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Wondering whether you should visit Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon during your winter trip to Iceland? There are many reasons why so many travelers are keen to flock here.
The most distinct is that the lagoon is one of the best places to see icebergs as they detach from the glacier that feeds them in the distance. Not only has this attracted visitors from around the world, but the vast and epic landscape has been used as a film location in various movies and TV series.
Iceland’s Iceberg Haven
If the sheer size of the lagoon doesn't grip you straight away, then you'll find yourself transfixed on all the unique blue/black icebergs dancing on the water. With more to be discovered in the ice caves, planning a trip here will be a no-brainer, especially during the winter months.
Winter in Iceland lasts longer than in most countries. In fact, snowfall can be seen 8 months of the year. This means the country is well-prepared for the wintry conditions and many activities carry on as usual. Popular sites like Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon are still often visited on self-drive and guided tours during the colder months.
Low sunlight reflecting off the icebergs at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
How to Get to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon in Winter
There are a few options available to get to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon as it is located close to the Ring Road in South Iceland.
The most convenient and direct way to head to the glacier lagoon is to get behind the wheel and take a self-drive tour. The journey takes approximately 5 hours from Reykjavik, but it may take longer during the winter as roads may be slower. You won't want to rush as the routes from the capital and international airport are dotted with many attractions and viewpoints to marvel at along the way. Driving conditions however can be difficult in winter, so you should always follow local guidance before heading out on the roads. For more, read our guide to driving in Iceland.
If driving isn’t an option, Jökulsárlón is still accessible in winter with a tour. Most tours are multi-day to make the most of the natural wonders dotted along the way. Finding a tour is easy as it is a frequent stop on Ring Road and South Iceland tours. Arctic Adventures combines famous spots on the south coast, all within a two-day tour departing from Reykjavik. If you have a little longer time available, our Golden Circle and South Coast tour packs in even more activities.
Although not the easiest option, it is possible to get to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon via public transport. One of the options is to use the bus network from Reykjavik to Selfoss (a total of three buses), or you could opt for a domestic flight to the airport nearest to Jökulsárlón, Hornafjörður, and then hop on a bus (this takes around 5 hours). Remember to consider the time of year when double-checking the schedules, as wintry conditions can impact timings and service.
5 Reasons to Visit Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon in Winter
Winter at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon offers a magical experience you won’t find during any other season. The icy landscape provides the perfect combination of tranquility and excitement.
The breathtaking spectacle that is the icebergs at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon during the winter is why visitors head here. These icy giants are created by the glacier that feeds the lagoon. They break off in massive chunks and float across the water, leaving an incredible sight and a prime photography opportunity.
Seals sunbathing on an Iceberg at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
The winter is a popular time to spot seals in the water. The lagoon offers a suitable habitat for seals as they lounge on icebergs and are kept safe from predators in the open ocean. These icy waters are abundant with fish, which makes them the ideal hunting ground for seals. While exploring the lagoon, keep your eyes peeled for them.
3. Fewer Crowds
Like the rest of Iceland, visiting the lagoon during the colder months means that you will experience fewer crowds. Attractions will be quieter and have a more peaceful atmosphere about them, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty. Taking photos will be easier with unobstructed views, ensuring you capture stunning landscapes without distractions. Additionally, wildlife is more likely to make an appearance when places seem quieter, giving you a greater chance to observe and appreciate Iceland's diverse wildlife in its natural habitats.
4. Northern Lights
Magic really happens when two of Iceland's natural phenomena come together: the Northern Lights and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. To experience this, visiting in winter gives the best opportunity to witness the dancing sky reflected on the iceberg-covered water. The best way to see the NorthernLights at Jökulsárlón is with a guided tour.
Northern lights over the icebergs at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
5. Ice Caves
Another of the main reasons visitors head to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon in the winter is the ice caves. Every year, new ice caves form, creating a unique, frosty paradise. With shades of blue and even black, the ice caves surrounding the glacier lagoon are mesmerizing and not to be missed. Make sure you book an ice cave tour early to avoid disappointment.
Blue and black icebergs floating on Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon