A fairytale land: Iceland’s landscape
If I had to choose one word to describe Iceland, it would be a tie between “unique” and “alien”. There is something refreshingly strange about this little country’s landscape, and even something bizarre about some of its natural wonders. These range from the black sand and basalt rock columns of Dyrhólaey beach on the southern coast, to the geysir Strokkur on the Golden Circle circuit, which spouts geothermal water from below the earth’s surface without fail, every eight minutes.
But if words like “alien”, “strange” and “bizarre” can have negative connotations, they are not intended here, for Iceland is also unequivocally beautiful. And perhaps no other site in the country combines the strange and the beautiful so well as the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon.
The Glacier Lagoon tour
A few hours’ drive east from the lonely town of Vik, along the Route 1 highway that carves its way along the rugged south coast, lies a lake at the mouth of a tremendous glacier. Book a Special Offer + Glacier Lagoon trip with Bustravel Iceland and reach this corner of the world without having to navigate the icy, and isolated, conditions yourself; you’ll also free up your eyes and attention to take in the region’s natural beauty. Jökulsárlón is located past the stunning Skaftafell National Park, and as you travel to the lake, you will pass many other jaw-dropping sites, from the grand Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls (also included in the tour) to the layers of turquoise ice visible in the Vatnajokull glacier at Skaftafell.
But Jökulsárlón is an even more magical attraction than Skaftafell’s rainbow of icy blues. Surrounded by pristine pebble beaches, set back from the road with no manmade materials in sight, Jökulsárlón’s (literally) ice-cold waters extend off into the distance, to the monolithic glacier, Breidamerkurjokull, that feeds directly into it. Breidamerkurjokull is an offshoot of Vatnajokull, the largest glacier in Europe. Covering an area of 18 square kilometres, its movements have turned Jökulsárlón into the deepest lake in Iceland, with a depth of 248 metres. The lake is perfectly clean and clear, and studded with wild and wavy masses of ice rising up from its waters. Some of these icy chunks have the appearance of smallish icebergs; others look more like odd formations of weathered, clear glass bobbing on the surface. As far as the eye can see, all is blue, white and clear.
Many of the ice pieces, remnants of the glacier, have washed up on the shore. All along the beach, in amongst the stones, you will find smooth, crystalline shapes that were once part of a gigantic frozen river. Look closely out across the lake and you may even spot a seal or two, frolicking amongst the ice.
Strange and beautiful, indeed.