Jökulsárlón is a glacial lagoon in Iceland and is a popular destination for travellers looking for some adventure. Complete with ice caves, wildlife spotting and amazing scenery, it’s a must-see for any Iceland holiday. However, the lagoon is not close to the capital of Reykjavik and is instead located in the south east of the country. If you are not going by guided tour then the best way to get to Jokulsarlon from Reykjavik is by driving there yourself.

The journey by car is around 5 hours so if you are not fond of long trips it might be best to opt for car rental. This gives you the flexibility of stopping along the route and taking in some of the sights along the way. We have put together a guide to help you drive to Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon from Reykjavik.

Icebergs floating on Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon

How to Get to Jokulsarlon from Reykjavik

You can get to Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon from Reykjavik by following Route 1, also known as the Ring Road. This is the most popular road around the outside of Iceland and is easy to navigate in most weather conditions. The Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon is located very close to the ring road so it is easy to reach, but it is a long journey and takes around 5 hours to drive in total. We have included rough directions below on the roads you will need to follow;

  • Leaving Reykjavik follow Route 49 to the take the Vik/Hverageroi exit onto Route 1
  • Continue to follow the Ring Road (Route 1) through Selfoss and Hvolsvöllur
  • Follow Route 1 past Skaftafell where you should only have another half hour drive
  • Jokulsarlon should be clearly signposted on the left close to Diamond Beach

Despite the long drive it really is quite straightforward driving to Jokulsarlon from Reykjavik simply following the ring road. However, there are some other factors you should consider when driving in Iceland which we have listed below.

Weather Conditions When Driving in Iceland

One of the biggest factors you should consider when choosing to drive in Iceland is what the weather conditions will be like when you are travelling. This isn’t something that would usually be a factor when travelling abroad but Iceland has very cold winters that bring icy and snowy conditions. If you are not experienced at driving in these conditions then you might not be as keen on driving in them in a foreign country. Our best advice is to check the forecast before travelling as conditions are usually fine in the summer and outside the height of winter. Luckily, as you will nearly be driving exclusively on the ring road, this is always usually cleared of snow and ice so it should still be ok to drive in poor conditions.

Jokulsarlon amphibian boat tour Iceland

Things to See and Do Jokulsarlon

It may be the case that you have heard of the glacier and lagoon at Jokulsarlon but are not quite sure what else there is to do in the region. There are lots of things to see and do while you are there and we have put together a guide to some of the best things you should see and do while in Iceland. 

  1. Ice Cave Tours - if you drive to Jokulsarlon yourself, then you can save a lot of money on expensive guided tours from Reykjavik of the ice caves. Half day tours are available from around £110 per person.
  2. Northern Lights - these are not easily visible from the capital and other cities around Iceland so the remote location can make for a breathtaking place to view the northern lights. Check the aurora borealis schedule.
  3. Boat Tours - some of the most popular trips from Jokulsarlon are guided boat tours around the lagoon. The amphibian boat tour leaves multiple times throughout the day and is one of the best trips.
  4. Wildlife Spotting - Seals can frequently be seen in the lagoon or relaxing on icebergs and there are plenty of birds in the region too. Puffins are more likely spotted at Dyrholaey lighthouse and Reynisfjara beach close by though.

1 day and 2 day excursions are available from Reykjavik but these can often cost upwards of £600 per person, so driving yourself could save money during your trip. If you are looking for car rental in Iceland, SADcars have a wide range of affordable car rentals to meet your needs.