Diamond Beach is unworldly. A black sand beach with clear, blue-tinted icebergs sparkling in the sunshine. It would be worth a visit by itself, but its creator, the mighty Glacier Lagoon – Jökulsárlón in Icelandic is on the other side of the road from it. You can drive there yourself or come on our South Coast tour and we will be delighted to show you all the wonders along the way.
Let’s start with that the Glacier Lagoon. A lagoon is a body of water connected to the ocean, so it is different from a lake. Here, along the pristine south coast of Iceland, a tongue of the unimaginably giant glacier Vatnajökull sticks out between the mountains. Great icebergs calve off its face at random intervals, sometimes causing life-threatening tidal waves. Gradually they float toward the ocean, melting and breaking apart as they go.
The channel to the sea from the lagoon is relatively narrow but widens up at the mouth. On either side are black beaches and the icebergs wash up on them, looking truly dazzling, and creating the well-known Diamond Beach. Its Icelandic name is Breiðamerkursandur; have a go at pronouncing that!
When to visit Diamond Beach.
Don’t worry, Diamond Beach is incredible all year long. In the summer the midnight sun means you can visit it at 2 am, and possibly have it to yourself! And in winter the Northern Lights can show up, reflecting in the ice and on the water, creating once-in-a-lifetime views.
The other delight is that it is always changing. Some days you will go there and find huge pieces, and the next there are countless smaller pieces. Or the same one you saw the previous morning can have melted and become unrecognizable.
As it is about 5 hours of non-stop driving from Reykjavik the journey itself can be hard, especially in winter when the roads may be icy, and snowy, or there can be torrential rain and violent wind. Iceland’s weather can be dangerous, and the road, despite it being the main road in Iceland – the ring road – is not one you can speed on. Our national speed limit is 90km, and the road is single carriageway for most of the length, so please don’t compare this to Europe, and think you can speed and do it in a couple of hours!
Take your time, and take lots of breaks as there are loads of awesome things to see and do along the way. If you don’t want to drive taking a tour is a great idea, there’s no stress and your guides will tell you lots of cool facts about Iceland on the way. If you are driving yourself then take a few days, and do the South coast of Iceland justice!