Iceland Part 2: Jökulsárlón and the Ice Caves

Iceland - Jökulsárlón

For our first full day in Iceland we decided to head to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.  Since we were already going to be on the east side of the island, we also booked an ice cave tour. We got a late start to the day waiting on the hotel to serve breakfast. Even though it was the best breakfast we had in Iceland, I would’ve skipped it for more daylight to explore. Daylight lasted from 10:30 to 3:30, only about 5 hours total. When it was cloudy, it seemed even shorter and it was cloudy/raining 3 out of the 6 days we were there. This was the ONLY downside to visiting in the winter.

Iceland - Jökulsárlón
Iceland - Jökulsárlón
Iceland - Jökulsárlón

From Hella it took us about 3.5 hours to get to the lagoon and we made a quick stop in Vik to grab sandwiches for lunch. We didn’t arrived at the best time of day, the sun was at its highest and shining right into our faces the whole time. I would suggest arriving at or a little before sunrise.

The lagoon itself is fairly new and started forming in the 1930s, from melting glaciers. In the winter, the lagoon is filled with fish, which made it possible to see some seals jumping in and out of the water. The ice floating in the lagoon comes from the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier you can see in the distance in some photos.

Iceland - Jökulsárlón
Iceland - Jökulsárlón
Iceland - Jökulsárlón
Iceland - Jökulsárlón
Iceland - Jökulsárlón
Iceland - Jökulsárlón

This was the only time we experienced incredibly strong winds on our trip. These winds were actual torture at times and we were glad to jump back in the car to warm up a bit. Next we headed across the street to check out the black sand beach, Diamond Beach. This is where the icebergs meet the Atlantic ocean. I was expecting to see a lot more ice on the beach, but it looks like the currents and wind took most of them out to sea. 

Iceland - Beach
Iceland - Beach
Iceland - Beach

I didn’t think the wind could get much worst, but I was wrong! The wind was just as powerful and chilling at the beach, but now we were getting blasted with sand. At times, the wind picked up so much it looked like fog and felt like you were getting attacked by needles.  

Iceland - Beach
Iceland - Beach
Iceland - Beach
Iceland - Beach

After running back to the car, we had to hurry to catch our ice cave tour. I originally thought our tour was meeting at the lagoon, but got it mixed up with another tour I was looking at. So, we still had to drive 30 minutes down the road to check in. We spent a lot of this day playing catch up, haha. 

Iceland - Ice Cave
Iceland - Ice Cave
Iceland - Ice Cave

Next, we checked into our ice cave tour around 1:30. A lot of the ice cave tours I looked into went to the Crystal Ice Cave, which is really large and REALLY popular with tourists.  When I originally booked this tour, I thought that’s where we were going. However, after we suited up in the middle of nowhere, I knew we were going somewhere different. We ended up going to two smaller caves and had the whole place to ourselves. The first cave was The White Walker and since I’m a huge GoT fan, this was right up my alley. 

Iceland - Ice Cave
Iceland - Ice Cave
Iceland - Ice Cave

Our Ice Cave Tour

We booked out ice cave tour with Local Guide and I highly recommend them.  Unlike all the other ice cave tours I read about, we were the only people in the cave the whole hour we were there. We even checked out another cave on the walk back to the car. 

Iceland - Ice Cave
Iceland - Ice Cave
Iceland - Ice Cave

The second cave we visited was a black ice cave, so it was pretty much impossible to get an image of it. I did take the photo below of Colin standing at the entrance. After leaving the caves, we were able to walk on the glacier and take some photos. That night, we headed back to Vik and ate at Sudur Vik for dinner. If you are ever find yourself in Vik, I highly recommend this place!

Iceland - Ice Cave
Iceland - Ice Cave
Iceland - Ice Cave
Iceland - Ice Cave

If you missed it, part 1 of our trip is here.

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