear me scream as glacier-cold water soaked my feet. Then the sounds of my soggy, defeated steps. But hey, check out those beautiful ice chunks!
But that ice tho!
After being drenched, I still managed to hang out for at least another 15 minutes, just letting my feet go numb, and telling myself if I didn’t believe in pneumonia, I could never get it. It was worth it to spend a little more time on this incredible ice beach.
Thankfully for my frozen feet, that was the last stop of the day. I changed my socks, blasted the heat, and headed to the next farm house where I blow-dried my shoes. Stay tuned for sights along the road from Day 2, and then adventures from Day 3!