Often compared to Jökulsárlón, Fjallsárlón is only a few kilometers away. Fjallsárlón is a bit less well known so has much less tourism than its neighbor but remains a must-see for any visitor in the region.
Fjallsárlón is an absolutely beautiful glacial lake brimming with spectacular icebergs located in southern Iceland. Fjallsárlón, the “Fjallsá Lagoon”, was formed from the meltwater of Fjallsjökull, one of the largest glaciers in Iceland which is in fact a glacial tongue of Vatnajökull in the north. This lake is also nourished by the Breiðá River.
It's not breaking any size records, only 2.5 km wide and about 2 km long, bordered by the glacial tongue and its 20-meter-tall ice cliff from which blocks of ice break off regularly. This is called calving, and it can be an impressive sight (and sound) to behold.
Getting to Fjallsárlón is easy, being located on the ring road. Coming from the east via Jökulsárlón, keep an eye out for the small path 11 kilometers after the Jökulsárlón car park. From the west, the lagoon is 40 minutes or 47 km from Skaftafell.
And you can also get there by bus, for example, using line 51.
The Fjallsárlón Glacial Lagoon is much more accessible than it used to be. It was poorly indicated, lacked parking, and the dirt road to cover the few hundred meters that lead to the lagoon was in terrible shape, but there are now amenities, large car parks, and the road is a breeze to drive.
There is also a trail a few hundred meters further on to get to a spot on the lake shore, which has the merit of being less busy. The trail is accessible to any type of vehicle, and from that car park you then have to walk a few hundred meters to reach the lake shore.
Fjallsarlon is accessible all year round. Of course, everything depends on the road conditions, but the ring road is rarely closed and even in winter the region is often spared from extreme temperatures.
In summer, with the silvery light of the midnight sun, the lagoon and its flotilla of icebergs glow in the most indescribable way. Photo enthusiasts come in the evening when the tourist buses are gone to capture the blocks of ice.
Indeed, even if less famous than Jökulsárlón, it has gained its own reputation in recent years so visit in the morning or in the evening for peace of mind (and clean frames in your nature shot) and there's lots of space for that.
In winter, tourists are rare, and the site is a perfect spot for viewing the Northern Lights. Photographers love capturing the dance of the auroras reflected in the calm water of the lake dotted with icebergs.
Unlike Jökulsárlón, here you can get up close and personal with the glacier from the shore, and sometimes get very close to the colossal ice blocks that regularly run aground on the bank. These are driven by the current, which carries the icebergs to the ocean 2 or 3 kilometers further south.
Most tourists enjoy the place for the peace and quiet, a place to sit down to admire the glacier lagoon and take a few photos. You can walk along the bank to get a away from the main car park, just head east to get closer to the glacier.
On site, the view is a balm for the senses, a serene wilderness. The only sound the crunch of ice colliding and the cries of the great skuas in the sky. Skuas are very numerous here and, important to know, are quite aggressive in protecting their eggs during the summer.
You will be speechless admiring this panorama with the glacial lake dominated by the majestic Fjallsjökull glacier, with the great Öræfajökull in the background. The ice changes colour depending on the sunlight and varies from white to blue to black. As for the streaks in the ice cliff, they take on more or less bluish tones depending on the density of the water.
Near the main car park, a gift shop and a restaurant that has a fairly good reputation opened in recent years. You can also take a group boat tour for about 1.5 hours, taking a Zodiac out onto the lake to get as close as possible to the icebergs.
In Iceland it's always worth looking into accommodation near the actual site of interest because this allows you to visit in the evening or very early in the morning, times with the best light and before tourists arrive in large numbers.
Accommodation is rare in the region but there are 2 guesthouses and a hotel nearby:
Unfortunately, there are no campsites near Fjallsárlón and wild camping is not allowed.