Exploring Jökulsárlón: Top Stops on Iceland's South Coast

sunset at jokulsarlon, glacier lagoon in iceland.
Sunset at Jökulsárlón.

Hello dear travelers and Iceland explorers. Today I’m taking you on an adventure along the South Coast of Iceland. From the rental car pick up from Keflavik Airport all the way to the amazing Jökulsárlón, Glacier lagoon in southeast Iceland.

Jökulsárlón is such an amazing place. Seeing the shimmering icebergs braking away from the mighty glacier as they float around in the lagoon is truly breathtaking. But there is more to this glacier lagoon and here I will guide you to the best road trip in Iceland. Join me as we explore the natural wonders of the south coast of Iceland.

 

Step 1: Picking up Your Rental Car

First thing to do is picking up a rental car. Luckily Blue Car Rental’s seamless car rental pick up process, where you can check in online before arrival makes this task both easy and quick. Within less of a minute at our office, either in Reykjavik city or Keflavik airport, you are sitting in your rental car and ready for the roads of Iceland.

Now, since you are heading to Jökulsárlón, it is not necessary to have a 4x4. The road to Glacier lagoon is the famous Ring Road of Iceland. An all paved and well-maintained road serviced all year round. Although we do recommend getting a 4x4 during high winter, not just for seeing Jökulsárlón, but just Iceland in general.

Seljalandsfoss in south coast iceland.
Seljalandsfoss is a waterfall of the south coast of Iceland.

Step 2. Iceland’s South Coast Best Stops

So, the road from Reykjavik to Jökulsárlón is approximately 380 km (236 mi). That’s a minimum 5-hour drive, non-stop in good conditions. For most that’s too much. But, have no worry, there are plenty of amazing places to stop at along the way.

Seljalandsfoss: This unique waterfall is my first stop. Famous for its path that allows visitors to walk behind the cascading water, was an experience unlike any other. Feeling the spray of the waterfall as I walked behind it was exhilarating, and the view from behind the curtain of water was absolutely surreal.

Skógafoss: One of Iceland's biggest and most beautiful waterfalls. As I approached, the sound of the water crashing down the 60-meter cliff was thunderous. The sight of the waterfall, with rainbows forming in the mist, was nothing short of magical. I spent hours there, just absorbing the raw power of nature.

Reynisfjara: Continuing along the coast, I couldn't miss Reynisfjara, known for its stunning black sand beach and basalt columns. The contrast of the black sand against the roaring white waves and the dark basalt columns created a scene so dramatic, it felt like stepping onto the set of a fantasy epic.

Sóheimasandur: An intriguing detour took me to Sólheimasandur, where the remains of a crashed DC-3 plane lay on a black sand beach. This hauntingly beautiful spot, accessible after a short hike, was a reminder of the power and unpredictability of nature.

Fjarárgljúfur: My final stop was Fjaðrágljúfur, a majestic and ancient canyon with steep walls and a serpentine river running through it. The views from the top were breathtaking, with the canyon's lush green walls contrasting sharply against the vibrant blue of the sky.

DC plane carsh site blue car rental
DC plane carsh site at Sólheimasandur black sand beach.

Step 3: Exploring Jökulsárlón

Once you have reached Jökulsárlón it’s time to explore the famous glacier lagoon. I recommend taking a boat tour in the lagoon. This gives you a much better view and being close to the floating icebergs is an incredible experience.

Jökulsárlón is part of Vatnajökull National Park, so there is lots of other interesting things to see there. I highly recommend taking time to explore the interesting sites in the area. Such as Diamond Beach, which is just right next to Jökulsárlón. The icebergs in the glacier lagoon end up in black sand beach, creating a magical shoreline, filled with diamond shaped crystal-clear ice.

Skaftafell is also part of Vatnajökull National Park and if you have time it is a great add on your travel itinerary. If your are looking for great place for hiking in Iceland, Skaftafell is where you want to be. From the visitor centre, you can find great hiking trails, leading to extraordinary sites. Going to Vatnajökull Glacier and Svartifoss waterfall or find ice cave tours.

Step 4: A Day Trip or Continue Exploring Iceland

If you’re wondering if this can all, be done in one day, the answer is no. But, going to see Jökulsárlón can be a day trip. It will however take up to 12 hours, so you better get an early start, if that’s your plan.

It could be a great opportunity to witness the midnight sun during summer and of course seeing the magical northern lights in winter.

If you’re not in a hurry, these places are great stops on your self drive tour in Iceland. Whether you’re exploring the wonders of the south coast of Iceland or driving the entire Ring Road. By keep driving east you’re next adventure in Iceland will be in the Eastfjords where you will find amazing sites, such as Stuðlagil canyon and more.

Stuðlagil canyon in east iceland.
Stuðlagil canyon in east Iceland.

Step 5: Returning Your Rental Car

As every good adventure comes to an end, it is now time to say goodbye to Jökulsárlón and all the other wonders of Iceland. Including your trusty rental car from Blue Car Rental. Just like the pick-up, the drop-off process is just as easy and convenient.

I recommend opting for Blue Car Rental's full coverage insurance, including a liability waiver and roadside assistance. This will not only offer a seamless drop off but a carefree driving experience on your road trip in Iceland.

If you like to learn more, check out these blogs on Natural Wonders and Driving in Iceland.

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