The Diamond Beach in Iceland: Icebergs on Black Sand

Diamond Beach, Iceland chunks of ice Anyone planning an Iceland vacation expects the usual: breathtaking cascades, crater lakes close to still active volcanoes, geothermally heated hot pots, and Game of Thrones tours. And of course, there are the obligatory glaciers like Langjökull and Vatnajökull in the national park with the same name. Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon is an impressive sight in Vatnajökull National Park and across the highway is something even cooler: The Diamond Beach in Iceland.

Did I just say diamonds? Why yes, I did! The large pieces of ice that float in the glacier lagoon eventually make their way out to the Atlantic Ocean. But not all of them continue their trek onwards; some get washed back to the shore. The end result is a black sand volcanic beach scattered with pieces of ice resembling diamonds.

Where is The Diamond Beach in Iceland?

It’s quite easy to get to. You really do just need to go to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and cross the road.

Are The Chunks of Ice Really The Size of An SUV?

Yes, they are. Remember, these are pieces of ice that have broken off of Iceland’s largest glacier, so they can be quite big. Some are as small as a textbook while others tower over you. After the icebergs pass through the narrow strait that connects the lagoon to the ocean, some are stranded ashore.

Look But Don’t Touch

Actually, touching is ok. I think it’s better to say look but don’t sit. Very recently a grandmother visiting Iceland came to this spectacular spot and saw a throne-shaped piece of ice. Naturally, she wanted to take a picture, so she sat down as her son pulled out his camera for an impromptu photo shoot. The piece of ice broke off, and she was washed out to sea on her floating throne.

Luckily there was someone on hand with knowledge of how to keep everyone calm and salvage the situation. Our sweet grandmother, Judith Streng, survived her ordeal and can laugh about it now. But this is a truly dangerous situation that could have ended very badly.

Sneaker Waves in Iceland

We’ve got something here in Iceland called sneaker waves. They are dangerous because they sneak up on you and pull you into the sea very quickly. People have lost their lives on Icelandic beaches because they were not paying attention or got too close to the shore. So be smart, stay back, and definitely don’t pose for any Instagram pictures while sitting on an iceberg, no matter how cool it looks.

The Diamond Beach Iceland in Winter

One really fun activity is visiting the Diamond Beach, Iceland in winter. The nighttime sky is lit up by the Northern Lights, and you’ll be seeing not one but two natural wonders at the same time. Can you imagine what a magical experience that would be? Just be sure to bundle up in plenty of layers! Northern Lights season in Iceland lasts from mid-September to mid-March. You don’t want chattering teeth distracting you from the beauty in the skies above and down on the ground below.

How to Arrive at the Diamond Beach

When coming from Vik, the beach will be on the right-hand side of your car. It’s quite easy to find the Diamond Beach on an Iceland map. Just take a look at Google Maps, and you’ll see Jökulsárlón to the left of the Ring Road. To the right of that is where you’ll find the black sand beach with “diamonds” scattered across it.

There’s a parking lot for Jökulsárlón where you can leave your car. Just park there, visit the glacier lagoon, and then head across the road to get to the beach. Whichever side of the Route 1 bridge you decide to cross on, you’ll find large chunks of ice on either side.

Hotels Near Diamond Beach Iceland

If you’re looking for a place to stay in the area, I would suggest the Fosshotel glacier lagoon. It can be a bit pricey though, so perhaps it would be better to choose accommodation close to Vik and then do the lagoon and black diamond beach as a day trip. If you really want to stay close by, Guesthouse Gerði and Hali Country Hotel are also places to stay near Diamond Beach Iceland.

SUV-Sized Icebergs at the Diamond Beach Iceland

Iceland is famous for its natural wonders, and the black sand Diamond Beach is no exception. Not only does it have the midnight-hued grains of volcanic sand (a rarity in itself), you’ve got enormous chunks of ice just scattered along the shore. This unique combination is one you’ll see only in Iceland. Be sure to take lots of pictures, and remember to watch out for the waves. We don’t want you getting carried away!

Reykjavik Auto
May 2019