Europe,  Travel

Iceland – Reykjavik to Jökulsárlón in a Day

By far the worst weather day. But also the day we had intended to spend the most time in the car. I wanted to see Diamond Beach, which is about 380km from Reykjavik, or roughly a 5hr drive. 10hrs is a lot to spend in the car in a day. The smart thing to do would be to spend a night in Vik on one side or the other, but I didn’t think of the smart thing until too late. So if you came here here looking to see if a Jokulsarlon round trip from Reykjavik is possible, technically yes, but it’s so much less enjoyable than it should be.

We set out a little after 7am and then it was just driving with zero visibility and 60km/h gusts until 12pm. Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon was also on the list for this day, but by 4pm with a 4hr drive ahead of us, we were just over everything by the time we got to it.


After five hours in the car seeing the icebergs over the ridge was a real relief, even if it was raining sideways. A full car park has never looked so good, because it meant we’d found the turning point. I cannot stress enough, Reykjavik to Jökulsárlón is not a fun day trip.

Diamond Beach

Right across the road from Jökulsárlón is the Diamond beach. I can’t help but feel it, like a lot of the trip, would have been better in clearer weather. The rain and wind make the ice blocks melt more quickly, so the beach wasn’t as covered in ice as I’ve seen it in photos. It was still a highlight of the trip for me. I don’t know if it’s 10 hour drive great, but definitely worth seeing if you can swing it.

Vatnajokull & Svartifoss

I can’t say much about Vatnajokull because I spent most of the time with my back turned against the wind and rain, when I did turn around I couldn’t see through my glasses. Svartifoss was a little more successful, not clear enough for any decent photos, but the walk is nice and the rock formation is pretty different.

All in all, the day was a bit of a literal washout. I don’t regret going, but I do regret not booking a night in Vik for either the night before or after. The sun did come out at about 5PM on our drive home and the views were stunning, but by 7PM it was back to heavy fog with zero visibility, only this time in the dark.