There are couple of glacial lagoons in our beautiful county. They are different shapes and sizes.
The most known one is of course Jökulsárlón or Glacier Lagoon, after that we have Breiðarlón, Fjallsárlón, Heinabergslón and the lagoon near Hoffell.
First you might think, how are the glacier lagoons formed?
I did a little study and read the short but fascinating study written by the Vatnajökull National Park and the Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources. It is called Lifandi kennslustofa í loftslagsbreytingum or in English, A natural laboratory to study climate change. It is short but very informative. You can find the study here or buy a copy of the book at the information desk in Skaftafell.
In the study it is written that glacial lagoons are formed when outlet glaciers dig their way forward and also deep down in the earth, and, as they retreat, water accumulates in the so called “holes” and glacial lakes are formed. These lakes enhance the melting on the outlet glacier, as ice chunks break off. This is called calving. This is the way that the famous Jökulsárlón and the other lagoons are formed.
Secondly you might think, but how do I get there?
The lagoons are easily accessible. When coming from Reykjavík or the west, the first lagoon you encounter is Fjallsárlón.
Fjallsárlón Lagoon is located just off the highway, where a dirt road guides you towards the lagoon. When you approach the Lagoon, you will see a wooden house that is a bistro and booking office for Fjallsárlón. In the bistro you can find good selection of fresh food that is suitable for travelers on the go. There are boat tours at the lagoon that are operated during the summer months. With the steep glacier tongue, Fjallsjökull coming down from Vatnajökull and all the way into the lagoon, makes it a perfect peaceful place for photos as well as enjoying the untouched nature.
Connected with a short river is another glacier lagoon called Breiðarlón. With the other more popular lagoons this one is more forgotten however it is just as gorgeous as the other ones. The Lagoon has a incredible views of the glacier tongue, Breiðarmerkurjökull.
There is also a really nice hike that people can take that goes from Fjallsárlón, past Breiðárlón and all the way to the Jökulsárlón. You can find a map of the hike here on our website.
The next lagoon you will encounter as you are driving towards Höfn is the Glacier Lagoon. It is located on highway number one, so it’s hard not to miss. The Lagoon was recently designated as a part of Vatnajökull National Park. The lagoon flows through a narrow gateway into the Atlantic Ocean, leaving the spectacular sight of the large chunks of ice on the black sandy beach. In wintertime the fish-filled lagoon hosts numbers of seals, which visit the lagoon for an easy meal. Year-round curious seals can be seen basking on the blue-tinted icebergs. The lagoon is accessible from the beach all year round, and so is the café on the banks of Jökulsárlón. For hikers, a marked hiking trail between Jökulsárlón and Fjallsárlón is recommended as a scenic trip through unforgettable surroundings.
Heinabergslón is 40km away from Höfn. The lagoon itself is about 10km off route 1. It is much more secluded than the other ones. The Heinaberg area is beautiful and photogenic. It is part of the Vatnajökull National Park. The lagoon is often studded with large chunks of glacier that break off the Heinabergsjökull glacier. The area offers excellent conditions for hikers, as it has several interesting hiking trails, along which one can see waterfalls, ravines, volcanic intrusions, and even, on a lucky day, a reindeer.
There are different tours you can do on the different lagoons. On the Glacier Lagoon you have the Amphibian boat tour and the Zodiac boat tour, even kayaking. Kayaking is also done on the Heinabergslón. On Fjallsárlón you have Iceberg Safari with Zodiac boats. You can find all the tours here.
Hoffell is a farmland area characterized by a large outlet glacier named Hoffellsjökull and gabbro rock. The area is preserved for outdoor recreation, as it is rich in vegetation, wildlife, and geological variety. The area’s many hiking trails offer a stunning view of the diverse beautiful wonders it has to offer. The lagoon it self is not really big but so gorgeous. This place is “off the beaten path” and great to visit to avoid the crowds.