Iceland is a magical landscape for so many reasons. Whether you fall in love with the best waterfalls in Iceland or perhaps the unique volcanic landscape that typifies the heart of the nation, it’s fair to say that Iceland has a little something for everyone. For those of you that have never visited Iceland, you would be correct in thinking that this country is full of “ice” and snow. Although the towering glaciers covered in ice are iconic locations around Iceland, you may not realize that even the beaches are at times home to ice fragments. Intrigued? You should be! Welcome to Diamond Beach, Iceland!
It’s crazy to imagine taking a stroll along a beach and stumbling across a gorgeous piece of ice. We are all familiar with the gorgeous, white sandy beaches that we associate with the Caribbean islands but what about when we present you with a black sandy beach full of intricately sculptured ice fragments? Sounds absolutely crazy and ultimately it’s an experience you have to see with your own eyes to actually believe it.
Let’s take a look at our experience visiting Diamond Beach.
When to Visit Diamond Beach Iceland?
I want to start by adding the caveat that we visited Diamond Beach in the heart of July during our epic week-long Iceland road trip! To put that into perspective for a second, July is the time of the year when Iceland is supposedly in the heart of summer and yet, you can still see fragments of ice floating out into the ocean along the shoreline of Diamond Beach.
Can you imagine what this location looks like in the middle of winter? Our previous visit to Iceland was in December but unfortunately, we only made it as far as Vik along the south coast, so missed out on the opportunity to explore Diamond Beach. That’s definitely another bucket list item for us!
Where is Diamond Beach?
First-time visitors to Iceland will be all too familiar with recommendations to explore the Golden Circle with iconic attractions such as Geysir, Gullfoss, and Thingvellir National Park. Thoughts of also heading further south along the Ring Road to visit Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls may be your radar but we would argue that you need to keep driving a couple more hours to really enhance your Icelandic itinerary.
Located directly in front of Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and a short drive from Fjallsarlon Glacier Lagoon, Diamond Beach is a real “gem” of an attraction that we are convinced you will be inspired to visit.
If you visit Iceland during the summer, you can enjoy a day trip to explore Diamond Beach, simply because there are 24 hours of consecutive daylight. However, if you visit in the winter months, you will likely want to find somewhere to stay nearby, either in the nearby town of Höfn or if you are ok with a slightly longer drive in the morning, Vik is only 2 to 2 1/2 hours away.
From Reykjavik, you are looking at around 4 1/2 hours to cover the 372km and it’s likely to take longer if you visit in the winter due to the potentially adverse road conditions.
Jökulsárlón to Diamond Beach
Renowned frequently as the “jewel in the crown” in terms of the best things to do in south Iceland, Jökulsárlón is the lagoon that feeds the large chunks of ice along the narrow waterway and into the Atlantic Ocean. Take a stroll along the gorgeous black sandy beach and see the various shapes and sizes of ice that are washed up on the shore throughout the day. Admiring the ice “diamonds” (hence the name!) glistening on the beach is a real sight you won’t want to miss.
Without going into too much detail on Jökulsárlón as you can read all about our experience there, this glacier lagoon only appeared around 1935 and has since grown to over 20 square kilometers due to the melting of glaciers, particularly the Vatnajökull glacier which feeds into this lagoon.
The “waterway” that connects Jökulsárlón with the Atlantic Ocean used to be around 1.5km in length but visitors today will notice that it is much closer. It’s always intriguing to see which pieces of ice (large and small) will make their way along the river before heading out into the Atlantic.
Explore Diamond Beach
Once the ice reaches the Atlantic, many of them are shaped due to the erosion of the waves and when they reach “Diamond Beach”, they are left with a polished appearance that just adds to the aesthetic appeal. If you are an avid photographer, this spot is undoubtedly one of the best locations in Iceland to create amazing pictures.
Take a moment to browse around not only at the various shapes but also the diverse blend of colors that you will see in the ice fragments. Many of them are perfectly clear and look like glass or “diamonds” while others have a blue appearance.
The beauty of visiting Diamond Beach is that each time you visit, it will be different. Just like any other natural landscape that is constantly changing, Diamond Beach never looks the same twice!! It’s perhaps this aspect that makes visitors want to return time and time again to see something new.
We have literally fallen in love with everything about Iceland! When you stumble across attractions like Diamond Beach among everything else there is to explore in the Land of Fire and Ice, you can quite easily see why this nation has quickly become the most coveted tourist spot in the world. I hope that as tourism continues to flourish in Iceland, this doesn’t have a detrimental impact on the overall natural landscape because places like Diamond Beach are what makes this such an appealing destination.
Whether you are inspired to visit solely because of the unique aspects associated with Diamond Beach or perhaps this just adds to your wanderlust and desire to explore everything Iceland has to offer, we hope that you will remember to add this to your next Icelandic itinerary. You may still be trying to decide the best time of year to visit…from our experience, there is no bad time! It’s such a unique opportunity at both times of the year so we would argue that you can go anytime and you will have an amazing trip.
Let’s hear your thoughts and experiences visited Iceland. Have you visited Diamond Beach?