Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon: Exploring Iceland’s Stunning Glacial Scenery

  • by Yanshu
  • South Iceland
  • 16 Oct 2023

Discover the serene beauty of Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon in Iceland. Experience breathtaking views of floating icebergs against Vatnajökull Glacier. Ideal for photography and nature tours. Visit Fjallsárlón for a tranquil and unforgettable adventure.

Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon: Exploring Iceland’s Stunning Glacial Scenery

The Charm of Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Fjallsárlón, also known as Fjallsjokull glacier lagoon, is a mesmerizing destination at the south end of Iceland’s largest glacier, Vatnajokull. The lagoon formed due to the presence of Fjallsjokull, a smaller glacier tongue that is part of the vast Vatnajokull ice cap. Not as well-known as its big neighbor, Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, Fjallsárlón has grown in popularity among travelers for its stunning views and unique experience.

Fjallsárlón glacier lagoon is a relatively young geographical feature, believed to have started forming around the 1930s as a result of glacial retreat. As the glaciers around Iceland receded, the lagoons expanded, giving us the opportunity to admire their beauty. Over the years, the lagoon’s size has increased, showcasing magnificent icebergs that break off from the surrounding glaciers and float on its surface.

Icebergs floating on Fjallsárlón glacier lagoon, South Iceland.

Part of the Vatnajokull National Park, the area surrounding Fjallsjokull glacier lagoon is protected and preserved for visitors to discover Iceland’s unique blend of stunning landscapes, glacial formations, and rich history. It has also become a popular spot for boat tours that allow visitors an immersive experience among the floating icebergs and impressive glacial surroundings.

In Iceland, the Fjallsárlón glacier lagoon is a beautiful example of how nature is always changing. This lagoon shows us how quickly our planet’s scenery can transform. By studying places like this and seeing how they change, you will learn more about the amazing natural forces shaping our world.

Fjallsjokull glacier backdrops the glacier lagoon with incredible glacial view.

Where is Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Fjallsarlon is located in southeast Iceland. It is an outlet glacier of Oraefajokull, an ice-covered volcano, and is a part of the Vatnajökull glacier system. This stunning glacier lagoon filled with icebergs is a less-frequented natural attraction, offering magnificent views and rugged beauty.

The exact geographical coordinates for Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon are  64.0186° N latitude and  16.3850° W longitude. This precise location pinpoints the lagoon in southeastern Iceland, situated at the base of the Vatnajökull Glacier, specifically near the Fjallsjökull outlet glacier. This very glacier lagoon offers visitors a less crowded alternative to the nearby Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, while still providing stunning glacial and lagoon views.

The stunning beauty of Fjallsarlon glacier lagoon, South Iceland.

How to Get to Fjallsárlón

To reach the Fjallsárlón glacier lagoon, you would need to travel along Route 1, also known as the Ring Road. This iconic highway circles around Iceland and connects several key attractions along the south coast, including numerous waterfalls, Vik i Myral, and Jokulsarlon. It is about 369.8 km (230 miles) east of Reykjavik, and approximately 11.6 km (7.2 miles) west of Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, another popular Icelandic tourist destination.

The south coast of Iceland is known for its captivating landscapes and dramatic natural features. Fjallsjokull is no exception, and while many visitors rush towards the famous Jokulsarlon, we believe that Fjallsarlon is absolutely worth a visit. As it is not directly along Route 1, the glacier lagoon remains less crowded and offers a peaceful and intimate experience with nature.

Driving on the Ring Road in Iceland to see many popular attractions.

Tours and Activities to Explore Fjallsárlón

Wildlife Spotting

Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon offers various tours, including boat tours where you can spot an array of wildlife. Seals are commonly seen lounging on icebergs, while puffins, skuas, and arctic terns soar above. These boat trips provide a unique opportunity to observe these fascinating creatures up close in their natural habitat.

During the amphibian tours that the area offers in summer, you will explore the lagoon in an immersive experience with opportunities to spot herring and other marine life. While wildlife encounters cannot be guaranteed, a knowledgeable guide will be skilled in locating the best spots for sighting various species.

Views and Scenic Spots

The Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon is home to breathtaking views of the Fjallsjokull outlet glacier and the surrounding Vatnajokull ice cap, Iceland’s largest glacier. The lagoon’s serene setting and the majesty of the icebergs create a stunning environment that is not to be missed.

For those who love hiking, there are trails near the lagoon that offer beautiful vistas and some hidden gems. We recommend venturing to Diamond Beach, a unique black sand beach adorned with icebergs that have washed ashore.

In addition to boat tours and hiking, you can also explore the nearby Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon by kayak for a more intimate experience with the icebergs.

These activity tours cater to a variety of interests and fitness levels to ensure that everyone can appreciate and enjoy the incredible landscape and opportunities that the Fjallsjokull Glacier Lagoon has to offer.

Fjallsárlón’s Nearby Attractions

While visiting the beautiful Fjallsjokull Glacier Lagoon, I recommend exploring some of the nearby attractions that highlight the stunning natural beauty of Iceland. The lagoon is part of the larger Vatnajökull National Park, which is home to an extensive array of breathtaking landscapes.

One must-visit destination within the park is Vatnajokull, the largest glacier in both Iceland and Europe. We can also find the stunning Breiðamerkurjökull glacier nearby, where it feeds the famed Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon with icebergs. This diverse and fascinating region has been included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List due to its exceptional natural beauty and geological significance.

Gazing at the stunning view of Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, South Iceland.

For those looking to experience more of the park’s natural wonders, I suggest heading to the Skaftafell Nature Reserve located within the Vatnajökull National Park. Here, you can hike to the picturesque Svartifoss waterfall, known for its striking basalt column formations. In addition, Seljalandsfoss waterfall is another beautiful site outside the park, offering a lovely walk behind the cascading water.

The charming town of Hofn is located not far from the Fjallsjokull glacier lagoon and makes for a great base for exploring this region. As you travel through this area, you’ll also have the opportunity to witness dramatic landscapes shaped by rivers and waterfalls carving through the terrain.

The nearby attractions around the Fjallsjokull glacier lagoon showcase Iceland’s diverse and awe-inspiring natural beauty, making it an unforgettable experience for every visitor.

Svartifoss waterfall is a wonderful hiking destination within the Skaftafell Nature Reserve.

Climate Change and its Impact

Climate change is rapidly melting Iceland’s Fjallsjokull glacier lagoon, a worrying sign of global warming. As the glacier melts, the lagoon grows, changing the surrounding nature. This melting contributes to rising sea levels. The unique shape of the glacier and the area’s temperature also affect its melting. To protect this area, Vatnajökull National Park was created, focusing on low-impact tourism. This situation shows the urgent need to tackle climate change to save these precious ecosystems.

The glacier ice, stunning in its beauty, becomes increasingly fragile under the impact of global warming. [Photo credit ©Yanshu Li]

Frequently Asked Questions About Fjallsárlón

What is the best way to explore Fjallsjokull glacier lagoon?

The best way to explore the Fjallsjokull glacier lagoon is by joining a boat tour that takes you up close to the glacier and the lagoon’s icebergs. These tours usually offer an immersive experience that lets you appreciate the beauty of the surroundings while learning about the glacier and its formation.

Can you kayak on Fjallsjokull glacier lagoon?

Kayaking is a popular water activity in Iceland, and thinking about kayaking on a glacier lagoon is simply wonderful. However, I don’t have exact information on kayaking availability at Fjallsjokull glacier lagoon. While kayaking is a popular activity in some of Iceland’s glacier lagoons, I recommend checking with local tour operators to confirm whether it is possible to kayak on this specific lagoon. Be sure to follow safety precautions and guidelines provided by the tour operators to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

What are the alternatives to Fjallsjokull glacier lagoon for a boat tour?

If you are looking for alternatives to Fjallsjokull glacier lagoon for a boat tour, you can consider visiting the nearby Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, which is known for being one of the most magical spots in Iceland. Jokulsarlon offers boat tours that take visitors close to icebergs and allow them to taste the 1,000-year-old ice. Another option is the lesser-known Hoffellsjokull glacier lagoon, a hidden beauty that is tucked away from the bustling tourist areas and offers a more intimate experience.

Is swimming allowed in Fjallsjokull glacier lagoon?

Swimming is not allowed in Fjallsjokull glacier lagoon due to the extremely cold water temperatures and the risks posed by icebergs and glacial movements. The frigid waters can induce hypothermia quickly, and the unstable nature of icebergs could pose serious dangers to swimmers. For your safety and the protection of the lagoon’s fragile ecosystem, It’s highly recommended to explore the lagoon through guided boat tours and observing the beautiful landscape from a safe distance.

Fjallsjokull glacier lagoon with its numerous massive floating icebergs.
About the author
A journalist and photographer, Yanshu is driven by a deep passion for Iceland. She's on a mission to share her love for authentic travel experiences and exciting adventures with fellow explorers. Armed with her camera, she sets off on hikes, delving into Iceland's intricacies while mastering the art of Icelandic language whenever possible.

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