Jökulsárlón Glacial Lake: Iceland’s Premier Lake where Glaciers Float


In Iceland, huge glaciers born in the cold climate of northern Europe are everywhere. The mysterious landscapes created by these crystal-clear glaciers are one of the main attractions of Iceland, and the Jökulsárlóun Glacial Lake introduced here is one of them. As its name suggests, Jökulsárlóun Glacial Lake is a glacial lake with a glacier floating on its surface. Here I will explain the features and attractions of this glacial lake.

What is Jökulsárlón Glacial Lake?

Iceland is known as the land of ice and offers unique landscapes throughout the country, such as glaciers, icebergs, and glacial lakes with floating ice. One of the largest glacial lakes in Iceland is Jökulsárlón Glacial Lake, located about 400 km from Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, and requires a drive of over six hours to reach.

The Jökulsárlón Glacial Lake is a vast lake located in the glacial region of southeastern Iceland. Although the term “glacial lake” may not be well-known in Japan, it refers to a lake where a part of the iceberg protrudes and a huge glacier floats on the surface of the water, as the name suggests.

The name “Jökulsárlón Glacial Lake” is an Icelandic word meaning “glacial river lake.” The Jökulsárlón Glacier Lake is fed by the Vatnajökull Glacier, the largest glacier in Europe, and flows through the Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier before finally reaching Jökulsárlón. 

The depth of the lake is over 200 meters, making it the second deepest lake in Iceland. In addition, the size of the lake changes daily in accordance with the melting rate of the glaciers, which is not the case with ordinary lakes. In recent years, the area of the lake seems to be expanding, possibly due to the effects of global warming.

Clear blue glaciers can be admired

At Jökulsárlón Glacial Lake, beautiful glaciers float on the surface of the lake, and visitors can observe them up close. The ice masses shimmer like jewels, with elegant shades of blue and milky white creating a stunning sight.

Icelandic glaciers are made of high-density ice that has been compressed over time by accumulated snow, and since air is excluded from the water, the ice contains very little air. As a result, light other than sunlight is reflected, creating a very high clarity and saturation of blue ice.

Jökulsárlón Glacial Lake is connected to the Atlantic Ocean, and some of the glaciers that flow into the Atlantic wash up on the shore. One of the beautiful glacier washed ashore is called “Diamond Beach” and has become a tourist attraction in Iceland.

Please also read this article for a bit more information about Diamond Beach.

Black Sand Beach: Jet-black beach in southern IcelandWhen people think of a beach, many may imagine white sand. However, in Nordic Iceland, there are spots where the entire coast is covered in black sand. This beach is called Black Sand Beach and has become a famous landmark in Iceland due to its unique appearance, attracting many tourists. In this article, I will introduce Black Sand Beach and why its sand is black, as well as the highlights of this unusual destination....

Plenty to see and do, including wildlife and the Northern Lights

At Jökulsárlón Glacial Lake, visitors can enjoy Iceland’s nature as well as its ice masses. During the summer season, from April to October, boat tours are offered to navigate among the glaciers. The lakeshore is home to wildlife such as seals and wild birds. Seagulls can be seen in the summer and adorable wildlife in the winter.

Also, since Iceland is a high-latitude region, observing the Northern Lights is highly recommended.

The area where Jökulsárlón Glacial Lake is located is known for its great visibility of the Northern Lights. This is because there are no major cities in the immediate vicinity of Jökulsárlón Glacial Lake that produce light pollution. As a result, the Northern Lights can be observed in all their glory during the night.


Jökulsárlón Glacial Lake is situated in a perfect location to witness the Northern Lights, adding to the already breathtaking scenery of floating glaciers that Iceland is famous for. However, due to its remote location, there is no public transportation available, and visitors must use tour buses or rent a car to get there. When you visit Iceland, make sure to take a trip to Jökulsárlón Glacial Lake and experience the unparalleled beauty of nature.