Iceland´s South Coast with the Glacier Lagoon and the Diamond Beach
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Iceland’s South Coast is a true natural beauty, as numerous popular attractions lie along the coastal line. 380 km (236.12 miles) from Reykjavik is the astonishing highlight; Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and its surrounding wonderland, truly one of a kind.
The sheer force of nature has carved one of the outlet glaciers from Vatnajokull ice cap, Iceland’s largest and Europe’s most voluminous glacier, and formed Jokulsarlon and the Diamond Beach. The beach’s black-velvet-textured sand is scattered with big and small blocks of ice. Coming into existence in the 1970s, the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon and its vicinity became a symbol of Iceland’s pure and ever-changing nature. We also check out the neighbouring Fjallsárlón lagoon.
We will also make several stops along the way. The the hidden gem Stjórnarfoss waterfall, The mysterious Seljalandsfoss - the waterfall you can walk behind; the charming, seafront town Vík, famous for its black sand beach and home to the majestic Reynisdrangar sea stacks.
This 14-hour day tour, our longest, is filled with impressive attractions and picturesque landscapes, making the journey unforgettable. It’s also one of the most praised day tours in Iceland.
Our day tour will begin with a fast and efficient pick-up service. We will collect you from either one of the hotels in the center of Reykjavik or one of the many designated pick-up stops in the city. Once we have all of our guests on board, we will begin our exciting journey.
Heading out to South Iceland via Route 1, you can expect to see iconic sceneries on both sides: silver-topped glaciers, black sand lowland, mossy lava fields, and the glistering Atlantic ocean beaconing afar. The South Coast of Iceland is full of dramatic scenes.
The first stop of the day is at Fjállsárlón, a stunning lagoon with the immense Fjalljökull and Vatnajökull glaciers reaching all the way to the lagoons surface. Indeed it is these glaciers that supply the lagoon with the icebergs that float and bob all over.
Photo by Harshad Kale on Unsplash.
Though smaller and less famous than the more heralded Jökulsárlón, this location has the benefit of much fewer visitors, allowing you to enjoy the magnificent views in relative tranquility.
After a few hours of driving, we will reach our first destination, the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, praised as Iceland’s crown jewel. It’s located near the Vatnajokull National Park, about 380 km (236.12 miles) from Reykjavik.
Jokulsarlon is popular for its stunning beauty and ever-changing appearances. It also inspired many moviemakers to give their work a unique touch. James Bond movies Die Another Day and A View to a Kill shot here as well as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Batman Begins and The Northman all shot scenes in this area.
Jokulsarlon is created by the Breiðarmerkurjökull glacial tongue, one of the outlet glaciers from Iceland’s largest ice cap Vatnajokull. In the 1970s, the retreating glacier left a huge pond near the coast that eventually became Iceland’s deepest lake.
Another feature you will notice in the glacier lagoon is the floating icebergs, which glow in different shades of blue. Some of them even have brownish stripes, due to the ash sediment from volcanic eruptions decades ago.
After the iceberg calves off from the glacier, they roll, tumble, and drift around the lagoon, making them change colors, shapes, and appearances frequently. Over time, they break down into smaller pieces and are washed out to the sea. It’s absolutely breathtaking to watch.
Summer is a fantastic time to explore the lagoon as you may want to join a boat ride to sail among the icebergs, which is an optional extra. Seeing the floating icebergs close up is overwhelmingly unforgettable. Jokulsarlon also hosts vivid wildlife. Arctic terns nest close by, lovely seals swim around or rest on icebergs, you get to experience the purest element of Iceland’s nature.
Right next to Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon is Diamond Beach. It refers to the black sand beach on both sides of the lagoon’s bank, as an extension of the vast Breiðamerkursandur glacial outwash plain.
The icebergs that broke away from the glacier tongue wander into the lagoon before being washed ashore. Some still immense and blue, some tiny and crystal, these pieces of glacier ice scatter on the black sand beach, forming an eye-pleasing contrast. Truly one of a kind experience.
You may find some peacefulness walking in the fresh sea air, and maybe even some playfulness from the seals playing in the surf.
After you visit the lagoon and the beach, we will then head back to the capital along the south coast, stopping at several iconic attractions on our way.
The surprising attractions keep coming, as we explore more of the South Coast of Iceland. We will take a small detour to see an attractive yet lesser-known natural wonder, Stjórnarfoss waterfall. It’s a highly-recommended attraction for a Ring Road trip itinerary, which is why we want to show off this venture off-the-beaten-track landmark.
Stjórnarfoss waterfall cascade falls in two stages, both about 15 meters (49.21 ft) high. The lower drop falls over a dome-shaped rock in the form of an eye-pleasing symmetry. The photogenic waterfall has attracted many photographers for its unique appearance. Originating from the Stjórn river off of Mount Geirlandshraun, Stjórnarfoss streams out from a valley, creating a mysterious atmosphere.
A charming seafront village, Vík í Mýrdal is small with only 300 inhabitants, but filled with amazing natural wonders as Iceland’s southernmost village. Several stores and gift shops with great options are found here for visitors to recharge and shop for souvenirs.
The unique nature gives Vik vibrant colors in summer. The black sand beach at Vik is a top-rated destination for its diverse sceneries, and marvelously sculpted sea stacks. It all helps to fulfill visitors’ imaginations, with the sound of heavy tides splashing and creating a dreamy, misty world.
Use the stop at Vík to take a picture of the magnificent Reynisdrangur sea stack in the distance.
One of Iceland’s most well-known, most popular waterfalls, Seljalandsfoss waterfall is fed by the glacial meltwater from the famous/notorious glacier volcano Eyjafjallajokull. Falling from a 60-meter cliff, Seljalandsfoss hosts a special surprise.
When conditions are allowed, visitors can walk behind the cascade and take a look at the entire area from behind the fall for a spectacular panoramic view.
After the visit to the waterfall, it takes about two hours to reach the capital. We will head back to our bus and hit the road to Reykjavik via Route 1.
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I loved this tour. Iceland is breathtaking. Thanks for all of the info given during this extremely long tour, which was worth every minut of it. Thank you Hjortur Howser.
This hike was beautiful, and what made it so was not only the beauty of Iceland, but also the guide Hjortur Howser, his passion for nature is overwhelming!!! He didn't get tired for a single moment of explaining to us all the secrets of Iceland! We learned a lot and in places a bit 'dangerous has also accompanied the whole group safely! So far I have participated in 4 excursions with bus travel iceland, he is the NUMBER 1!!! I hope you read this review to thank him from the bottom of my heart!!!! THANK YOU
Our Guide for this long trip was Tomas. Very cool and laid back dude with some very interesting informations about the surroundings and the vikings. His music taste was also really great (By the way he is an great musician too so ask him if he could play a song of his or of his daughter). The tour itself was quite long compared to the other tours I was on but nevertheless worth every penny. My personal favourite memory was to had the privilege to experience the breaking off of an glacier. My second favourite experience was to stand right underneath a hidden waterfall at Seljalandsfoss waterfall, it was a bit tricky to get there but once you managed it it was simply amazing!! Unforgettable Trip!!
It was such an amazing day out to Glacier lagoon with bustravel. I wouldnlike to thank custom servier Monica and day trip driver plus guider Andy for their friendly help. Monica is very fast response for the phonecall and she helped me fix the online payment problem. So I was able to go on my trip today. Andy was not only a good driver but also a big saver. Couple of us was planing to going on a northern light tour. Andy made our way back ealier so we finally saw the northern light show. Plus the trip is in small group （mini bus）with cheap price.
This tour was absolutely beautiful! Our tour guide; Tom was so friendly and the bus itself is very comfortable. It is a long day, so be prepared with some snacks, but plenty of stop offs for food/WC. My partner proposed to me on Diamond Beach so this tour is unforgettable!
If you have two days in Iceland, book this tour for one day and you will see the most amazing and unique natural wonders Iceland has to offer. The tour started on time, we had Omar as our guide and driver. He was extremely generous and very kind throughout the entire day. He made sure everything went smoothly and introduced us to the history and nature of Iceland through jokes and stories. We had enough time to rest throughout the day and also enjoy the sites. He was patient, helpful and very knowledgeable. The northern lights showed up and he was so ki d to stop amd show us and take pictures in the cold for 45 minutes. The choice of sites to visit, each one of them are marvels and I would return to Iceland in a different season to experience them again with BusTravel. Thank you.
We really appreciate our driver and tour for his dedication to make this trip an amazing experience. He was enthusiastic about introducing this beautiful south coast of Iceland to us. It was a long drive, but he was able to fill the trip with interesting events, history, and tales of Iceland along the way that the trip was informative and full of surprises. The scenery is breathtaking at the Diamond Beach and the Glacier Lagoon. It was definitely worth the drive! Too bad the boat ride was canceled due to the unsafe conditions at the lagoon, I guess it give us a good reason to visit this beautiful lagoon again.
There is no point in coming in Iceland and not seeing glaciers as close as possible. This tour is, in fact, about two main terminus points: the glacier lagoon (the boat tour is a must for a complete experience) and diamond beach. Of course, waterfalls and Vik complete the picture but depending on season. In November there is not enough light to get everything on the list. Our driver and guide was Omar. Very professional, excellent stories along the way, good attitude towards each passenger. Many thanks for the care and the company! We enjoyed the tour with him and even if we could not see the waterfalls at return, because it was already dark, the main points - the glacier lagoon and the diamond beach have been reached. Boat tour was great and completed the experience, especially because weather was also great on the day. A minus point - most of the time, in the minibus was too hot and sometimes very difficult to cope with this.
The trip to the Glacier Lagoon was an unforgettable experience! I was lucky enough to have Tommi as a guide. The landscape was one of a kind and although we had a lot of rain during our trip, Tommi managed to make it great. I appreciate a lot his love for the nature, sharing with us great music played by himself and his ability to make decisions on spot so that we are able to see the waterfalls, the glacier and diamond beach despite of the bad weather. Rain stopped exactly when we went out of the bus :)
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