Its name will indeed catch your eye, "Diamond Beach" certainly sounds luxurious and quite uncommon. Well, this beach is anything but ordinary. Lying right by a beautiful glacier lagoon and thousand-year-old icebergs, this is a place you should definitely add to your bucket list.
So many times have nature shown us its most creative side. Several times have we witnessed the power of the forces of nature, yet, even today, it never ceases to surprise us. And that is precisely the case of Iceland. An island with such unique landscapes, distinctive landmarks, and magical out-of-this-world places. However, it still has many aces up its sleeve. That is precisely the case of Diamond beach in Iceland. Breakfast at Tiffany’s who?
Nature can be whimsical, and sometimes, as a result, we get these fanciful formations that we love so much. Therefore we cannot help but write a whole article about it so you can learn about it too. If you got all excited thinking we are talking about natural diamonds, I apologize for the hype; we are not. But don’t you close the tab just yet, this is not about jewelry, but it is still about incomparable beauty.
The diamond beach in Iceland offers a striking contrast between the black sand, the fiery blue ocean, and the thousand pieces of ice scattered all over the beach. These pieces come from an enormous glacier tongue called Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier, part of the giant Vatnajökull National Park. It is so massive that it looks like a mountain range on the horizon. This glacier breaks huge pieces off that end up falling the adjacent Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. All of those pieces get carried away by the currents and end up onshore. Diamond beach is where they meet with the ocean, their final destination.
The chunks of ice vary in size and form. The vast majority of them are approximately a foot or a foot and a half wide (30 cm approx.), and then they go down to small diamond size pieces of ice. Also, we got the huge blocks that currents manage to drag onto the shore from time to time.
The Diamond Beach is a favorite place among photographers and nature enthusiasts. With the proper lighting, you can get stunning pictures. Ice pieces never look the same. Some are entirely transparent and look sort of like a piece of glass art, with curved lines carved by the waves. Others have a beautiful teal shade that makes them look like a real gem.
An excellent tip for photographers is to determine the right angle of the light. When the sun rays hit these tiny little pieces, they reflect the light and glisten as a genuine diamond would. My favorite time of the day is close to the sunset; the beach turns into a fascinating sparkling spectacle.
The diamond beach in Iceland is located in the South Coast region, 378 km or 234 miles away from Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital city. It lies right by the Ring Road or road 1, so it is pretty easy to reach with your rental car in Iceland. In case you are coming from the east of Iceland is an hour away from Höfn.
Once you arrive at the lake, there is a parking lot on both sides of the road. You can then leave your car and enjoy the magnificent views that both the glacier and the diamond beach offer.
It is just 10 minutes away from walking distance. The diamond beach is right by Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, whose waters come from the melting of glaciers. This lagoon is one of the most visited spots in Iceland, and no wonder why the views and surroundings are astonishingly beautiful. When adding this stop to your itinerary, make sure to add the diamond beach as well, two birds with one stone!
The lagoon is filled with icebergs, enormous pieces that break off from the glacier walls and fall into the lagoon. These pieces can be as big as a bus, and even though we can only see their tip, there are way more to see underneath. Once in the water, they slowly and gradually melt away. The lagoon has an open side that connects it with the turbulent North Sea, so when the pieces are small enough to be carried away by the currents, they end up on the shore of Diamond Beach, creating this mesmerizing iceberg resting place.
Plenty of activities are available in the area, not only at the beach but also at the lagoon.
Among those activities, you have the popular and highly requested Jokulsarlon boat tour. That is the ultimate experience for those who wish to come closer to the icebergs. It is indeed an impressive and once-in-a-lifetime experience. I enjoyed myself, and the beauty of those massive, 1000 years old chunks of ice is way more notable up close. There are two different types of boat tours. One is a zodiac guided tour that lasts approximately 30-40 minutes and a 30-minute amphibian boat tour.
I loved the amphibian one, as the vessel can come even closer to the icebergs. Also, its capacity is limited, so groups of tourists are smaller. The tour guide will then tell you all about the history of the lagoon and the natural process and forces of nature behind it. You get special equipment on this tour, thick jackets and gloves. Sailing at high speed on a glacier lagoon definitely lowers the wind chill.
This is not a well-known activity, but some Icelandic diving companies offer it. The waters at the lagoon are frigid, and the iceberg can be dangerous. It would help if you had expert guiding and a snorkeling group to come along with you.
As mentioned previously, this is a favorite spot for photographers. Light in Iceland can be tricky, and if you add the rough North Sea constantly crashing waves onto the shore, the task becomes a bit more complicated. Now, if you manage to overcome all of those obstacles, the resulting pictures will absolutely be worth the whole process. You can either head there with your camera or join a photography tour as well. Up to you!
As fun as it may seem, this is a risky thing to do. These chunks are not fixed to the ground, and they can turn over. If these chunks are by the shore, you may fall into freezing waters and increase the risk of hypothermia.
The Diamond Beach is right by a turbulent sea. Sneaking waves maybe come in out of the blue, so when taking pictures, try to face the ocean.
We know Justin Bieber did, and it looks pretty cool on camera, but the truth is, he had a crew surrounding him that make sure he was OK afterward and warm him up. The waters of this lake are frigid, and you may get hypothermia quickly.
We hope you can enjoy this beautiful spot safely. Nature is mesmerizing, but it is also untamed. It is up to us to enjoy it properly.