- Flickr / Moyan Brenn
Jökulsárlón Lagoon in Iceland is one of the most visually arresting spots on earth. The lagoon sits at the base of Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier. Close to the sea but slightly below sea level, it is filled with huge chunks of ice that keep breaking off the glacier. As these icebergs flow toward the Atlantic, they often wash up on the lagoon’s black-sand beach, making for some eye-catching optics.
But while it’s a stunning spot, it’s also a visual representation of climate change, as visitors can observe the dynamic melting of the Breiðamerkurjökull and Vatnajökull glaciers that feed it. In fact, the lagoon didn’t even exist 60 years ago. Below we’ve gathered some stunning pictures that will make you want to visit Jökulsárlón Lagoon:
The lagoon is about 200 miles from Reykjavik, within Vatnajökull National Park. The park is also home to Iceland’s largest glacier, of the same name.
It’s relatively new. Until about 60 years ago, the Vatnajökull glacier covered most of the land in the area.
- Flickr / Arian Zwegers
The glacier started receding around 1948, leaving behind deep gorges that filled with melted glacier water, which ultimately became the lagoon.
- Shutterstock / Shaiith
It is now the deepest lake in Iceland, at over 800 feet. It continues to grow bigger and deeper as the glacier continues to melt and recede.
- Flickr / JasonParis
As the glacier recedes, massive chunks of ice break off of it and into the lagoon, where they start floating toward the ocean.
- Shutterstock / canadastock
Amphibious boats let tourists get up close and personal with these icebergs.
- Shutterstock / TDWay
The lagoon is also home to playful seals, who catch the many fish that drift into it from the sea.
- Shutterstock / Sander van der Werf
Icebergs range in color from white to a bright, icy blue, depending on the amount of air trapped inside of them.
- Flickr / Michael_choi
For the ultimate optical overload, catch a view of the Northern Lights from the lagoon during Iceland’s long, dark winters.
- Shutterstock / David Varga