J÷kulsßrlˇn

Jökulsárlón is today one of Iceland's best known and most popular natural wonders, and for a good reason. A magnificent view welcomes you as you arrive there and it's almost like stepping into a fairy tale landscape. On a big glacial lagoon that Vatnajökull touches, enormous icebergs float around, but the landscape is otherwise dominated by black sands and rocks. The lagoon is effected by flood and ebb, making the lagoon a mix of sea and freshwater lake. This leads to feed being carried into the lagoon, that seals and common eider both eat, and this adds colour to the area. The lagoon is situated on Breiðamerkursandur, between the Skaftafell National Park and Höfn í Hornafirði.

Jökulsárlón started to form in 1934-1935. Jökulsá on Breiðamerkursandur then ran straight down from underneath Vatnajökull, approx. 1½ km to the ocean. Since 1950 the glacier has pulled back steadily and an ever-growing lagoon has formed. In 1975 it was 7.9 km² but has grown to be 18 km² today because of the heavy melting of the glacier. The medium flow rate of the river is 250-300 m³/sec. and big as well as small icebergs regularly break from the edge of the glacier, that floats in the water. Icebergs of all shapes and sizes therefore float on the lagoon, which is very deep, or around 190 m. Frozen water is a little bit heavier than water in liquid form, which means that only 1/10 of the icebergs is above water. What is above water is often so big that it's difficult to imagine what lies beneath.

The river that runs from the glacier and to the sea keeps getting shorter because of marine erosion, and in 1998 it was not much longer than 500 m. The lagoon's surface has steadily lowered, which means that while it was a lake before, it is now effected by flood and ebb. This simply means that warmer water flows into it during flood and the ice melts a lot faster than it did before. Both capelin and herring swim into the lagoon, and seals follow its feed there. Common eider also eats the fish and can be seen swimming in between the icebergs. It is an unforgettable experience to sail on the lagoon on boats and observe the colour changes in the ice, the amazing sculptures of nature and the animal life that thrives there. There's a company there that offers boat trips on the lagoon, and a small restaurant. It is easy to get to Jökulsárlón and buses go there every day, both regular scheduled trips and day trips. Near Jökulsárlón, there are two other glacial lakes, Fjallsárlón and Breiðárlón. Jökulsárlón is on Breiðamerkursandur, by the main road, approx. 60 km east of Skaftafell and 80 km west of Höfn í Hornafirði. A number of films have had scenes shot at Jökulsárlón, including the James Bond films Die Another Day and A View to a Kill, as well as Tomb Raider, Beowulf and Grendel and Batman Begins.